News Briefs – National and International


Hurricane Florence hits East Coast 

Hurricane Florence has continued to devastate the Carolinas since touching down Friday. According to CBS News, at least 17 people had died as of Sunday, and about 740,000 homes and business are still without power in North and South Carolina. Many areas are now seeing flash flooding as several cities have had more than 20 inches of rain. More than 900 water rescues have been reported in North Carolina, said the governor’s office, but there were no sign that the storm would be easing up. CNN reported that by the end of the storm, some parts of the Carolinas will have up to 40 inches of rain deposited by Florence.  

Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual misconduct  

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by a California professor on Sunday. The woman, Christine Blasey Ford, alleged the misconduct occurred more than 30 years ago during a high school party. She came forward publicly on Sunday after previously reaching out privately to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.,  a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both Kavanaugh and the White House have responded, with Kavanaugh categorically denying the allegation, saying, “I did not do this back in high school or at any time.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, called on the committee to refrain from voting on Kavanaugh’s confirmation “until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated.”  

 U.S. bishops meet with pope about sex abuse scandal 

Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met with Pope Francis on Sept. 13 regarding the sexual abuse scandal brewing in the country. The delegates included Galveston-Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, conference president; Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, conference vice president; and Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, conference general secretary. In a statement released after the meeting, DiNardo said the encounter was lengthy and fruitful. “We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States — how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse,” the statement said.  


Costa Rica faced with tension, labor strike 

In the face of unprecedented labor strikes, Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado is facing demands to block a proposed fiscal reform that includes new taxes. According to ABC News, the country’s government has been struggling with a deficit estimated at 7.1 percent of GDP this year, prompting the fiscal reform before the congress. The reform includes taxes on basic foodstuffs and changes that would limit unemployment assistance and more, which sparked intense opposition from public sector unions. Alvarado responded to the strikes, calling them illegal, and said that the reforms were the only way to avoid an imminent crisis. However, protesters said the strike is indefinite and will only end when the government withdraws the proposed law.

U.S. border agent accused of being ‘serial killer’ 

A U.S. Border Agent was arrested in South Texas on Saturday in connection to a calculated killing spree that left four people dead, authorities said. The agent, Juan David Ortiz, was arrested early on Saturday, said Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar. Cuellar said Ortiz is being considered as a serial killer and that the department was glad Ortiz had been apprehended. Ortiz is suspected of shooting four victims, Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said. Alaniz said he believed Ortiz was acting alone and that authorities were able to track down Ortiz after receiving a tip from a woman who escaped after being abducted by Ortiz. The investigation is ongoing.   

 Typhoon hits Philippines, southern China 

At least 64 are dead in the Philippines as Typhoon Mangkhut, the world’s largest storm, left the country and reached southern China’s Guangdong province on Sunday. According to Filipino government officials, most of the deaths were caused by landslides and dozens more are thought to be buried beneath the deluge. The death toll is expected to grow. In Guangdong, two were dead as of Sunday and more than 2.45 million people had been evacuated from the area. Hong Kong was also hit by the typhoon, which received Hong Kong’s highest storm warning alert and had gusts recorded of up to 138 mph. No deaths were reported in Hong Kong. The storm is expected to continue to inland Guangdong.