Maria Pounds the Virgin Islands, Roars Into Puerto Rico
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Maria Pounds the Virgin Islands, Roars Into Puerto Rico

Weather Service Warns of ‘Catastrophic Damage’ in the U.S. Caribbean Territories

Storm warning. Hurricane Maria pummeled the U.S. Virgin Islands Tuesday night with winds up to 175 mph and made landfall in Puerto Rico this morning. The National Weather Service office in San Juan warned of “catastrophic damage” from Maria’s winds, as well as “life-threatening rainfall flooding having possible devastating impacts” in a statement issued Tuesday evening. The island could see as much as two feet of rain. Puerto Rico’s governor warned that Maria could hit “with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations.” The hurricane knocked out communications with the country of Dominica. The extent of the damage was unknown. The island was still recovering from Tropical Storm Erika which killed 30 people and destroyed more than 370 homes in August 2015. Big waves caused by Hurricane Jose swept five people off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island. They were hospitalized after being rescued.

Mexican quake. A powerful earthquake struck central Mexico, collapsing buildings and killing more than 200 people. The dead included 42 people in Morelos state south of Mexico City, 26 in the state of Puebla, nine in the state of Mexico which surrounds the capital and 30 in Mexico City. Residents feared more people were buried in the rubble. At least 29 buildings crumbled in the capital. The 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck less than two weeks after the 8.1-magnitude quake off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico.

Forty-two minutes. Trump took just 42 minutes to upend decades of support by the United States for the collective philosophy of the United Nations as he defended his America First policy. He vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States and mocked North Korea’s leader as “Rocket Man.” Trump denounced the nuclear agreement with Iran as “an embarrassment” that he may abandon. “As president of the United States, I will always put America first,” Trump said. Trump has until Oct. 15 to certify whether Iran is complying with the agreement negotiated by former President Barack Obama and the leaders of five other powers. North Korea’s ambassador left his seat before Trump started speaking.

Trumpcare 4.0. The Cassidy-Graham bill would get rid of subsidies that help people buy individual health insurance policies and roll back the Medicaid expansion that was adopted by 31 states and Washington, D.C. The money that funds those initiatives would be given to the states as block grants to run their own health care programs. There would be no guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. States could waive requirements to cover mental health care. The bill would offer a tax cut to wealthy people by making health savings accounts more generous. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the bill would lead to 32 million people losing health insurance over 10 years.

September 20, 2017