threatening storm surges in both North and South Carolina as the hurricane moves towards land with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90mph (150 km/h). More than 100,000 homes are already without power as weather conditions begin to worsen. Officials have warned the storm has the potential to kill "a lot of people" amid risks of "catastrophic" flooding. More than a million people along the coastlines of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have been ordered to evacuate. Thousands had taken shelter in emergency facilities by Thursday night. Photographs showed residents crowded into corridors with blankets on inflatable mattresses and mats. Conditions deteriorated throughout Thursday as wind speeds gradually strengthened in coastal areas. Some areas of North Carolina saw almost a foot of rain just a few hours, and footage showed sea levels begin to surge in land. At 23:00 local time (03:00 GMT) the National Hurricane Centre said wind speeds had slightly lowered, making it a category one hurricane. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) says that despite the gradual lowering in wind strength, the storm remains extremely dangerous because of the high volume of rainfall and storm surges predicted. "Inland flooding kills a lot of people unfortunately and that's what we're about to see," Fema administrator Brock Long told a news conference on Thursday morning. He said that people living near rivers, streams and lowland areas in the region were most at risk. [i]Source: BBC[/i]
A mass shooting at a video game tournament has led to "multiple fatalities" in the US state of Florida, according to police. The shooting took place on Sunday at a waterfront dining, entertainment and shopping site in downtown Jacksonville, according to local media. Citing police sources, reports said 3 people were killed and at least 11 wounded. "We have deceased victims at the scene. We also have injured people at the hospital. We will release counts later on," said Sheriff Mike Williams at a brief press conference, describing the dead suspect as a white male who had yet to be identified. "We have no outstanding suspects at this time, the scene is secure, and we will follow up in a couple of hours." The attack took place during the Madden 19 online game tournament at the GLHF Game Bar, according to the venue's website. The video game tournament was being streamed online from the restaurant. Players can be seen reacting to the gunfire and cries can be heard before the footage cuts off. "SWAT is doing a methodical search inside... We will get to you. Please don't come running out," the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office earlier said on Twitter.
China has said it is "irresponsible" of President Trump to suggest it was not putting enough pressure on North Korea over its nuclear programme. Mr Trump had tweeted that China was "not helping" because of trade tensions with the US. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said this was "contrary to basic facts" and China was "seriously concerned". On Thursday Mr Trump called off US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned trip to North Korea. He said that insufficient progress was being made in dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme. After his summit with the North Korean leader in June, Mr Trump said the country was no longer a nuclear threat. But since then there have been several reports that it is failing to dismantle its nuclear facilities. One of the most recent warnings came from unnamed US officials, who told the Washington Post that North Korea appeared to be building new intercontinental ballistic missiles. The UN's nuclear agency (IAEA) has also said North Korea is continuing with its nuclear programme. Meanwhile the second in a new series of family reunions for North and South Koreans separated by the war 65 years ago has taken place in a North Korean tourist resort. Some 326 South Koreans from 81 families met their long-lost relatives, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. Beijing is Pyongyang's only significant ally and Washington's most powerful long-term strategic rival in the region. The two powers are currently embroiled in a ***-for-tat tariff war after Mr Trump complained about the size of the US trade deficit with China and what Washington sees as other unfair trade practices. Each side has now imposed 25% tariffs on a total of $50bn of one another's goods. [i]Source: BBC[/i]
A young woman and an attacker have been killed and 13 others injured in a shooting incident in Toronto, Canadian police say. The Sunday night shooting happened in the Danforth and Logan avenues area. The gunman died in an exchange of fire. Among those injured is a young girl, described as in a critical condition. Police are appealing for witnesses. Some of the victims were treated at the scene, while others have been taken to local hospitals. The motive for the shooting is not clear. Jeremy Cohn, a journalist with @globalnewsto, posted footage from the scene, saying that "victims are spread across many blocks". Jody Steinhauer told CBC News she was with her family in a restaurant in the area when she heard what sounded like 10 to 15 blasts of firecrackers. "We started to hear people scream out front," she said. Details of the incident are still sketchy. [i]Source: BBC[/i]
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Mexico of doing “nothing” to stop illegal immigrants crossing into the United States, and repeated his election campaign pledge that Mexico would pay for his planned border wall. Trump was addressing supporters in a campaign-style rally in Nashville, Tennessee when he returned to the wall he wants built on the U.S. southern border to keep out illegal immigrants. The wall was a favorite campaign theme of Trump’s and has been a longstanding bone of contention with Mexico. “In the end, Mexico is going to pay for the wall,” Trump told the crowd. “They do absolutely nothing to stop people from going through Mexico, from Honduras and all these other countries ... They do nothing to help us.” About an hour later, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto took to Twitter to hit back. “President @realDonaldTrump: NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever. Sincerely, Mexico (all of us),” Pena Nieto wrote in English. He then repeated the tweet in Spanish. The United States, Mexico and Canada are locked in tortuous negotiations to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and are also seeking to avoid a potential stand-off over U.S. threats to impose steel and aluminum tariffs. [i]Source: Agencies[/i]
Donald Trump has cancelled his planned summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, blaming his decision on a threatening statement from the Pyongyang regime. In a formal letter to Kim released by the White House, Trump said he had been “very much looking forward” to the summit in Singapore on 12 June. But he wrote: “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.” Trump declared that the meeting would not take place “for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” The president’s change of mind appeared to have been sudden and recent. In an interview recorded on Wednesday and broadcast on Thursday morning on Fox News, Trump had offered a concession to North Korea, saying he could accept a phased disarmament, contradicting his own top foreign policy officials. The about-face followed a strongly worded statement by North Korea’s vice-foreign minister Choe Son-hui, which in turn was a response to hardline comments by US vice-president Mike Pence. In her statement, Choe warned that Pyongyang could make the US “taste an appalling tragedy”. If the talks are cancelled, Choe suggested the two countries could engage in a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown”. She said: “Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision … of the US. We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us.” In his letter, Trump thanked Kim for releasing three US citizens last month. He said: “That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.” He left the door open to a future meeting if and when the war of words calmed down. “I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you,” he wrote in a letter that appeared to have been directly dictated by Trump, reflecting his speaking style, without corrections to syntax and grammar. “If you change your mind having to do with this important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.” The immediate trigger for the row that erupted between Washington and Pyongyang and derailed the summit was the Trump administration’s repeated references to the “Libyan model”, which was presented by some officials as referring to Muammar Gaddafi’s 2003 agreement to abandon his nuclear weapons programme and surrender related equipment and materials to the US. Trump and Pence, however, used the phrase to refer to the 2011 toppling of Gaddafi and his subsequent murder at the hands of rebels after a Nato-back insurrection. On Monday, Pence echoed the president when he said on Monday: “This will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal.” This triggered Choe’s statement on Thursday, dismissing Pence’s remarks as “stupid” and issuing reciprocal threats. [i]Source: The Guardian[/i]
President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to cloud the timing of potential airstrikes on Syria, a day after indicating they were imminent. "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!," the President tweeted. The message notably did not rule out plans to attack Syria in retaliation for the weekend's suspected chemical attack on civilians at the hands of the Assad regime. Trump on Wednesday vowed to thwart Russia's missile defense system in Syria, warning that missiles "will be coming, nice and new and 'smart.'" The President, however, did not refer to the attack's timing. But in tweeting about the forthcoming attack, Trump appeared to publicly telegraph military plans -- something for which he heavily criticized former President Barack Obama back in 2013. Trump on Thursday also suggested he did not get enough credit for US gains against ISIS in the region. "In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS," the President wrote in the same tweet. "Where is our 'Thank you America?'" [i]Source: CNN[/i]
A woman shot and wounded three people at YouTube's headquarters in Northern California before killing herself, police say. A 36-year-old man left in a critical condition is believed to be the suspect's boyfriend, CBS news reports. Two women, 32 and 27, were also shot. San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said officers arrived at the scene at 12:48 (19:48 GMT) local time. Officers found a "chaotic scene" with "numerous people fleeing", he said. One person with a bullet wound was found at the front of the company headquarters, Mr Barberini said. Minutes later officers found a woman who appeared to have shot herself, he said. Two further victims were later discovered at a nearby business. Police said the suspect was armed with a handgun. Her identity has not yet been revealed. An employee at a nearby fast food restaurant told Fox station KTVU he had treated a young woman who suffered a bullet wound to the leg. He said he had fashioned a makeshift tourniquet from a bungee cord as they waited for first responders. Some 1,700 people work at the YouTube HQ. The company is owned by Google and is the area's biggest employer. Images broadcast on local TV stations showed employees leaving with their hands raised. Other footage appeared to show evacuees forming a queue before being individually frisked by police. Video captured by a nearby helicopter showed a glass door shattered in its centre, with glass fragments strewn across the ground outside. The three wounded were taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Officials said the 32-year-old woman's condition was serious and the 27-year-old's condition was fair. A fourth person was also taken to hospital with an ankle injury sustained while trying to escape, Mr Barberini said. YouTube spokesman Chris Dale praised the police response to the incident. Several YouTube employees tweeted about the attack as it was taking place. Product manager Todd Sherman said people fled the building in panic as the shooting unfolded. [i]Source: BBC[/i]
[b] [/b]A former client at the Veterans Home of California and three women he held hostage during an apparent hourslong standoff on Friday have been found dead, authorities said. Hostage negotiators spent hours trying to contact the gunman at the facility in Yountville until shortly before 6 p.m. they found him and three women dead, said Chris Childs, assistant chief of the California Highway Patrol's Golden Gate Division. The suspect was identified as 36-year-old Albert Wong of Sacramento, the Napa County Sheriff-Coroner's Office said. Wong was a client of The Pathway Home, a counseling program for veterans who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is on the property. He left the program two weeks ago, according to State Senator Bill Dodd. The victims were identified by the coroner's office as Christine Loeber, 48; Jennifer Golick, 42; and Jennifer Gonzales, 29. Loeber was the executive director of The Pathway Home and Golick worked there as a staff psychologist. Gonzales was a clinical psychologist with the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. "These brave women were accomplished professionals who dedicated their careers to serving our nation's veterans, working closely with those in the greatest need of attention after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan," a spokesperson with The Pathway Home said in a statement. It's unclear if the women were chosen at random or had a connection with the gunman. Investigators are working to determine when during the standoff the deaths occurred. he Yountville facility is the largest veterans' home in the country, according to the California Department of Veterans. California Governor Jerry Brown said the shooting "tragically took the lives of three people dedicated to serving our veterans." "Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones and the entire community of Yountville," Brown said in a statement. The governor has ordered flags in the state's capitol to fly at half staff in tribute to the victims and their families. Source: Agencies
President Donald Trump’s national security team is looking at options to counter the threat of China spying on U.S. phone calls that include the government building a super-fast 5G wireless network, a senior administration official said on Sunday. The official, confirming the gist of a report from Axios.com, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself. The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China’s threat to U.S. cyber security and economic security. The Trump administration has taken a harder line on policies initiated by predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries. This month AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers handsets built by China’s Huawei after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters. In 2012, Huawei and ZTE Corp were the subject of a U.S. investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical U.S. infrastructure. Some members of the House intelligence committee remain troubled by security threats posed by Huawei and ZTE, according to a congressional aide. Issues raised in a 2012 committee report about the Chinese firms have “never subsided,” the aide said, adding that there was newer classified intelligence that recently resurfaced those concerns. “We want to build a network so the Chinese can’t listen to your calls,” the senior official told Reuters. “We have to have a secure network that doesn’t allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don’t take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business.” In Beijing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China prohibited all forms of hacking, but did not specifically address the 5G network security issue. “We believe that the international community should, on the basis of mutual respect and trust, strengthen dialogue and cooperation and join hands in addressing the threat of cyber attacks,” Hua told a regular news briefing. Major wireless carriers have spent billions of dollars buying spectrum to launch 5G networks, and it is unclear if the U.S. government would have enough spectrum to build its own 5G network. Furthermore, Accenture has estimated that wireless operators will invest as much as $275 billion in the United States over seven years as they build out 5G. Last year, T-Mobile US Inc spent $8 billion and Dish Network Corp $6.2 billion to win the bulk of broadcast airwaves spectrum for sale in a government auction. An AT&T spokesman said they could not comment on something they have not seen, and added, “Thanks to multi-billion dollar investments made by American companies, the work to launch 5G service in the United States is already well down the road.” Later this year, AT&T is set to be the first to launch mobile 5G service in 12 U.S. locations, the spokesman said. A Verizon spokesman declined to comment. Representatives for Sprint and T-Mobile did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Another option includes having a 5G network built by a consortium of wireless carriers, the U.S. official said. “We want to build a secure 5G network and we have to work with industry to figure out the best way to do it,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Axios published documents it said were from a presentation from a National Security Council official. If the government built the network, it would rent access to carriers, Axios said. A looming concern laid out in the presentation was China’s growing presence in the manufacture and operation of wireless networks. A concerted government push could help the U.S. compete on that front, according to the presentation. A 5G network is expected to offer significantly faster speeds, more capacity and shorter response times, which could be utilized for new technologies ranging from self-driving cars to remote surgeries. Telecom companies and their suppliers consider it to be a multibillion-dollar revenue opportunity. [i]Source: Reuters online[/i]
The US government partial shutdown is ending after Republicans and Democrats voted for a temporary funding bill. The Democratic leadership agreed to back the bill after accepting promises from Republicans for a debate later on the future of young illegal immigrants. President Donald Trump, who signed the bill on Monday evening, took a swipe at Democrats. It is the fourth temporary measure since October because Capitol Hill cannot agree a longer-term budget. The spending bill passed the Senate by 81-18 and the House of Representatives by 266-150 earlier on Monday. The so-called continuing resolution keeps the government funded until 8 February in the hope that Congress can reach a longer-term budget agreement in the meantime. Thousands of federal employees who had been placed on temporary, unpaid leave since Saturday breathed a sigh of relief. "It was essentially a lunch break," Tom Chapel, a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, said. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said his party had "come to an arrangement" to negotiate on the Democrats' calls for an immigration deal. Democrats want protections from deportation for so-called Dreamers, more than 700,000 young immigrants brought to the US as children. But Republicans had insisted no agreement was possible while federal government services were closed. President Trump, a Republican, said in a statement: "I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses. [i]Source: BBC[/i]
Stephen Paddock, the gunman who killed 58 people and injured more than 500 in Las Vegas on Sunday, set up a number of cameras in and around his hotel suite. Two cameras in the hallway and one in the peephole allowed him to see if "law enforcement or security" were approaching, police said. Officers are still trying to determine why Paddock, 64, opened fire on a concert from the Mandalay Bay Hotel. However, they do know there was a high degree of planning. The authorities in Las Vegas revised the death toll down from 59 on Tuesday evening, saying that one of the bodies was that of the gunman. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters: "This individual was pre-meditated. Obviously pre-meditated, the fact that he had the type of weaponry and the amount of weaponry in that room. "It was pre-planned extensively and I'm pretty sure he evaluated everything he did in his actions." Undersheriff Kevin McMahill suggested the attack may have stopped when Paddock was disturbed, shooting a security guard. The shooting - the worst in modern US history - has sparked debate over US gun laws, but President Donald Trump has said the discussion over what, if anything, needs to be done was "not for now". He earlier described Paddock as "a sick man, a demented man". But a senior US homeland security official, speaking on condition of anonymity to news agency Reuters, said there was "no evidence" of "mental illness or brain damage". Nor have police found links to any foreign or domestic terrorist organisations. Paddock, who appears to have killed himself before police stormed his hotel room, had no criminal record and was not known to police. However, police found 23 guns in Paddock's hotel room, as well as firearms and explosives at his home. In total, across three locations, 47 firearms have been recovered, officials said.Photos from the hotel room of guns used in the attack have been obtained by Boston 25 News. Police still consider the woman thought to have been his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, "a person of interest", he said, adding they were "in conversation". Ms Danley had been in the Philippines, but flew out of the country, the Philippine immigration bureau spokeswoman told reporters and has now arrived in Los Angeles. The shooting has prompted calls for reform to US gun laws. But Mr Trump - who has been backed by the National Rifle Association, and spoke often of protecting the Second Amendment during his campaign - has tried to steer clear of leaning too far either way. After visiting Puerto Rico on Tuesday, he said "perhaps that [time] will come" for a debate. Earlier, he had said: "We'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by." Mr Trump, whose position on gun control has changed over the years, gave no further detail. Mr Trump also declined to call the attack domestic terrorism.