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More than 188,000 without power as Florence batters Carolinas

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U.S. Southeast power companies said more than 188,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and South Carolina were without power early Friday as Hurricane Florence caused a deluge ahead of its landfall later in the day.

Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Thursday evening and was located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Morehead City, North Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km/h).

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Heavy rain, wind gusts and rising floodwaters from Hurricane Florence swamped the Carolinas as the massive storm crawled toward the coast, threatening millions of people in its path with record rainfall and punishing surf.
Duke Energy Corp, the biggest utility in the area with over 4 million customers, estimated the storm could cause between 1 million to 3 million outages. Restoring power to all customers could take weeks, it said.

Duke said it had more than 20,000 personnel ready to start fixing outages as soon as conditions allowed, including over 8,000 from the Duke’s Carolinas utilities, 1,700 from the Midwest, 1,200 from Florida and 9,400 from other utilities.

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru


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‘I’ve heard enough’: Representative refuses to ask Lewandowski questions because it’s giving him ‘a platform’

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In a brief moment of the Corey Lewandowski hearing Tuesday, Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) refused to allow the top Trump advisor any more time to promote himself or his political campaign.

She probed whether President Donald Trump had ever promised to pardon Lewandowski, which he refused to answer.

"The president did indicate that he’s going to support your Senate campaign. Didn’t he?" Scanlon asked. But Lewandowski said he wasn't sure.

"Okay. Well, I just want to know for the record when Mr. Lewandowski asked for the committee to give him a little break an hour and a half, two hours ago, he took the time during that recess to launch his Senate campaign website with a tweet," she continued. "And I think that fact says an awful lot about the witness’ motivation to appear here today and I’ve heard enough. I yield back."

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Putin aims a weaponized barb at Trump over Saudi attack – and hits the mark

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Russian President Vladimir Putin joked this week about selling defense systems to Riyadh following weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities. The gag was aimed at US President Donald Trump and it hit the mark with the precision of a guided weapon.

It was a masterful piece of trolling by the czar of trolls – a snide, disparaging jibe with an element of truth twisted into absurdity for maximum effect and laughs. At a joint press conference with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in Ankara on Monday, Putin cast his bait into the volatile Persian Gulf region just days after devastating attacks on Saudi oil facilities exposed the limits of the Gulf kingdom’s expensive defense systems.

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Black carbon from air pollution found in placentas: study

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Black carbon particles typically emitted by vehicle exhaust and coal-fired power plants have been detected on the foetus-facing side of placentas, researchers said Tuesday.

The concentration of particles was highest in the placentas of women most exposed to airborn pollutants in their daily life, according to a study in Nature Communications.

"Our study provides compelling evidence for the presence of black carbon particles originating from air pollution in human placenta," the authors said.

The findings, they added, offer a "plausible explanation for the detrimental health effects of pollution from early life onwards."

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