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September 21, 2017

First Line News Articles for Thursday, September 21 2017

Top Stories

Hurricane Maria Cuts Electricity, Triggers Flooding Across Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria knocked out power to every electricity customer in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, the governor’s office said, as the monster storm lashed the economically strained U.S. territory, ripping roofs off buildings and flooding homes.

Hushed Crews Listen for Survivors After Mexico Earthquake Toll Tops 200

Mexicans labored amid ruins Wednesday to revive their capital and recover the dead the day after an earthquake killed hundreds, reduced buildings to rubble and brought one of the world’s largest cities to a halt.

Fed to Shrink Assets Next Month, Boost Rates by Year-End

Federal Reserve officials set an October start for shrinking their $4.5 trillion stockpile of assets, moving to unwind a pillar of their crisis-era support for the economy. They continued to forecast one more interest-rate hike later this year, saying storm damage will have only a temporary impact on the economy.

Trump Says He’s Made a Decision on Iran Deal

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he has decided whether he will declare Iran noncompliant with the 2015 deal intended to halt its progress toward development of a nuclear weapon, but he declined to elaborate on his position.

LDS News

Following a hurricane’s wake of destruction in Florida with a message of love, appreciation and hope

A week after Hurricane Irma cut a devastating southwest-to-northeast swath through the state of Florida, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the Church’s First Presidency, followed a similar direction, spreading a message of love, appreciation and hope through his words and his presence.

Evie Clair expresses faith in God after stunning performance on ‘America’s Got Talent’ finale

Evie Clair sang “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong in the finals of “America’s Got Talent” last night in honor of her father, Amos Abplanalp, who died earlier this month due to colon cancer.

Saudi Arabian delegates visit BYU to understand interfaith relations

The Utah Valley Interfaith Association hosted a group of Saudi Arabian delegates at the Hinckley Center for the first time at this month’s meeting on Sept. 12, according to Interfaith Director and Chaplain Linda Walton.

LDS church issues statement after earthquake hits Mexico

Mission presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are currently working on determining the status of missionaries after an earthquake hit Mexico City Tuesday, according to a press release issued Tuesday evening from the church.

BYU-Idaho students respond to new president; Eyring reveals plans for university

Henry J. Eyring was officially installed as the 17th president of the university on Tuesday. President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Henry J. Eyring’s father, presided over the inaugural ceremony.

National

Senators push for churches to get disaster relief grants

Four Republican senators introduced a bill Monday that would allow churches to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program grants, putting the houses of worship on the same playing field as non-religious nonprofits.

Govt. workers plan to appeal after judge tosses OPM data breach lawsuit

Federal government employees said this week they’ll appeal a judge’s decision that they can’t sue for damages from the 2015 Office of Personnel Management data breach.

McConnell: Senate will take up Obamacare repeal bill

The Senate plans to consider a last-gasp bill to scrap Obamacare next week, Republican leaders said Wednesday, tossing up one more Hail Mary to fulfill their repeal promise before time runs out in 2017.

U.S. expects Madoff $4 billion fund payout to start this year

The U.S. government expects this year to begin payouts from a $4 billion (£2.95 billion) fund for Bernard Madoff’s victims, ending their nearly nine-year wait to begin recouping losses from his Ponzi scheme.

Pence calls on U.N. Security Council to end bias against Israel

Vice President Mike Pence called on the United Nations to end its “forum for anti-Semitism” against Israel and to boot repressive countries off the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Jeff Sessions urges California governor not to sign ‘sanctuary’ bill into law

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday singled out California Governor Jerry Brown and urged him not to sign into law a bill that would further restrict local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Robert Mueller’s office interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: Report

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the summer as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and any potential ties to the Trump campaign.

VA fires former D.C. Medical Center director using new law’s authority

The Department of Veterans Affairs fired former Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center Director Brian Hawkins Wednesday for “failure to provide effective leadership” at the D.C. Medical Center.

California suing Trump over border wall, escalating battle with White House

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday that the state will sue the Trump administration over one of President Trump’s paramount campaign promises—the border wall.

World

Melania Trump tells UN to “step up” to protect children

First lady Melania Trump is calling on world leaders to “step up” to improve the lives of children.

Saudi Arabia Is Finally Lifting Its Longtime Ban on Skype

Saudi Arabia will remove its ban on internet phone calls on Thursday, a government spokesman said, in a bid to stimulate online business as the kingdom looks to boost non-oil revenue.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has struck Japan 175 miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant

Less than 24 hours after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake pummeled Mexico City, another tremor has occurred off the east coast of Japan.

Trump: Mideast Peace Deal May Be ‘Toughest Deal of All’

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians may be the “toughest deal of all” that he’s tried to negotiate, adding that his administration nonetheless is working hard for peace in the region.

Russian allies tamp down fears of war in eastern Europe, amid massive military drills

Russian allies in eastern Europe are attempting to tamp down fears of war breaking out in the region, as the international community continues to keep a wary eye on Moscow’s ongoing massive military drills in the Baltics.

Kenya heading for constitutional crisis

By squarely blaming the electoral commission and its chairman for the failure of the presidential election, the Supreme Court has put the country on a collision course towards a constitutional crisis.

Spanish police raid Catalan government to halt banned referendum

Spanish police raided Catalan government offices and arrested officials on Wednesday to halt a banned referendum on independence, an action the regional president said meant Madrid had effectively taken over his administration.

Business

Amazon mistakenly sends baby registry emails

Finding out that someone has bought you a present is almost always awesome. Unless that gift is for your unborn child and you are, as far as you know, not expecting.

Walmart will rely on permanent workers, not seasonal employees, for holidays

Walmart is giving its employees the opportunity to work extra hours during this holiday season, rather than offering those hours to seasonal workers, the company said Wednesday.

Internet firms say removing extremist content within hours is huge challenge

Removing extremist content from the internet within a few hours of it appearing poses “an enormous technological and scientific challenge”, Google’s general counsel will say later on Wednesday to European leaders who want it taken down quicker.

Culture

A 40-year study of teens finds Generation Z avoids sex, alcohol, and driving at record rates

Today’s teenagers don’t seem to care much about hitting the open road, scoring a six-pack with a fake ID, or asking their peers out on dates.

Science

U.K. pledges $88 million to gigantic U.S. particle physics experiment

The United Kingdom has agreed to help build the next great particle physics experiment in the United States.

UK scientists edit DNA of human embryos

The blueprint for life – DNA – has been altered in human embryos for the first time in the UK.

Health

Increase in drug-overdose deaths affect overall life-expectancy in U.S., report

While overall life-expectancy in the U.S. increased over a 15 year period, rising death rates from drug overdoses shortened any accomplished gains, according to new federal data released this week.

Economy

U.S. home sales hit 12-month low, Harvey weighs on Houston

U.S. home resales fell to their lowest in a year in August as Hurricane Harvey depressed activity in Houston and a persistent shortage of properties on the market sidelined buyers.