Florida's West Coast In Irma's Crosshairs
Hurricane Irma shifted track and took aim at southwestern Florida, raising the risk of severe damage in Tampa and other cities facing the Gulf of Mexico, in what could end up being the most expensive storm in U.S. history. President Donald Trump discussed round-the-clock preparations now under way with his Cabinet, calling Irma “a storm of enormous destructive power.” With top winds of 125 miles (201 kilometers) an hour, the deadly storm is expected to strike the Florida Keys Sunday morning then follow the state’s Gulf Coast north, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory around 5 p.m. New York time. Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: GOD bless all.

Strengthening Hurricane Irma Shifts West
The winds of Hurricane Irma began to be felt in the Florida Keys and the Sunshine State's mainland Saturday afternoon, as forecasters predicted the center of the storm would strike the Keys, southwestern Florida and the Tampa Bay region starting Sunday. Irma had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm as it raked the coast of Cuba Saturday morning, but it was expected to get its strength back over the ultra-toasty Florida Straits and hit the peninsula as a dangerous Category 4 storm. At Category 3, Irma is expected to regain strength later Saturday. Fox

First Hurricane-Force Gusts Hit Keys
A hurricane-force wind gust was recorded in the Florida Keys late Saturday night -- the first sign of deadly Hurricane Irma's impending landfall on the U.S. mainland. The weather service said the Smith Shoal Light station recorded a 74 mph wind gust on Saturday night, the Associated Press reported. The edge of Hurricane Irma kicked up surf, whipped up palm trees and spun up at least one confirmed tornado as it approached landfall in Florida Saturday evening. Irma had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm as it raked the coast of Cuba Saturday morning, but it was expected to get its strength back over the ultra-toasty Florida Straits and hit the peninsula Sunday morning as a dangerous Category 4 storm. Meanwhile, the center of Irma was headed toward the Keys with sustained winds of 120 mph. Fox

Hurricane Irma Literally Sucks Away Bahamas Shoreline
Hurricane Irma is so strong, it is literally changing the coastline in some areas. Twitter user @Kaydi_K witnessed this phenomenon firsthand, sharing on social media an extraordinary video that showed the ocean floor completely exposed on Long Island in the Bahamas.  “I am in disbelief right now...This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!!” she wrote on Friday.  Fox

Northern Eyewall Reaches Key West
The northern eyewall of Hurricane Irma has reached the Florida Keys, the National Hurricane Center tweeted Sunday morning. As of 7 a.m. ET, the hurricane's eye was about 15 miles southeast of Key West, the NHC said. Hurricane Irma strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it inched closer to Florida, where hundreds of thousands are without power hours before one of the most powerful storms in the Atlantic hits. Irma was 40 miles southeast of Key West early Sunday with winds of 130 mph. It's expected to pass the Florida Keys between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. CNN

'We've Never Seen A Storm This Strong'
Take it from the hurricane historian: There has never been a tropical cyclone quite like Irma. “You’ve had storms this strong,” said Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in the history of Atlantic tropical cyclones. “But the thing that sets [Irma] apart is she stayed strong for a really long time—and she’s still incredibly strong.”  The Atlantic

Miles-Long Traffic Jams
Hurricane Irma passed over Cuba on Saturday and made its long-predicted turn toward the north, aiming its relentless barrage of deadly winds and life-threatening storm surge toward southern Florida. The storm is already being felt on the eastern part of South Florida as bands of tropical-storm force winds swept through the heavily populated areas of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The Florida Keys were bracing for a catastrophic direct hit around daybreak Sunday, when the eye is expected to pass over the spindly islands. LA Times

Hurricane Irma Shares Date wWth Hurricane Donna
With Hurricane Irma's potentially devastating impact on Southwest Florida predicted to begin today, it's safe to say those of us who live here will always remember Sept. 10 as the day Irma came to town. That date, however, has an additional meaning to longtime Florida residents. On Sept. 10, 1960, Hurricane Donna initially made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Marathon packing 130 mph winds before making a second Florida landfall just south of Naples at the same intensity. News Press

Some Residents Stay Put And Hunker Down
Longtime resident Ed Brown is staying put in nearly deserted Fort Myers Beach, Fla., despite an evacuation order and predictions of a storm surge of up to 12 feet. Brown and his friend Tim Benevente were busy with storm preparations at the popular tourist destination Saturday, piling sandbags while hoping for the best. If need be, Brown said he would climb aboard his nearby boat or climb into a cooler and float on the floodwaters. WUSA9

Irma Could Swamp Southwest Florida
As the projected path of Hurricane Irma shifts to Southwest Florida, it threatens to hit the nation’s most vulnerable target for storm surge: Tampa. Tampa is especially prone to flooding because it is low lying with a big bay and inlets that face the shallow, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And just about every Gulf Coast community in Irma’s track, from Everglades City to Sarasota, is also at high risk. Tampa leaders are all too aware of this scary natural phenomenon. Miami Herald


The Mexican City With The Highest Number Of Quake Deaths Mourns
The Catholic priest waited out the earthquake in his spartan quarters, praying that the walls would stand. When he stepped out alone into the colonial courtyard late Thursday, his place of worship had transformed into a ghoulish scene of destruction. He took in the shattered bell tower, collapsed church walls, two cars pancaked under the rubble. Across the plaza, school classrooms had been flattened. A few blocks away, city hall lay in ruins.  Washington Post

Netanyahu’s Son Under Fire
Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israel’s prime minister, has caused a stir for sharing a crude political meme on social media showing Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros controlling the world’s affairs, including his father’s political opponents. The image was posted on the prime minister’s son’s Facebook page Friday and has sparked a regional uproar over its links to anti-Semitism. Captioned “food chain,” the image shows Mr. Soros dangling a fishing rod with planet Earth at its end in front of a reptilian creature who in turn is holding a rod of its own that’s dangling an occult symbol in front of a cloaked figure representing the Illuminati. Washington Times

Trump’s Plan To End Qatar-Saudi Arabia
President Trump's plan to de-escalate the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar ended in failure this week after the two countries released conflicting statements hours after a phone call organized by Trump. The New York Times reported on Saturday that a phone call late Friday between the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, was meant to find common ground between the two nations. The Hill

‘Trump Betrays Everyone’
President Trump prepared for the pivotal meeting with congressional leaders by huddling with his senior team — his chief of staff, his legislative director and the heads of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget — to game out various scenarios on how to fund the government, raise the debt ceiling and provide Hurricane Harvey relief. But one option they never considered was the that one the president ultimately chose: cutting a deal with Democratic lawmakers, to the shock and ire of his own party. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Republicans have much to lose because of their own stupidity.

Right Worries About Trump
Conservatives are worried that President Trump’s debt and spending deal with Democrats is a harbinger of things to come — particularly on immigration. Trump’s surprise move embarrassed GOP leaders and angered rank-and-file Republicans, but seemingly left him feeling positive. The president has been frustrated by the GOP Congress’s inability to get things done, and Trump vowed this week that he would have a “different relationship” with lawmakers going forward. The Hill
VOA VIEW: Republicans must get together or lose all.

NKorea Exported $270 Million Illegally
North Korea illegally exported coal, iron and other commodities worth at least $270 million to China and other countries including India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka in the six-month period ending in early August in violation of U.N. sanctions, U.N. experts say. The experts monitoring sanctions said in a report released Saturday that Kim Jong Un's government continues to flout sanctions on commodities as well as an arms embargo and restrictions on shipping and financial activities. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Those who help NK should pay dearly.

North Korea Vows To Strengthen Nukes
North Korea has warned it is watching U.S. attempts to deter the regime’s nuclear program and said it will only strengthen its capabilities, as its state media attacked Niki Haley, the U.S. Envoy to the U.N., threatening Washington would pay for her “hysterical fit.” Choe Hui Chol, North Korea’s deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, told international ambassadors that Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test last week—its most powerful so far—had a “weighty significance” for North Korea’s project to assemble a “state nuclear force,” South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Saturday. Newsweek
VOA VIEW: NK is hurting their mission.

Saudi Government May Have Funded 9/11
New evidence submitted in a lawsuit against the Saudi Arabian government shows that its embassy in Washington may have funded a 9/11 "dry run" by two Saudis, possibly reinforcing the claim that employees and agents of the kingdom directed and aided the 9/11 hijackers, the New York Post reported on Saturday. Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two nationals living in the US as students to fly from Phoenix to Washington "in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks," alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago, the Post said. Middle East Eye

China’s Xi Hates Kim Jong-Un
In Washington, all roads to Pyongyang go through Beijing, the only capital presumed to possess the wherewithal to reach North Korea’s reclusive young dictator, Kim Jong-un, and pull him back from the nuclear brink. Certainly, Donald Trump thinks so, persistently tweeting his complaints about Beijing’s failure to rein in its fraternal communist neighbour, and even threatening to cut off trade with China if it keeps doing business across the border. The Guardian

The Eerie Online Silence From The Caribbean Islands
The last message Michelle Pickering heard from her mother on Tortola terrified her: “The porch roof fly off,” she said in a text. It was 12:58 p.m. on Wednesday, and the worst of Irma was about to hit the island where she grew up. Pickering couldn’t sleep that night. In the morning, there was still nothing from her mother or her stepfather. “I tried calling my mom’s number about 20 times,” she said by phone on Friday from Georgia, where she now lives. “It’s nothing, just ringing and ringing and ringing.” Until Irma, Pickering spoke with her mother every day. Washington Post

Virgin Islands Allows National Guard To Seize Guns
U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed an emergency order allowing the seizure of private guns, ammunition, explosives and property the National Guard may need to respond to Hurricane Irma. Mapp signed the order Monday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The order allows the Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands to seize private property they believe necessary to protect the islands, subject to approval by the territory’s Justice Department. Daily Caller
VOA VIEW: A scary thought.

The Clock Is Ticking On DACA
President Trump’s decision to wipe out deportation reprieves for young undocumented immigrants has unleashed a frenzied rush to renew 154,000 permits before an Oct. 5 deadline, a process advocacy groups say will cost millions of dollars in fees and stretch their resources to the limit. In hurricane-ravaged Houston, lawyers are clearing their calendars to help immigrants fill out the forms. In Maryland and Virginia, advocates are holding emergency meetings and recruiting volunteers. Nationwide, immigrants and nonprofits are raising money online to help cover the $495 renewal fees. Washington Post

What Did Donald Trump Mean In His Tweet About DACA
Just a few days after President Donald Trump’s administration announced the end to a program shielding hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation, in a tweet Trump said they shouldn’t worry. "For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!" Trump tweeted on Sept. 7. Politifact

Trump Tweets Support For Texas Churches
President Trump stepped into a hot church-state dispute Friday night, tweeting support for Texas churches that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey and now want assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rebuild. Trump’s tweet came after three Texas churches filed a lawsuit this week challenging a policy from FEMA that excludes houses of worship from disaster relief grants, and as Hurricane Irma barreled toward the southeastern United States. Washington Post

Omarosa Put On White House 'No-Fly List'
Omarosa Manigault appears to have run afoul of new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has taken steps to limit her access to President Trump as he tries to bring discipline to a chaotic West Wing, according to a news report. She has been put on a so-called “no-fly list” that Kelly is keeping of White House aides he deems unfit to attend serious meetings, The New York Times reported. Fox


Hurricane Irma Unleashes Deafening Winds
Hurricane Irma battered much of the keys on the northern coast of Cuba as well as central coastal towns, and threatened to hit the capital city of Havana with severe flooding as forecasters predicted that monster waves as high as 30 feet would likely crash over the Malecón seawall by Saturday night. The coastal town of Caibarién was overcome with deafening winds and unremitting rain, pushing seawater inland and flooding homes, the Associated Press reported. Along the coastal high winds upended trees, toppled utility poles and scattered debris across streets. Miami Herald

DACA Recipients Worry
President Trump this week tweeted that young immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents, also known as DREAMers, "have nothing to worry about." But a lot of DREAMers aren't buying it. (DREAMer is a term derived from a proposed bill called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.) In fact, they say the Trump administration gave them a new headache with a veiled threat to use the personal information they gave the government to deport them. NPR
VOA VIEW: Illegal is illegal -     Dreamers should worry.

The Realization Of Danger Takes Hold
In Tampa, which hasn’t been hammered by a major hurricane in almost a century, workers at the Embassy Suites near the airport were trying to stave off panic. Around noon, they’d received orders to close and evacuate after forecasters concluded that Irma, one of the mightiest cyclones ever to hit the Atlantic, was headed their way. All guests had to go. The lobby was packed with frantic people trying to find a new place to call temporary home. About 80 percent were storm refugees who had fled South Florida, but this morning the storm had pursued them, shifting to the west, on track to rake the city late Sunday or early Monday. Bloomberg

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'Millions' Could Be Without Power From Irma
As Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida's southern coast, the nation's emergency management chief is warning that 'millions' of residents could be without power, in some instances for weeks. "We could see millions of people without power in Florida for multiple days in some areas, maybe weeks, and so I think it's very important to set the expectations of citizens," Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long told CNN's Rene Marsh at his agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Saturday. CNN

Equifax Finally Responds To Swirling Concerns
Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the Equifax data breach site's fine print — and found what they argue is a red flag. Buried in the terms of service is language that appears to bar those who enroll in an Equifax credit monitoring program from participating in anyclass-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. Here's the relevant passage of the terms of service. Washington Post

Hotels Crammed With Evacuees
here was no room at the inn Saturday as many South Florida hotels were filled to capacity with local Hurricane Irma evacuees and tourists who failed to secure transportation out of town. Select cruise ships slated to sail regular trips from South Florida this weekend, departed earlier instead jam-packed with stranded passengers to ferry them out of Irma’s reach. Sun Sentinel


Red Cross Ready To Deploy
The Red Cross of western Massachusetts says they are ready to deploy dozens of volunteers in the Harvey and Irma disaster zones. Their training classes have been successful in signing up 50 volunteers. Many of them will deploy to either Florida, Texas or Cuba to help in shelters, organize community meals and handle case work. But other volunteers will stay local to do emergency dispatching and fire response. Red Cross of Western Massachusetts Executive Director Jen Garutti said they can never have enough volunteers. WWLP

What To Expect In Charlotte
Hurricane Irma’s projected path has shifted greatly in recent days, but National Guard personnel will deploy to Charlotte and other areas of the state, Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday, as the storm is still expected to impact North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday. The National Weather Service says that “tropical storm hazards” were possible those days for the Charlotte region, as well as western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. Charlotte Observer

Numerous Florida Shelters At Capacity
Numerous hurricane shelters in South Florida are already at capacity and turning people away as thousands look for a safe place to ride out Hurricane Irma. Only two of the 21 shelters in Broward County were open as of Saturday morning: Lakeside Elementary in Pembroke Pines and Coconut Palm Elementary School in Miramar. Ten of the 42 shelters in Miami-Dade County are at capacity, county emergency management officials said Saturday morning, and all of the pet-friendly shelters in the county have no more room.

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Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-three percent (53%) disapprove. This is the president’s highest job approval rating since late June. The latest figures include 29% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 45% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -16. Rasmussen Reports
VOA VIEW: Trump's approval rating is much higher that being reported.

Pope Francis Shifts Power
Pope Francis, who has used his absolute authority in the Vatican to decentralize power from Rome, made a widespread change Saturday to the ways, and words, in which Roman Catholics worship by amending Vatican law to give national bishop conferences greater authority in translating liturgical language. “It’s hugely important,” said Rita Ferrone, a specialist in Catholic liturgy who writes for Commonweal, a liberal Catholic magazine. NY Times
VOA VIEW: The NYY report cannot not be accepted as factual.

Republicans Have Effectively Given Chuck Schumer Control
Rep. Tom McClintock (R.-Calif.) said on the House floor on Thursday that Senate Republicans had surrendered operational control of the Senate to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—and that the debt limit and spending dealt that President Donald Trump had made with Schumer was evidence of that. McClintock argued that the ultimate problem was the Republican Senate leadership’s unwillingness to reform a cloture rule that allows the minority party to block virtually all substantive legislation that the minority does not want to see enacted. CNS
VOA VIEW: Republicans have shown weakness in leadership.

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Dems Ready To Deal With Trump
It’s complicated. President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D), two New Yorkers with a long and checkered history, joined forces this week on a high-stakes fiscal bargain that shoved aside the wishes of Trump’s Republican allies. The two party leaders — both Big Apple power-brokers known as sharp-elbowed dealmakers — have sparred throughout the year, trading shots over a host of issues. The Hill

Continued Risk Of Catastrophic Damage
Hurricane Irma continues to wreak havoc in the Caribbean, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake, the United Nations humanitarian wing said today, warning that areas along its path continue to remain at risk of significant damage. “There is continued risk of catastrophic damage from hurricane-force winds, storm surge and flooding in areas on Irma's trajectory,” read an update issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). United Nations

US-Backed Forces Kick Off Offensive Against ISIS
US-backed forces in Syria said Saturday they were launching an offensive against ISIS in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of mostly Kurdish and some Arab militias, said the push is designed to force the terror movement from eastern parts of the city -- the largest in eastern Syria and one of the largest in the country. CNN
US-Backed Forces Kick Off Offensive Against ISIS
US-backed forces in Syria said Saturday they were launching an offensive against ISIS in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of mostly Kurdish and some Arab militias, said the push is designed to force the terror movement from eastern parts of the city -- the largest in eastern Syria and one of the largest in the country. CNN
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