Dhaka, Oct 12 (UNB) - Hurricane Michael left "unimaginable destruction" as it ploughed into coastal areas of Florida, the state's governor, Rick Scott says.
"So many lives have been changed forever," he said. "So many families have lost everything."
The worst hit areas of Florida's north-west coast saw houses ripped from their foundations, trees felled, and power lines strewn across streets, reports BBC.
Hurricane Michael struck on Wednesday with winds of 155mph (250km/h).
It weakened to a storm as it moved inland towards the north-east, but at least six people have died, most of them in Florida.
More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.
Governor Scott said the US Coast Guard carried out 10 missions overnight, saving at least 27 people.
Which areas are worst affected?
Michael ploughed into Florida's Panhandle coast near the town of Mexico Beach at 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US mainland.
Ranked four on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and with a storm surge of 9ft (2.7m), it lifted homes from their foundations and heavily damaged others in districts closest to the sea in Mexico Beach, CNN helicopter footage showed.
Twenty survivors were found in the town overnight, AP reports, but 285 had refused to obey warnings to evacuate.
Head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, called Mexico Beach "ground zero" due to the damage.
Trees were downed in Panama City, northwest of Mexico Beach, buildings flattened, boats and electrical cables scattered.
Apalachicola, with 2,300 residents, was also badly affected, the mayor reporting that downed cables were making it difficult to get through the town.
Debris and floodwater are also making some of the worst-hit areas difficult to reach.
Governor Scott urged residents not to return until the authorities "make sure things are safe", given the danger from power lines and other debris.
Panama City, Oct 12 (AP/UNB) — The devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael came into focus Thursday with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and rescue crews struggling to enter stricken areas in hopes of accounting for hundreds of people who may have stayed behind.
At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, and it wasn't done yet: Though reduced to a tropical storm, it brought flash flooding to North Carolina and Virginia, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.
Under a clear blue sky, families living along the Florida Panhandle emerged from shelters and hotels to a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters.
Gov. Rick Scott said the Panhandle awoke to "unimaginable destruction."
"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything," he said.
The full extent of Michael's fury was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach with roads blocked by debris or water. An 80-mile (130-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route, was closed.
Video from a drone revealed some of the worst damage in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters).
Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, leaving concrete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes were rendered piles of splintered lumber. Entire roofs were torn away in the town of about 1,000 people, now a scene of utter devastation.
State officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Michael. More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in. But emergency authorities lamented that many ignored the warnings.
National Guard troops made their way into the ground-zero town and found 20 survivors Wednesday night, and more rescue crews arrived Thursday. But the fate of many residents was unknown.
Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend. The woman lived in a small cinderblock house about 150 yards (meters) from the Gulf and thought she would be OK. The home was found smashed, with no sign of the woman.
"Do you think her body would be here? Do you think it would have floated away?" McPherson asked.
Linda Marquardt, 67, rode out the storm with her husband at their home in Mexico Beach. When the house filled with storm surge water, they fled upstairs. "All of my furniture was floating," she said. "''A river just started coming down the road. It was awful, and now there's just nothing left."
As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams spread out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away because of hazards such as fallen trees and power lines.
"I know you just want to go home. You want to check on things and begin the recovery process," Scott said. But "we have to make sure things are safe."
More than 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.
The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane's landfall, mostly from coastal homes. Nine people had to be rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of a home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.
In Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines and twisted street signs lay all around. Roofs had been peeled off. Aluminum siding was shredded and homes were split by fallen trees. Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet (7 meters) high.
In neighboring Panama City Beach, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford reported widespread looting of homes and businesses. He imposed a curfew and asked for 50 members of the National Guard for protection.
The hurricane also damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients. The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows and a cracked exterior wall though no patients were hurt.
The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said. All phone communicaiton was cut off to the complex of nearly 1,000 residents and more than 300 staff, leaving emergency radios as their only link out.
A man outside Tallahassee, Florida, was killed by a falling tree, and an 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when the winds picked up a carport and dropped it on her home. One of the carport's legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his car.
As the storm charged north, it spun off possible tornadoes and downed power lines and trees in Georgia. Forecasters said it could drop up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain over the Carolinas and Virginia before pushing out to sea in coming hours. Street flooding was reported in Roanoke and other southwestern Virginia cities that reported motorists caught in flooding had to be rescued.
In North Carolina's mountains, drivers also had to be plucked from cars in high water. Michael's winds also toppled trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and flash flooding also was reported in North Carolina's two largest cities, Charlotte and Raleigh.
Forecasters said Michael was still a potent tropical storm Thursday evening, centered about 5 miles (8 kilometers) northwest of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and packing top sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph). It was racing to the northeast at 24 mph (39 kph) amid warnings it could spread damaging winds and more flash flooding in the region before moving offshore.
Baikonur, Oct 12 (AP/UNB) — The problem came two minutes into the flight: The rocket carrying an American and a Russian to the International Space Station failed Thursday, triggering an emergency that sent their capsule into a steep, harrowing fall back to Earth.
The crew landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan, but the aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space program that currently serves as the only way to deliver astronauts to the orbiting outpost. It also was the first such accident for Russia's manned program in over three decades.
NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin had a brief period of weightlessness when the capsule separated from the malfunctioning Soyuz rocket at an altitude of about 50 kilometers (31 miles), then endured gravitational forces of 6-7 times more than is felt on Earth as they came down at a sharper-than-normal angle.
About a half-hour later, the capsule parachuted onto a barren area about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
"Thank God the crew is alive," said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
All Russian manned launches were suspended pending an investigation into the failure, said Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.
New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who watched the launch at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome with his Russian counterpart, said Hague and Ovchinin were in good condition. He added that a "thorough investigation" will be conducted.
Hague, 43, and Ovchinin, 47, lifted off at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT). The astronauts were to dock at the space station six hours later and join an American, a Russian and a German on board.
But the three-stage Soyuz rocket suffered an unspecified failure of its second stage two minutes after launch. Russian news reports indicated that one of its four first-stage engines might have failed to jettison in sync with others, resulting in the second stage's shutdown and activating the automatic emergency rescue system.
For the crew in the capsule, events would have happened very quickly, NASA's deputy chief astronaut Reid Wiseman told reporters at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. An emergency light would have come on and, an instant later, the abort motors would fire to pull the capsule away from the rocket.
Wiseman said the only thing that went through his mind was "I hope they get down safe."
Search and rescue teams scrambled to recover the crew, and paratroopers were dropped to the site. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northeast of Baikonur, and spacecraft returning from the space station normally land in that area.
Back at Baikonur, Bridenstine acknowledged in a NASA TV interview that "for a period of time, we didn't know what the situation was."
Hague's wife and parents anxiously awaited word at Baikonur, accompanied the whole time by a NASA astronaut who was in the same class as Hague. They all behaved admirably, according to Bridenstine, adding that Hague's wife, Catie, is an Air Force officer like her husband and also a public affairs officer.
"It was a tough day, no doubt, but at the end of the day, the training paid off for everybody," he said.
Still, Bridenstine said: "We are thrilled that even though it was a launch failure, all of the safety systems worked."
The astronauts were returned to Baikonur for medical checks and to see their families. They were spending the night there before heading to Star City, Russia's training center outside Moscow.
It was to be the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013 and might have to wait awhile for another shot. Ovchinin spent six months on the orbiting outpost in 2016.
Oleg Orlov, the head of Russia's main space medicine center, said the crew was trained to endure higher-than-usual gravity loads and were tightly strapped into their custom-made seats to help withstand the pressure.
Flight controllers kept the three space station residents informed, assuring them, "The boys have landed."
"Glad our friends are fine," space station commander Alexander Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, tweeted from orbit. "Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind."
There was no immediate word on whether the space station crew might need to extend its own six-month mission. Two spacewalks planned for later this month were off indefinitely. Hague was supposed to be one of the spacewalkers.
NASA said it's dusting off its plans for operating the space station without a crew, just in case the Russian investigation drags into next year.
Kenny Todd, a space station manager, said from Houston that the space station crew can stay on board until January. That's just a month beyond their expected mid-December return. Their Soyuz capsule is good for about 200 days in orbit.
If the Russian rockets remain grounded until it's time for the crew to come home, flight controllers could operate the station without anyone on board, Todd said.
It could operate like that for a long time, barring a major equipment failure, he added. But it will need to be staffed before SpaceX or Boeing launches its crew capsules next year, Todd said. Given that the space station is a $100 billion asset, Todd says it needs to have someone on board for the arrival of the commercial demo missions, for safety reasons.
While the Russian program has been dogged by a string of problems with other kinds of launches in recent years, Thursday's incident marked its first manned launch failure since September 1983, when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad.
Borisov said Russia will fully share all relevant information with the U.S., which pays up to $82 million per ride to the space station.
"I hope that the American side will treat it with understanding," he said.
NASA's Bridenstine emphasized that collaboration with Roscosmos remains important.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential vote, but they have kept cooperating in space.
The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the space station following the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet. Russia stands to lose that monopoly with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.
In August, the space station crew found a hole in a Soyuz capsule docked to the orbiting outpost that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched. Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin raised wide concern by saying the leak was a drill hole that was made intentionally during manufacturing or in orbit. He didn't say if he suspected any of the station's crew.
In the 1983 launch failure, cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov jettisoned and landed safely near the launch pad after the Soyuz explosion.
"It's an unpleasant situation," Titov told the Tass news agency Thursday. "We went through it, and it was very bad."
He added that it will take about a week for the crew to fully recover.
In 1975, the failure of a Soyuz upper stage sent Vasily Lazarev and Oleg Makarov into a fiery fall to Earth from an altitude of 190 kilometers, subjecting them to enormous G-forces that caused them to black out and temporarily lose sight. They landed on a snowy mountain slope and spent two nights in the cold before rescue crews reached them.
Russia has continued to rely on Soviet-designed rockets for commercial satellites, as well as crews and cargo to the space station.
While Russian rockets earned a reputation for reliability in the past, the recent launch failures have cast doubt on Russia's ability to maintain its high standards.
Glitches found in Russia's Proton and Soyuz rockets in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws. Roscosmos sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components, a move that resulted in a yearlong break in Proton launches and badly dented Russia's niche in the global market for commercial launches.
New York, Oct 12 (AP/UNB) — Fox News Channel has recently pulled back from airing President Donald Trump's campaign-style rallies during prime time, a move that could put a crimp in Republican efforts to reach voters in the weeks before midterm elections.
During much of the late summer, Fox would pre-empt its lucrative nightly lineup of Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham in order to air the rallies. None of its rivals did so. It was an important platform for the president and his supporters, since Fox's opinionated hosts are generally their first choice for political coverage.
On Tuesday of last week, Carlson told viewers that Fox would be monitoring the president's rally from Mississippi and would break in for any news. He did interrupt his show later to tell viewers of Trump's comments about Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who had accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual harassment.
During Martha MacCallum's show two nights later, Fox showed a portion of Trump speaking in Minnesota with the battle over Kavanaugh's mission coming to a climax. With Hurricane Michael in the news Wednesday, Fox didn't air Trump's rally from Pennsylvania.
Without live coverage of his rally on Wednesday, the president found other ways to reach Fox's audience. He had a phone interview with Fox's Shannon Bream on Wednesday night and called into the morning "Fox & Friends" show on Thursday.
Trump has rallies scheduled for Ohio on Friday night and Kentucky on Saturday. With the knowledge that his presidency is a key issue despite not being on the ballot, the White House is planning an aggressive schedule of appearances for the next three weeks at rallies designed to boost GOP candidates.
As with most things on television, ratings are likely behind it. During the Kavanaugh saga, viewership for cable news networks has been high in general. Fox this past weekend had its best prime-time ratings since 2003.
The calculus may change again with less urgent news days and the election getting closer. A Fox News spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the change.
Bogota, Oct 12 (AP/UNB) — Colombian disaster officials say at least 12 people have died in a mudslide that swept through their mountainside homes.
Officials say the slide occurred at about 2 a.m. Thursday in the central Colombian town of Marquetalia and caught the victims while the slept.
Four children were killed by the mudslide and 53 people were rescued.
Heavy rains cause floods and mudslides that kill dozens of people every year in Colombia. Rescue workers say the latest mudslide destroyed seven homes and affected 16 families.
Colombia's National Institute for Environmental Studies has warned that eight provinces in the country could face mudslides in the coming days.