Dallas, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — A construction worker is dead and five co-workers are hospitalized with injuries after a three-story town house they were building in Dallas collapsed during a thunderstorm.
The collapse happened about 4 p.m. Monday about a mile (1.6 kilometers) west of the city's downtown.
Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans says 20 to 30 people were working in and around the wood-frame structure when it collapsed, trapping six workers.
One worker died at the scene, while five others were taken to hospitals. Evans says their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation. However, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts exceeding 60 mph (97 kph) and a rainfall rate of 4 inches (101 millimeters) per hour in the vicinity.
Washington, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump has declared a reprieve for Rod Rosenstein, saying he has no plans to fire his deputy attorney general.
Rosenstein's future has been the source of intense speculation since news reports last month that in early 2017 he had discussed the possibilities of secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to have him removed from office.
Trump traveled with Rosenstein to an international police chiefs' conference in Florida Monday.
As he returned to the White House, Trump told reporters: "I'm not making any changes. We just had a very nice talk. We actually get along."
Rosenstein later attended the ceremonial swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Washington, Oct 08 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump said Monday he has no plans to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, delivering a reprieve for the Justice Department official whose future has been the source of intense speculation for two weeks.
Trump told reporters at the White House that he had "a very good relationship" with Rosenstein and was eager to speak with him aboard Air Force One on a flight to Florida for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference.
The flight provides an opportunity for their most extensive conversation since news reports last month that Rosenstein had discussed the possibilities in early 2017 of secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to get him removed from office.
Those reports triggered an avalanche of speculation about the future of Rosenstein — and also the special counsel's investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign since the deputy attorney general appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to his post and closely oversees his work.
"I didn't know Rod before, but I've gotten to know him," Trump said Monday. "I look forward to flying with him. It'll be very nice."
The Justice Department denied that Rosenstein had proposed invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution and issued a statement that said the remark about recording the president was meant sarcastically.
Even so, Rosenstein told White House officials that he was willing to resign and arrived at the White House at one point with the expectation that he would be fired. He met in person with White House chief of staff John Kelly and spoke by phone with Trump during a tumultuous day that ended with him still in his job.
Rosenstein and Trump had been expected to meet at the White House days later, but that meeting was put off so that the president could focus on a confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It was not immediately clear if the flight would substitute for the pre-planned White House meeting.
Trump had previously said that he would prefer not to fire the Justice Department's No. 2 official and that Rosenstein has told him he did not say the remarks attributed to him. Advisers had also cautioned Trump against doing anything dramatic in the weeks before the midterm elections next month.
Trump is scheduled to the police chiefs conference in Orlando. The Justice Department in the Trump administration has said reducing violent crime and supporting local enforcement are priorities.
The speculation over Rosenstein's future concerned Democrats, who feared that a dismissal could lead to Trump curtailing Mueller's probe. Although Trump has at times criticized his deputy attorney general, he has reserved his sharpest verbal attacks for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017 because of his own earlier involvement with the Trump campaign.
Both men will likely see their futures re-evaluated after the elections, Trump advisers have said.
Besides the meeting with Trump, Rosenstein has also agreed to a private meeting with House Republicans who want to question him about his reported statements on the president.
Orlando, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday warned that a tropical storm headed for the Florida Panhandle could become a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 100 miles per hour by the time it makes landfall at midweek.
Scott issued an order for a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area. The declaration will free up resources for storm preparation.
"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center.
The governor warned that storm surge could affect areas of Florida not in the storm's direct path.
"If this storm hit Panama City, Tampa could still have storm surge," said Scott, referring to two Florida cities about 375 miles (600 kilometers) apart by highway. "Every family must be prepared."
Scott also activated 500 members of the Florida National Guard ahead of the storm.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center on Sunday upgraded Tropical Depression Michael to a named tropical storm, saying Michael earlier had winds of up to 50 mph (85 kph). But within a few hours it gained more strength and by Sunday evening, it had top sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).
The storm is expected to further strengthen into a hurricane by Monday night or Tuesday as its center moves over the Yucatan Channel, crosses the Gulf of Mexico and nears the Florida Panhandle coast sometime Wednesday.
Forecasters advised residents along the northeastern and central U.S. Gulf Coast to monitor the storm's progress.
The north Florida city of Tallahassee on Sunday opened two locations where residents could get sandbags in case of flooding.
"While the impacts are still uncertain, our area could experience increased wind activity and heavy rainfall, which could cause localized flooding and downed trees," Tallahassee officials said in a statement.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, had planned to campaign in South Florida Monday and Tuesday, but he said he would return to Tallahassee to help with storm preparations.
The city of Pensacola tweeted to residents, "Be sure you have your emergency plan in place."
The storm was located by 7 p.m. ET Sunday about 105 miles (170 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico and moving to the north at about 5 mph (7 kph). Tropical storm winds extended out 170 miles (275 kilometers), primarily to the northeast and southeast of the storm's center.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth as well as the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche. A warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected, in this case, within 24 hours.
The hurricane center warned that the storm could produce a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in western Cuba, potentially triggering flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas. The rains in Cuba's west were expected to begin Sunday night and continue Monday.
An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane was sent into the storm to investigate, the hurricane center said.
Michael is the 13th named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, according to hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
Washington, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Susan Rice, who was President Barack Obama's national security adviser, said Sunday she'll decide after next month's midterm elections whether to run for the Senate from Maine in 2020 and try to unseat Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Collins cast a deciding vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, deeply disappointing those opposed to his nomination.
Speaking in New York during The New Yorker Festival, Rice said Collins "put party and politics over her own stated principles" of supporting equal rights and legalized abortion. "I think in a way that I really regret saying, she has betrayed women across this country," Rice said.
Kavanaugh's confirmation was stalled by accusations of sexual misconduct when he was in high school and college, but Collins and others said they were won over by his forceful denials and a supplemental FBI report they say produced no evidence corroborating the claims.
"What moved me ... was a sense of outrage and frustration that somebody who fashions herself a moderate centrist, and somebody who cares for equal rights and LGBT rights and Roe v Wade and all of this stuff, could in a very political fashion not just decide to vote for Kavanaugh but do it in a fashion that was quite dismissive of the concerns of many Americans and many Mainers," Rice said. "So it was on that basis that I decided I would think about it."
Kavanaugh's ascendance to the Supreme Court now gives conservatives a working majority that could restrict abortion rights and halt the expansion of the rights of LGBT people.
Rice, a Democrat, had hinted her interest in a Senate run in a one-word tweet on Friday, responding "me" to an open question about who wanted to run against Collins. She then seemed to walk it back, saying she was "not making any announcements."
Collins questioned Rice's connection to Maine, saying Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that although Rice's family has a home in Maine, "she doesn't live in the state of Maine. Everybody knows that."
Rice, however, said her "ties to Maine are long and deep." During Sunday's appearance, she described her grandparents' arrival in the state from Jamaica in 1912, her yearly summer visits that began in childhood and the home she now owns. "The last 20 so years I've been a home owner in the state of Maine, so it's not completely crazy," she said.
Collins returned to Maine late Saturday after Kavanaugh was sworn into office. She said Sunday that despite the presence of protesters outside her home in Bangor, the response from Mainers has been "overwhelmingly positive."
People angry over her vote have vowed to make her pay a political price. A crowdsourcing group says it has secured pledges of more than $3 million for her opponent in 2020.
Rice, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Obama, said she appreciated the enthusiasm about her potential run, but said people who are angry about Kavanaugh should focus on the midterm elections.
"My bottom line is I'm going to give it due consideration, after the midterms," she said.