BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Storms with heavy rains doused the drought-parched South on Friday, prompting alerts for floods and tornadoes as two new tropical storms formed offshore, including one in the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center said Olga, located in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana, would contribute to rainfall that could total 10 inches (25 centimeters) in spots by Sunday. Neither it nor Pablo, far out in the Atlantic, was expected to reach hurricane strength.
The National Weather Service said a cold front moving into the South would collide with Olga to produce rain and possibly worse through much of the weekend.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — A charity that trains service dogs for disabled veterans has commissioned a statue of the late George H.W. Bush’s service dog for the 41st president’s library.
America’s VetDogs has commissioned sculptor Susan Bahary to create the bronze statue of Sully for placement in the east wing of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University.
VetDogs President John Miller says the statue will depict Sully sitting with his leash in his mouth, the “retrieve” task VetDogs trains its dogs to perform. It will show Sully wearing his America’s VetDogs vest with the Great Seal of the United States on its back.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lyle Lovett has been inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.
The Grammy-winning musician was honored Thursday night at a ceremony in the Texas capital.
Actor Sean Penn made a surprise appearance, calling Lovett “a humble maestro” and “a singular American troubadour” during his induction speech.
The event featured several performances and also honored Blues legend Buddy Guy and singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A former Oregon certified public accountant who stole about $4.5 million from his clients, including Olympic snowboarder Daniel Kass, to support his “Playboy” lifestyle and marijuana business has been sentenced to over four years in prison.
Victims told a federal judge Thursday how they were duped by Nathan Wheeler’s personable manner only to learn he had bilked their life savings, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported .
Prosecutors say he stole more than $900,000 from Kass and misappropriated the trust fund of two porn shop heirs. He also bought his fiancee an engagement ring using the investments of a retired law enforcement officer, prosecutors said.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A wildfire in California wine country that may have been caused by a high-voltage transmission line called into question Pacific Gas & Electric’s strategy of selectively cutting off power in windy weather to prevent blazes, and could force it to resort to even bigger blackouts affecting millions as early as this weekend.
The repeated shut-offs and the prospect of longer and more widespread ones brought anger down on the utility from the governor and ordinary customers.
“We will hold them to account,” warned Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has repeatedly blasted PG&E — the nation’s largest utility — for what he calls years of mismanagement and underinvestment that have left its grid less resilient.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Pentagon has awarded Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract called JEDI .
The contentious bidding process for the contract pitted Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle, among others, against one another.
Bidding for the huge government contract has attracted more attention than usual, sparked by speculation early in the process that Amazon would be awarded the deal. Tech giants Oracle and IBM pushed back with their own bids. Oracle also challenged the bid process in federal court, but lost .
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A tantalizing chapter in Russia’s efforts to collect intelligence on American politics came to a close on Friday as a woman who worked as a covert agent was released from prison to be returned to her home country.
Maria Butina, a gun rights activist who sought to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups and promote Russia’s agenda around the time that Donald Trump rose to power, left a low-security facility in Tallahassee, Florida and boarded a plane home to Moscow. She had been in custody since her arrest in July 2018.
Butina, a former American University graduate student, pleaded guilty last December to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent for Russia. She admitted that she and a former Russian lawmaker worked to leverage contacts in the National Rifle Association to pursue back channels to American conservatives during the 2016 presidential campaign, when Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched peacefully in Chile’s capital Friday, intensifying pressure on a government struggling to contain deadly unrest over economic hardship.
The huge throng surged toward a central plaza as participants blew whistles, banged pots and pans and carried Chilean flags and posters demanding change. The diverse crowd included students, workers, parents and their children.
“All of Chile is marching here,” Santiago Mayor Karla Rubilar said, adding that there was hope as well as sadness among the demonstrators.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian investigators found plenty of blame to go around for a Boeing 737 Max crash that killed 189 people a year ago.
They faulted design decisions by Boeing that made the plane vulnerable to failure of a single sensor. They criticized U.S. safety regulators who certified the plane. And they pointed fingers at one of their country’s own airlines, Lion Air, for inadequate pilot training and maintenance lapses.
Investigators said in a report issued Friday that a combination of nine main factors doomed the brand-new Boeing jet that plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff on Oct. 29, 2018.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Tens of thousands of people, many of them young and unemployed men, thronged public squares and blocked main streets Friday in the capitals of Iraq and Lebanon in unprecedented, spontaneous anti-government revolts in two countries scarred by long conflicts.
Demonstrators in Iraq were beaten back by police firing live ammunition and tear gas, and officials said 30 people were killed in a fresh wave of unrest that has left 179 civilians dead this month. In Lebanon, scuffles between rival political groups broke out at a protest camp, threatening to undermine an otherwise united civil disobedience campaign now in its ninth day.
The protests are directed at a postwar political system and a class of elite leaders that have kept both countries from relapsing into civil war but achieved little else. The most common rallying cry from the protesters in Iraq and Lebanon is “Thieves! Thieves!” — a reference to officials they accuse of stealing their money and amassing wealth for decades.