Top News Stories for Today – Sept 11, 2017
Hurricane Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm Sunday night, after churning up Florida’s Gulf Coast and buffeting Tampa. The National Weather Service said late Sunday that Irma had moved north of Tampa, with sustained winds of 100 mph.
The storm, which made landfall in Florida for the first time Sunday morning, has uprooted trees, flooded streets, and downed power lines, leaving at least 4 million customers across the state without power. Forecasters expect Irma to weaken to a tropical storm once it reaches northern Florida, before it heads to Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Before striking Florida Sunday, Hurricane Irma ripped through Cuba on Saturday, marking the island’s first direct hit by a Category 5 storm since 1932. The Cuban government evacuated more than 1 million people from low-lying areas, and flooding is expected to continue until Monday, including in Havana.
Cuba and other Caribbean islands devastated by Irma, like Barbuda and Saint Martin, got welcome news Saturday night when Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, veered away from their path and turned north into the Atlantic Ocean. Though Jose did produce some additional rainfall in the eastern islands, its change in course offered a major reprieve from additional anticipated destruction.
Anniversary of 9/11 attacks
Monday is the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and once again, there will be commemoration ceremonies at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and in the field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a fourth hijacked airliner crashed into a field.
Vice President Mike Pence is heading to Shanksville, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford will host a private ceremony at the Pentagon, President Trump plans to visit the Pentagon later in the day, and thousands are expected at the World Trade Center for the annual reading of the names of the dead. In all, nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks, and hundreds of first responders have died since from illnesses related to the toxic rubble at Ground Zero. The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times
China to ban gas and diesel cars
The country, home to the world’s largest auto market, is working on a plan to ban the production and sale of vehicles powered solely by fossil fuels, officials say. The Chinese government is following in the footsteps of countries like India, France, Britain and Norway, which have already announced plans to ditch gas and diesel cars in favor of cleaner vehicles in the coming years.
Regulators haven’t decided yet when the Chinese ban would take effect, but work has begun on a timetable, according to China’s vice minister of industry, Xin Guobin. He warned carmakers they need to adjust their strategies to the changing situation, according to state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua. Authorities will offer subsidies of as much as half the retail price of electric and some hybrid vehicles to help buoy production, Xinhua reported, citing an official from the Chinese Finance Ministry. CNN
Bannon plans GOP primary fights
Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart News chairman and President Trump’s former chief strategist, is recruiting challengers for a handful of Republican senators, people close to Bannon tell Politico and CNN. The pro-Trump primary challengers, apparently to be financed by GOP mega-donor and Bannon ally Robert Mercer, are being sought to unseat Sen. Dean Heller (Nev.), Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.), and if he survives his first primary challenge this fall, Sen. Luther Strange (Ala.), Bannon sources say.
The well-financed primary challengers would prove a thorn in the side of the Republican National Committee and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who wants to expand his Senate majority in otherwise favorable 2018 midterms. Politico, CNN
Apple to reveal new iPhone
Apple is expected to announce a major iPhone redesign Tuesday, more than 10 years after Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone in San Francisco . They’ll also provide details on an updated Apple TV, Apple Watch, iOS and macOS release dates and perhaps more details on its HomePod smart speaker. The event will start at 10 a.m. PST.
To mark the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone, Apple is expected to announce a special premium version of the smartphone with a price tag around $1,000, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Rumored features include a stainless steel body and a 5.8-inch OLED screen that goes almost all the way to the edges of the device. The home button would lose its spot on the bottom of the device to make way for the screen, and be replaced by a on-screen controls you bring up with a swipe. Another big switch: fingerprint authentication could make way for face-detection. The name is a mystery. It could be called the iPhone 8, but a one-off title is more likely, like iPhone Pro, or a riff on the iPhone SE (Special Edition). CNN
Rafael Nadal wins US Open
No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal won his 16th Grand Slam title Sunday when he defeated Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in the US Open men’s final. This is his third US Open Championship, and was his 23rd career Grand Slam final.
In June, the Spaniard won the French Open. Anderson, ranked No. 32, was attempting to become the lowest-ranking player to win the US Open. This was the South African’s first appearance in a major final. USA Today
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