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Woman arrested at Manila airport with newborn in carry-on

MANILA, Philippines — An American woman who attempted to carry a 6-day-old baby out of the Philippines hidden inside a sling bag has been arrested at Manila’s airport and charged with human trafficking, officials said Thursday. They said Jennifer Erin Talbot was able to pass through the airport immigration counter on Wednesday without declaring the baby boy but was intercepted at the boarding gate by airline personnel. Talbot was unable to produce any passport, boarding pass or government permits for the baby. Public records indicate she has been living in Utah. Philippines officials previously said Talbot was from Ohio, and records indicate she has family connections there. Wearing an orange detainee shirt and handcuffs, Talbot, 43, was presented to reporters in Manila on Thursday. She kept her head low and wiped her tears at times. When reporters asked her to comment, Talbot shook her head. Talbot had planned to board a Delta Air Lines flight to the United States with the baby. Talbot presented an affidavit at the airport, allegedly from the baby’s mother, identified as Maricris Dulap, giving consent for the baby to travel to the U.S., but it had not been signed by the mother. Officials said no government travel approval had been issued for the baby, prompting them to file human trafficking charges against Talbot. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Talbot also violated at least two other laws on child abuse, kidnapping and illegal detention. She has no criminal record in the U.S. NBI official Manuel Dimaano said Dulap gave her baby to Talbot in southern Davao city. He said investigators will try to determine how Talbot brought the baby out of Davao, which requires a city clearance for infants to be transported by a foreigner. The baby’s parents have been charged under a child protection law but have not been placed under arrest, although the mother has been interviewed by social welfare officers, Dimaano said. He said Dulap told the officers that she wanted to offer her baby for adoption, and there was no indication that she had sold the baby. Dimaano said when he and other officials asked Talbot what she intended to do with the baby, she replied that she just wanted to give it “a name and a church blessing.”

Dorian grazes Carolina coast

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Hurricane Dorian sideswiped the Carolinas with shrieking winds, tornadoes and sideways rain Thursday as it closed in for a possible direct hit on the dangerously exposed Outer Banks. At least four deaths in the Southeast were blamed on the storm. Twisters spun off by Dorian peeled away roofs and flipped trailers, and more than 250,000 homes and businesses were left without power as the hurricane pushed north along the coastline, its winds weakening after sunset to 100 mph. Trees and power lines littered flooded streets in Charleston’s historic downtown. Gusts had topped 80 mph in some areas. North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a thin line of islands that stick out from the U.S. coast like a boxer’s chin, braced for a hit late Thursday or early Friday. To the north, Virginia was also in harm’s way, and a round of evacuations was ordered there. The damage from the same storm that mauled the Bahamas was mercifully light in many parts of South Carolina and Georgia as well, and by midafternoon many of the 1.5 million people who had been told to evacuate in three states were allowed to return. But overnight winds will cause trees and branches to fall on power lines, and debris could block repair crews from accessing damaged lines.

Two-headed rattlesnake found

PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — It looks like something from a science fiction movie. A newborn two-headed timber rattlesnake has been found in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Herpetological Associates of Burlington County CEO Bob Zappalorti says the snake has two brains and each head acts independently of the other. Two employees at the organization spotted the reptile in a nest where a timber rattlesnake was giving birth late last month. Zappalorti tells NJ Advance Media it’s the only two-headed timber rattlesnake ever found in New Jersey. He says it likely wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild because its heads could get snagged on something. Herpetological Associates will care for the snake.

Multiple tries to save passengers

LOS ANGELES — The crew of a scuba diving boat that sank off the coast of Southern California made several attempts to rescue the 34 people who were trapped by fire below decks and died, federal authorities said Thursday. All those lost in the Labor Day tragedy aboard the Conception were sleeping in a bunkroom below the main deck when fire broke out around 3 a.m. The captain and four crew members above survived, but none of them have spoken publicly about what happened. The crew members told investigators in “very lengthy, detailed, comprehensive interviews” what Jennifer Homendy, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, called “a harrowing story of the moments before the fire erupted on the vessel.” One said he awoke to a noise and saw flames “erupting” from the ship’s galley below, Homendy said. He tried to get down a ladder, but flames had already engulfed it. Crew members then jumped from the ship’s bridge to its main deck — one breaking a leg in the effort — and tried to get through the double doors of the galley, under which the ship’s 33 passengers and a 26-year-old crewmember slept. With the galley’s doors on fire, they then went around to the front of the vessel to try and get through windows but couldn’t. “At that point, due to heat, flames and smoke, the crew had to jump from the boat,” Homendy said. Two members jumped overboard and swam to the back of the vessel to retrieve a skiff and rescue the remaining crew. They steered the skiff to a boat anchored nearby and called for help and then returned to the Conception to see if they could rescue any survivors. None were found. The 34 victims died after flames above deck blocked the one stairway and the hatch leading from sleeping bunks to the upper decks and gave those below virtually no chance of getting out, authorities have said.

Burglar says ‘go back to sleep’

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — A burglar broke into a Florida home, cooked himself an early morning meal and told the resident there to “go back to sleep.” The home’s occupant awoke to discover the man cooking and eating sometime after 4 a.m. Tuesday. The burglar ran when the man called 911. Deputies tracked down the suspect in a wooded and swampy area behind the home. Deputies said Gavin Crim, a 19-year-old Marine, entered the home through an unlocked rear door. He may have been under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Opioid crisis goes global

BLACK RIVER, Australia — The coroner’s sense of futility was clear, as he investigated the death of yet another Australian killed by prescription opioids. Coroners nationwide have long urged officials to address Australia’s ballooning opioid addiction, and to create a tracking system to stop people from collecting multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors. Yet even as thousands died, the coroners’ pleas were met largely with silence. “For what it is worth, I add my voice to the chorus pleading for urgency,” Western Australia coroner Barry King wrote in his report, delivered in May. Half a world away, Australia has failed to heed the lessons of the United States, and is now facing skyrocketing rates of opioid prescriptions and related deaths. Drug companies facing scrutiny for their aggressive marketing of opioids in America have turned their focus abroad, working around marketing regulations to push the painkillers in other countries. And as with the U.S., Australia’s government has also been slow to respond to years of warnings from worried health experts. In dozens of interviews, doctors, researchers and Australians whose lives have been upended by opioids described a plight that now stretches from coast to coast. Australia’s death rate from opioids has more than doubled in just over a decade. And health experts worry that without urgent action, Australia is on track for an even steeper spike in deaths like those seen in America, where the epidemic has left 400,000 dead.

Nessie might be giant eel

NEW YORK — A scientist who collected DNA from Scotland’s Loch Ness suggests the lake’s fabled monster might be a giant eel. Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago in New Zealand says the project found a surprisingly high amount of eel DNA in the water. He cautioned that it’s not clear whether that indicates a gigantic eel or just a lot of little ones. But he said at a news conference in Scotland on Thursday that the idea of a giant eel is at least plausible. The DNA project found no evidence to support the notion that the monster is a long-necked ancient reptile called a plesiosaur (PLEE’-see-uh-sawr). Loch Ness is the largest and second deepest body of fresh water in the British Isles.

Drugging loose moose a mistake

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Wildlife officials say a moose that wandered onto the University of North Dakota campus should not have been drugged. North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife chief Jeb Williams says his agency did not recommend immobilization and relocation because of the possible health hazard to humans who might eat the moose. The moose found its way into a football stadium Tuesday morning. It was tranquilized by campus police and officials from a North Dakota zoo and moved out of town. Williams says the technique is popular with the public, but not a responsible solution. He says the withdrawal time for the anesthetic and antibiotics will extend into the archery hunting season. Twenty moose licenses have been issued for the area. UND police Lt. Danny Weigel says campus police believed after consulting with wildlife professionals that tranquilizing and relocating the moose was the best option.

Michigan State fined $4.5M

WASHINGTON — The government on Thursday ordered Michigan State University to make sweeping changes and pay a $4.5 million fine after determining that it failed to adequately respond to sexual assault complaints against Larry Nassar, a campus sports doctor who molested elite gymnasts and other female athletes. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the penalty after the conclusion of two federal investigations. She said Nassar’s actions were “disgusting and unimaginable” and that the university’s response fit the same description. “Too many people in power knew about the behaviors and the complaints and yet the predators continued on the payroll and abused even more students,” DeVos said in a call with reporters. “This must not happen again, there or anywhere else.” The fine, which will go to the Treasury, is the largest levied under the Clery Act , a law that requires colleges to collect data on campus crime and notify students of threats. The previous largest fine, $2.4 million, was imposed in 2016 against Pennsylvania State University over its handling of sexual misconduct involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The government’s investigation found Michigan State violated law by failing to disclose crime statistics, failing to issue campus warnings about security threats and failing to establish a system to collect crime statistics. As a remedy, the school says it will hire a Clery compliance officer and create measures to protect athletes and children who participate in youth programs on campus.

Rules deny loan forgiveness

The vast majority of applications for a student loan forgiveness program are still being rejected, even after Congress set aside $700 million to temporarily expand it, according to a federal report. The Government Accountability Office said Thursday that the Education Department has created a “confusing and inefficient” process that could cause borrowers to miss out on the program. It urged the agency to simplify the application process. Congress approved the temporary funding last year after finding that only 1% of applicants for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness met narrow eligibility rules, often because they had certain types of federal loans that weren’t covered by the 2007 program. The funding was intended to expand the program to borrowers who were otherwise eligible but had other types of federal student loans. But out of more than 54,000 applications for the temporary funding, just 661 had been approved as of May 2019, according to the report. In total, borrowers received about $27 million in loan erasures out of the $700 million pool allotted by Congress. Most rejections were tied to a single eligibility rule that the department added but was not explicitly ordered by Congress.

Pot use by college students is up

NEW YORK — U.S. college students are using marijuana at the highest rates in 35 years About 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of pot at least once in the past year, up from 38%, a University of Michigan survey found. About 25% said they did so in the previous month, up from 21%. The latest figures are the highest levels seen in the annual survey since 1983. About 6% of college students said they used marijuana 20 or more times in the past month. For adults the same age who weren’t enrolled in college, the figure was 11%. The 2018 findings are based on responses from about 1,400 adults age 19 to 22, including 900 who were full-time college students and about 500 who were not.

55 dogs seized from home

PHILADELPHIA — Animal welfare authorities say 55 dogs and puppies were rescued from a Pennsylvania home after they received a call about unsanitary conditions there. The officers removed 22 cane corsos, 16 French bulldogs, 13 border collies, three Pomeranian-husky mixes and a Doberman pinscher from the property in Lancaster County, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia. Many of the rescued dogs were suffering from upper respiratory infections. All the puppies will be quarantined at the PSPCA in Philadelphia for at least two weeks as they recover. Julie Klim, CEO of the PSPCA, says “it is a sobering reminder to the public to do their homework before purchasing an animal.” She said the proprietor marketed animals on a website that showed dogs living in beautiful environments.

OK gun law effort falls short

OKLAHOMA CITY — A group seeking to stop a new law that would allow people in Oklahoma to openly carry firearms without training or a background check is acknowledging they fell short of the number of signatures needed for a statewide vote on the issue. In a court filing on Thursday, an attorney for the group estimates they gathered between 30,000 and 50,000 signatures. They would have needed nearly 60,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify the question for the ballot. Attorney Brian Ted Jones says one reason for the uncertainty is because supporters were dropping off signatures right up until the Aug. 29 deadline. Led by Democratic state Rep. Jason Lowe and the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, supporters say they were prompted to act after two mass shootings last month.

Singer says Domingo harassed her

The glittering production was a high point of the Washington Opera’s 1999-2000 season: Jules Massenet’s “Le Cid,” about a legendary Spanish conqueror, starring a tenor legendary in his own right — Placido Domingo, then the company’s artistic director. The opera, also being filmed for broadcast on public television, was unquestionably a career break for a 28-year-old singer named Angela Turner Wilson, who’d been cast as the second female lead and was singled out for praise in reviews. “I knew this was the start of big things for me,” she says now. But one evening before a performance, she said, she and Domingo were having their makeup done together when he rose from his chair, stood behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. As she looked at him in the mirror, he suddenly slipped his hands under her bra straps, she said, then reached down into her robe and grabbed her bare breast. “It hurt,” she told The Associated Press. “It was not gentle. He groped me hard.” She said Domingo then turned and walked away, leaving her stunned and humiliated. Wilson, now 48 and a college voice teacher in the Dallas area, was one of 11 women to come forward after an Aug. 13 AP story in which numerous women accused the long-married, Spanish-born superstar of sexual harassment or inappropriate, sexually charged behavior and of sometimes damaging their careers if they rejected him.

Don’t carry guns in their stores

NEW YORK — Drug chains CVS and Walgreens as well as grocery chain Wegmans Food Market have joined the chorus of retailers requesting that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in their stores even where state laws allow it. The announcements on Thursday follow similar moves by Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, as well as Kroger earlier this week. Walmart also said it would stop selling handgun and short-barrel rifle ammunition in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings, including one last month inside an El Paso, Texas store that killed 22 customers — the deadliest in the company’s history. Starbucks, Wendy’s and Target have already asked customers not to openly carry guns in stores unless they’re law enforcement officers. But the retailers have stopped short of introducing an outright ban because they say they don’t want to put employees in confrontational situations. Ken Perkins, president of research firm RetailMetrics, says retailers can’t have their workers, who get paid $15 an hour, trying to pry a gun away from an armed shopper.

Tried to steal GE trade secrets

WASHINGTON — Two men from Italy and Russia have been charged with trying to steal trade secrets from an American aviation company. The Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint Thursday accusing the two of plotting to steal intellectual property, including engineering patterns and designs for equipment used in jet engine systems, from Ohio-based GE Aviation. The complaint charges Alexander Yuryevich Korshunov, a Russian national, and Maurizio Paolo Bianchi, an Italian national, with one count each of trade secret theft. Korshunov was arrested last week at an airport in Italy. Prosecutors say the scheme unfolded after Bianchi, a former director at an Italian subsidiary of GE Aviation who was responsible for business in China, Russia and Asia, left the company. He joined another company that had a contract with the subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company, United Engine Corp., where Korshunov worked. Bianchi is accused of hiring three current or former employees of GE Aviation’s Italian subsidiary to do consulting work on jet engine accessory gearboxes, which are used to transfer power from a jet airplane to other power systems, and to create a technical report. Prosecutors say Korshunov paid for employees to meet with him in 2013 in France and in 2014 in Italy to discuss and revise the report.

One acquitted in warehouse fire

OAKLAND, Calif. — A jury on Thursday acquitted one man of involuntary manslaughter but could not reach a verdict for the leader of an artists’ commune accused of turning a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse into a cluttered maze that trapped 36 partygoers during a fast-moving fire. Sobs and gasps erupted from family and friends of the victims who have packed the courtroom for the emotional three-month trial. Relatives had objected to a plea agreement last year that would have put both men in prison for several years, saying the sentences were too lenient. Jurors found Max Harris, 29, not guilty but said they could not unanimously agree on whether to convict or acquit Derick Almena, 49, of involuntary manslaughter after deliberating since Aug. 26. The men were set to be sentenced last year to nine and six years in prison, respectively, after pleading no contest to manslaughter. But a judge threw out their pleas after many of the victims’ families objected, saying the proposed sentences were too lenient.

Victims face heartbreak and loss

ABACO, Bahamas — Lugging empty suitcases, plastic buckets and backpacks, dazed survivors of Hurricane Dorian made their way back to the shantytown where they used to live, hoping to gather up some of their soggy belongings. The community was known as The Mudd — or “Da Mudd,” as it’s often pronounced — and it was built by thousands of Haitian migrants over decades. It was razed in a matter of hours by Dorian, which reduced it to piles of splintered plywood and two-by-fours 4 and 5 feet deep, spread over an area equal to several football fields. A helicopter buzzed overhead Thursday as people picked through the debris, avoiding a body that lay tangled underneath a tree branch next to twisted sheets of corrugated metal, its hands stretched toward the sky. It was one of at least nine bodies that people said they had seen in the area. “Ain’t nobody come to get them,” said Cardot Ked, a 43-year-old carpenter from Haiti who has lived 25 years in Abaco. “If we could get to the next island, that’s the best thing we can do.” Ked was one of thousands of desperate people seeking help in Dorian’s aftermath. With winds of 185 mph (295 kph), the hurricane obliterated houses on the Bahamas’ Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, home to some 70,000 people. The official death toll from the government stood at 20 and was certain to climb.

Trump to challenge California

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is moving forward with a proposal to revoke part of California’s authority to set its own automobile gas mileage standards, a government official said Thursday, confronting a state that has repeatedly challenged the administration’s environmental rollbacks. The Environmental Protection Agency was preparing paperwork for the White House for the move, meant to help the administration set a single, less rigorous mileage standard enforceable nationwide, according to the official, who is familiar with the regulatory process and spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been made public. President Donald Trump has pushed for months to weaken Obama-era mileage standards nationwide and has targeted California’s decades-old power to set its own mileage standards as part of that effort. Administration moves to rescind authority that Congress granted probably would end up in court. When President George W. Bush challenged California’s greenhouse gas emissions and mileage-setting ability, California fought it. The Obama administration subsequently dropped the Bush effort. The Trump plan would have to be posted in the Federal Register and would be subject to public comment.

Johnson seeks UK election bid

LONDON — Boxed in by opponents and abandoned politically even by his own brother, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson struggled Thursday to keep his Brexit plans on track, and he accused lawmakers of thwarting democracy by blocking his call for a new election. Johnson remained determined to secure an election after lawmakers rejected his attempt to trigger a snap poll, and moved to stop the U.K. leaving the European Union next month without a divorce deal. House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told Parliament that a vote would be held Monday on a new motion calling for an election in October. It’s uncertain whether it will pass, with opposition parties divided over whether to agree to an election now. Johnson said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than delay Brexit any further, and insisted that whether or not Britain left the EU as planned on Oct. 31 must be “a matter for the people of this country to decide.” “I don’t want an election at all, but frankly I cannot see any other way,” he said, flanked by cadets at a police academy on what felt very much like an election campaign stop.

Shots fired in ICE confrontation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent opened fire in a grocery store parking lot in Tennessee early Thursday during an attempted apprehension, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said. Cox said the shooting came after agents pulled over an individual who had been under surveillance. Cox did not identify the person by name but said he was a 39-year-old Mexican national who has been deported multiple times from the U.S. After agents identified themselves as working for ICE, the person attempted to flee, driving toward an agent who had been standing in front of the vehicle, Cox said. “The officer pulled a weapon and fired two shots into the vehicle,” Cox said. “I don’t know if the officer was injured.” It was also unclear if the suspect had been injured. ICE called Nashville police about the weapons discharge just after 7 a.m., but the suspect had not been apprehended as of midafternoon. Nashville Mayor David Briley released a statement saying police were looking for the man so that he could receive medical assistance.

Death was from natural causes

A 21-year-old inmate in Pennsylvania whose death under mysterious circumstances sparked weeks of protest succumbed to natural causes, the coroner said Thursday. Ty’rique Riley had swelling in his brain and blood vessels, clots in his lungs and a failing kidney, ailments that likely progressed over days or weeks, Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick said at a news conference. The coroner said that he doesn’t know what caused the fatal inflammation, but that it could have been a virus, cocaine or both, adding that cocaine was found in Riley’s system. Toxicology testing did not indicate how much cocaine was in Riley’s body or when he took it. Authorities have said Riley struggled with guards at Dauphin County Prison and became unresponsive after he was placed in a restraint chair, a device used to immobilize inmates at risk of hurting themselves or others. He was taken to a hospital June 26 and died there July 1. Photos taken at the funeral home and released by Riley’s family showed his battered body. But Hetrick said the bruising had nothing to do with his death. The illness that killed him “could very well be viral, or it could be drug induced, but either way, his cause of death is natural, and has nothing to do with any bruising that was on his body,” the coroner said. “We did not see any trauma on his body that would have caused him to die.”

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