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Rescuers In Florida Panhandle Search For Missing People, Bodies After Hurricane

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Rescuers In Florida Panhandle Search For Missing People, Bodies After Hurricane

Rescue workers and volunteers searched for more than 1,000 people still missing in the Florida Panhandle and tens of thousands of residents remained without power on Tuesday after the area was devastated by Hurricane Michael last week.

At least 19 deaths in four states have been blamed on Michael which made landfall on Wednesday and is one of the most powerful storms on record to hit the continental United States.

Volunteer rescue organization CrowdSource Rescue said its teams were trying to find 1,300 people still missing in the disaster zone in the Panhandle, according to Matthew Marchetti, co-founder of the Houston-based group.

An estimated 30 to 40 people remained unaccounted for in Mexico Beach, according to a city councillor, Rex Putnal. The town of about 1,200 residents took a direct hit from the hurricane. The town’s mayor has said that at least one person was killed while CNN reported that another person was found dead on Monday.

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With most Mexico Beach homes already searched for survivors, rescue workers used dogs to find any bodies that might be buried under the debris.

More than 150,000 people were still without power in the U.S. Southeast, with residents of battered coastal towns such as Port St. Joe, Florida forced to cook on fires and barbecue grills.

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At least 85 percent of customers in four mainly rural Panhandle counties were without electricity on Monday. Officials said it could be weeks before power returns to the areas that sustained the most damage.

With top sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kph), Michael hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale on Wednesday.

The winds and storm surge caused insured losses worth between an estimated $6 billion and $10 billion, risk modeler AIR Worldwide said. Those figures do not include losses paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program or uninsured property, AIR Worldwide said.

Water supply was restored to some in Panama City on Monday but Bay County officials said it was not yet safe to drink.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the storm-affected areas on Monday, arriving by helicopter from Eglin Air Force Base about 100 miles (160 km) to the west.

They then distributed bottles of water at an aid center in Lynn Haven, a city of about 18,500 people near Panama City in northwestern Florida.

“To see this personally is very tough – total devastation,” said Trump, who later traveled to neighboring Georgia to see storm damage there.

World News

Israel Hits Targets Across Gaza After Rocket Attack

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Israel Hits Targets Across Gaza After Rocket Attack

Israeli forces have struck targets across the Gaza strip through Tuesday, including the offices of Hamas supreme leader, in response to a surprise rocket attack from the Palestinian territory.  The military has bolstered its troops and rocket-defense systems in anticipation of a new round of heavy fighting with the Islamic militant group.

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Israel opened public bomb shelters in most major cities and civil defense authorities canceled sports events and public transportation in southern Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had hurried back to Israel from Washington because of the rocket attack, said Israel will not tolerate this, and that he, personally, would not tolerate it. He said Israel will respond forcefully to the rocket attack he called wanton aggression.

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Israeli military said it had retaliated to the latest rocket attacks with fifteen airstrikes.  It also said Hamas military sites and those for smaller jihad group had been hit.

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Hamas has been leading weekly protests along the Israeli border for the past year in hopes of easing an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, but the demonstrations in which nearly two hundred persons have been killed by Israeli fire, have done little to improve conditions.

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Theresa May Loses Control Of Brexit Negotiations, Parliament Takes Over

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Theresa May Loses Control Of Brexit Negotiations, Parliament Takes Over

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, could not be said to have had a good day on Tuesday as she lost control of the Brexit negotiations.  The Prime Minister says parliament’s decision to take control of the stalled process of leaving the European Union underscores the need for lawmakers to approve her twice-defeated deal.

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The House of Commons voted on Monday to take control of the parliamentary timetable on Wednesday so lawmakers can vote on alternatives to the withdrawal agreement the prime minister negotiated with the EU.

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Health secretary, Matt Hancock said on BBC news on Tuesday the government won’t “pre-commit” to accepting the option backed by lawmakers.  He wants lawmakers to support the prime minister’s agreement because, as he put it, the best way through the impasse is the one deal the prime minister has already negotiated with the EU.

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Tuesday’s events are sure to further complicate the process of Britain leaving the bloc.

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African News

UN Says Around 1.85 Million People Affected By Cyclone In Mozambique

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UN Says Around 1.85 million People Affected By Cyclone In Mozambique

The United Nations’ humanitarian agency OCHA has on Tuesday disclosed that close to 1.85 million people have now been affected by Cyclone Idai and its aftermath in Mozambique alone.

“Some will be in critical, life threatening situations. Some will sadly have lost their livelihoods, which whilst an appalling tragedy is not immediately life threatening,” OCHA coordinator Sebastian Rhodes Stampa said.

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Relief organizations, including the international federation of the red cross and red crescent societies, say some cases of cholera had already been reported. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe the country’s entertainment stars have organized a concert to raise funds to help victims.  There is growing fear of starvation in communities that have been cut off by smashed bridges or destroyed roads.

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The United Nations is also making an emergency appeal for $282 million for the next three months to help Mozambique start recovering.

The UN funding will be used to provide water, sanitation, education and restoring the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said Monday.

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