Dorian Spares Puerto Rico & Now Forecast to Hit Florida as Category 4 Hurricane on Labor Day Weekend - That’s in the news Thursday August 29, 2019


The National Hurricane Center said on Thursday that Hurricane Dorian will continue to strengthen and become a highly dangerous Category 4 hurricane over the Labor Day weekend, threatening the Bahamas, as well as the Atlantic coast of central and south Florida. After sparing Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from serious damage as a Category 1 storm, Dorian is now posing an increasing menace to Florida and is likely to make landfall on Florida’s eastern coast on Monday, before lingering over central Florida on Tuesday. Meteorologists said Dorian is expected to intensify into a dangerous Category 4 storm, with winds of at least 130 mph (209 kph) or more. As of Thursday the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (137 km per hour) some 220 miles (355 km) north-northwest of Puerto Rico, and about 370 miles (600 km) east of the Bahamas. Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane by Friday afternoon and continue to gain strength until it makes landfall. President Donald Trump urged Floridians to heed all official warnings, and Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency, asking residents along the state’s east coast to stock up with at least seven days worth of supplies such as food and water.




The Justice Department has decided not to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey despite an internal investigation that found he improperly leaked information to the news media. The department’s Office of Inspector General said on Thursday that Comey broke FBI rules by giving one memo about a conversation with President Trump to a friend, with instructions to share the contents with a reporter. The report said Comey also failed to notify the FBI after he was fired in May 2017 that he had retained some of the memos in a safe at home. But the inspector general also concluded that none of the information shared with the reporter was classified. Comey has said he wanted to make details of the conversations public in hopes of triggering the appointment of a special counsel to lead the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel one day after the story broke. The Justice Department’s report is the latest development in an ongoing fight between Comey, who authorized opening an investigation in the president’s 2016 election campaign and ties with Russia, and Trump, who contends that the investigation should never have begun.




Pakistan tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile in Rawalpindi Thursday with tensions between the country and rival India still at a high point. Pakistani officials released a video on social media showing the missile test. They said the missile can carry a variety of warheads up to 180 miles. This missile test comes after Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic status with India earlier this month after the majority-Hindu country ended the special autonomous status for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is part of the Kashmir region, over which both India and Pakistan lay claim. Agreements following World War II divided the region into two autonomous states with India controlling Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan running Kashmir. Violence, though, has plagued the region for years with India saying Jammu and Kashmir has been a source for terrorism against the country.




Satellite images show a evidence that an Iranian rocket, that was to conduct a satellite launch, apparently exploded on its launch pad Thursday, suggesting the Islamic Republic suffered its third failed launch this year alone. The images, by Planet Labs, showed a black plume of smoke rising above a launch pad there, with what appeared to be the charred remains of a rocket and its launch stand. Experts said the images of the space center suggested that the rocket either exploded during ignition or possibly briefly lifted off before crashing back down on the pad. State media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province. NPR first reported on the satellite images of the apparent failed launch at the space center, some 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Iran’s capital, Tehran. Iranian satellite launches had been anticipated before the end of the year. Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. The U.S. alleges such launches defy a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.




Italy's anti-establishment Five Star Movement and center-left Democratic Party reached an agreement to form a new government following the collapse of the country's nationalist-populist coalition. The deal avoids a new election that could have brought hard-right leader Matteo Salvini to power. Salvini had pushed for new elections, pulling his nationalist League party's support from Five Star's governing coalition. Five Star and the Democratic Party had been political enemies, but their leaders overcame their differences to strike the deal. They told President Sergio Mattarella that Giuseppe Conte, who averted a no-confidence vote tabled by Salvini by resigning last week, should return to lead the new government.




The Trump administration issued a policy alert saying children born to U.S. service members and other government employees living abroad will no longer be granted automatic U.S. citizenship. The rule announced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services applies to three groups: Children of non-U.S. citizens adopted by employees or service members who are citizens; children of employees naturalized after the child's birth; and children whose parents don't meet residency requirements. The new policy does not make the children ineligible for citizenship. It says they are no longer considered to be "residing in the United States" for the purposes of granting citizenship, so their families will have to apply for it.




The U.S. Trade Representative's office released an official notice confirming the United States will impose an additional 5 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, bringing the tariff to 15 percent. It will hit some of the products on Sept. 1, and the rest, including cellphones, laptops, toys, and shoes, on Dec. 15. President Trump announced the tariff increase in a Friday tweet in response to China's plan to slap retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports. Hundreds of business groups, including retailers and shoe companies, had urged Trump to drop the tariffs to avoid driving up prices and killing jobs.




Huawei's next flagship smartphone will not come with Google's popular apps including Maps and YouTube. Google confirmed that due to a US government ban on sales to Huawei, it could not license its apps to the Chinese smartphone giant. It also means the next Huawei phone will not have access to the Google Play app store, which could leave customers without access to other popular apps. The US government restricted American companies from selling products and services to Huawei in May, citing national security concerns, which Huawei rejects. President Trump said last month that some exemptions would be allowed, but US officials have not granted any licences to trade with Huawei, despite receiving more than 130 requests. The Android operating system is open-source software, so any manufacturer can offer it on their smartphone or tablet. But companies need an agreement with Google to include its popular apps such as Maps, Pay, Search, Photos, Play Store and YouTube. Google has not said whether it has applied for permission to offer its apps to Huawei. Analysts suggest Huawei will struggle to sell a phone without Google's apps.




And that's your update for this Thursday August 29, 2019 - I will be taking some time off for vacation starting next week - so this podcast will not be available on a daily basis after Friday - until mid September. I appreciate the support received from listeners worldwide, and I am delighted that some of you are using this podcast to sharpen your English language skills. I am grateful for your continuing support with donations through the Podbean app, and hope you will consider making a monthly pledge - or a larger one time donation to support this effort. Thanks so much for listening, and I hope you have a wonderful day.