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Hurricane Irma Live Updates: Storm Strikes Cuba and Turns Toward Florida Keys

“Now, we must think of the safety of our emergency operations staff and first responders and evacuate them out of harm’s way.”The United States Coast Guard in Key West has already evacuated all its employees. — FRANCES ROBLESIrma strikes the Turks and Caicos, and the BahamasIrma lashed the southern Bahamas on Friday with intense winds and rain, leaving a trail of downed trees and power lines, damaged roofs, and scattered debris.Mayaguana and Inagua were among the first Bahamian islands to feel the impact. “It was very loud,” said Marcus Sands, an assistant superintendent with the police in Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana’s main settlement. “You could hear the debris flying around crashing into buildings.”.The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the storm was expected to move just north of Cuba and the central Bahamas for the rest of Friday and Saturday.Irma was predicted to dump 10 to 15 inches of rain on northern Cuba, with some areas seeing as much as 20 inches. The storm passed Baracoa, a town near Cuba’s eastern tip, on Friday morning, but wrought less havoc there than was expected. Cuban state media reported winds of about 90 m.p.h. and said that waves had towered over the city’s breakwater, causing localized flooding.In the Turks and Caicos, Virginia Clerveaux, the director of Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, said officials were assessing the damage, which included torn-off roofs, electricity outages and widespread flooding.Irma is among the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the five most forceful storms to hit the Atlantic basin in 82 years, according to the National Hurricane Center.Get updates about news across the United States via Twitter and in the Morning Briefing newsletter.Continue reading the main story […]

Yellen Warns Against Erasing Regulations Made After Financial Crisis

She also cautioned against overconfidence, noting that policy makers gathered at this same conference a decade ago were optimistic about the resilience of the system — which was even then in the process of falling apart. One goal of the changes enacted since the crisis is to guard against the problems that regulators do not anticipate.“The events of the crisis demanded action, needed reforms were implemented and these reforms have made the system safer,” Ms […]

Afghan Forces Are Praised, Despite Still Relying Heavily on U.S. Help

The country’s current number of 21,000 special operations troops, while set to grow soon, account for only 7 percent of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. But they do from 70 percent to 80 percent of the actual fighting.The bulk of the Afghan military and police forces are still well below the readiness and ability levels that American and NATO war planners hoped they would have reached when they began training the country’s security forces in 2002.As President Trump prepares to announce his Afghanistan strategy, American and Afghan military officials appear to believe the plan will resemble what the Pentagon would like to see: authorization of 3,900 more American troops who would be used to continue to help train, advise and assist the hugely challenged Afghan security forces.That number, American and NATO officials said, would likely be supplemented by a few hundred additional advisers and trainers from NATO and other countries that have contributed to the American-led war effort here.If Mr. Trump does not grant the Pentagon’s request for a more robust American troop level, there is concern that the Afghan forces may not be able to even maintain the current stalemate, causing the country’s security situation to backslide further, and that Kabul, the capital, could come under more high-visibility attacks.Even if the extra numbers do come through, military officials acknowledged that Afghanistan’s security forces were nowhere close to being able to defend the country on their own or to keep it from returning to its former status as a launching pad for terrorist attacks abroad.A resurgent Taliban, which by American estimates controls more than 40 percent of the population centers of Helmand Province in the south, continues to bedevil the beleaguered Afghan security forces, while the Islamic State has taken root in Nangarhar Province in the east.Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyThank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.Despite the challenges, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the head of United States Central Command, and other senior officers presented an upbeat assessment of the war effort in a series of briefings with reporters during a visit to Afghanistan to meet with the country’s military and political leaders.Continue reading the main storyThe Taliban had not managed to take any provincial capitals or to hold any important cities in this year’s fighting season, they said.“The enemy is not doing very well,” said Maj. Gen. James B. Linder, the American Special Operations commander in Afghanistan. […]

Trump’s Remarks on Charlottesville Violence Are Criticized as Insufficient

“These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” he added, a description several of his colleagues used.Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and the father of the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did not dispute Mr. Trump’s comments directly, but he called the behavior of white nationalists in Charlottesville “evil.”Democrats have suggested that Mr. Trump is simply unwilling to alienate the segment of his white electoral base that embraces bigotry. The president has forcefully rejected any suggestion he harbors any racial or ethnic animosities, and points to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, and his daughter Ivanka, who converted to the faith, as proof of his inclusiveness.In one Twitter post on Saturday, Mr. Trump nodded to that inclusiveness.“We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST,” the president wrote, a statement that had echoes of his campaign slogan, America First.But like several other statements Mr […]

California Today: California Today: Baby Falcons Take Flight in Berkeley

Last month, I moved with my family to Los Osos. We discovered the small coastal town after starting a house search in San Luis Obispo, the popular college town about 10 miles away, and then looked outward.Los Osos, population roughly 14,000, is surrounded by natural beauty. There’s Morro Bay, a playground of sea otters also known as the Gibraltar of the Pacific; the Elfin Forest, a sand dune landscape of miniature California live oaks; and Montana de Oro State Park, a jewel of the Central Coast.At the 12-square-mile park, hiking and biking trails open up to panoramas of rugged coastline every bit as spectacular as those in Big Sur.Yet the name Los Osos commonly elicits blank stares from Californians in other parts of the state.Antoinette Payne, a longtime real estate agent on the Central Coast, suggested that nearby cities like Pismo Beach and Cayucos enjoy greater recognition simply because, unlike Los Osos, they are visible from Highway 101 or the Pacific Coast Highway.“One of the nice things about Los Osos is that it’s kind of off the main track,” she said.That got us wondering: What are California’s other little-known treasures? It can be anything — a city, a beach, a park, a landmark.Tell us at [email protected], and please include your full name and city of residence. We may use your response in a newsletter.Continue reading the main storyWant to submit a photo for possible publication? You can do it here.California Today goes live at 6 a.m. […]

The 10 happiest countries on the planet

The Gallup 2017 Global Emotions report is in, revealing a few surprises about which nations are feeling the most positively about things. […]

Global Cyberattack: What We Know and Don’t Know

• Cybersecurity researchers first called the new ransomware attack Petya, as it bore similarities to a ransomware strain known by that name, which was first reported by Kasperksy in March 2016. But Kaspersky later said that its investigation into the new attack found that it was a type of ransomware that had never been seen before.Continue reading the main story• ESET, a Slovakia-based cybersecurity company, said the first known infection occurred early on June 27, through a Ukrainian software company called MeDoc. MeDoc denied that its program was the initial infection point […]