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A Ryanair plane sits on the tarmac at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in southwestern France, after being impounded by French authorities Friday. (Associated Press/AP photo)
Firefighter Jose Corona monitors a burning home as the Camp Fire burns in Magalia, Calif., on Friday. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Calif. fire incinerates town, killing at least 6
PARADISE, Calif. — Five people were found dead in their burned-out vehicles after a Northern California wildfire incinerated most of a town of about 30,000 people with flames that moved so fast there was nothing firefighters could do, authorities said Friday. A sheriff’s spokeswoman confirmed a sixth death as well, but not the circumstances.
Only a day after it began, the blaze near the town of Paradise had grown to nearly 110 square miles and was burning completely out of control.
“There was really no firefight involved,” Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, explaining that crews gave up attacking the flames and instead helped people get out alive. “These firefighters were in the rescue mode all day yesterday.”
With fires also burning in Southern California, state officials put the total number of people forced from their homes at 157,000. Evacuation orders included the entire city of Malibu, home to 13,000 including some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
When Paradise was evacuated, the order set off a desperate exodus in which many motorists got stuck in gridlocked traffic and abandoned their vehicles to flee on foot. People reported seeing much of the community go up in flames, including homes, supermarkets, businesses, restaurants, schools and a retirement center.
Florida is again at the center of an election controversy
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida is once again at the center of election controversy, but this year there are no hanging chads or butterfly ballots like in 2000. And no angry mobs in suits — at least not yet.
The deeply purple state will learn Saturday whether there will be recounts in the bitter and tight U.S. Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson; and in the governor’s race between former Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum.
The state’s recount procedures have been revised since Florida held the country hostage for a month 18 years ago, when George W. Bush edged Al Gore for the presidency. Among other things, the infamous punch-card ballots are no longer.
Yet, Scott and President Donald Trump on Friday alleged fraud without evidence, even as the often-laborious process of reviewing ballots in a close race continued ahead of today’s noon deadline. Both Scott and Nelson sought to get the courts to intervene.
Scott said “unethical liberals” were trying to steal the election in Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach County. He suggested something was awry because vote-counters were taking longer there than in other jurisdictions, and his thin lead has kept narrowing since Election Night. On Friday, he led by 0.21 percentage point, low enough to require a recount.
Trump insults reporters, claims Acosta video wasn’t altered
NEW YORK — Before hopping on a plane to Paris on Friday, President Trump insulted some more reporters, threatened that others may have their White House credentials pulled like CNN’s Jim Acosta and disputed reports that his press secretary spread a doctored video of Acosta’s encounter with a White House intern.
During a brief media availability outside the White House, the president gave more fodder to fans who enjoy watching him scrap with journalists.
Trump said “nobody manipulated” a video distributed by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that showed Acosta resisting an intern’s attempt to take a microphone from him during a news conference on Friday. A video expert had told The Associated Press that the video appeared doctored to speed up Acosta’s arm movement and make his gesture more threatening; the White House used that encounter to justify pulling Acosta’s credentials.
“It wasn’t doctored,” the president said. “They gave a close-up view. That’s not doctoring.”
Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer hired by The Associated Press to compare the footage tweeted by Shapiro with the AP’s coverage of the news conference, said the alteration made was “too precise to be an accident.”
Ryanair jet seized by French authorities just before takeoff
PARIS — Storms, strikes, computer failures — you can now add “your plane has been seized by the government” to the list of things that can delay your flight.
In France, 149 passengers were preparing to take off for London late Thursday when French authorities ordered their Ryanair Boeing 737 impounded.
The budget carrier owed money and it was “regrettable that the state was forced” to evacuate the plane, the civil aviation authority said.
The passengers had gone through passport control and security and were about to walk on the tarmac to board the plane when airport authorities told them to turn around, passenger Boris Hejblum said.
“The airport staff told us there was an issue with the plane,” he told The Associated Press in an email.
From wire sources
Hear the one about Trump? You’ve probably heard a lot
NEW YORK — Did you hear the one about President Trump? Or, more precisely, did you hear all 3,128 jokes?
A think tank that has studied the content of late-night comedy for the past 26 years said Donald Trump was the butt of more jokes in 2017 than any other public figure has for a single year. By a lot.
He beat the previous record of 1,816, set by Trump as a presidential candidate in 2016, said the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University in a study released Friday. Prior to that, the record was 1,717 by former President Bill Clinton in 1998, the year of Monica Lewinsky.
“Trump makes Bill Clinton look like a piker when it comes to political humor,” said Robert Lichter, head of the center. The study looked at opening monologue jokes on shows hosted by Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah last year.
There were a total of 6,337 political jokes in the show’s monologues last year, and Trump was the subject of nearly half of them.
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