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Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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AP Top News at 11:14 p.m. EDT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) Ramona Gonzalez did not drown when Hurricane Maria drenched Puerto Rico. She did not die in the tempest, or from destruction wrought by the storm's 154 mph (248 kph) winds. Instead, this disabled, 59-year-old woman died a month later, from sepsis caused, says her family, by an untreated bedsore. In all, the storm and its aftermath took the lives of unfortunates like Gonzalez and thousands of others, many of whom could have been saved with standard medical treatment. This was a slow-motion, months-long disaster that kept Puerto Ricans from getting the care they needed for treatable ailments, even as President Donald Trump lauded his administration's response.WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed Friday to cooperate with the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation as he pleaded guilty to federal crimes and avoided a second trial that could have exposed him to more time in prison. The deal gives special counsel Robert Mueller a key cooperator who steered the Trump election effort for a pivotal stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign. The result also ensures the investigation will extend far beyond the November congressional elections despite entreaties from the president's lawyers that Mueller bring it to a close. It is unclear what information Manafort is prepared to offer investigators about the president or that could aid Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.WASHINGTON (AP) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unloaded Friday on his Obama-era predecessor John Kerry for "actively undermining" U.S. policy on Iran by meeting several times recently with the Iranian foreign minister, who was his main interlocutor in the Iran nuclear deal negotiations. In unusually blunt and caustic language, Pompeo said Kerry's meetings with Mohammad Javad Zarif were "unseemly and unprecedented" and "beyond inappropriate." President Donald Trump had late Thursday accused Kerry of holding "illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people." Pompeo said he would leave "legal determinations to others" but slammed Kerry as a former secretary of state for engaging with "the world's largest state-sponsor of terror" and telling Iran to "wait out this administration." He noted that just this week Iranian-backed militias had fired rockets at U.S.SEOUL, South Korea (AP) The first inter-Korean summit of 2018, a sunny spectacle in late April, reduced war fears on the peninsula. The second, an emergency one in May, helped ensure a historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump came off. Now, at his third summit with Kim next week in Pyongyang, South Korean President Moon Jae-in faces his toughest challenge yet: delivering something substantive that goes beyond previous vague statements on denuclearization and helps get U.S.-North Korea talks back on track. Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have sputtered in recent weeks, raising doubts about whether Kim is truly willing to relinquish his nuclear arsenal and putting pressure on Moon to broker progress once again.LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) Investigators worked Friday to pinpoint the cause of a series of fiery natural gas explosions that killed a teen driver in his car just hours after he got his license, injured at least 25 others and left dozens of homes in smoldering ruins. Authorities said an estimated 8,000 people were displaced at the height of Thursday's post-explosion chaos in three towns north of Boston rocked by the disaster. Most were still waiting, shaken and exhausted, to be allowed to return to their homes. Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday that hundreds of gas technicians were being deployed throughout the night and into Saturday to make sure each home is safe to enter.TUGUEGARAO, Philippines (AP) Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the Philippines' northeastern coast early Saturday, its ferocious winds and blinding rain ripping off tin roof sheets and knocking out power, and plowed through the agricultural region at the start of the onslaught. The typhoon made landfall before dawn in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province on the northern tip of Luzon Island, a breadbasket of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces often hit by landslides. More than 5 million people were at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center downgraded from a super typhoon but still punching powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 4 Atlantic hurricane.WASHINGTON (AP) Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Friday denied an allegation of sexual misconduct from when he was in high school, seeking to defuse a potential threat to his confirmation as a handful of key senators remained silent on whether they would vote for him. In a statement released by the White House, Kavanaugh said: "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time." Senate Republicans insist Kavanaugh's confirmation remains on track. But the allegation has inflamed an already intense political battle over President Donald Trump's nominee. It also pushes the #MeToo movement into the court fight, less than two months before congressional elections that have seen a surge of female Democratic candidates.WASHINGTON (AP) As Tropical Storm Florence inundated the Carolinas on Friday, President Donald Trump circled back to his claim that the official death toll from a devastating storm a year earlier in Puerto Rico was inflated and said the number of dead seemed to rise from double digits to 3,000 "like magic." Public health experts have estimated that nearly 3,000 perished because of the effects of Hurricane Maria. But Trump, whose efforts to help the island territory recover have been persistently criticized, has repeatedly questioned that number over the last couple of days. "FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER - NO WAY!" he tweeted late Friday.

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