TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Florence now a Category 2 storm, still dangerous
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm but it is still considered an extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm.
As of 11 p.m., the storm was centered 280 miles (455 kilometers) east southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was moving northwest at 17 mph (28 kph). Its maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly to 110 mph (175 kph).
But the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday evening that the storm is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and rainfall to the Carolinas as it approaches the coast Thursday and Friday.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-HARVEY WEINSTEIN
Video shows Weinstein fondling woman before alleged rape
NEW YORK (AP) — A television network has aired video of Harvey Weinstein fondling a woman who accused him of rape.
The video aired Wednesday by Sky News was recorded by Melissa Thompson when she met Weinstein at his office in 2011.
It shows Weinstein propositioning Thompson and caressing her shoulder during a business presentation.
The video shows Thompson reacting with discomfort but also joking about his advances, saying that “data is hot.”
In a lawsuit filed in June, Thompson said Weinstein raped her that evening at a hotel.
Only portions of the video were aired on Sky.
Weinstein’s lawyer says the full video “demonstrates that there is nothing forceful” and shows “casual, if not awkward, flirting from both parties.”
Weinstein has been charged in New York with assaulting three women, but not Thompson.
The Latest: Kavanaugh explains turning away from handshake
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he would have shaken the hand of a man whose daughter was killed in a Florida high school shooting if he had known who the man was.
A photo of Kavanaugh appearing to refuse to shake Fred Guttenberg’s outstretched hand last week went viral.
Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee he assumed the man who approached him was a protester. He says if he had known who Guttenberg was, “I would have shaken his hand, talked to him, and expressed my sympathy. And I would have listened to him.”
Asked by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal whether he asked police to intervene when Guttenberg approached, Kavanaugh wrote, “No.”
Kavanagh’s explanation was part of a 263-page response late Wednesday to some 1,287 written questions from senators.
ELECTION 2018-RHODE ISLAND PRIMARY-THE LATEST
The Latest: Fung gets Rhode Island GOP nod for governor
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Allan Fung has won the Republican nomination for Rhode Island governor.
The win gives Fung, the mayor of Cranston, a second chance at the office he failed to win four years ago in a contest against Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo. Fung beat Patricia Morgan, a state lawmaker.
Fung has given few interviews, held no press conferences and said little about his views during the race. He agreed to a single debate on a small radio station.
Fung says he wants to cut the sales tax from 7 percent to 5 percent, but he hasn’t put forward a detailed plan to pay for it.
In 2014, he lost to Raimondo in a three-way race, with 36 percent to Raimondo’s 41 percent.
Russia: Pussy Riot activist treated for possible poisoning
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian news reports say a member of Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot has been hospitalized in grave condition for what could be a possible poisoning.
Ekho Moskvy radio and online news portal Meduza reported Wednesday that Pyotr Verzilov has been in emergency care since late Tuesday. They quoted a fellow Pussy Riot member, Veronika Nikulshina, as saying Verzilov’s symptoms included losing his eyesight and ability to speak.
Nikulshina said Verzilov was being treated in the toxicology unit of a Moscow hospital, indicating a suspected poisoning.
Verzilov, Nikulshina and two other activists served 15-day jail sentences for disrupting July’s World Cup final.
They ran onto the field wearing police uniforms, briefly interrupting the match between France and Croatia. Pussy Riot said they were protesting excessive police powers in Russia.
US ‘likely’ has taken over as the world’s top oil producer
The United States may have reclaimed the title of the world’s biggest oil producer sooner than expected.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that America “likely surpassed” Russia in June and August after jumping over Saudi Arabia earlier this year.
The agency says, however, that’s based on preliminary estimates.
If those estimates are right, it would mark the first time in more than two decades that the U.S. has led in output.
U.S. production has soared in recent years because of techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the use of chemicals, sand, water and high pressure to crack rock formations deep below ground, releasing more oil and natural gas.
Fracking is driving a drilling boom in the Permian Basin under Texas and New Mexico.
Pope summons bishops for February abuse prevention summit
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is summoning the presidents of every bishops conference around the world for a February summit to discuss preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.
Francis’ key cardinal advisers announced the decision Wednesday, as the latest chapter in the Catholic Church’s long-running sex abuse and cover-up scandal has thrown Francis’ papacy into crisis.
The Feb. 21-24 meeting is believed to be the first of its kind, and signals a realization at the highest levels of the church that clergy sex abuse is a global problem and not restricted to the Anglo-Saxon world, as many church leaders have long insisted.
Francis’ papacy has been jolted by accusations he rehabilitated a top American cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI for having molested and harassed adult seminarians.
’60 Minutes’ chief Fager out at CBS
NEW YORK (AP) — CBS “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager says he’s leaving the company, after being named in recent stories that accused him of fostering an abusive workplace.
CBS News President David Rhodes announced the departure on Wednesday. It came only three days after CBS Corp. Chairman Leslie Moonves was ousted following sexual misconduct charges.
An outside law firm has been investigating Fager following reports in the New Yorker that he groped women in parties and protected men accused of misconduct. Fager has denied the charges.
His second-in-command, Bill Owens, has been put in charge temporarily.
APPLE SHOWCASE-THE LATEST
The Latest: High-quality heart readings in new Apple Watch
CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple’s new smartwatch will have the ability to take high-quality heart readings to detect irregular heart rhythms and other potential problems.
Ben Wood of CCS Insight says getting U.S. regulatory clearance for that is a milestone that underscores the company’s leadership in health and fitness. Typically, smartwatches are marketed as consumer devices, not medical ones needing clearance.
Apple says its Apple Watch is the first over-the-counter product to take readings through electrocardiography, or EKG.
During Apple’s unveiling, American Health Association President Ivor Benjamin said capturing such data will help prevent stroke, heart failure and other problems.
Apple says the heart data can be shared with doctors, though it’s not yet clear how ready doctors are to getting all that.
The new watch can also detect falls and contact emergency officials.
US Open winner Osaka signs deal with Japanese car maker
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Naomi Osaka has been announced as the “brand ambassador” for a major Japanese car maker.
Osaka has been the main subject on talk shows and in newspapers since she defeated Serena Williams last weekend to win the U.S. Open title. She is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Osaka appeared Thursday at Nissan’s headquarters, which was mobbed with media curious to see the new champion who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, but left Japan at 3 to live in the United States.
She also made an earlier appearance at a five-star Yokohama hotel.
Her mixed-race background — and those of many Japanese athletes — has raised the question about what it means to be Japanese.