The Latest: Mexico City says 52 saved from quake ruins The Mexico City government says 52 people have been rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings in the capital following Tuesday's powerful earthquake. The city's Social Development Department tweeted the number Wednesday afternoon and added: "We won't stop." The quake has killed at least 225 people in several states, and rescue efforts are continuing furiously, including at a primary and secondary school where 25 bodies have been found and a young girl was located alive amid the rubble. Workers have been trying to extricate her for hours now.
Maria destroys homes, triggers flooding in Puerto Rico SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and triggered heavy flooding Wednesday in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. Leaving at least nine people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria blew ashore in the morning in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph (250 kph). It was expected to punish the island of 3.4 million people with life-threatening winds for 12 to 24 hours.
Mexicans dig through collapsed buildings as quake kills 225 MEXICO CITY (AP) - Rescuers found a surviving child on Wednesday in the ruins of a school that collapsed in Mexico's magnitude 7.1 earthquake, one of many efforts across the city to try to save people trapped in debris under schools, homes and businesses toppled by the quake that killed at least 225 people. Helmeted workers labored throughout the day, sometimes calling for silence to listen for any voices from the wreckage as they tried to reach the girl at the Enrique Rebsamen school in southern Mexico City. AP journalists at the scene saw three rescuers entering the rubble. Rescuers spotted the girl and shouted to her to move her hand if she could hear them, and she did, according to Foro TV.
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GOP senator defends health bill against Kimmel's attacks WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Bill Cassidy defended his health care bill Wednesday after late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel accused the Louisiana Republican of lying to him about it, heightening the tension around the last-ditch GOP effort to make good on years of promises to repeal "Obamacare." "I am sorry he does not understand," Cassidy said of Kimmel on CNN, arguing that his bill would in fact protect people with pre-existing conditions, a claim that Kimmel as well as leading health advocacy groups dispute. "I think the price will actually be lower." "This guy Bill Cassidy just lied right to my face," Kimmel said on his ABC show Tuesday night, referring to Cassidy's promises to Kimmel and others that his health bill would pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test." Cassidy coined the phrase to mean that people with pre-existing conditions would have protections and not face lifetime caps on coverage from insurers.
The Latest: British PM urges stronger steps on North Korea British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling for stronger steps to rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons buildup. In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, May said Kim "continues to defy and provoke the international community and threaten its neighbors." She said the international community "must be prepared to take all necessary measures" to "force Kim Jong Un to change his ways." May said the international community's determination to uphold the rules is stronger than North Korea's determination to undermine them. In recent months, North Korea conducted a series of provocative launches and also exploded its most powerful nuclear bomb to date.
Iranian president: Trump's UN comments 'ignorant, absurd' UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Iran's president warned Wednesday that his country will "respond decisively" to any violation of the agreement that reins in its nuclear program and called U.S. President Donald Trump's "ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric" about Iran unfit for the United Nations. In remarks clearly directed at Trump's 8-month-old administration, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly: "It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics." "The world will have lost a great opportunity, but such unfortunate behavior will never impede Iran's course of progress and advancement," Rouhani said.
Trump says decision made on Iran deal, won't say what it is NEW YORK (AP) - President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has made a decision on whether to walk away from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran but refused to say what it is, setting the stage for a particularly contentious meeting of the parties to the agreement. The meeting will be the highest-level U.S.-Iranian interaction of Trump's presidency and comes a day after he delivered a blistering attack on Iran and the accord at the U.N. General Assembly. Compounding the animosity ahead of the meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to Trump by calling his Wednesday speech "ignorant" and "unfit" to be heard at the United Nations.
US allies divided over Trump's threat against North Korea UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Japan urged international unity Wednesday in pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, even as another key U.S. ally pushed back against President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the rogue nation if it attacked. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe devoted his entire speech at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations to North Korea, which has launched two ballistic missiles over its eastern neighbor in the past three weeks. Abe told the U.N. General Assembly the "gravity of this threat is unprecedented." He appealed for nations to fully implement U.N. sanctions that were tightened last week after the North's most powerful nuclear test to date.
Soft soil makes Mexico City shake like it was built on jelly WASHINGTON (AP) - The soft soil that lines the ancient lake bed that Mexico City is built on amplified the shaking from Tuesday's earthquake and increased its destructive force, seismologists say as they try to better understand the quake that has killed more than 200 people. Scientists are looking at other quirks of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake, including the absence of aftershocks and if it is somehow related to a distant, even stronger, Mexican temblor that struck a dozen days earlier. LIKE JELLY Mexico City is built on deep, soft soil that was once the bottom of a lake. Instead of cushioning the city from earthquakes, it exaggerates their effects, said James Jackson, a professor of geophysics at the University of Cambridge in England.
Fed announces a start to modestly reducing its bond holdings WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve will begin shrinking the enormous portfolio of bonds it amassed after the 2008 financial crisis to try to sustain a frail economy. The move reflects a strengthened economy and could mean higher rates on mortgages and other loans over time. The Fed announced Wednesday that it will let a small portion of its $4.5 trillion balance sheet mature without being replaced, starting in October with reductions of $10 billion a month and gradually rising over the next year to $50 billion a month. The central bank left its key short-term rate unchanged but hinted at one more hike this year - most likely in December - if persistently low inflation rebounds.