Washington sends $1.7 billion to the Carolinas in Hurricane Florence aid

WASHINGTON — Congress is sending $1.7 billion to the storm-ravaged Carolinas.

The Senate Wednesday overwhelming approved legislation granting North Carolina’s request for $1.14 billion and South Carolina’s request for $540 million. The House passed the same bill last week, and now the measure heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.

This is the first influx of federal funding lawmakers on Capitol Hill have expressly designated for long-term recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence — and it won’t be the last.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told McClatchy the federal government would “absolutely” have to approve more money in the future to address the mass devastation in his state and in South Carolina from last month’s storm.

He couldn’t, however, predict when the states would need more money, or the final price tag.

Hurricane Florence caused record flooding and damaging winds, displacing thousands and killing 50 people so far in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, which also felt some of the brunt of the storm. The devastation is still being assessed.

When the storm began, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had $25 billion for short-term recovery efforts. Once Florence had passed, elected officials in both states requested “down payments” in existing funding through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Program.

— McClatchy Washington Bureau

Suspect in congressional doxxing cases arrested

WASHINGTON — Capitol Police have arrested a suspect in the doxxing of senators and releasing personal information onto the internet.

Jackson A. Cosko, 27, of Washington, D.C., was charged Wednesday with “making public restricted personal information,” witness tampering, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, second-degree burglary, unlawful entry and threats in interstate communications.

The Capitol Police investigation is ongoing and Cosko could face additional charges, according to USCP spokesperson Eva Malecki.

On Monday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home addresses in Kentucky and Washington, D.C., were added to his public Wikipedia page.

During last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, the personal home addresses, home phone numbers, cellphone numbers and email addresses of Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Orrin G. Hatch and Mike Lee, both Utah Republicans, were added to the public Wikipedia pages from what appeared to be an IP address connected to the Capitol.

This info was picked up by the @congressedits Twitter account, which automatically broadcasts the private information to thousands of followers. Twitter suspended that account this week. Posting personal information “is considered one of the most serious violations of the Twitter Rules,” according to Twitter’s website.

— CQ-Roll Call

3 border crossers found crammed into trunk with luggage lead to arrests of 3 Americans

DALLAS — Border agents in Texas arrested three Americans accused of trying to smuggle three people into the U.S. squeezed into the trunk of a sedan last week.

The car’s driver and two passengers were taken into custody Saturday after an immigration inspection at the U.S. Highway 57 immigration checkpoint, outside Eagle Pass.

Three unauthorized immigrants were found in the suspects’ trunk, crammed in amid luggage and other cargo.

The suspects, who were not identified, were taken to the Eagle Pass South Station, where they were processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

They face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted on human smuggling charges.

— The Dallas Morning News

Report: Casey Anthony ‘open to having more kids,’ doesn’t care what people think

ORLANDO, Fla. — More than 10 years after the death of her daughter, Caylee, dominated the headlines, Casey Anthony “is open to having more kids,” People magazine reported.

Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder in 2011 in the death of her 2-year-old daughter and moved to South Florida after the trial.

A year and a half ago, Anthony told The Associated Press that she was unlikely to have more children.

Anthony, 32, may have changed her mind, a source close to her told People magazine. The person was not identified.

“She’s very good at living her life and to hell with what other people think,” the source told the magazine. “If she wants to have another kid, she’ll have another kid. She doesn’t care what you or I or anyone else thinks.”

It’s been 10 years since Caylee Anthony’s disappearance sparked a firestorm in Central Florida. TV satellite trucks lined Hopespring Drive, where the little girl lived, and then nearby Suburban Drive, where she was found dead months later.

Her family was a fixture of tabloids and cable news shows.

— Orlando Sentinel

WHO launches vaccination drive in Zimbabwe to stem cholera outbreak

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The World Health Organization on Wednesday started a drive to vaccinate 1.4 million Zimbabweans amid a cholera outbreak that has killed 49 people in the capital Harare so far.

Almost 140 people have been infected with the disease that is most often transmitted by contaminated water, according to the WHO.

The vaccination campaign will be rolled out in two rounds, focusing on the most heavily affected suburbs of Harare and Chitungwiza, located about 19 miles southeast of the capital.

To ensure longer-term immunity, a second dose will be provided in all areas at a later stage, according to the WHO.

The organization is also working with the Zimbabwean government to provide affected communities with access to clean water and providing antibiotics to clinics, among other measures.

With almost 8,000 cholera cases suspected, the cash-strapped Zimbabwean government declared a health emergency in early September.

Cholera can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting and can be fatal for children, the elderly and the sick.

A 2008 cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe lasted over a year and killed more than 4,000 people.

Nongovernmental organizations have placed the blame squarely on the government.

Amnesty International said “the current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system.”

— dpa