• ABC News (SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- President Donald Trump said Thursday that Hurricane Maria "absolutely obliterated" Puerto Rico and "totally destroyed" the U.S. territory's power grid, but that the recovery process will begin soon with "great gusto."The president spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Thursday morning, saying the island “got hit with winds. They say they’ve never seen winds like this anywhere."After pummeling Puerto Rico and leaving the island in the dark, Hurricane Maria re-strengthened to a major hurricane early Thursday.The storm had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph as of 11 a.m. ET, making it a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had regained major hurricane status earlier Thursday morning after moving back over warm, open waters in the Atlantic Ocean.At least 10 people have died in the storm, including seven in Dominica, two in Guadeloupe and one in Puerto Rico.Even as Hurricane Maria moved away from Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory was still being hit with strong winds and heavy rain overnight. Storm surge was receding Thursday morning, but Puerto Rico was hit with 20 to 30 inches of rain in 24 hours, with some areas seeing 35 inches locally. The hurricane came ashore there as a powerful Category 4 with 155 mph winds -- the first Category 4 storm to hit the island since 1932.As of 11 a.m., Hurricane Maria was traveling northwest at 9 mph, with Turks and Caicos in its path. The storm's massive eye was located about 150 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island at that time.Hurricane Maria is forecast to strengthen even more as it moves north of the Dominican Republic and passes just east of Turks and Caicos by Friday morning. Hurricane Maria could be a high-end Category 3 or low-end Category 4 storm when it impacts Turks and Caicos, unleashing gusty winds, heavy rain and a potentially dangerous storm surge, but Hurricane Maria is still not expected to directly hit the archipelago.From there, Hurricane Maria will likely weaken as it moves between Bermuda and the eastern coast of the United States. The storm should move further east of the U.S. and out to sea sometime next week.So far, the storm's path is expected to steer clear of the U.S. mainland.Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico in the darkA spokesperson with the Puerto Rico governor's office confirmed that one person has died in the storm. The person was killed in Bayamon, just southwest of San Juan, after being hit in the head by a wooden panel.Puerto Rico's emergency management agency confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that 100 percent of the island had lost power, noting that anyone with electricity was using a generator.Telecommunications throughout the island have "collapsed," Abner Gomez Cortes, executive director of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, told ABC News.More than 12,000 people are currently in shelters, and hospitals are now running on generators, Cortes said. Two hospitals -- one in Caguas and one in Bayamon -- have been damaged.Cortes described Hurricane Maria as an unprecedented storm, adding that Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of that strength since 1928.Multiple transmission lines sustained damage from the storm, according Ricardo Ramos, director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Ramos said he hopes to begin launching helicopters by this weekend to begin inspecting the transmission lines.Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello imposed a curfew on the island Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. ET through Saturday.A spokesperson for Rossello said early Thursday he was with a National Guard unit in Levittown, a coastal suburb of San Juan, where as many as 80 percent of homes suffered damage and residents there had retreated to rooftops due to flooding.Felix Delgado Montalvo, the mayor of Catano, some 7 miles southwest of San Juan, told ABC News on Wednesday that there are hundreds of people in shelters and more than 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed
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  • KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- The back of a house in western Los Angeles exploded Wednesday, blowing debris across multiple backyards and significantly damaging the home and surrounding area.Two people were inside the West Hills home at the time of the incident, but according to the Los Angeles Fire Department, no one was injured.The official cause of the blast is not known at this time, but police told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV that they believe a natural gas leak could be to blame. The Los Angeles Police Department told KABC-TV that they have ruled out narcotics activities as the cause of the explosion."We heard this giant, like, boom," neighbor Jordan C'Dealva-Lenik told KABC-TV, adding that he at first thought it was an earthquake. "So me and my mother, we ran out of the house because we didn't know. The whole house was shaking. We didn't feel any more tremors after that, so we said, 'OK, it's not an earthquake.' "When a news helicopter flew over the damage, wrecked appliances, furniture, bricks and wooden beams could be seen scattered over multiple properties. Six homes within the blast zone were marked as damaged by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. One woman reportedly lost all of her home's windows in the explosion, according to KABC-TV.Her brother, Harvey Aingworth, told KABC-TV that "she was extremely upset. She was crying. She said, 'The house across the street exploded.' "Aingworth said he saw the fire department picking pieces of glass out of nearby trees because the force of the blast had shattered debris that far.Footage also showed a pickup truck in the driveway with a damaged hood and blown-out windows.The explosion was so strong that it blasted through a brick partition between homes, collapsing an entire section.Authorities told KABC-TV that they will continue to investigate the cause of the incident.
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  • Tamilisa Miner/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Miles off the coast of California, a Customs and Border Protection aircraft armed with high-powered surveillance cameras locked in on a tiny object glimmering in the horizon. Suspicious, authorities zoomed in closer and observed a triangular submarine-like vessel operating almost completely underwater to avoid observation and radar.The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast was dispatched to intercept the suspected smuggling boat.It’s been a record year for high seas drug seizures like these -- 50,000 pounds of cocaine and heroin valued at more than a half-a-billion dollars have been confiscated since August.A record $6 billion dollars in drugs have been intercepted this year and nearly 600 suspected traffickers were arrested and turned over to federal authorities for prosecution, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Justice.On Wednesday, the Coast Guard offloaded 50,550 pounds of cocaine and heroin worth an estimated $679.3 million in San Diego, CA. Wednesday morning's offload, which was attended by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was the result of 25 separate seizures conducted by four Coast Guard cutters and a Navy ship, which began on Aug. 2, 2017."We are facing a challenge in this country with drug abuse, addiction like we've never seen before," said Sessions.Sessions credited this rise to the availability, purity and low price of illicit drugs.Including Wednesday's offload, more than 455,034 pounds of cocaine, worth over $6.1 billion, has been intercepted by the Coast Guard in Fiscal Year 2017, which topped the 2016 record of 443,000 pounds.Nearly 600 suspected smugglers were apprehended by the Coast Guard and turned over to federal authorities for prosecution in the U.S. during the year. That's up from 465 suspects in 2016 and 373 in fiscal year 2015.Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft said Wednesday that while the Coast Guard is "getting better" at intercepting these drug boats, there is also increase in cultivation and production, particularly in Colombia.Most of the cocaine consumed here in the United States originates in Colombia, according to the Coast Guard."Last year, we had 60,000 fatalities due to drug usage [in the U.S.] and that number will only go up next year," said Zukunft while making the case for the need for a bigger Coast Guard.Back on that August day, out at sea, the camera picked up four passengers who glow as if radioactive. Soon teams of heavily armed members of the Coast Guard surrounded the semi-submersible or so-called narco submarine and the suspects raised their hands in the air -- the result of a joint Coast Guard, CBP and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation.On board the suspected smuggler’s vessel, more than three tons of cocaine —- millions of dollars worth -- is found, allegedly bound for the U.S.
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  • ABC News(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- Puerto Rico in dark, curfew set after island 'destroyed' by Hurricane Maria, officials sayThe island of Puerto Rico has been "destroyed" after Hurricane Maria made landfall there as a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, according to emergency officials. Puerto Rico's office of emergency management confirmed that 100 percent of the U.S. territory had lost power, noting that anyone with electricity was using a generator. A spokesperson with the Puerto Rico governor's office confirmed one person has died in the storm. They were killed in Bayamon, just southwest of San Juan, after being hit in the head by a wooden panel. Multiple transmission lines sustained damage from the storm, said Ricardo Ramos, director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Ramos said he hopes to begin launching helicopters by this weekends to begin inspecting the transmission lines. Telecommunications throughout the island have "collapsed," Abner Gomez Cortes, executive director of Puerto Rico's office of emergency management and disaster administration agency, told ABC News. As of 11 p.m. ET, Maria had weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained wind of 110 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was located about 55 miles northeast of Punta Cana, a popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic. The hurricane warning for Puerto Rico was officially discontinued at 11 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, but heavy rain continued overnight. Conditions on the eastern side of the Dominican Republic were further deteriorating overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Some strengthening is possible now that the storm is back over the ocean, so Maria has potential to become a Category 3 hurricane again. Maria is forecast to churn past off the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic into Thursday before moving near Turks and Caicos and the southeast Bahamas Thursday night through Friday.  The latest track has Maria curving north and eventually north-northeast. Forecast models currently show the storm continuing to weaken next week as it travels far offshore, staying away from Florida and the Southeast coast. The only impacts the storm will have on the east coast at this point will be dangerous surf and rip currents.
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  • PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Navy has identified the two corpsmen who were removed from their posts after they allegedly posted a video and photos of a newborn to Snapchat that drew outrage on social media.The video, filmed at the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, shows a female corpsman holding the infant by the armpits while rocking the baby to rap music playing in the background, while one of the photos shows another female corpsman flipping the middle finger at the newborn with the caption "how I currently feel about these mini Satans."The two women allegedly involved in the incident have been identified as Allyson Jeanette Thompson and Joan Hunter Barrett Fender. Neither woman could immediately be reached by ABC News for comment."The individuals have been removed from patient care meaning they will not be providing direct patient care," said Capt. Brenda Malone, a spokesperson for the Navy's Bureau of Medicine.Thompson of Alabama enlisted in the Navy three years ago in August 2014, according to a biography provided by the Navy. She served a tour of duty on the U.S.S. Mason, a Navy destroyer, before attending Hospital Corpsman School and reporting to the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville in February. Fender of Pennsylvania has served less than two years in the Navy, according to a biography provided by the Navy. She attended Hospital Corpsman School before starting at the Naval Hospital about two months ago.A Navy official said the posting of the photos was being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and that only one newborn had been involved in the photos posted online by the corpsmen.The images are no longer on Snapchat, but screengrabs have been shared on Facebook by concerned users.The Navy's surgeon general has ordered a stand down for all Navy medical personnel over the next 48 hours to reaffirm service commitments to patients and review social media policies after photos emerged on social media."I have directed immediate mandatory all-hands stand downs within 48 hours at all Navy Medicine commands to review our oaths, our pledges, our reasons for serving, as well as Navy Medicine's policy regarding use of personally owned phones and other recording devices," Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, the surgeon general of the Navy, in a blog post to Navy medical personnel.The admiral also prohibited the use of personal cellphones by medical care personnel in patient care areas until further notice.Faison also directed commanding officers at Naval medical facilities to contact mothers and expectant mothers to reassure them, inform them of the actions being taken and to address any of their concerns."Unprofessional and inappropriate social media behavior is inconsistent with both our core values of honor, courage and commitment as well as our medical ethics, violating the oaths we took for our profession and office," said Faison."In an age where information can be shared instantly, what we say and post online must reflect the highest standards of character and conduct, in both our personal and professional lives," said Faison. "As health care professionals, we are entrusted with the lives and well-being of all those who have volunteered to defend our freedom, including their families. We owe them the best care and compassion our nation can offer."We also owe them our unqualified respect," he added. "Any behavior that falls short of this expectation will be dealt with appropriately."Faison also ordered commanders to make sure "no additional patient photos exist on social media and to take immediate action to remove such content."A Navy official said stand downs for Navy medical personnel will take place in a staggered fashion over the next two days to ensure there is no impact to providing patient care."We are also contacting patients to address any questions or concerns they may have," said Malone.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JUAN) -- Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
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