Review Category : National News

Halloween Forecast: Where Rain May Dampen Trick or Treating

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Trick-or-treaters across much of the country will need to make sure their costumes are waterproof and pack an umbrella as they head out on Saturday. Areas of rain and showers are in the forecast from the Gulf Coast up to the Great Lakes and across the Pacific Northwest.

Another round of heavy rain will be moving through parts of waterlogged Texas and into the central Gulf Coast with isolated flash flooding possible. Farther to the north, scattered showers will be moving through across the Tennessee Valley and into the Great Lakes region.

Across the East Coast, the weather will have minimal impact and temperatures will be seasonably cool across the region. High temperatures will be right around seasonal averages from Washington, D.C. up to New York City. Quiet weather is also forecast for the Southwest, with warm conditions in place for much of California and into Arizona.

Temperatures across this part of the country will be running as much as 10 degrees above average for the end of October.

For children heading out early for some candy, rain and showers will be most likely late on Saturday morning from Houston up to Little Rock, Arkansas and Chicago. There will also be some rain across the Seattle area and down into Portland, Oregon.

The combination of wet conditions and leaves covering the ground may make conditions slippery for those trekking outside throughout the day.

By Saturday evening, the forecast of the rain will shift east across New Orleans, Nashville, Tennessee, Indianapolis and across Michigan. Heavy rain along the Gulf Coast may bring low visibility during any downpours and water ponding on roadways could cause issues for both motorists and those walking through neighborhoods.

Areas of heavy rain and gusty winds will continue to impact the Pacific Northwest as well with cool and windy conditions lasting throughout the evening. A Flood Watch has been issued for part of Washington, including Seattle, through Sunday afternoon. Over a half foot of rain could fall in the mountains with heavy downpours causing some flooding issues in the metro areas as well.

For the second half of the weekend, the showers will continue to push east, impacting the East Coast on Sunday. It will remain unsettled across the Pacific Northwest throughout the weekend as well.

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What’s America’s Favorite Halloween Candy?

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What type of candy should you buy to keep trick-or-treaters at your door on Halloween? The answer may surprise you — it’s candy corn, according to a new unscientific poll.

The shopping website Influenster asked 40,000 of its users to reveal their favorite Halloween candy, and the sweet corn-shaped treats were the preferred candy in five states — South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon, and Wyoming — the biggest showing of any of the treats mentioned.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats, Snickers, Butterfingers and Hershey’s Kisses are also pretty popular.

Here’s Influenster’s list of the most popular Halloween candies, by state:

Alabama — AirHeads
Alaska — Snickers
Arizona — Toblerone
Arkansas — Skittles
California — Lifesavers
Colorado — Milky Way
Connecticut — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Delaware — 3 Musketeers
Florida — Nestlé Crunch Bar
Georgia –Pixy Stix
Hawaii –100 Grand Bar
Idaho –Butterfinger
Illinois — Snickers
Indiana — Reese’s Pieces
Iowa –Twix
Kansas –Twizzlers
Kentucky — Whoppers
Louisiana — Swedish Fish
Maine — Starburst
Maryland — Almond Joy
Massachusetts — Starburst
Michigan — M&M’s
Minnesota — 100 Grand Bar
Mississippi — Hershey’s Kisses
Missouri — Hershey’s Kisses
Montana — Kit Kat Bar
Nebraska — Skittles
Nevada — Jolly Ranchers
New Hampshire — Tootsie Rolls
New Jersey — Sour Patch Kids
New Mexico — 3 Musketeers
New York — Sweet Tarts
North Carolina — Butterfinger
North Dakota — Sour Patch Kids
Ohio — Milky Way
Oklahoma — M&M’s
Oregon — Candy corn
Pennsylvania — Swedish Fish
Rhode Island — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
South Carolina — Candy corn
South Dakota — Laffy Taffy
Tennessee — Candy corn
Texas — Candy corn
Utah — Nerds
Vermont — Almond Joy
Virginia — Reese’s Pieces
Washington — AirHeads
West Virginia — Oreos
Wisconsin — Laffy Taffy
Wyoming — Candy corn
District of Columbia — Twix

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Major Democratic Donor Indicted for Fraud in BP Oil Spill Case

Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images(GULFPORT, Miss.) — Mikal Watts is regarded as a Democratic kingmaker and wealthy Texas trial lawyer who even hosted a private $35,000-a-plate fundraiser for President Obama at his home.

He is now under federal indictment for allegedly fraudulently representing thousands of clients — including a handful of dead people and a dog — in litigation against BP after the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

Watts appeared in federal court Thursday in Mississippi along with his brother, David, who is also charged.

Both men, along with five others, allegedly used stolen and false identities of people to sign up as plaintiffs in their case against BP, eventually claiming to represent more than 40,000 individuals making claims against BP valued in excess of $2 billion.

“The defendants, without contacting the individuals, would obtain names, addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers from any source available to create “clients” for anticipated litigation as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill,” federal prosecutors said in a statement. They also allegedly knew “that the individuals had not consented to be represented by the firm, and/or that stolen and false social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and occupations were claimed.”

The indictment alleges that among the bogus clients Mikal Watts signed up were four dead people and a boat deckhand named “Lucy Lu,” who the government says is actually a dog.

“The defendants in this case are accused of exploiting a disaster relief program set up to help those who were injured or suffered an economic loss as a result of the BP Oil spill – the worst environmental disaster in American history,” U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis said in a statement.

According to court papers, in one e-mail about changing data related to 2,000 Social Security numbers and dates of birth, Mikal Watts’ brother wrote, “This does not pass the smell test??????”

A lawyer only identified as “Attorney 2” allegedly reached out to Watts to try to tell him his plans might be running into trouble.

According to the indictment, the attorney said, “Mikal, you know I say this with love in my heart so hear me on this, this is either a super secret plan for a billion dollar success that I just don’t see… [or] it is a ‘king has no clothes’ cluster f___ that needs to be dealt with, openly, quickly and effectively.”

After BP agreed to a massive multi-billion dollar settlement, Watts allegedly wrote an email stating, “there is a special limited fund of $2.3 billion to cover all the claims. Importantly, BP pays the $2.3 whether the proof supports it or not. It does not…”

Watts’ attorney, Robert McDuff, said in a statement that his client took steps to prevent fraud and is “not guilty of the crimes of which he is accused.”

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Floyd Cook, Rapist Who Shot at Cops, Killed in Kentucky

Kentucky State Police(BURKESVILLE, Ky.) — A convicted rapist who was on the run and wanted on outstanding warrants was shot and killed overnight in Kentucky, authorities said Friday.

On Sunday, Floyd Ray Cook, 62, allegedly shot a police officer in Algood, Tennessee before firing at another officer after being pulled over for a traffic stop in Kentucky, authorities said.

Authorities began searching for him and received several sightings. Schools in Kentucky were closed for three days.

According to Kentucky State Police, law enforcement were searching on Route 61 in Cumberland County when Cook was spotted. After failing to comply with officers, state troopers and a U.S. Marshal fired shots, killing Cook, Kentucky State Police said in a news release.

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New Police Documents Reveal Deadly Minutes Inside South Carolina Church

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Police have released new chilling details about the massacre at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June and the day that Dylann Roof, the suspect, allegedly shot and killed nine people inside the historic, predominantly black, Mother Emanuel Church.

In more than 350 case documents, much of which has redacted portions, authorities in Charleston as well as Shelby, North Carolina, described the aftermath of the June 17 shooting and the lead-up to Roof’s June 18 arrest.

According to a Charleston police affidavit, Roof joined parishioners as they were having Bible study.

“After approximately an hour of studying, the defendant stood up … pulled out a handgun and began shooting the parishioners inside the hall, striking nine victims,” the document said. Victims were shot multiple times, the affidavit said.

According to the document, police began receiving phone calls about the shooting at 9:05 p.m., some from inside the church. At 9:07 p.m., dispatchers received a call that included a description of the shooter.

A “young white male. Male is reloading,” one caller said of the shooter, according to the document.

Minutes later, at 9:09 p.m., authorities learned that there were witnesses still alive, including some in the church who were hiding under a desk in the pastor’s office.

According to Charleston police documents, Roof also stood over an unnamed witness “and uttered a racially inflammatory statement.”

At 9:11 p.m., according to the newly released logs, the massacre was over and the shooter was on the run. Eight people had been killed and another would die shortly after. There were just two survivors.

Documents said that Roof was positively identified by his father as well as his uncle. The two men reportedly contacted Charleston police, according to authorities, after they recognized Roof and his car in photographs that had been taken from surveillance video and then released to the public.

Charleston authorities also said that they’d received numerous calls from people who said they believed the suspect of the shootings was Roof.

In one instance, around 6 a.m. on June 18, the day after the shooting, a police report said that a person had called to report that he’d seen the press release of the suspected shooter and was “positive” that it was someone he knew and had been “hanging out with.” That person also said that Roof drove a vehicle with a Confederate flag vanity license plate tag on the front bumper.

The police document said that the person was “adamant that he was very familiar” with the suspected shooter and that the shooter lived in Ridgecrest, an area in Lexington, South Carolina.

In addition, according to police reports from Shelby, when officers came upon Roof’s car — a 2000 Hyundai Elantra GLS — they searched him and told him “he was not under arrest … and that he was just being detained.”

They said when they asked him whether he knew what the detainment was about, he nodded “yes,” according to a police report, which also noted that Roof told officers that there was a gun in the back seat.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, the release of the documents came after an Oct. 14 decision by a circuit judge to lift parts of a gag order on information related to the shootings.

Roof’s trial is set to begin on July 11, 2016.

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More Than 6,000 Feet of Tether Removed from Military Blimp Crash Site

Photo by U.S. Air Force/Tiffany DeNault via Getty Images(MUNCY, Pa.) — The tail section and detached tether portion of the blimp that caused an aerial “manhunt” on Wednesday have now been removed from the crash site, an official said.

The military blimp that somehow became untethered from an Army base in Maryland was a part of a test program launched by the Pentagon intended to detect drones and cruise missiles, officials said.

For much of Thursday, the Army worked to destroy one of its own tools, as Capt. Matthew Villa, who is the J-LENS plans and coordination officer with the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said that the Army used shotguns to shoot the blimp.

The number of rounds fired has not been released and there is an active investigation because officials still do not know how it broke away and why it partially deflated while on the loose.

Villa said that the tail section and 6,600 foot of tether were removed from the site Thursday afternoon and removal work is expected to continue through Friday.

The blimp has an automatic deflation system designed to deflate the blimp should it go astray, but a NORAD spokesman said Thursday it was unclear whether the system is what deflated the blimp to bring it down in Pennsylvania.

While some of the “critical” pieces of equipment at the scene have been removed, Villa told ABC News that 99 percent of the blimp’s equipment is still at the cordoned-off crash site in Montour County, Pennsylvania.

Part of the reason why it has been so difficult to clear the site quickly is the nature of the terrain in the area. Villa said that there is a ravine near the heavily wooded area where the blimp landed, which is not helping matters.

The final plan for removing the blimp has not been finalized as officials weigh whether it will have to be airlifted or trucked out, Villa said.

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Owen Labrie Sentenced to Year in Jail For Prep School Sexual Assault

AndreyPopov/iStock/Thinkstock(CONCORD, N.H.) — The former prep school student convicted of sexually assaulting an underage fellow student has been sentenced to a year in jail plus probation.

Owen Labrie, who is now 20, was an 18-year-old senior at St. Paul’s School in Concord when he had the sexual encounter with a 15-year-old friend, prosecutors said. He was found guilty in August of a felony charge of using a computer to lure an underage girl into a sexual encounter, as well as three misdemeanor sexual assault charges and one misdemeanor charge of child endangerment.

On top of the possible prison time, he will be required to be listed on the sex offender registry for life because of the felony conviction, unless he petitions to be removed from that 15 years after he finishes his sentence.

The victim, whose name is being withheld due to her age and the nature of the crime, was not in court Thursday and gave her statement via a recorded video, describing how her life back at school has been marred by unwanted attention from boys on campus. She noted that she has regular panic attacks and “vivid flashbacks.”

“To this day, I still feel numb,” she said.

Both her mother and father testified in person, praising their daughter’s courage to come forward, and detailed how Labrie’s actions have negatively impacted their family, and how a private investigator approached the victim’s younger sister’s teacher in an effort to gain information about the victim’s character.

The victim’s mother noted how commenters online have threatened to rape her and how “college bros on college campuses would take care of that,” she said during her statement.

“The defendant has stolen so much from my daughter and from my family and what he stole we will never get back,” the victim’s father said during his testimony.

After a brief recess, Labrie’s attorney, J.W. Carney, started making a statement to the court. Labrie is also expected to address the court.

Carney submitted a collection of testimonials to the judge ahead of Thursday’s hearing, with letters from Labrie’s teachers, friends, an ex-girlfriend, priests and parents vouching for his character.

Labrie’s mother, Denise Holland, told the judge about how her son was suicidal after his meetings with detectives at the start of the case.

“He expressed to more than one person that these detectives said they were going to take away ‘everything he had worked his whole life for,’ and that he ‘just wanted to die,'” she wrote.

She also described how the family was “deeply in debt” because of the legal expenses, and how Labrie has spent much of his time building a chapel on his father’s property after having his admission to Harvard’s Divinity School rescinded.

“His offering to God in lieu of being able to move forward with college and Divinity School at this time receives daily attention,” his mother wrote.

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Two Sailors Injured as Small Craft Used by SEALs Takes on Water Off California Coast

File photo. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michelle L. Kapica/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)(LOS ANGELES) — Two sailors are being treated for injuries after their small, fast boat took on water in the vicinity of San Clemente Island off the Southern California Coast, military officials said Thursday.

Officially known as Combatant Craft, Medium Mark V (CCM), the fast boats are typically used by Navy SEALs.

The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. Pacific time as two CCM fast boats were operating in waters several miles off of San Clemente Island, Navy officials said. The southernmost of the Channel Islands, San Clemente Island is owned by the Navy and used for various training.

One of the CCM boats took on water and two of the small number of sailors aboard the small craft were injured in the incident, according to U.S. Navy spokesperson Nicole Schwegman.

They are being treated for what a Navy official described as minor injuries aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Spruance that was a mile away at the time of the incident, Schwegman said. The CCM boat is being towed back to base.

The CCM boat had lost power and had begun to take on water, Schwegman said.

The U.S. Coast Guard was initially contacted by the Navy to provide a medevac but did not respond after it was contacted again by the Navy that the nearby Navy ships would provide assistance, said Petty Officer Robert Simpson, a Coast Guard spokesman in San Diego.

CCM boats are fast-moving small craft used to transport Navy SEALs for the quick insertion of forces by sea into hostile areas. The 60-foot-long craft can be deployed from larger ships and can carry as many as 19 passengers, including a crew of four. The sailors who man the vessels fall under Navy Special Operations Command but are not SEALs, military officials said.

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See Woman Being Rescued from Smoking Car at Pennsylvania Gas Station

WPVI-TV(MERION STATION, Pa.) — Surveillance video captured the dramatic rescue of a woman from her car at a Pennsylvania gas station.

The accident left one customer injured and sent one police officer and the driver to the hospital according to ABC’s Philadelphia affiliate WPVI.

Cameras at the Liberty Gas Station in Merion Station, Pa., showed a woman pulling up in a black Ford Fusion at about 8 p.m. Tuesday and stopping to let a customer walk by. The car, however, began drifting to the left and hit a pillar holding up the gas station canopy. The driver also hit a man pumping gas nearby, knocking him to the ground. Liberty employee Tony Benedict said he immediately ran outside to help.

“She wasn’t driving fast, but she was not at the right angle,” Benedict said. “She barely missed me so I ran inside to shut off the pumps so there was no blast.”

Benedict said Steven O’Neil, a regular customer who happened to be at the gas station that night, told him to call the police. Meanwhile, the woman’s foot was stuck on the gas pedal causing the Ford’s front wheels to spin and smoke. Officer Michael Young, one of two officers who arrived on the scene, yelled at the woman to get out of the car, but she did not respond, according to WPVI. The Lower Marion Police Department told ABC News that the woman was apparently suffering from a seizure. Both officers were unavailable for comment.

O’Neil is seen on the video using a crowbar to break the Ford’s right rear passenger window. O’Neil declined to comment for this story.

The video shows thick smoke billowing inside and around the car. Officer Young was eventually able to pull the woman out from the passenger’s side door. The woman can be seen quickly standing up after being rescued. She was taken to the Lankenau Hospital, while Officer Young was transported to Bryn Mawr Hospital, according to WPVI.

Benedict said both he and the officers were hesitant at first to break into the car.

“The smoke was unbelievable,” Benedict said. “I was scared. It’s something you could never think of.”

Benedict told ABC News that once he finished his shift and returned home, he and his family prayed for the woman and injured customers. He said all station employees receive yearly emergency training.

“We have a basic knowledge of what to do,” Benedict said. “It very much helped. You don’t get panicky. It doesn’t make the situation better.”

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Plane Catches Fire at Fort Lauderdale Airport

iStock/Thinkstock(FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — A Dynamic Airways jet caught fire at Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The plane, a Boeing 767, caught fire on Taxiway B while taxiing for departure from Runway 28, according to the FAA. The plane just behind it reported that fuel was leaking from the aircraft before the fire started.

Passengers were evacuated via slides onto the taxiway, according to the FAA.

The plane caught fire on Taxiway B while taxiing for departure from Runway 28 at about 12:45 p.m., according to the FAA.

The plane was destined for Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela. One of the engines caught fire as it got ready for departure.

The Broward County Fire Department responded immediately to extinguish the fire.

Plane caught on fire at #FLL!

— Mike Dupuy (@mikejdupuy) October 29, 2015

The fire has caused minimal disruption to the airport at this time and the airport is deciding whether or not it has to route planes to one of its two runways, Meyer said.

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