Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudi Arabia says journalist killed in fight

Jamal Khashoggi Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption This is the first time Saudi Arabia has admitted the death of Jamal Khashoggi

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the country’s state TV reported quoting an initial probe.

It said deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.

US President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that Saudi Arabia was a “great ally”.

This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Mr Khashoggi has died.

The acknowledgement follows two weeks of denials that Saudi Arabia had any involvement in the disappearance of the prominent Saudi critic when he entered the consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to seek paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

The Saudi kingdom had come under increased pressure to explain Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance after Turkish officials said he was deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Turkish forensic investigators have already searched the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence

On Friday, Turkish police widened their search from the consulate grounds to a nearby forest where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of.

Observers are questioning whether Riyadh’s Western allies will find the Saudis’ account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

‘This is only a first step to the truth’

Analysis by BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner

The Saudi leadership will now be hoping that its belated admission that Khashoggi did die after all inside its consulate – coupled with a handful of sackings and arrests – will be enough to draw a line under this affair. It won’t.

This is only a first step towards publicising the truth of what really happened. Given the days of indignant denials by the Saudi leadership it’s doubtful we would have even got this far without sustained international pressure.

There can only be one of two possible alternatives here. Either – as many suspect – the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was to blame, or he had lost control of his inner circle, something most observers find hard to believe.

MBS, as he’s known, has a huge following amongst young patriotic Saudis who see him as a visionary reformer. If that support were now to ebb away then the crown prince could find himself dangerously isolated at court.

What is Saudi Arabia’s version of events?

A statement from Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

The investigations are still under way, it said, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

State media said Saudi King Salman had ordered the sacking of two senior officials.

Saud al-Qahtani is a prominent member of the Saudi Royal Court and adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Image copyright Twiiter/@suadq1978
Image caption Saud al-Qahtani has over a million followers on Twitter

Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri has acted as the top spokesman for the kingdom about the war in Yemen.

Gen Assiri spoke to the BBC in 2017 about the conflict, defending Saudi Arabia’s actions.

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Media captionNawal Al-Maghafi speaks to Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri

King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.

Saudi Arabia said it had acted on information provided by Turkish authorities as part of its inquiry, investigating a number of suspects.

How did Trump react?

President Trump said the arrests were an important “first step”. He praised the kingdom for acting quickly, and while he said sanctions were an option against the country, he spoke of the possible effect such moves would have on the US economy.

Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, he replied, “I do.”

He stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

He spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110bn (£84bn) arms deal he signed with the kingdom.

“I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution,” he said.

Earlier this week Mr Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

The White House said in a separate statement the US was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, said he was “sceptical” of the report on the journalist’s death.

Why does Turkey say he was murdered?

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed – and they say they have video and audio evidence to back this up.

Saudi Arabia has denied this, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Turkish newspapers with close links to the government have published gruesome details of the alleged audio, including what they describe as the sounds of screams and Mr Khashoggi being interrogated and tortured.

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Mr Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October

  • Turkish government announces Mr Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October

  • Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October

  • Turkish officials tell the BBC they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October

15 and 17-18 October

  • Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

20 October

  • Saudi state TV reports an initial investigation shows Jamal Khashoggi died in the consulate
  • Two Saudi senior officials are dismissed and King Salman announces the formation of a ministerial committee to restructure the intelligence services

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Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: US asks Turkey for recording evidence

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Media captionPresident Trump said he wanted answers on the issue

The US has asked Turkey for a recording said to provide strong evidence that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at Istanbul’s Saudi consulate.

“We have asked for it, if it exists,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House.

Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the building on 2 October. Saudi Arabia denies killing him.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has published the last column Mr Khashoggi wrote before his disappearance.

In the column he talks about the importance of a free press in the Middle East.

The newspaper’s Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah said its release had been delayed in the hope that Mr Khashoggi would return safely.

“Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post,” she wrote. “This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for.”

What did the last column say?

Mr Khashoggi presented a strong criticism of the state of press freedoms in the Arab world: “The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power.

“The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices.”

He mentioned the case of his fellow Saudi writer, Saleh al-Shehi, who he said “is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment”.

“Such actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community,” he wrote. “Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.”

What is Trump’s latest position?

Saudi Arabia is one of Washington’s closest allies and the Khashoggi disappearance is putting the administration in an awkward position.

Confirming that the tape said to provide evidence of the killing had been requested, Mr Trump added: “I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does.”

Mr Trump said he expected a report from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has just been to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The president said the truth would come out “by the end of the week”.

He rejected suggestions he was trying to provide cover for Saudi Arabia: “No, not at all, I just want to find out what’s happening.”

Over the past few days, Mr Trump has raised the possibility of “rogue killers” being behind the journalist’s disappearance. And he has cautioned against rushing to blame Saudi leaders, telling the Associated Press news agency that they were being treated as “guilty until proven innocent”.

What is reported to be on the recording?

Early on in their inquiry, Turkish investigators said they had evidence that Mr Khashoggi – a critic of Saudi leaders – was murdered.

Reports in Turkish media give gruesome details of what are said to be his final minutes.

A Turkish newspaper says the consul himself, Mohammed al-Otaibi, can be heard in the audio recording of Mr Khashoggi’s death.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The search of Saudi consular buildings continues

Yeni Safak, which is close to the government, quotes him as telling alleged Saudi agents sent to Istanbul: “Do this outside. You’re going to get me in trouble.”

Mr Otaibi flew back to Riyadh on Tuesday.

How is Turkey’s investigation progressing?

On Wednesday and into Thursday, investigators spent almost nine hours searching the Saudi consul’s residence, then moving on to the consulate itself about 200m (650ft) away, according to Reuters news agency.

The team included prosecutors and forensics experts in white overalls.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police inside the Saudi consul’s residence

Several vehicles with Saudi diplomatic number plates were filmed by CCTV cameras moving from the consulate to the residence just less than two hours after Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate on the day he vanished.

The consulate building was searched for the first time on Monday.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

On Tuesday, Mr Pompeo was in Riyadh for talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who he said “strongly denied” any involvement in the journalist’s disappearance.

The events of 2 October

Mr Khashoggi is a US resident and columnist for the Washington Post newspaper who went into self-imposed exile last year after reportedly being warned by Saudi officials to stop criticising the crown prince’s policies.

He arrived at the consulate at 13:14 local time for an appointment to obtain paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancée.

Saudi officials have insisted Mr Khashoggi left the consulate soon afterwards and came to no harm.

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

But Turkish officials believe an assault and struggle took place in the building.

They allege that Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents who were pictured entering and leaving Turkey on CCTV footage released to media outlets.

The New York Times reports that four of the 15 agents have links to Crown Prince Mohammed, while another is a senior figure in the country’s interior ministry.

On Tuesday, G7 foreign ministers called for Saudi Arabia to conduct a “transparent” investigation into the issue.

Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has become the latest high-profile figure to withdraw from a major Saudi investment conference next week following Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

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Crimea attack: College assault kills 17

Scene of Crimea school shooting, 17 October 2018 Image copyright PA

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in an attack at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Officials initially said an “unidentified explosive device” detonated, but now say all the victims died of gunshot wounds at the technical college in Kerch.

Russian investigators said an 18-year-old student blamed for the attack had killed himself.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a widely criticised move.

The annexation followed a disputed vote that was condemned by many Western powers.

The alleged perpetrator of the college attack has been identified as Vladislav Roslyakov, who is said to have opened fire on those in the building. Forty people were injured.

Russia’s RBC TV interviewed a friend who said he “hated the technical school very much”.

Image copyright PA

The incident had initially been described as a “terrorist act”, but Russia’s investigative committee has now reclassified it as “mass murder”.

President Vladimir Putin described it as a “tragic event” and expressed condolences to the victims’ relatives.

Image copyright PA
Image caption National guard soldiers were deployed

A local official said most of the victims were students of the technical college, which is a vocational school for 850 teenagers.

A major emergency response operation launched as the victims were taken to hospitals.

Four military planes were ready to evacuate the wounded and military hospital facilities were ready to accept victims if necessary, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Investigators had at first released a statement saying an explosive device filled with “metal objects” had detonated in the dining area.

In earlier reaction, the director of the college, who was not at the scene at the time of the attack, told Russian media that unknown armed men had broken into the building. She compared it to the school siege of Beslan in 2004, during which about 330 people died.

Reuters news agency said that schools and pre-schools were being evacuated in the city.

Kerch is situated at the point where Russia built a bridge between the Crimean peninsula and Russia.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine remain strained by the Crimea annexation and a continuing conflict involving Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The speaker of the Russia-backed Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, suggested Kiev may have been behind the attack, saying “the entire evil inflicted on the land of Crimea is coming from the official Ukrainian authorities”.

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Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey ‘to search Saudi consulate’ in Istanbul

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Turkish officials investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will search Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul later on Monday, according to reports.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents nearly two weeks ago, but Riyadh strongly denies this.

Diplomatic pressure is growing on the Saudis to give a fuller explanation.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.

“The king has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the information from the joint team in Istanbul,” an official quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Last week, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to investigate Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The latest moves come as more leading business figures say they will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh later this month.

The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, is one of the latest high-profile executives to pull out.

When will the search take place?

Turkish diplomatic sources said the consulate would be searched by a joint Turkish-Saudi team in the late afternoon or evening.

Details of how the search will be carried out have not been revealed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police barricades have been set up in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to search the building but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood.

King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening, officials said, and stressed the importance of the two countries working together on the case.

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials have audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the building.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents, but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

How have other countries reacted?

US President Donald Trump has threatened Saudi Arabia with “severe punishment” if it emerges that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

In an interview with CBS News, Mr Trump said that, if true, the fact that a journalist was murdered was “terrible and disgusting”.

However, he ruled out halting big military contracts with Riyadh.

On Sunday, Riyadh angrily rejected political and economic “threats” over the missing journalist and said it would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”.

The UK, Germany and France have called for a “credible” investigation into the disappearance.

Their foreign ministers said that if anyone were found responsible they should be held accountable, and urged a detailed response from Riyadh.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that whatever happened now was “absolutely up to Saudi Arabia”.

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Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudis defy ‘threats’ over missing writer

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Saudi Arabia rejects political and economic “threats” over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source quoted by state news agency SPA says.

The country would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”, the unnamed senior source said.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, vanished on 2 October after visiting its consulate in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump said he would “punish” Saudi Arabia if it were found responsible for killing him.

The authorities in Istanbul believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents – claims Riyadh has dismissed as “lies”.

Britain and the US are considering boycotting a major international conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

What is the latest from the Saudis?

The source quoted by SPA said: “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure.

“The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one. The Saudi economy has vital and influential roles for the global economy.”

The Saudis have come under considerable international pressure over the disappearance.

Diplomatic sources told the BBC’s James Landale that both US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend next month’s investment conference in Riyadh, which has been dubbed “Davos in the Desert”.

The event is being hosted by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda. Several sponsors and media groups have decided to pull out.

A joint statement of condemnation, if it is confirmed that Mr Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, is also being discussed by US and European diplomats.

What has Mr Trump said?

The president has said the US will inflict “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the death of Mr Khashoggi.

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Media captionDonald Trump says he’d be very angry if Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

He said he would be “very upset and angry if that were the case”, but ruled out halting big military contracts.

“I think we’d be punishing ourselves if we did that,” he said. “If they don’t buy it from us, they’re going to buy it from Russia or… China.”

Where is the investigation now?

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia had not so far co-operated with the investigation – despite a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz saying his nation wanted to uncover “the whole truth”.

Mr Cavusoglu has urged the kingdom to allow Turkish officials to enter the consulate.

Saudi share reaction

On Sunday, stocks on the Tadawul All-Shares Index plummeted 7% in early trading, wiping out all the gains made this year, before recovering slightly around noon.

In two sessions it lost $50bn (£38bn) of its $450bn capitalisation, AFP news agency reported.

Salah Shamma, of Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Reuters: “The market is reacting negatively to sentiment around the Khashoggi case.”

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the consulate.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi entered the building to get paperwork for a marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents.

Turkish TV has broadcast CCTV footage of the moment Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate.

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Media captionSecretary General Antonio Guterres told the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed “we need to know exactly what has happened”

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Nepal storm kills several climbers in Himalayan peak Gurja

An ice avalanche is shooting down an icy rock slope Image copyright Frank Bienewald/Getty
Image caption Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks

At least eight climbers died when a violent snowstorm destroyed their camp on a Himalayan peak in western Nepal.

A five-member South Korean expedition team and four Nepali guides were at the base camp of Mount Gurja when the storm struck, police said on Saturday.

A rescue helicopter at the scene confirmed seeing eight bodies in the ruins of the camp, but was unable to stay due to bad weather conditions.

The ninth climber has yet to be found but is feared dead.

“Five South Korean climbers are dead, three Nepalese nationals are also dead. One Nepali guide is missing,” police spokesman Sailesh Thapa told the BBC.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Kim Chang-ho has won awards for his mountaineering efforts

Local media report that South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, the fastest person to summit the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, is among the dead.

“The camp was completely destroyed,” the BBC heard from Myagdi district official Liladhar Adhikari. “[A recovery team] could see the bodies of the climbers scattered near the camp.”

He said another recovery team would be sent on Sunday, weather conditions permitting.

Expedition organisers raised the alarm after losing contact with the group, which set off on 7 October, for nearly 24 hours.

The climbers had been waiting for a window of good weather so they could reach the summit, when the storm hit Friday.

The base camp, which is at least one-day’s trek from the nearest village, is at 3,500m (11,483ft), on the 7,193m-high mountain.

The rarely-climbed Mount Gurja sits in Nepal’s Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest mountain.

According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja’s summit since 1996.

Only 30 people have successfully climbed to its peak compared with more the than 8,000 people who have reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest.

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Storm Michael: Record-breaking ‘hell’ storm mauls US

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Media captionDevastation as Michael makes landfall

The third-strongest storm in recorded history to hit the mainland US has battered north-west Florida, flooding beach towns and snapping trees.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as a category four storm with 155mph (250km/h) winds in the state’s Panhandle region.

Two people, including a child, were killed by falling trees, officials say.

Michael was downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakened over Georgia on its way to the Carolinas.

Storm-surge warnings are in place between Panama City Beach and Keaton Beach in Florida, and between Ocracoke Inlet and Duck in North Carolina, the US National Hurricane Center says.

There are fears for people who ignored evacuation warnings in some of the areas now flooded.

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were left without electricity in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

Florida officials said a man was killed when he was crushed by a tree in Gadsden County while a child died when a tree fell on a home in Seminole County, Georgia, CBS news reports.

Michael earlier reportedly killed at least 13 people as it passed through Central America: six in Honduras, four in Nicaragua and three in El Salvador.

How powerful was Michael when it hit?

Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, at around 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Only the unnamed Labor Day hurricane, which hit Florida in 1935, and Hurricane Camille, which struck Mississippi in 1969, made landfall with greater intensity.

The Labor Day storm’s barometric pressure (the lower the number, the stronger the storm) was 892 millibars and Camille’s was 900, while Michael blew in with 919.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trailer homes were ravaged in Panama City, Florida

Michael was so powerful as it swept into Florida that it remained a hurricane as it moved further inland.

Its rapid intensification caught many by surprise, although the storm later weakened.

Unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico turbo-charged the storm from a tropical depression on Sunday.

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Media captionHurricane Michael strikes Florida

Only on Tuesday it was a category two hurricane but by Wednesday morning it had reached borderline category five, the highest level.

How badly was Florida hit?

More than 370,000 people in Florida were ordered to evacuate but officials believe many ignored the warning.

The coastal city of Apalachicola reported a storm surge of nearly 8ft (2.5m).

“There are so many downed power lines and trees that it’s almost impossible to get through the city,” local mayor Van Johnson was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Images from Mexico Beach show many homes submerged in water, and there was severe damage to buildings in the state’s Panama City area.

“We are catching some hell,” Timothy Thomas, who rode out the storm with his wife in their home in Panama City, told the Associated Press news agency.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This McDonald’s sign was twisted by the storm in Panama City Beach

The storm knocked out power to a quarter of a million homes and businesses, as power lines were smashed by falling trees.

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Media captionHurricane Michael as seen from space

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Brock Long said at the White House that he was especially concerned about buildings constructed before 2001, and not able to withstand such high winds.

“We just hope those structures can hold up,” President Donald Trump responded. “And if not, that they’re not in those structures.”

Hurricanes

A guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face.”
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

“Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

“For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life.”
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

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States of emergency have been declared in all or parts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

Schools and state offices in the area are to remain shut this week and Florida has activated 3,500 National Guard troops.

What happens next?

As of early Thursday morning local time, the storm winds had dropped to 60mph, the NHC said.

It warned that communities in north-west Florida and North Carolina faced the threat of life-threatening flooding as rising water moved inland from the coast.

The Carolinas are still recovering from the floods of Hurricane Florence.


Are you in the affected region? What preparations have you made? If it is safe to do so, please get in touch. Email .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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Louisville Voter Guide Takes It Up A Notch Locally

Louisville Voter Guide

Louisville Voter Guides have in the past left something to be desired.  The official state guide at govoteky.com only gets a voter to register and understandably it leaves out most of the candidate information.

Louisville voters guide

Sean Delahanty’s campaign site similarly must remain neutral as a judge must remain nonpartisan but his voter guide includes candidates website links when available, and a side by side tweeter comparison for the Louisville Metro Mayor‘s race.  This adds a more rich experience to visitors looking for more than just a piece of the puzzle.

Local Election Coverage

The Complete Voter Guide as it is termed on the site aims to form a puzzle from all of the pieces of other sites.  Jefferson County Clerk’s site provides precinct and voter statistics, the Kentucky Secretary of State’s site provides voter information lookup capabilities and various mapping sites provide legislative districts for State House, State Senate, Metro Council Districts and suburban cities.

What District Am I In?

When Louisville merged with Jefferson County decades ago it did a secular thing in leaving all of the other cities in the county in tact.  This means that in addition to Louisville election districts the same voters may have additional cities and districts to vote upon.  The cities of Shively, St. Matthews and Jeffersonville are the largest of these examples.  Some cities barely cover a couple blocks such as Stratford Manor.  The voter guide at Sean Delahanty’s site provides a Louisville Neighborhoods and Districts map to aid voters in those regards.

Metro Council Districts Map
Metro Council Districts map in voter guide

Comparatively other voter guides are actually used in the voter guide such as Vote411.org and Ballotpedia.

Election Polling and Statistics

Its an interesting collection of info and insights that Louisville voters don’t usually see in local elections.  Polling is almost nonexistent at this level but the voter guide still makes an attempt with their polling for entertainment purposes.  The site’s inclusion of crime data for the last ten years is also unique as it divides incidents by category and zip code.

Its a good guide from a nonpartisan candidates campaign.

What To Do With Your Political Site After The Election

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Louisville Cloud – SEO – Web Design

Its something farthest from your mind, I’m sure.  If you’re working for a political campaign you’re pushing forward and the next 5 weeks are all out war ahead.  What to do with your campaign site after the election?  Heck I suspect some of you are just now getting around to your website, or many feel it hasn’t helped in the past so no need to worry.  You’d be wrong if you fall into either of those mindsets, if you’re the diligent one you’ll find the rewards are like a garden.

I started renting a house in my hometown after returning from Chicago and suddenly I found I had room to grow things. I wanted hydrangeas so I planted 14 or so … it took a lot of them to make a show at a gallon a plant. We also planted a grapevine.  Not much happened though, and I could have easily given up after the summer, just ignore them…but they were never going to be mature in one season.  A grapevine takes 3 years before it produces grapes, I learned hydrangeas were “old” wood and new growth wouldn’t come from new plant life.  If you get where I’m going, I’ll stop with the gardening story.  You’re website will not produce fruit in its first couple months.

Domain age actually has both a direct and indirect effect on your ranking.  For one, a website thats been up and running since the last election has had links from other sites organically made, not a ton if you just leave it sitting there but definitely more than if you take it down and just hold on to the domain.  In a previous post I mentioned it takes 3 to 6 months to rank a site, you’ll be a step further if you just leave it up and alone.  (Best not alone, maybe post a new article every couple months.)

Domain Age directly affects your Trust Factor/Citation Factor and your Domain Authority which in turn suggest that your Google standing next election cycle is going to be improved as well.  And stop thinking your target keyword is your name, if someone is Googling your name they’ve already heard of you. Take the big terms like election results, voter guide or the other candidate’s name.

Take seandelahanty.com and judgeseandelahanty.com the first is younger but it has 70 times the backlinks and its been updated religiously, has the social media mentions, it has the content.  The first address is a Domain Authority 23 and the older one is a Domain Authority 2! Its still neck and neck in some searches.  Just today I Googled the candidates name the older one comes up 3rd and the real site thats 2 months old, has 10+ times the domain authority that site is 6th. Here is a representation of how much weight domain age may have, I link to the case study below.  Oh and BTW the new site is actually doing pretty good I think. Page 1 ranking on 45 keywords on Google…100 ranked keywords altogether. But back to the point…

what goes into a ranking

what goes into a ranking

Now let me clear the air though, no matter how old your domain is and consistently you’ve had a site up…if the content isn’t any good its a lost opportunity.  So do make an effort to convey your continued message through your site and when you run for the next office you’re site will be that much more ready.  Final note here, there are a ton of opinions out there on domain age, but no one would disagree a site thats up and updated periodically is more likely to gain backlinks.

SO Just get a cheap web hosting plan and post every few months, don’t just take it down and box it up till a month before the next election.  For further reading on domain authority a case study.  Id recommend that article, it goes over several factors.

And I can tell you one person who’s still got her site up…signs of the times.

clinton

clinton

https://www.matthewleffler.com/what-to-do-with-your-political-site-after-the-election/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-to-do-with-your-political-site-after-the-election

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An Article Worth A Second Read

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Louisville Cloud – SEO – Web Design

So I was cleaning up some posts on Sean Delahanty’s site and making them fresh for folks when I ran across this often missed and misunderstood posting of a WDRD story.  Sean Delahanty and the controversy with jailing everyone for everything.

The issue can kinda be boiled down to this …

If you are arrested you are innocent until proven guilty. Thats our rule of law. Now LMPD and prosecutors feel that if the police arrest you, you are guilty and you should only get bail if they (the police think you shouldnt be there…which why would they bring them there if they didnt think they were guilty?) But these two statements cant both be true…

officers
LMPD officers arrested following allegations of rape of underage minors.

Or how about the guy who was a suburban police chief who said just shot the black people.

Racist Chief

Racist Chief

SO police arrested those police officers…so they must be guilty?  And this racist says shooting black people is cool…even the County Attorney had to agree the police were wrong on that one. But then …. see its a paradox.

Now I’m not saying that LMPD officers are normally like these three…but I am saying they are human, and capable of good and bad.

They are not judge and jury ..thats why we have a judge and jury.  If you get the time read that long in depth article.

https://www.matthewleffler.com/an-article-worth-a-second-read/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=an-article-worth-a-second-read

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