UNITED NATIONS--Iran vowed on Wednesday not to be the first nation to violate the Iran nuclear deal and said it did not expect the United States to abandon it despite President Donald Trump's fierce criticism.
WASHINGTON--Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, offered to provide briefings to a Russian billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin on the status of the 2016 U.S. presidential election less than two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican nomination, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
UNITED NATIONS--U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States will be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge, mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a "rocket man" on a suicide mission.
NEW YORK--President Donald Trump's top economic adviser said at a United Nations meeting on Monday that the United States stood by its plans to abandon the Paris climate pact without a renegotiation more favorable to Washington, a step for which the international community has little appetite.
UNITED NATIONS--U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the United Nations for bloated bureaucracy and mismanagement on his first visit on Monday to U.N. headquarters, calling for "truly bold reforms" so it could be a greater force for world peace.
ST. LOUIS--Clashes between demonstrators and riot-clad police marred the end of what had been a largely peaceful second day of protest rallies in St. Louis following the acquittal of a white police officer in the fatal shooting of a black man.
WASHINGTON- - As President Donald Trump bowed his head in the Oval Office earlier this month, Texas Southern Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress and other U.S. religious leaders laid their hands on Trump's back and prayed for Hurricane Harvey's victims.
With TV cameras and reporters watching, the scene was a powerful reminder of one of Trump's most reliable and improbable political assets - his close ties with conservative Christians.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows, however, that Trump's popularity among white evangelicals has weakened, suggesting his grassroots support may not be as unconditional as religious leaders' public displays of allegiance would suggest.
That may pose a problem for Trump and his allies as the 2018 midterm congressional election season nears. Trump's strong links to conservative Christians played a key part in his stunning victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Though disenchanted evangelicals were unlikely to switch their votes to Democrats, they could stay home next year when U.S. voters elect senators and representatives.
"When your base is starting to even slowly move away from you, that should be a sign of concern," said Justin Vaughn, director of the Center for Idaho History and Politics at Boise State University in Idaho, a state Trump won handily last year.
In a country that is more religious than most other western democracies and where a president's spiritual life is closely examined, the twice-divorced New York billionaire socialite, who has attended church just twice since his Jan. 20 inauguration, is an unlikely torchbearer for conservative Christians.
He has labored to build and preserve this unlikely alliance, embracing social issues, such as commitment to anti-abortion and religious liberty policies, and picking staunch conservative Neil Gorsuch, for the Supreme Court.
But data from the nationwide online Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted from Jan. 22 to Aug. 25 suggest Trump has been unable to prevent his evangelical support from sliding in line with his overall ratings. The majority of those polled last month who described themselves as both "white" and a "born-again or evangelical Christian" said they approved of Trump, but considerably fewer than when he took office almost eight months ago.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the poll.
During a four-week period in August, 62 percent of white evangelicals said they approved of Trump, while 33 percent disapproved of the president and 5 percent said they had "mixed feelings."
That is a drop from the first four weeks of Trump's presidency, from late January to mid February, when 73 percent of white evangelicals said they approved of his performance while 23 percent disapproved and 5 percent had mixed feelings.
The poll was divided into eight four-week periods, with each including about 2,000 people and a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of about 2 percentage points.
The declines are broadly in line with those recorded among all adult Americans.
In interviews, 10 of the surveyed conservative Christians said they were not concerned about Trump's religion. Rather, they questioned whether he was doing enough to help average Americans and the frequent chaos in the White House.
"We can't go a week without someone leaving his administration. There is no stability in our government," said Robert Waldram, a 52-year-old Baptist churchgoer from Williamsburg, Virginia, in a telephone interview.
He said he voted for Trump as a better option than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But Waldram said he was tired of Trump's "childlike tantrums on Twitter."
In his first 200 days in office, Trump mentioned God about 100 times in public remarks, excluding the standard "God bless America" that presidents routinely end speeches with, something his ardent supporters welcome as readiness to eschew political correctness.
By this point in their presidencies, Democrat Barack Obama had mentioned God 43 times, while Republican George W. Bush had referred to God in 60 instances.
Jeffress, one of the first prominent evangelical pastors to back Trump for president, said his God talk was apolitical.
"I understand that cynical people would say this is just for political expediency, but ... I believe this comes out of some deep beliefs that he has personally," Jeffress said.
Trump, who describes himself as Presbyterian, was not known to be an avid churchgoer before becoming president and critics have said his blunders on basic biblical knowledge, harsh attacks on political adversaries, and his demeaning comments about women clash with Christian principles.
"He, himself, doesn't have the most sterling track record in terms of either church attendance or professed or displayed knowledge of scripture," Gary Scott Smith, a historian and author of "Religion in the Oval Office: The Religious Lives of American Presidents," said of Trump.
The pastors involved with Trump's evangelical advisory board describe him, though, as very inquisitive about faith and more thoughtful on religion than he might appear in public and conservative pastors have continued to support him through various firestorms.
Evangelicals have had "unprecedented" White House access in this administration, said Richard Land, a board member and president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, a Christian college.
After Trump's response to violence between white nationalists and left-wing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to two of his business advisory councils disbanding, there were questions about the evangelical board's future.
Brooklyn, New York, megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard resigned, but others remained, saying it was their job to provide advice and counsel to Trump, even when they disagree with him, and to press the president on Christian issues.
Johnnie Moore, a board member and former official at Liberty University, a religious school, said: "We have a deep personal relationship with him ... He has prioritized issues that are important to us and we appreciate that."
FORT MYERS, Fla., -- The death toll from Hurricane Irma was at 82 early on Friday as 1.5 million homes and businesses in Florida remained without power in sweltering heat, five days after the historic storm ripped through southeast U.S.
FLORIDA CITY/MARCO ISLAND, Fla., - Florida began allowing some residents to return to their homes hammered by Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, but officials warned that it would take a long time to repair the damage wrought by high winds and pounding surf, particularly in the Keys archipelago.
Irma, which had rampaged through the Caribbean as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday. It will likely dissipate from Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.
At its peak it prompted the evacuation of 6.5 million people, the largest evacuation in modern U.S. history.
Local authorities told around 90,000 residents of Miami Beach and from some parts of the Florida Keys they could go home but warned it may be prudent not to remain there.
"This is going to be a frustrating event. It's going to take some time to let people back into their homes particularly in the Florida Keys," Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told a morning press conference.
He noted that FEMA was continuing to rescue people stranded by flooding around Jacksonville, in the state's northeast.
After leaving a trail of destruction on several Caribbean islands, killing nearly 40 people, Irma caused record flooding in parts of Florida. Only one Florida fatality has been confirmed so far, but a local official said there had been more deaths.
Irma became the second major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in a little more than two weeks when it roared ashore on Key Cudjoe as a powerful Category 4 storm on Sunday. It followed Hurricane Harvey, which plowed into Houston late last month, killing about 60 and wreaking some $180 billion in damage, largely through flooding.
About 2-1/2 months remain in the official Atlantic hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center is monitoring another hurricane, Jose, which is spinning in the Caribbean, currently about 700 miles (1,130 km) from the mainland.
The U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln has arrived off Florida's east coast and two amphibious assault ships will arrive on Tuesday to help in the Keys. The military will distribute food and help evacuate 10,000 residents who did not leave before the storm.
Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers said Monday that people had been killed in the Keys, where nearly 80,000 permanent residents live, apart from one already known fatality. She did not have a count on how many.
"We are finding some remains," she said in an interview with CNN. Video footage of the islands showed homes torn apart by sustained winds of up to 130 mph (210 kph).
Several major airports in Florida that halted passenger operations due to Irma began limited service on Tuesday, including Miami International, one of the busiest U.S. airports.
The scope of damage in Florida and neighboring states paled in comparison with the devastation left by Irma in parts of the Caribbean, where it razed islands and killed nearly 40.
The center of Irma moved into Alabama on Tuesday and will head into western Tennessee by Tuesday evening with maximum sustained winds of 25 mph.
In South Carolina, the Charleston Harbor area saw major flooding on Monday with water about 3 feet (1 meter) above flood stage and minor flooding is forecast for Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.
Miami Beach will allow residents to return home from 8 a.m. (1200 GMT), its mayor said. More evacuation orders are likely to be lifted on Tuesday.
Monroe County opened road access on Tuesday morning for residents and business owners from Key Largo, the main island at the upper end of the chain, as well as the towns of Tavernier and Islamorada farther to the south, fire officials said.
No timetable was given for for reopening the remainder of the Keys.
MOST OF FLORIDA WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
Insured property losses in Florida from Irma are expected to run from $20 billion to $40 billion, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.
Utilities reported some 7.4 million homes and businesses were without electricity in Florida and neighboring states and said it could take weeks to fully restore service.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 utility workers from out of state, sent to inspect and repair power lines, were staying in Broward County in cramped conditions at BB&T Center, home to the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, said Gus Beyersdorf, 40, of De Pere, Wisconsin.
"Each one of us has a cot, a single foot apart," Beyersdorf said on Monday afternoon. "I slept in the truck last night just to get a break from it."
At least one other possibly storm-related fatal car crash was reported on Sunday in Orange County, Florida. On Monday, two people were killed by falling trees in two Atlanta suburbs, according to local authorities.
PHNOM PENH- The U.S. ambassador to Cambodia on Tuesday rejected government accusations of interference by the United States as "inaccurate, misleading and baseless" and called for the release of detained opposition leader Kem Sokha.
TAMPA, Fla.,/MIAMI- Hurricane Irma pounded heavily populated areas of central Florida on Monday as it carved through the state with high winds, storm surges and torrential rains that left millions without power, ripped roofs off homes and flooded city streets.
HOUSTON--Texas on Monday edged toward recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey as shipping channels, oil pipelines and refineries restarted some operations and authorities lifted an evacuation order for the area around a once-burning chemical plant.
WASHINGTON--Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, but could bring some fiscal order to Washington where Republicans and Democrats will need to put political differences aside in order to approve spending to repair the damage from flooding in and around Houston.
HOUSTON--U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday challenged Congress to raise the government's debt limit in order to free up relief spending for Hurricane Harvey, a disaster that the governor of Texas said had caused up to $180 billion in damage.
Harvey, which came ashore on Aug. 25 as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, has killed an estimated 50 people, displaced more than 1 million and damaged some 200,000 homes in a path of destruction stretching for more than 300 miles (480 km).
As the city of Houston and the region's critical energy infrastructure began to recover nine days after the storm hit, the debate over how to pay for the disaster played out in Washington. Texas Governor Greg Abbott estimated damage at $150 billion to $180 billion, calling it more costly than Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, which devastated New Orleans in 2005 and New York in 2012.
The administration of President Donald Trump has asked Congress for an initial $7.85 billion for recovery efforts, a fraction of what will eventually be needed. Even that amount could be delayed unless Congress quickly increases the government's debt ceiling, Mnuchin said, as the United States is on track to hit its mandated borrowing limit by the end of the month unless Congress increases it.
"Without raising the debt limit, I am not comfortable that we will get money to Texas this month to rebuild," Mnuchin told Fox News.
Republican lawmakers, who control both houses of Congress, have traditionally resisted raising the debt ceiling, but linking the issue to Harvey aid could force their hand with people suffering and large areas of the fourth-largest U.S. city under water. Beyond the immediate funding, any massive aid package faces budget pressures at a time when Trump is advocating for tax reform or tax cuts, leading some on Capitol Hill to suggest aid may be released in a series of appropriations.
Katrina set the record by costing U.S. taxpayers more than $110 billion. In advocating for funds to help rebuild his state, Abbott said damage from Harvey would exceed that.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city expected most public services and businesses to be restored by Tuesday, the first day after Monday's Labor Day holiday. "Over 95 percent of the city is now dry. And I'm encouraging people to get up and let's get going," Turner told NBC News.
Even so, Houston mandated the evacuation of thousands of people on the western side of town on Sunday to accommodate the release of water from two reservoirs that otherwise might sustain damage. The storm stalled over Houston, dumping more than 50 inches (1.3 m) on the region.
Houston cut off power to homes on Sunday to encourage evacuations. The area was closed off on Sunday and military vehicles were stationed on the periphery to take people out.
Karen Waltmon, 58, who was returning to her home in one of the neighbourhoods, said she wondered if parts of the city would have to be razed. "I feel a lot of Houston is drying out, and I don’t want them to forget about us,” she said.
About 37,000 refugees stayed overnight in 270 shelters in Texas plus another 2,000 in seven Louisiana shelters, the highest number reported by the American Red Cross.
Some 84,700 homes and businesses were without power on Sunday, down from a peak of around 300,000, according to the region's major electric companies.
In Crosby, Texas, an Arkema chemical plant that ran out of electricity needed to keep volatile organic peroxide refrigerated will burn the remaining containers as a "proactive measure," company and Harris County fire officials said in a statement. Officials last week evacuated residents and set up a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) perimeter around the area.
Energy disruptions pushed up gasoline futures to a two-year high ahead of the holiday weekend, but major refineries started to come back online on Friday. Colonial Pipeline, the biggest U.S. fuel system, expects to reopen a Texas segment of its network on Monday, when it will resume transporting distillates from Houston to Hebert, Texas, the company said on Sunday, adding that it would be ready to start moving gasoline on Tuesday.
Those repairs would restore to normal Colonial's entire pipeline from Houston to Linden, New Jersey, relieving shortages between Texas and the U.S. Northeast.
LOS ANGELES--A smattering of rain and easing temperatures helped more than a thousand firefighters battling the largest wildfire in Los Angeles history gain the upper hand on the blaze on Sunday, but officials warned that danger remains.
HOUSTON--Rescuers searched painstakingly through flooded sections of southeastern Texas on Friday for people stranded by Hurricane Harvey's deluge as Houston's mayor warned residents of the city's west their homes may not dry out for weeks.
WASHINGTON--House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged President Donald Trump on Friday not to rescind an Obama-era programme that protects immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children, as more Republicans lined up against the move.
PORT ARTHUR, Texas--Soldiers and police in helicopters and high-water trucks rescued thousands of Texans stranded by floodwater from Hurricane Harvey on Thursday, which has killed dozens of people and displaced more than a million others as it drenches the Gulf Coast.
MONTERREY, Mexico--Relatives in Mexico of the Saldivar family, six of whom died when a van was swept away by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, said they could not cross the border to mourn and criticized authorities for not evacuating before the storm.