Published 6:07 PM EDT Sep 12, 2018
Florence watch: A 'bizarre' shift from an already bizarre storm
If there's one thing we can say for certain about Hurricane Florence – currently Category 3 with 120 mph winds, it's that this storm has been a weird one. The saga began with the its already unprecedented path across the Atlantic. Every single hurricane in recorded history that was where Florence was a few days ago curved out to sea, away from land. Florence, instead, is eyeing the Southeast coast head-on. And on Wednesday, the storm gave forecasters another surprise. Instead of roaring ashore and quickly heading inland and weakening – as most normal storms do – Florence is expected instead to "stall near the coast and then parallel southwestward toward Georgia," Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Postel said. Good news if you live farther north, like the D.C. metro area; bad news if you're in South Carolina or Georgia. "I've never seen anything like this," Postel added. So, how are government agencies preparing?
FEMA: We'll do just fine with Florence – despite losing $10M to ICE
FEMA is ready to respond to Hurricane Florence and has "plenty of resources," a senior FEMA official said Wednesday. But that assurance comes in light of news that the agency lost $10 million in funds in a transfer to help U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), also an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. "That has not impacted our situation whatsoever," Jeff Byard, FEMA's associate administrator for response and recovery, told reporters. The transfer to ICE is an especially sore point with Democrats, who have been battling the administration on the detention and forced separation of immigrant families crossing the border. Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-Oregon), who shared documents detailing the transfer, told USA TODAY the transfer was "incredibly irresponsible."
Apple's new iPhones are here, and costly
As expected, Apple took the wraps off its latest iPhone updates introducing on Wednesday three new models: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. All three phones ditch the home button (RIP) in favor of an all-screen design similar to last year's iPhone X. What else is new? A faster processor, cool new camera tricks, a massive 6.5-inch display on the XS Max and lots of color options for the XR. What hasn't changed? The pricing. Apple's new phones will not be cheap, starting at $749 for the 64GB iPhone XR, $999 for the 64GB iPhone XS and $1,099 for the 64GB iPhone XS Max. Better start saving up now before the phones go on sale over the next few weeks. Don't need a new phone? Here's what changed with the fourth generation of Apple Watch.
FDA threatens to vaporize e-cigarettes from market
That big blast you just heard was the Food and Drug Administration firing a shot across the bow of e-cigarette makers. Declaring youth vaping an "epidemic," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Wednesday warned that the agency will halt sales of flavored electronic cigarettes if the major manufacturers can't prove they are doing enough to keep them out of kids' hands. The agency is giving the makers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic 60 days to submit "robust" plans to prevent youth vaping. If the agency thinks those plans fall short, it could order their products off the shelves. More than 2 million middle school, high school and college students use the battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor. "Teenagers are becoming regular users, and the proportion of regular users is increasing," Gottlieb said.
The rap beef between Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly is (unfortunately) still raging
Eminem has added fuel to the fire in his beef with Machine Gun Kelly. "My man better chill," the Detroit rapper said in an interview clip that dropped Tuesday night. The issues began in 2012 when Kelly tweeted that Eminem's daughter Hailie was "hot as (expletive)." Eminem's daughter was 16 at the time. Eminem answered Kelly in a diss on "Not Alike" from his new album "Kamikaze." Kelly fired back in "Rap Devil," a play on Eminem's own "Rap God." Eminem's latest "chill" warning Tuesday came at the close of a teaser to a follow-up video, where he will no doubt further address his beef. "Now I'm in this (expletive) weird thing, because I'm like, 'I've got to answer this (expletive),'" Eminem says. And yes, this beef is in fact "uniquely terrible," writes USA TODAY Life's Maeve McDermott.
This compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY NETWORK was brought to you by John Riley, Eli Blumenthal and Ryan Miller.
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