NC TOWN FLOODED BY HURRICANE STILL REELING FROM DAMAGE: Before the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew, the population of this Columbus County town along the banks of the Lumber River was estimated at 900 to 950 people. After the flood, the number plummeted dramatically, and the town now counts about 600 residents. The flooding, which devastated much of Fair Bluff on the heels of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, significantly altered the landscape. As of late May, the rebuilding efforts had barely begun. Leonard said 111 residences were flooded out. Though he notes that "a lot" of federal and state grant money has been awarded, most of the property owners have not received the financial assistance to date. The town's water and sewer system was substantially impacted by the extensive flooding, Leonard said. One of the town's two wells remains out of commission. "We believe we were ground zero. We believe no municipality was hit harder than us," he said from Town Hall. "We think we were the most impacted community in the state."
TRUMP THROWS TANTRUM AT G7 AND ATTACKS CANADA'S JUSTIN TRUDEAU: The European Union is backing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after U.S. President Donald Trump branded him "dishonest" and "weak" following a weekend Group of Seven summit of leaders. European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the EU "stands fully behind" the joint statement issued at the end of the G-7. He added that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thanks Trudeau "for the excellent preparation and chairing of this challenging summit." Trump agreed to a G-7 statement on trade but withdrew from it later. He complained he was blindsided by Trudeau's criticism of his tariff threats during the premier's summit-ending news conference. Schinas added: "The European Union will continue to stand up for an international, rules-based, multilateral system."
KIM JONG UN MAY BE WILLING TO GIVE UP ICBM PROGRAM: Kim's turn toward diplomacy this year suggests he may have concluded the nuclear deterrence strategy was failing, some analysts say. After a November test of a larger ICBM, the Hwasong-15, Kim proclaimed his nuclear force as complete, but his announcement may have been more politically motivated than an assessment of capability. Although the Hwasong-15 displayed a greater range than the Hwasong-14, there was no clear sign the North had made meaningful progress in the technology needed to ensure that a warhead would survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry. New U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy reports released in December and January respectively also seemed to reduce the credibility of Kim's deterrence plans, said Hwang Ildo, a professor at Seoul's Korea National Diplomatic Academy.
STATE DEPARTMENT CLAIMS TWO MORE EMPLOYEES SUFFERED "SONIC" ATTACK IN CUBA: U.S. officials said Friday that they had pulled two workers from Cuba and were testing them for possible brain injury. There was no immediate explanation of why the Cuban statement only referred to one official. The two individuals are considered “potentially new cases” but have not yet been “medically confirmed,” a State Department official said. Two other officials said the individuals have been brought for testing to the University of Pennsylvania, where doctors have been evaluating, treating and studying Americans affected in Cuba last year as well as almost 10 new possible cases from a U.S. consulate in China. The officials weren’t authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity. If confirmed by doctors to have the same condition, the two individuals would mark the 25th and 26th confirmed patients from the bizarre incidents in Cuba that were first disclosed last year and have been deemed “specific attacks” by the U.S. government.
ISS GAINS 3 MORE ASTRONAUTS AS RUSSIAN SOYUZ MISSILE DOCKS WITH SPACE STATION: A Russian space capsule carrying three astronauts has docked with the International Space Station two days after it was launched from Kazakhstan. The Soyuz capsule docked with the station at 13:01 GMT Friday some 255 miles (410 kilometers) above the Earth. It is carrying Serena Aunon-Chancellor of the United States, Sergey Prokopyev of Russia and German Alexander Gerst, flying for the European Space Agency. They will join Americans Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Russia’s Oleg Artemyev at the station. The program for their six-month mission includes about 250 experiments in biology, earth sciences, physical sciences and other disciplines. The Soyuz blasted off on Wednesday from Russia’s manned space launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.