UPDATE: Hurricane Sandy blows out of Bahamas, after killing 43 in Caribbean, en route to US coast
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Some East Coast residents still recovering a year after being battered by Hurricane Irene are bracing for an even bigger storm.
Forecasters are warning that Hurricane Sandy will blend with two winter weather systems and form a rare megastorm that could spawn damaging winds, nearly a foot of rain and up to 2 feet of snow in some locations. Experts warn such a storm has the potential to be wider and stronger than Irene, which caused more than $15 billion in damage.
Some officials in seaboard states and cities have already declared states of emergencies. Residents are being warned they could go without power for several days.
The approaching storm has prompted the military to move some vessels out a major base in Virginia. Utilities have boosted manpower to ratchet up their storm response capability. Some airlines are saying they won't charge fees for passengers forced to change their plans.
The presidential campaign is also being impacted. Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden have both canceled weekend events in coastal Virginia Beach, Va.
Sandy has just left the Bahamas. It's blamed for 43 deaths in the Caribbean including 29 in impoverished Haiti. Residents from Florida to North Carolina will experience peripheral impacts of the hurricane through the weekend.
Airlines ask fliers to reschedule due to big storm
NEW YORK (AP) — Some U.S. airlines are giving travelers a way out if they want to scrap their plans due to a massive storm expected to hit the East Coast.
JetBlue, US Airways and Spirit Airlines are offering waivers to customers who wish to reschedule their flights without the typical fee of up to $150. Other airlines are monitoring the storm and plan to update passengers later Friday.
Hurricane Sandy plowed through the Bahamas early Friday after leaving 38 people dead across the Caribbean. It could blend with a winter storm to produce a so-called "Frankenstorm" along the U.S. East Coast next week.
Those hoping to fly in or out of affected areas are asked to check their flight status before heading to the airport. To cancel, they should call the airline directly.
Biden: America not in decline, Romney in denial
OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Vice president Joe Biden is telling Wisconsin voters that America is not in decline and that the Republican presidential ticket is in denial about the improving economy.
Biden spoke to about 1,000 people at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Friday. Later in the day, he drew about 1,500 people at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha.
The vice president peppered his speeches with familiar criticisms of Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. He said Romney "meant what he said" when Romney contended that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as victims entitled to government assistance.
Biden said, quote, "I don't recognize the country he's talking about."
Biden also criticized Romney for not condemning the recent remarks about rape and pregnancy made by Indiana's Republican Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock.
Romney calls for 'bold changes' for economy, but no specifics in economic address
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Mitt Romney is making what amounts to an economic closing argument for his presidential campaign.
Speaking to supporters in Iowa, the Republican candidate called for "bold changes" to help revive the economy and pledged to work with what he calls "good Democrats" to make it happen.
Romney did not unveil specific plans or answer lingering questions about his economic policies, such as how he would pay for his tax plan or replace the president's health care law.
He did criticize President Barack Obama, saying the president has no proposals to meet "the challenges of the times." He dismissed the president's signature legislative achievement as "his vaunted Obamacare" and said he would instead focus on saving Medicare and Social Security.
Romney also repeated many of his standard campaign themes, including his signature refrain that America can't afford another four years like the last four years.
PAUL RYAN EMAILS
Emails shed light on Ryan, Walker relationship
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Rising political stars and personal friends, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker worked quietly behind the scenes to coordinate public policy, avoid each other's limelight and steer clear of political minefields that would haunt their campaigns.
That's what is revealed in a review of more than 1,000 pages of internal emails obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
The emails reviewed by the AP offer an unusual, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the interpersonal relationship between Ryan and Walker.
Ryan's emails are exempt from disclosure under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. But messages sent by Ryan or his aides to Walker or the governor's staff are subject to Wisconsin's open records law.
Latino House candidates set to make history
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Congress is set to see what could be the largest number of Latinos elected to the House of Representatives.
The bipartisan group, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, says a total of 49 Latino candidates are seeking House seats this year. The group says at least 27 are likely to win on Nov. 6, including 22 incumbents or Latinos who would replace other Latinos.
If they prevail in four additional, competitive races, the total could rise to as many as 31. That would be the largest class of Latinos ever seen in Congress and the biggest increase in seats held by Latinos in a single election.
The incoming class would be part of a new generation of middle-class, college-educated Hispanic candidates.
Senators demand White House declassify Libya video
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators are demanding that the Obama administration make public the surveillance video taken during last month's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte wrote to President Barack Obama's defense secretary, CIA director and attorney general demanding that the video be declassified.
In the run-up to the presidential election, Republicans have accused the Obama administration of distorting the account of the attack on Sept. 11 that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Officials first blamed it on a mob set into motion by an anti-Islamic film. Obama administration officials have pointed to U.S. intelligence reports that showed conflicting information. Administration officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Police arrest 1 in LA family shooting
DOWNEY, Calif. (AP) — Police say they have arrested a man they previously detained who matched the description of a gunman who killed three people and injured two others in Downey earlier this week.
Police Sgt. Maria Villegas confirmed the arrest Friday after the man had been detained and questioned. The man's name and age were not immediately released.
Authorities brought the man in after a black Camaro that was stolen was found following Wednesday's shooting at a family owned fire extinguisher business and a relative's nearby home.
Police haven't given a motive but they said they don't believe the killings were a random act of violence.
NEW: Feds probe link between opioid injections, clots
ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities say they are working with Tennessee officials to investigate why at least 12 patients in that state who injected the pain reliever Opana ER for non-medical reasons since February have a rare blood disorder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the health advisory Friday night regarding the pain reliever, an extended-release form of oxymorphone. The CDC is working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Tennessee Department of Health.
The investigation is focusing on a cluster of patients with Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, described by officials as a blood disorder in which clots form in small blood vessels throughout the body. It is an uncommon but serious illness.
Authorities say Opana ER is only supposed to be taken orally. The cases were reported in Tennessee from April 16 to Oct. 19. Most of the women did not have a prescription and reported a history of chronic IV use of the opioid pain reliever for nonmedical reasons. All of the women were hospitalized, but no deaths have occurred.
NEW: Management: Lil Wayne hospitalized and released
NEW YORK (AP) — Lil Wayne's management team says the rapper is on "mandated rest" after a severe migraine and dehydration caused him to be hospitalized.
In a statement released Friday, the Blueprint Group says Lil Wayne was released from the hospital treatment and will return to work soon. They added that the New Orleans-based rapper appreciates his fans' support and love.
No further details were released.
The 30-year-old multiplatinum performer is working on a follow up to his last album, 2011's "Tha Carter IV."Tags: