Cameraman hangs on grimly as he's swept away by Hurricane Florence storm surge in North Carolina

A cameraman has been filmed clinging on as a storm surge from Hurricane Florence swept him off his feet at a North Carolina beach.

The cameraman from Live Storm Media can be seen in the video holding his camera as he’s dragged past a house at North Topsail Beach.

Eventually, he manages to cling on to the ground behind a tree.

The surge was caused by the outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still lethal Hurricane Florence.

The monster storm is set for a prolonged and potentially catastrophic drenching along the Southeast coast.

Florence's winds had dropped from a peak of 225 kph to 165 kph by midmorning, reducing the hurricane from a terrifying Category 4 to a 2.

But forecasters warned that the widening storm — and its likelihood of lingering around the coast day after day — will bring seawater surging onto land and torrential downpours.

"It truly is really about the whole size of this storm," National Hurricane Centre Director Ken Graham said. "The larger and the slower the storm is, the greater the threat and the impact - and we have that."

It’s predicted the fierce weather system will linger over the Carolina coast for days, not hours. Source: 1 NEWS

As of 3am (New Zealand time), Florence was centred about 230 kilometres southeast of Wilmington, its forward movement slowed to 17 kph. Hurricane-force winds extended 130 kilometres from its centre, with tropical-storm-force winds of up to 315 kilometres.

Forecasters said Florence's eye could come ashore Saturday morning around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. Then it is likely to hover along the coast Sunday, pushing up to nearly 4 metres of storm surge and unloading water on both states.

The forecast calls for as much as 102 centimetres of rain over seven days along the coast, with the deluge continuing even as the centre of the storm pushes its way over the Appalachian Mountains.

The result could be similar to what the Houston area saw during Hurricane Harvey just over a year ago: catastrophic inland flooding that could swamp homes, businesses, farms and industrial sites.



Russians accused of poisoning ex-spy and his daughter say they were in UK as tourists

The two Russian men spun an unlikely tale of hapless tourists defeated by grim British weather: They traveled more than 1609 kilometres to see England's famed Salisbury Cathedral but were turned back by slush and snow, then returned the next day and spent two hours exploring the "beautiful" city.

British officials had a more sinister explanation: Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were highly trained military intelligence agents sent by the Kremlin to Salisbury to smear a deadly nerve agent on the front door of a former Russian spy.

Petrov and Boshirov, both charged in absentia by Britain last week for trying to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with the nerve agent Novichok, went on the Kremlin-funded RT satellite channel today to proclaim their innocence, deny they were agents of the military intelligence service widely known as the GRU, and say they were merely tourists in the city southwest of London.

"Our friends had been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city," Petrov said in the interview.

The pair appeared on a state television channel, claiming they weren’t behind a nerve agent outrage. Source: BBC

"They have a famous cathedral there," Boshirov said, adding studiously: "It is famous for its 123-meter spire."

James Slack, spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May, derided their claims as "lies and blatant fabrications".

"More importantly, they are deeply offensive to the victims and loved ones of this horrific attack," he said.

Britain said the attack was almost certainly approved "at a senior level of the Russian state," an allegation that Moscow has vehemently denied.

Mr Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer turned double agent for Britain, and his visiting daughter fell ill March 4 from what Britain says was a Soviet-developed nerve agent; an investigating police officer also was hospitalized for about three weeks. In June, two area residents who apparently came across a discarded vial that contained the poison fell ill, and one of them died.

Britain identified the Russian suspects last week and released security-camera photos of them in Salisbury on March 3 and 4.

The surprise TV appearance by Petrov and Boshirov came a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russian authorities know the identities of the two men but insisted that they were civilians and there is "nothing criminal" about them. He urged them to contact the media, and Petrov said he heard Putin's statement on the radio and contacted Margarita Simonyan, RT's editor-in-chief who conducted the interview.

Petrov said that on their first trip to Salisbury, they were unable to make it from the train station to the cathedral — about 800 meters — because of snow and slush. Much of Britain suffered such weather that day.

The weather was better the next day, when the two were caught on camera at the Salisbury rail station at 11.48am. Ten minutes later, another camera found them walking in the direction of Mr Skripal's house — the opposite direction from the cathedral.

They again were recorded in the centre of town an hour later and were at the station by 1.50pm, two hours after arriving.

"We walked around, enjoying those beautiful English Gothic buildings," Boshirov said. They got a flight back to Russia later that evening.

The men, who appeared to be about 40, claimed they did not know who Mr Skripal was or where he lived.

Britain alleges the nerve agent used to poison the Skripals was carried in a perfume vial, which Boshirov dismissed by saying, "Don't you think it's kind of stupid for two straight men to carry perfume for ladies?"

He bristled when Ms Simonyan asked why the two men spent so much time together.

"Let's not breach anyone's privacy. We came to you for protection, but this is turning into some sort of interrogation," he said.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

They declined to give any other details about their lives, except to say they work in the nutritional supplements business.

"The whole situation is an incredible, fatal coincidence, and that's that," Petrov said. "What is our fault?"

Both men looked composed during the interview, but Boshirov said, "We fear for our lives."

Boshirov did not react to the interviewer's request to show the pictures they took on that trip, only saying that he found Salisbury Cathedral "very beautiful".

John Glen, the Parliament member for Salisbury, offered a wry comment about the pair's visit to his town, tweeting: "Delighted to see that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were able to see the world-class attractions that Salisbury has to offer. But very strange to come all this way for just two days while carrying Novichok in their luggage."

Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov say they travelled to England to see the Salisbury Cathedral but turned back due to bad weather. Source: Breakfast


San Francisco to remove statue deemed racist and demeaning to indigenous groups

A San Francisco board has voted unanimously to remove a 19th century statue that activists say is racist and demeaning to indigenous people.

The unanimous decision yesterday by the San Francisco Board of Appeals involves the "Early Days" statue, which depicts a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary. It is part of a group of statues near City Hall that depict the founding of California.

San Francisco's Arts Commission spokeswoman Kate Patterson said the statue will be removed as soon as possible but wouldn't give an exact date, citing security concerns.

Native American activists have tried to have the statue removed for decades. They renewed efforts last year after clashes broke out over Confederate monuments.

"This has been a tough 30-plus years. But this is wonderful," Dee Dee Ybarra, an Ohlone tribal leader who urged the commissioners to remove the statue, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

After it is removed from public viewing, the statue will be restored and put in storage until officials decide what to do with it, Patterson said.

Several entities, including a museum in California, have expressed interest in housing it, she added.

In April, the board unanimously voted to overturn a decision by the city's Arts Commission to remove the sculpture. At the time, appeals board member Rick Swig called the statue "horrible" but said removing it from public view would squash free speech.

The quasi-judicial, five-member body agreed in June to reconsider its decision.

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to end the Columbus Day holiday and celebrate indigenous people and Italian Americans on the second Monday of October.

Board members said Native people suffered greatly after explorer Christopher Columbus arrived.

A 19th century statue depicting a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and Catholic missionary in San Francisco will be removed following a unanimous decision by a San Francisco board. Source: Associated Press

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Police search for culprit who hid needles inside Australian strawberry stocks

Police are still searching for the culprit who hid sewing needles inside of strawberry stocks from a Sunshine Coast-based supplier.

A fourth punnet of strawberries inserted with needles was discovered on Thursday by a Gladstone woman whose son bit into a contaminated berry he'd taken to school in his lunch box.

It comes a day after consumers in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales were urged to throw out berries bought in the past week following three similar incidents, one in Queensland and two in Victoria.

The Warmuran farm which supplied the berries under the brand names Berry Obsession and Berry Licious, was inspected by Queensland police and Australian Border Force officers on Thursday.

An investigation is also under way after a Coles employee found a small metal rod laying across the top of some strawberries inside a plastic punnet on the shelves of a Gatton store.

Police have cast doubt on the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association theory a disgruntled farm worker may be responsible.

Consumers are being told to cut up strawberries to make sure they are safe to eat and police want anyone who finds a needle to contact them.



Rapper Mac Miller 'dead for hours' before emergency services arrived

Mac Miller's dead body reportedly lay undiscovered for hours before police and paramedics arrived at his house.

The 26-year-old rapper's body was discovered by police and paramedics in the bedroom of his San Fernando Valley home around midday on Friday (local time), but sources told TMZ it was clear he had passed away from an apparent overdose long before they arrived.

The night before Miller was discovered, he had had friends over to the house to hang out, and they left in the early hours of the Friday morning, with police revealing no one has come forward to say they had seen him alive after that night.

A call to emergency services said the Self Care hitmaker had suffered a cardiac arrest, but it's believed that the person who found him may not have realised he was already dead.

It was previously claimed Miller's California home had been "swept clean" so there would be no evidence of drug use.

Police searching for clues were said to have found only a small amount of white powder at the property.

American rapper Mac Miller dies age 26.
American rapper Mac Miller dies age 26. Source: Bang Showbiz

Earlier this week, the rapper's body was released to his family after an autopsy on his remains was completed, though an official cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

Los Angeles County coroner's spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said: "The autopsy was completed and a cause of death has been deferred pending additional tests. His body has been released."

A cause of death won't be announced until test results are released, and that could take anything from a few weeks to months, the spokesperson confirmed.

Now Miller's body has been released, his funeral will be able to take place.

Though it's currently unclear when that will happen, the Dang! star was raised in the Jewish faith, where it is preferred to have burial take place in as short an interval of time after death as possible.

FILE - In this July 13, 2013, file photo, Rapper Mac Miller performs on his Space Migration Tour at Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Los Angeles County coroner’s spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, that investigators have performed the autopsy and released the Miller's body to the family, but a cause will not be announced until the results of toxicology tests that can take weeks or months. Miller was found dead in his Los Angeles home last week. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)
Rapper Mac Miller performs on his Space Migration Tour at Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Source: Associated Press