OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The death toll in the Oakland warehouse fire has grown to 36.
Authorities announced the latest tally early Monday, saying they expect the number to rise.
Eleven victims have been positively identified, but the names have yet to be publicly released.
Work has stopped at the scene for now because one wall is leaning inward, posing a safety hazard for those who have been searching the structure. Officials hope to have an engineering solution later today.
Authorities also believe they’ve located the section of the building where the fire started, but the cause remains unknown.
The fire erupted during a dance party late Friday night.
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leaders face a challenge: How to deal with Donald Trump.
Weeks before taking office, the incoming American president is riling Beijing with confrontation and online statements that appear to foreshadow a tougher foreign policy toward China.
China awoke Monday to sharp criticism posted by Trump on Twitter, days after Beijing responded to his telephone conversation with Taiwan’s president by accusing the Taiwanese of playing a “small trick” on Trump.
Trump wrote, “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”
That was apparently prompted by China’s response to Trump’s talk Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, the first time an American president or president-elect is known to have spoken to a Taiwanese leader since the U.S. broke off formal diplomatic relations in 1979.
So far, China has avoided responding with open hostility. On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China would have “no comment on what motivated the Trump team” to make the tweets, but said he believed both sides would continue to support a “sound and a stable bilateral relationship.”
“For us, for China, we do not comment on his personality,” Lu said. “We focus on his policies, especially his policies toward China.”
China’s reaction to Trump’s call with Tsai was relatively low-key given the sensitivity China places on Taiwan.
The U.S. and Taiwan retain strong unofficial ties, and the U.S. sells weapons to the self-governing island. But American leaders have for decades avoided any official recognition in deference to China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, to be captured by force if necessary. Trump’s reference in another tweet to Tsai as “the President of Taiwan” was sure to inflame China, which considers any reference to Taiwan having a president as a grave insult.
But China only said it would make a “solemn representation” in Washington, and Lu declined to expand on that statement Monday. Instead, China seemed to offer Trump a face-saving way out of an apparent blunder by blaming the Taiwanese. English-language commentaries then appeared in two state-run newspapers known to be used by China’s ruling Communist Party leadership to send messages abroad.
“Trump might be looking for some opportunities by making waves,” the Global Times said in a Monday editorial headlined, “Talk to Trump, punish Tsai administration.”
“However, he has zero diplomatic experience and is unaware of the repercussions of shaking up Sino-U.S. relations,” the newspaper said. “It is certain that Trump doesn’t want a showdown with China, because it is not his ambition, and neither was it included in his promise to the electorate. He puts out feelers to sound China out and chalk up some petty benefits.”
China’s response was characteristically coded. But it now faces an incoming president who deals in outspoken tweets, not communiques.
Trump used a platform banned by censors in mainland China to renew several of his criticisms during the U.S. presidential campaign. Some of his arguments aren’t true.
Taiwan’s official Central News Agency, citing anonymous sources on Saturday, said Edwin Feulner, founder of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, was a “crucial figure” in setting up communication channels between the sides.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Sunday that the phone call shouldn’t necessarily be interpreted as a shift in U.S. policy. He shrugged off the attention to the incident as media hype.
“It was a courtesy call,” Pence told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Trump’s conversation does not signal any change to long-standing U.S. policy — although some in Taiwan expressed hopes for strong U.S. support from the incoming administration.
In terms of Trump’s criticisms, Chinese imports are taxed at standard U.S. rates, while Washington has recently slapped painful punitive tariffs on Chinese steel, solar panels and other goods.
And while China once kept a tight grip on the value of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, it now allows it to trade within a bandwidth 2 percent above or below a daily target set by the People’s Bank of China.
The yuan is currently trading at around a six-year low against the dollar. But economists now conclude that the currency is more or less properly valued in relation to the dollar and other foreign currencies. And with economic growth slowing considerably and more Chinese trying to move money out of the country, the government is now spending massively to hold up the yuan’s value rather than depressing it as Trump and other critics accuse it of doing. It has also imposed strict controls on Chinese moving money out of the country.
China has built up its military and constructed man-made islands in the South China Sea, and made sweeping territorial claims over almost the entire critical waterway. Those claims were broadly rejected in June by an international tribunal in The Hague.
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at People’s University in Beijing, predicted China would not lash out immediately, but calibrate its response over the next several months after Trump enters the White House.
“Trump’s remarks will certainly raise the concerns of Chinese leaders,” Shi said. “But at the moment, they will be restrained and watch his moves closely.”
Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen and news researcher Liu Zheng contributed to this report.
PAWNEE, Okla. (AP) – The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a 3.9 magnitude earthquake has struck northern Oklahoma. There were no immediate reports of injuries or property damage.
The USGS says the epicenter of the earthquake Sunday night was about 9 miles east of Pawnee. The quake was as far north as the southern Kansas border and as far south as Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma’s earthquakes have been linked to oil and gas production, and state regulators have shut down or imposed new restrictions on underground wells that are used for wastewater disposal.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump, moving to complete formation of his Cabinet and decide other key posts, chose former campaign rival Ben Carson on Monday to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Trump’s decision, announced by his transition office, comes as the real estate mogul continues a series of interviews, meetings with aides and other deliberations aimed at forming his administration. He announced several Cabinet appointees last week.
In a statement, Trump said he was “thrilled to nominate” Carson, describing the retired neurosurgeon as having “a brilliant mind” and saying he “is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities.”
Carson had been coy about joining the new administration, saying shortly after Trump’s election victory that he wasn’t certain he’d fit into a Cabinet-style role. The discussion at that time centered on speculation that Carson might be selected to head the sprawling Department of Health and Human Services.
“Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country,” Trump said, “and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans.”
Carson was among the 16 Republican candidates who challenged Trump for the Republican nomination. He was a favorite of religious conservatives and a strong fundraiser, but his team burned through money quickly and he failed to win any of the early primary contests.
Trump treated Carson harshly during the primary, saying he had a “pathological temper.” Still, Carson quickly endorsed Trump after he dropped out of the contest.
As a Trump supporter, Carson was both loyal and critical. He conceded that Trump had “major defects” and said at one point that he would have preferred a scenario other than Trump winning the Republican primary.
Last week, Trump announced that he planned to nominate former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department. He chose Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education and Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, to be transportation secretary. Trump also has turned to retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense.
He now has expanded his pool of candidates for secretary of state, raising a question about whether former CIA Director David Petraeus’ guilty plea for leaking classified information disqualifies him to serve as the nation’s top diplomat.
Trump’s aides had confirmed that the president-elect had settled on four finalists for the post. But over the weekend, two people close to the transition told The Associated Press that Trump is moving away from two of the four: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
That would leave Petraeus as a top contender, along with Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Both people close to the transition said Trump’s prolonged decision-making process has left the door open to other options. Among other possibilities, one official says is Jon Huntsman, a former Republican Utah governor who also served as the ambassador to China and speaks Mandarin.
The people close to the transition spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the private process publicly.
Carson has often recounted his childhood as the son of a single mother in inner-city Detroit in his books and motivational speeches. In his 1996 autobiography “Gifted Hands,” Carson wrote of the humiliation he felt using food stamps from his mom to pay for bread and milk, and said how he began to excel at school only after receiving a free pair of glasses that allowed him to see the lessons written on chalk boards.
Carson has not said whether his family ever lived in federally funded housing or received Section 8 subsidies to help pay rent. But as a political figure he has criticized such public assistance programs for creating “dependency” on the government among low-income minorities.
With the help of financial aid and scholarships, Carson attended Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School before being the first African-American named as the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. There he garnered national acclaim for directing the first surgery to separate twins connected at the back of the head.
Carson’s rise to political prominence began with a 2013 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he gave a withering critique of the modern welfare state and the nation’s overall direction while President Barack Obama was seated just feet away. During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Carson’s inspirational life story, Christian faith and anti-establishment message briefly catapulted him last year ahead of Trump and other rivals in opinion polls.
But his success on the campaign trail quickly crumbled amid questions about whether elements of his rags-to-riches autobiography were exaggerated or fabricated — including a purported childhood fit of rage in which he tried to stab his best friend in the belly only to be foiled by a belt buckle. Carson’s business dealings also faced scrutiny, including his ties to a wealthy Pittsburgh dentist whom he helped avoid prison time for felony health care fraud.
The Associated Press first reported last year that Carson invested millions of dollars in real estate deals with Alfonso A. Costa, whose dentistry license was revoked following a felony conviction. According to required financial disclosure forms he filed in 2015, Carson and his wife made between $200,000 and $2 million a year from those real estate investments. Costa also served on the board of Carson’s charity, the Carson Scholars Fund, which provides college scholarships to children in need.
DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – The holiday season is upon us and the last thing most people want is to spend it sick with the flu.
That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reminding everyone that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
Few people get vaccinated for the flu after the month of November, according to the CDC. Last year, that number was just 40 percent of recommended people.
Even if you haven’t been vaccinated yet and you’ve already gotten sick with the flu this year, you can still benefit from getting your flu shot because the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses, depending on which shot you get, the CDC reports.
The people most at risk for getting the flu include young children, pregnant women, people ages 65 and older and anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, according to the CDC. Anyone who fits into those categories risks more serious consequences like hospitalization or even death if they come in contact with the flu.
There are some changes to this year’s flu vaccine that KSN reported on in October.
The first is that it’s now okay for people with egg allergies to get a flu shot.
There’s also a new vaccine for those who are 65 and older to help boost the immune system.
One change that may disappoint people with children is that the nasal spray flu vaccine is no longer being offered.