Today we're talking about missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the main theory behind his disappearance, plus, a last Hurricane Michael update before we leave you for the week.
But first, two 2019 pickup trucks will reduce gasoline consumption and greenhouse emissions more next year than the Toyota Prius. Sound crazy? Blame math.
Here are the headlines.
What we know (and don't) about journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Let's back up. On Oct. 2, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S., went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.
The main theory. Khashoggi may have been abducted or killed inside the consulate. A surveillance video shows him entering the consulate, but there are no images of him coming back out. Reports say he never read any texts sent to him while inside either. The Washington Post, for whom Khashoggi is a frequent contributor, reported that U.S. intelligence officials intercepted communications of Saudi officials "discussing a plan to capture him." Turkish media has also published the names of 15 Saudi nationals who traveled to Istanbul the day Khashoggi disappeared who appear to be Saudi agents.
What's next. Saudi Arabia has dismissed allegations it took part in any plot against Khashoggi, and Turkey said it is preparing to search the Saudi consulate. President Trump has said that U.S. investigators are also launching an investigation, after Congress pressed the White House to take action and after an appeal from Khashoggi's fiancée. Here's how this could test key U.S.-Saudi relations.
Beginning to assess destruction from 'absolute monster' Michael
The sun rose today on demolished buildings, washed-out roads and downed trees left behind by Hurricane Michael. The sun was the only light in many areas, with power outages affecting nearly a million customers. Michael weakened to a tropical storm Thursday but remained a menace as it rolled across the Southeast, leaving seven dead after tearing a path of devastation through the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia. As the eye moved up to the Carolinas, emergency groups and residents that stayed behind began assessing damage. "So many lives have been changed forever," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. "So many families have lost everything. … This hurricane was an absolute monster."
More on Michael:
- A harrowing two hours at one hotel in Panama City
- It was the third-strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S. by one important measure: the millibar
- Hurricane Michael in graphics and photos
Today is the most important Social Security date
The most important event of the year for those on Social Security (and those who will be on Social Security) is the cost-of-living adjustment announcement — this is the "raise" those receiving Social Security will get next year. That announcement was made today: The 2019 COLA is 2.8 percent, or a raise of about $39 a month for the average retired worker, the highest raise in seven years. And it's important: 22.1 million people, including 15.1 million seniors, are kept out of poverty thanks to their Social Security checks, a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found.
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An American and a Russian astronaut made an emergency landing early Thursday morning after the Russian rocket they were aboard malfunctioned on its way to the International Space Station. Astronauts Nick Hague and Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 4:40 a.m. ET from Kazakhstan and were set to dock at the ISS six hours later. However, their booster suffered an unspecified failure and abort motors kicked in, propelling the capsule and its crew from the boosters. They then went into a "ballistic reentry," similar to "shooting a bullet out of a rifle barrel." But don't worry, the two astronauts landed about 12 miles east of the Kazakh city of Dzhezkazgan and are in "great shape." While the Russian space program has been dogged by a string of launch failures and other incidents in recent years, Thursday’s mishap marked the program’s first manned launch failure since September 1983.