Hurricane Maria lashes Dominican Republic after direct hit on Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria lashes Dominican Republic after direct hit on Puerto RicoBy Dave Graham and Robin Respaut SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) - Hurricane Maria thrashed parts of the Dominican Republic with heavy rain and high winds as it passed off its east coast on Thursday after making a direct hit on Puerto Rico that caused severe flooding and cut power to almost all the island. Maria has killed at least 10 people as it raged through the Caribbean region, the second major hurricane to do so this month. It ripped roofs off almost all structures on the island country of Dominica, where seven people were confirmed dead and the number is expected to climb when searches resume at daybreak.



Storm Maria brings fear, pain and shock to Puerto Ricans

Storm Maria brings fear, pain and shock to Puerto RicansBy Dave Graham and Robin Respaut SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) - Miguel Cruz awoke to the descent of Hurricane Maria on his home on Wednesday morning when the massive storm peeled off most of the roof, sent his belongings flying in all directions, but left intact an icon of Jesus hanging above his bed. Cruz was one of thousands of Puerto Ricans picking through the wreckage left by Maria after the hurricane devastated basic services on the debt-laden U.S. territory, pitching most of its 3.4 million residents into darkness as night fell. Crashing into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, Maria flipped the tops off buildings, knocked out phones and electricity across the island and turned low-lying roads into swollen rivers awash with debris.



Trump administration red tape tangles up visas for skilled foreigners, data shows

Trump administration red tape tangles up visas for skilled foreigners, data showsThe more intense scrutiny of the applications for H-1B visas comes after President Donald Trump called for changes to the visa program so that it benefits the highest-paid workers, though he has not enacted any such reforms. Data provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shows that between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, the agency issued 85,000 challenges, or "requests for evidence" (RFEs), to H-1B visa petitions - a 45 percent increase over the same period last year. The challenges, which can slow down the issuance of visas by months, were issued at a greater rate in 2017 than at any time in the Obama administration except for one year, 2009, according to the USCIS data, which has not been previously reported.



Girl in hospital after being struck by baseball at Yankee Stadium

Girl in hospital after being struck by baseball at Yankee StadiumThe girl, who was seated down the third-base line, was treated by medics at Yankee Stadium before being taken to hospital as players -- including Frazier -- were visibly distraught. "I saw the whole thing," said Frazier, who kneeled outside the batter's box with his head bowed. Another New York player, Matt Holliday was seen wiping away tears as the girl received medical attention.



Martinique escapes brunt of Hurricane Maria, Guadeloupe takes lashing

Martinique escapes brunt of Hurricane Maria, Guadeloupe takes lashingThe French island of Martinique escaped Hurricane Maria largely unscathed but a communications blackout with Guadeloupe meant it would be several more hours before damage there could be assessed, a senior French Civil Protection official said on Tuesday. Maria, the second major storm to hit the Caribbean this month, lashed Guadeloupe's southern shores as it tracked northwest toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. "In Martinique, reconnaissance operations are still underway but already we can see that there is no significant damage," Jacques Witkowski, France's head of civil protection and crisis response, told a news briefing in Paris.





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