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Florida begins cleanup after Hurricane Idalia: The Morning Rundown Aug. 31, 2023

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Florida begins to assess the damage after Hurricane Idalia slammed its Gulf Coast. And Tesla is under investigation for alleged secret plans involving a glass house for Elon Musk. These stories highlight The Morning Rundown for Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.

Hurricane Idalia barrels through Florida

Florida residents are hopeful they avoided grave devastation after Gulf Coast communities were slammed by Category 3 Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday, Aug. 30. While much damage was done from the storm’s high winds and floods, the early reports of life lost remain low.

Cleanup efforts are underway in Florida. Hundreds of thousands of residents already have their power restored. Meanwhile, Idalia weakened to a tropical storm – but still packed a punch amid its arrival in South Carolina and Georgia.

One person in Georgia has been reported dead, while two traffic deaths in Florida are being investigated as possibly storm-related.

More than 70 killed in Johannesburg building fire

At least 73 people have died and dozens more are injured after a five-story building went up in flames in the South African city of Johannesburg in the early morning hours of Thursday, Aug. 30.

The building was occupied by hundreds of homeless people, according to emergency officials at the scene. By daybreak, the flames were extinguished but recovery operations remained.

Officials say they expect to find more victims as they continue to work their way through the building.  

HHS recommends reclassification of marijuana as less serious drug

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recommended the reclassification of marijuana that would make it more accessible to Americans. The government agency is calling for an easing of federal restrictions on marijuana, something President Joe Biden has been vouching for.

HHS recommends marijuana be moved from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning the agency believes it has a low potential for abuse and dependence. 

Rescheduling the drug would reduce or potentially eliminate criminal penalties for possession.  The Drug Enforcement Administration will now review its recommendation and make a final decision.

Sen. McConnell appears to freeze for a second time in weeks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze up at an event in Kentucky on Aug. 30, just weeks after a similar episode in Washington.

Video shows McConnell freezing up in front of reporters. It was a lengthy pause after one reporter asked the 81-year-old Kentucky senator his thoughts on running for re-election.

After McConnell’s aide stepped in to check on the senator, she called for further assistance. A member of his security detail was heard asking the senator if he needed to step outside.

McConnell remained at the podium for a few more minutes before closing questioning. The senator froze for about 20 seconds at a news conference at the Capitol in late July.

In March, the senator suffered a concussion and broken rib after a fall.

WSJ: Tesla under investigation over ‘secret glass house project’

Tesla is under investigation for its use of company funds over an alleged secret initiative known as “Project 42,” which is believed to involve plans to build a glass house for owner Elon Musk.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the matter say the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission have each launched separate investigations into the project.

The Journal says federal prosecutors are looking into whether Tesla used its own funds for Musk’s personal use. This is the second time in one week that Elon Musk has been the center of a Department of Justice investigation. The DOJ is suing the company over alleged “discriminatory hiring practices.”

In addition, the Justice Department and SEC are also investigating the performance of Tesla’s autopilot driver assistance system.

As for “Project 42,” the Wall Street Journal reports the plans call for the glass home to be built near Tesla’s factory in Austin, Texas. Tesla did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

New world record set for women’s sport attendance

A new record in the world of sports has been set and this one is about the fans. Ninety-two thousand and three people filled Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska on Aug. 30 – becoming the largest crowd to witness a women’s sports event.   

The venue is normally the home of Nebraska football. The fans got to see the Cornhuskers defeat Omaha 3-0 as part of a celebration called “Volleyball Day in Nebraska.”

The previous world record for women’s sport attendance was set during a 2022 Champions League soccer match – 91,648.

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FLORIDA BEGINS TO ASSESS THE DAMAGE AFTER HURRICANE IDALIA SLAMMED ITS GULF COAST

AND TESLA IS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGED SECRET PLANS INVOLVING A GLASS HOUSE FOR ELON MUSK

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TAKE RUNDOWN OPEN

KARAH NAME SUPER

THIS IS STRAIGHT-ARROW NEWS.

BRINGING YOU UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACTS.

TODAY IS THURSDAY — AUGUST 31ST

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

FLORIDA RESIDENTS ARE HOPEFUL THEY AVOIDED GRAVE DEVASTATION AFTER GULF COAST COMMUNITIES WERE SLAMMED BY CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE IDALIA WEDNESDAY MORNING.

WHILE MUCH DAMAGE WAS DONE FROM THE STORM’S HIGH WINDS AND FLOODS —

THE EARLY REPORTS OF LIFE LOST REMAIN LOW.

IDALIA AFTERMATH VO

HURRICANE IDALIA BRINGS STORM SURGE ASHORE, 1 DEAD IN GEORGIA

CAMERAS CAPTURED THE HISTORIC STORM SURGE IN FLORIDA’S BIG BEND AREA–

AT FIRST WATER SITS BELOW THE HOME —

BEFORE RISING — TAKING DOWN THE STRUCTURE AND LEAVING DEBRIS FLOATING FEET ABOVE WHAT USED TO BE DRY LAND.

CLEAN UP EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY IN FLORIDA — AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS ALREADY HAVE POWER RESTORED.

MEANWHILE IDALIA WEAKENED TO A TROPICAL STORM – BUT STILL PACKED A PUNCH AMID ITS ARRIVAL IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA.

ONE PERSON IN GEORGIA HAS BEEN REPORTED DEAD —

WHILE TWO TRAFFIC DEATHS IN FLORIDA ARE BEING INVESTIGATED AS POSSIBLY STORM-RELATED.

AT LEAST 73 PEOPLE HAVE DIED AND DOZENS MORE ARE INJURED AFTER A FIVE-STORY BUILDING WENT UP IN FLAMES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CITY OF “JOHANNESBURG”.
THE BUILDING WAS OCCUPIED BY HUNDREDS OF HOMELESS PEOPLE ACCORDING TO EMERGENCY OFFICIALS ON THE GROUND.
BY DAYBREAK — THE FLAMES WERE EXTINGUISHED.
BUT RECOVERY OPERATIONS REMAINED —
OFFICIALS SAY THEY EXPECT TO FIND MORE VICTIMS AS THEY CONTINUE TO WORK THEIR WAY THROUGH THE BUILDING.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES HAS RECOMMENDED THE RE-CLASSIFICATION OF MARIJUANA THAT WOULD MAKE IT MORE ACCESSIBLE TO AMERICANS.

THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IS CALLING FOR AN EASING OF FEDERAL RESTRICTIONS ON MARIJUANA — SOMETHING PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN HAS BEEN VOUCHING FOR.

HHS RECOMMENDS MARIJUANA BE CLASSIFIED AS A “SCHEDULE THREE DRUG” —

MEANING THE AGENCY BELIEVES IT HAS A LOW POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE.

THE DEA WILL NOW REVIEW ITS RECOMMENDATION AND MAKE A FINAL DECISION.

SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL APPEARED TO FREEZE UP AT AN EVENT IN KENTUCKY ON WEDNESDAY —

JUST WEEKS AFTER A SIMILAR EPISODE IN WASHINGTON —

FREEZING IN FRONT OF REPORTERS.

IT WAS A LENGTHY PAUSE AFTER ONE REPORTER ASKED THE 81 YEAR OLD KENTUCKY SENATOR HIS THOUGHTS ON RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION.

TAKE A LISTEN.

AFTER MCCONNELL’S AIDE STEPS INTO THE PICTURE TO CHECK ON THE SENATOR —

SHE CALLS FOR FURTHER ASSISTANCE —

A MEMBER OF HIS SECURITY DETAIL IS THEN HEARD ASKING THE SENATOR IF HE NEEDS TO STEP OUTSIDE.

MCCONNELL REMAINED AT THE PODIUM FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING QUESTIONING.

MCCONNELL FROZE FOR ABOUT 20 SECONDS AT A NEWS CONFERENCE AT THE CAPITOL IN LATE JULY.

IN MARCH, THE SENATOR SUFFERED A CONCUSSION AND BROKEN RIB AFTER A FALL.

AS THERE ARE GROWING CONCERNS OVER MCCONNELL’S HEALTH AND AGE —

A POLL HAS REVEALED THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS BELIEVE AGE IS A FACTOR IN HOW EFFECTIVE A LEADER CAN BE —

AND BELIEVE AN AGE **LIMIT SHOULD BE IMPOSED TO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE ALONG WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

WE HAVE A FULL REPORT AT S-A-N DOT COM

TESLA IS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ITS USE OF COMPANY FUNDS OVER AN ALLEGED SECRET INITIATIVE KNOWN AS “PROJECT 42” — BELIEVED TO INVOLVE PLANS TO BUILD A GLASS HOUSE FOR OWNER ELON MUSK.

ACCORDING TO A REPORT FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, PEOPLE FAMILIAR WITH THE MATTER SAY THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK AND THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION HAVE EACH LAUNCHED SEPARATE INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE PROJECT.

THE JOURNAL SAYS FEDERAL PROSECUTORS ARE LOOKING INTO WHETHER TESLA USED ITS OWN FUNDS FOR MUSK’S PERSONAL USE.

THIS IS THE SECOND TIME IN ONE WEEK THAT ELON MUSK HAS BEEN THE CENTER OF A DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATION.

FIRST IT WAS SPACE X —

THE DOJ SUING THE COMPANY OVER ALLEGED “DISCRIMINATORY HIRING PRACTICES.”

NOW IT’S TESLA’S SPENDING THAT HAS THE EYE OF THE DOJ.

IN ADDITION — THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND S-E-C ARE ALSO INVESTIGATING THE PERFORMANCE OF TESLA’S AUTOPILOT DRIVER ASSISTANCE SYSTEM.

AS FOR PROJECT 42, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTS THE PLANS CALL FOR THE GLASS HOME TO BE BUILT NEAR TESLA’S FACTORY IN AUSTIN, TEXAS.

TESLA DID NOT RESPOND TO THE JOURNAL’S REQUEST FOR COMMENT.

FINALLY THIS MORNING — A NEW RECORD IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS HAS BEEN SET – AND THIS ONE IS ABOUT THE FANS.

NINETY-TWO THOUSAND AND THREE (92,003) PEOPLE FILLED MEMORIAL STADIUM IN LINCOLN NEBRASKA ON WEDNESDAY – BECOMING THE LARGEST CROWD TO WITNESS A WOMEN’S SPORTS EVENT.

THE VENUE IS NORMALLY THE HOME OF NEBRASKA FOOTBALL.

THE VOLLEYBALL FANS GOT TO SEE THE CORNHUSKERS DEFEAT OMAHA 3 TO ZERO AS PART OF A CELEBRATION CALLED “VOLLEYBALL DAY IN NEBRASKA.”

THE PREVIOUS WORLD RECORD FOR WOMEN’S SPORT ATTENDANCE WAS SET DURING A 2022 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SOCCER MATCH AT 91,648.

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