National News

National News at a Glance

Posted December 9, 2018 8:55 p.m. EST

Winter Storm Bears Down on Southeast

A winter storm has knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in North and South Carolina, according to a major utility in the region. By Sunday morning, the storm system had struck a broad segment of the South, leaving close to 11 inches of snow in Lubbock, Texas. The National Weather Service said snowfall in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic was likely to continue through Sunday night as part of a “high-impact winter storm.” The service said the storm would stretch from northeastern Georgia to central Virginia. Sleet, freezing rain and icy roads were expected across much of the area affected by the storm.

Brooklyn Fire Kills Young Girls Visiting Their Grandfather

Vincente Gomez always eagerly awaited his granddaughters’ arrival. Every other weekend, Payton Gomez, 7, and Haley Harris, 9, would stay with him in his Brooklyn apartment. But the latest visit ended in tragedy. The two girls were killed in a fire that broke out in the apartment about 11 p.m. Saturday after they had all gone to sleep. Firefighters rescued the girls from a bedroom in the second-floor apartment, Deputy Fire Chief James Smithwic, said. Once outside, rescuers tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the girls, who were pronounced dead at a hospital. Gomez, 53, remained in the hospital Sunday, where he was in stable condition, police said.

Nick Ayers, Aide to Pence, Declines Offer to Be Trump’s Chief of Staff

Nick Ayers, President Donald Trump’s top choice to replace John Kelly as chief of staff, has declined to take the job, according to three people familiar with the talks. Ayers, 36, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, is expected to leave the administration in the coming weeks as his family returns to Georgia, according to people familiar with his plans. That leaves it unclear who will take the top West Wing job as Trump enters the 2020 campaign confronting growing danger from the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and from Democrats who have vowed tougher oversight after they take control of the House next month.

DNA Test Helps Mother Reunite With Daughter She Thought Died Nearly 70 Years Ago

A DNA test helped reunite a mother and daughter after nearly 70 years by uncovering a startling secret: A baby girl long thought to be dead was alive and had been covertly adopted by a family that lied about her origins.The girl, Connie Moultroup, 69, met her birth mother for the first time this month. “I was absolutely floored,” she said, upon discovering that her mother, Genevieve Purinton, 88, was living in Florida. Purinton was similarly shocked. After giving birth in 1949, she said, she was told her newborn had died. When they met for the first time on Dec. 3, “It was a bawlfest,” Moultroup said.

Bob Bergland, Agriculture Secretary Under Carter, Dies at 90

Bob Bergland, D-Minn., who as a liberal congressman and President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of agriculture was a zealous advocate for America’s consumers as well as its farmers, died Sunday in Roseau, Minnesota. He was 90. Bergland’s son Franklyn said he died at a nursing home. Bergland represented a vast, largely rural district in Congress from 1971 to 1977, and then was a member of the Carter Cabinet until 1981. Bergland was born in Roseau, near Minnesota’s Canadian border, on July 22, 1928. Besides Franklyn, Bergland is survived by two other sons, Allan and Bill; two daughters, Dianne Dahl and Linda Vatnsdal; a brother, Glen; 13 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

O’Rourke Emerges as the Wild Card of the 2020 Campaign-in-Waiting

Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas has emerged as the wild card of the presidential campaign-in-waiting for a Democratic Party that lacks a clear 2020 front-runner. After a close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke is increasingly serious about a 2020 run, which is leading veterans of former President Barack Obama’s political operation (and Obama himself) to offer their counsel and hampering would-be rivals scrambling to lock down influential supporters and strategists as future campaign staff. O’Rourke would have vulnerabilities in a primary, including an absence of signature policy feats or a centerpiece issue. And he is not the political brawler some Democrats might crave against a president they loathe.