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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Last Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm EDT

149 killed as 7.1 magnitude quake fells buildings in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing buildings in plumes of dust and killing at least 149 people. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly.

Hours after the magnitude 7.1 quake, rescue workers were still clawing through the wreckage of a primary school that partly collapsed in the city’s south looking for any children who might be trapped. Some relatives said they had received Whatsapp message from two girls inside.

The quake is the deadliest in Mexico since a 1985 quake on the same date killed thousands. It came less than two weeks after another powerful quake caused 90 deaths in the country’s south.

Luis Felipe Puente, head of the national Civil Defence agency, reported Tuesday night that the confirmed death toll had been raised to 149.

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Hurricane Maria aims at Puerto Rico after slamming Dominica

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Maria barrelled toward Puerto Rico on Tuesday night after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually incommunicado.

As rains began to lash Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that Maria could hit “with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations.”

“We’re going to lose a lot of infrastructure in Puerto Rico,” Rossello said, adding that a likely island wide power outage and communication blackout could last for days. “We’re going to have to rebuild.”

Authorities warned that people in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shelter before the storm’s expected arrival Wednesday.

“You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

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10 Things to Know for Wednesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:

1. ANOTHER QUAKE STRIKES MEXICO

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stuns central Mexico, killing over 100 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust.

2. WHAT TRUMP SAID AT UN

President Donald Trump vows to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. must defend itself or its allies against the renegade nation’s nuclear weapons program.

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In stark UN speech, Trump threatens to “destroy” North Korea

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies against the renegade nation’s nuclear weapons program, making his case in a combative debut speech to the U.N. that laid out a stark, good-vs-evil view of a globe riven by chaos and turmoil.

Trump’s broadsides against “rogue regimes,” North Korea chief among them, drew murmurs from the assembled world leaders and served as a searing salute to his nationalism during diplomatic prime time. He said it was “far past time” for the world to confront Kim Jong Un, declaring that the North Korean leader’s pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a threat to “the entire world with an unthinkable loss of human life.”

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime,” Trump said, mocking the North Korean leader even as he sketched out potentially cataclysmic consequences. The president himself decided to work the nickname into his speech just hours before he took the dais, according to aides.

Trump spoke of his own nation’s “patience,” but said that if “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Trump’s overheated language was rare for a U.S. president at the rostrum of the United Nations, but the speech was textbook Trump, dividing the globe into friends and foes and taking unflinching aim at America’s enemies. North Korea’s ambassador and another top diplomat left the General Assembly chamber before he spoke to boycott his speech, leaving behind two empty chairs.

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AP Interview: Lavrov hints US-Russia ‘Tit-for-tat’ could end

NEW YORK (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that he heard positive news in President Donald Trump’s United Nations address: “that the U.S. would not impose its way of life on others.”

“I think it’s a very welcome statement, which we haven’t heard from an American leader for a very long time,” said Lavrov, who sat down with the AP and Russia’s Tass news agency directly after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Lavrov blamed the Obama administration for the collapse in relations between Moscow and Washington. The U.S. enacted a series of steps against the Russian and Russian diplomats in December, including new sanctions and expelling 35 Russian diplomats, to punish Russia for meddling in the U.S. elections, a charge Russia has denied. Moscow responded by limiting the size of the U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia.

In his speech to the General Assembly, Trump said “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.” He also said, “Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect.”

Lavrov pointed to those statements while acknowledging relations are at “a very difficult and a very low point, which is the legacy of the Obama administration.” But he said that what Trump had said during the election campaign, and what he continues to say now, is that he wants to have good relations with Moscow.

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Nominee for EPA chemical safety post has deep industry ties

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency has for years accepted payments for criticizing studies that raised concerns about the safety of his clients’ products, according to a review of financial records and his published work by The Associated Press.

Michael L. Dourson’s nomination as head of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention was to be considered by a Senate committee Wednesday, but was postponed when the Senate adjourned early for the week. If confirmed, ethics experts said, Dourson’s past writings and the money paid to him and a non-profit he founded could represent potential conflicts of interest.

Past corporate clients of Dourson and of a research group he ran include Dow Chemical Co., Koch Industries Inc. and Chevron Corp. His research has also been underwritten by industry trade and lobbying groups representing the makers of plastics, pesticides, processed foods and cigarettes.

A toxicologist, Dourson worked at the EPA for more than a decade, leaving in 1994 as the manager at a lab that assessed the health risks of exposure to chemicals. The following year, he founded Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, a private toxicity evaluation non-profit organization that tests chemicals and produces reports on which chemicals are hazardous in what quantities.

Dourson’s views toward industry are consistent with others Trump has selected as top federal regulators. Among them is EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who in March overruled the findings of his agency’s own scientists to reverse an effort to ban chlorpyrifos, one of the nation’s most widely used pesticides.

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Analysis: Trump insists on ‘America First.’ Who will follow?

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Donald Trump invited the question, and now the world must answer: If America insists on putting itself first, will anyone else follow?

Trump scolded and badgered in his United Nations debut. He declared parts of the planet are “going to hell.” Standing Tuesday before the iconic, green marbled General Assembly backdrop, he painted a grim picture of the globe as he sees it: teeming with crisis and conflict, delinquents and deadbeats.

Yet where most leaders use the occasion to call for co-operation, Trump insisted others should follow his example and “always put your countries first.”

“As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interest above all else,” Trump said at the General Assembly, where nations come to advance their collective interests.

Nine months into his presidency, world leaders have grown accustomed to a new U.S. leader who eschews typical self-restraint in what he says and does. His most startling tweets, sometimes seeming to declare dramatic shifts in policy, are increasingly taken with a grain of salt.

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St. Louis faith leaders urge peace, justice amid turmoil

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Leaders of several faiths on Tuesday called for peace and justice amid the turmoil that followed the acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer in the 2011 death of a black man.

Several hundred people gathered on a hot, unshaded public plaza for an interfaith service followed by a march to City Hall. The service came after four days of protests that followed a judge’s decision Friday to acquit Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Speakers at the service included Roman Catholic Archbishop Robert Carlson, black church pastors, and Jewish and Muslim leaders.

“Let us remember that we are not a divided humanity, but a human family,” Carlson said. “Let us show love instead of hatred.”

Several who spoke acknowledged the pain the ruling caused African-Americans in the community.

“Justice, fair treatment ought to be the right of all God’s children,” said the Rev. Linden Bowie of the Missionary Baptist State Convention.

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Global differences abound as leaders address UN

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — This year’s U.N. gathering of world leaders put an immediate spotlight Tuesday on deep differences on tackling crises from North Korea to global warming: France’s president urged world leaders to work together, while America’s emphasized nations’ own sovereignty.

And U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War and cautioned about the dangers of fiery rhetoric.

All three men made their debut appearances at the U.N. General Assembly, where presidents, prime ministers and monarchs are gathered for six days of discussion of matters ranging from nuclear peril to climate change to refugees. But on day one, the spotlight was on U.S. President Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron.

Macron, a centrist who embraced internationalism during his campaign, vowed to press ahead with the Paris accord to combat global warming, although the U.S. has said it’s withdrawing from the agreement. In his speech and a subsequent news conference, Macron said he respects Trump’s decision but thinks it’s a mistake and will continue trying to persuade the American to reconsider.

Macron also said France won’t “close any door to dialogue” with North Korea and said it would be “a grave error” to unwind the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which faces strong criticism from Trump. Macron also called for investing in education and health and proposed appointing a U.N. representative for press freedom.

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Alex Gordon hits MLB’s record-setting 5,694th HR of season

TORONTO (AP) — Kansas City’s Alex Gordon broke Major League Baseball’s season home run record with 12 days to spare, hitting the 5,694th long ball of 2017 on Tuesday night.

Gordon’s home run off Toronto’s Ryan Tepera broke a mark set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. The drive, which drove in the last run in the Royals’ 5-2 loss, was his eighth this season and the 159th of his 11-year big league career.

“A pretty cool thing to be a part of,” Gordon said. “I didn’t hit many this year, but I guess I made one count.”

It was the 17th home run of the night in the major leagues and came just after Detroit’s Alex Presley tied the record when he connected at home against Oakland’s Daniel Gossett.

Gordon said he heard talk of the record on a clubhouse television after Toronto’s Darwin Barney homered in the sixth.