It’s Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Here’s what you need to start your day:
1. Rescue and recovery efforts underway in Florida
Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle, completely wiping out buildings and homes. Those who stayed behind were finally able to see the destruction caused by the Category 4 hurricane.
ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee was among them in Mexico Beach, where few buildings are still standing.
Survivors asked her to send word to their families that they were OK.
“I called five different families,” Zee said, “and left messages and just said, ‘Hi, I know this is odd, but my name is Ginger Zee, I met your family member.'”
2. Kanye says ‘MAGA’ hat makes him feel like ‘Superman’
President Donald Trump held a meeting on prison reform at the White House with rapper Kanye West and football great Jim Brown yesterday, but all eyes were on West as he delivered an extended soliloquy about Trump and more than a dozen topics.
At one point he said his red “Make America Great Again” hat gave him powers and “made me feel like Superman.”
ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl witnessed the monologue in the Oval Office and tells us Trump almost seemed at a loss for words.
“The president seemed uncharacteristically perplexed by it all,” Karl said. “I mean, he didn’t say much, because what do you say after all of that?”
3. Prosecutors drop charge against Weinstein
Prosecutors in the criminal case against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein announced yesterday they were dropping one of six counts in his sexual assault indictment.
They cited new evidence that could suggest an encounter Weinstein had with actress Lucia Evans was consensual. She accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004. Weinstein has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Prosecutors would tell you that they really want Harvey Weinstein behind bars, and if there is any flaw that could give the jury doubt, they don’t want it a part of their case,” ABC News’ Aaron Katersky tells us.
4. Melania Trump speaks out in ABC News exclusive
First lady Melania Trump opens up about her husband’s administration, the #MeToo movement, her marriage and more in an ABC News special, “Being Melania — The First Lady,” airing tonight at 10 p.m. EST.
During her first solo trip to Africa, she sat down with ABC News Chief National Correspondent Tom Llamas, who tells us the interview provides a better understanding of how the reserved first lady sees her role.
“We’ve been working on this for two years,” Llamas told us, “and my pitch to her was very simple: People don’t know who you are, and if you let us interview you, I hope to reveal who you are.”
In other news:
‘Love is at the root of our resistance’: Colin Kaepernick joins seven others in receiving a W.E.B. Du Bois Medal at Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.
‘That was a short flight’: An astronaut and a cosmonaut are safe after an emergency landing in Kazakhstan.
‘I am glad that the Department of Defense took swift and decisive action’: The U.S. military is grounding its entire fleet of F-35s, which cost hundreds of billions of dollars to develop, so every jet can be inspected for a potentially faulty fuel tube.
‘Certain entertainers have been taken advantage for years, but no longer — thanks to Trump. Can you believe it?’: The president talks about royalties for digitally streamed music.
‘… in the best interest of investors …’: Sarcastic tweets notwithstanding, Elon Musk is serious about settling fraud charges leveled by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
From our partners at FiveThirtyEight:
Hurricane Michael leaves behind destruction, thousands without power: The historic Category 4 storm struck the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon, unleashing heavy rain, high winds and devastating storm surge.
Remembering Matthew Shepard: Twenty years after he was murdered in a hate crime, Shepard’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, reflect on their son and how his killing was pivotal in the gay rights movement.
On this day in history:
Oct. 12, 2000 — Suicide bombers damage the USS Cole in Yemen.
Today’s must-see photo:
Amanda Logsdon begins the process of trying to clean up her home after the roof was blown off by the passing winds of Hurricane Michael, Oct. 11, 2018, in Panama City, Florida. (photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
For more great photos from around the world click HERE.
What’s hot on social:
Four kittens who survived Hurricane Michael’s devastation and a roof collapse are now up for adoption at a local shelter after being spotted cuddling among debris live on-air.
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