Hundreds stranded in North Carolina floods after Hurricane Matthew

By Jonathan Drake | LUMBERTON, N.C.

LUMBERTON, N.C. Hundreds of people were rescued by boat and helicopter as floodwaters inundated North Carolina towns on Monday in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, and officials warned that life-threatening flooding from swollen rivers would continue for days.

Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007, was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday.

The hurricane killed around 1,000 people in Haiti and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday some Haitian towns and villages had just about been "wiped off the map."

In the United States, the number of fatalities rose to at least 23, with nearly half in North Carolina.

North Carolina's skies were clear on Monday after the state received as much as 18 inches (39 cm) of rain from Matthew over the weekend, but raging rivers and breached levees posed major problems.

“This storm is not over in North Carolina," Governor Pat McCrory told reporters in Fayetteville. “It’s going to be a long, tough journey."

Eleven people have died in the state, officials said. With rivers rising, the governor said he expected deaths to increase.

The flooding prompted President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency in North Carolina on Monday, making federal funding available to affected individuals in 10 counties hit by the storm, the White House said in a statement.

Some 2,000 residents were stuck in their homes and on rooftops in Lumberton, off the Lumber River, after the city flooded suddenly on Monday morning, McCrory said. Air and water rescues would continue throughout the day, he said.

Many of the homes and businesses in Lumberton were flooded with several feet of water on Monday afternoon and residents were seen paddling about the town in small skiffs.

Major flooding was expected this week in central and eastern towns along the Lumber, Cape Fear, Neuse and Tar rivers. The National Weather Service said the Neuse River would crest on Friday night and forecast "disastrous flooding."

Emergency officials in North Carolina's Lenoir County issued a mandatory evacuation order on Monday afternoon for residents and businesses along the Neuse River.

"IT BREAKS YOUR HEART"

Many coastal and inland communities remained under water from storm surge or overrun rivers and creeks.

McCrory told reporters that he had met an elderly woman at a shelter on Monday who lost everything to floods.

“She’s sitting in a school cafeteria at this point in time crying and wondering what her life is going to be all about,” he said. "It breaks your heart."

In neighboring South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley warned that waterways were quickly reaching capacity around the state.

"What might not be flooded today could be flooded tomorrow," Haley told a news conference.

She said there had been at least three storm-related deaths, including one in which a person in a vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

Warnings were also issued over downed power lines. An 89-year-old man was killed in Florida on Monday after touching a downed line, officials said.

About 715,000 homes and businesses were without power on Monday night in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia.

A federal judge on Monday granted a request from Florida's Democratic Party to extend the state's voter registration deadline by one more day, through Wednesday, because of the hurricane. Republican Governor Rick Scott had rejected demands from Democrats to extend the deadline.

A hurricane watch was issued for Bermuda, which could be threatened by another tropical system, Nicole, that is expected to reach the Atlantic island later this week, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

(Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida and Gene Cherry in Raleigh, N.C.; Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin and Laila Kearney; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Tom Brown and Paul Tait)

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Hundreds stranded in North Carolina floods after Hurricane Matthew

By Jonathan Drake | LUMBERTON, N.C.

LUMBERTON, N.C. Hundreds of people were rescued by boat and helicopter as floodwaters inundated North Carolina towns on Monday in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, and officials warned that life-threatening flooding from swollen rivers would continue for days.

Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007, was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday.

The hurricane killed around 1,000 people in Haiti and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday some Haitian towns and villages had just about been "wiped off the map."

In the United States, the number of fatalities rose to at least 23, with nearly half in North Carolina.

North Carolina's skies were clear on Monday after the state received as much as 18 inches (39 cm) of rain from Matthew over the weekend, but raging rivers and breached levees posed major problems.

“This storm is not over in North Carolina," Governor Pat McCrory told reporters in Fayetteville. “It’s going to be a long, tough journey."

Eleven people have died in the state, officials said. With rivers rising, the governor said he expected deaths to increase.

The flooding prompted President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency in North Carolina on Monday, making federal funding available to affected individuals in 10 counties hit by the storm, the White House said in a statement.

Some 2,000 residents were stuck in their homes and on rooftops in Lumberton, off the Lumber River, after the city flooded suddenly on Monday morning, McCrory said. Air and water rescues would continue throughout the day, he said.

Many of the homes and businesses in Lumberton were flooded with several feet of water on Monday afternoon and residents were seen paddling about the town in small skiffs.

Major flooding was expected this week in central and eastern towns along the Lumber, Cape Fear, Neuse and Tar rivers. The National Weather Service said the Neuse River would crest on Friday night and forecast "disastrous flooding."

Emergency officials in North Carolina's Lenoir County issued a mandatory evacuation order on Monday afternoon for residents and businesses along the Neuse River.

"IT BREAKS YOUR HEART"

Many coastal and inland communities remained under water from storm surge or overrun rivers and creeks.

McCrory told reporters that he had met an elderly woman at a shelter on Monday who lost everything to floods.

“She’s sitting in a school cafeteria at this point in time crying and wondering what her life is going to be all about,” he said. "It breaks your heart."

In neighboring South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley warned that waterways were quickly reaching capacity around the state.

"What might not be flooded today could be flooded tomorrow," Haley told a news conference.

She said there had been at least three storm-related deaths, including one in which a person in a vehicle was swept away by floodwaters.

Warnings were also issued over downed power lines. An 89-year-old man was killed in Florida on Monday after touching a downed line, officials said.

About 715,000 homes and businesses were without power on Monday night in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia.

A federal judge on Monday granted a request from Florida's Democratic Party to extend the state's voter registration deadline by one more day, through Wednesday, because of the hurricane. Republican Governor Rick Scott had rejected demands from Democrats to extend the deadline.

A hurricane watch was issued for Bermuda, which could be threatened by another tropical system, Nicole, that is expected to reach the Atlantic island later this week, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

(Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida and Gene Cherry in Raleigh, N.C.; Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin and Laila Kearney; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Tom Brown and Paul Tait)

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Solange Knowles takes seat at top of Billboard chart

By Piya Sinha-Roy | LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES Singer Solange Knowles, sister of R&B star Beyonce, topped the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 chart on Monday for the first time, with her latest album, "A Seat at the Table," edging out new records from Bon Iver and Van Morrison.

Knowles' third record, "Seat at the Table," sold 46,000 albums, 26,000 songs and was streamed 35.7 million times in the week ended Oct. 6, totaling 72,000 album units, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

The album has garnered strong praise from critics, and features 21 tracks that touch on race and femininity, fusing R&B, soul and funk sounds.

Grammy-winning Bon Iver's latest album, "22, A Million," came in at No. 2 with 58,000 albums, 10,000 songs and 17.5 million streams, totaling 71,000 album units.

The Billboard 200 album chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

While Bon Iver's record sold more physical albums, it was edged out by Knowles' album on the strength of streaming.

Veteran Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison was the only other new entry in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart this week, debuting at No. 9 with "Keep Me Singing."

On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online single sales, The Chainsmokers' catchy summer song "Closer" featuring Halsey continued to reign as No. 1, selling 123,000 copies in the past week.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Samsung scraps Galaxy Note 7 over fire concerns

By Se Young Lee | SEOUL

SEOUL Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) scrapped its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on Tuesday less than two months after its launch, dealing a huge blow to its reputation and outlook after failing to resolve safety concerns.

Samsung announced the recall of 2.5 million Note 7s in early September following numerous reports of the phones catching fire and on Tuesday it finally pulled the plug on the $882 device in what could be one of the costliest product safety failures in tech history.

The decision to scrap the Note 7 came after fresh reports of fires in replacement devices prompted new warnings from regulators, phone carriers and airlines.

"(We) have decided to halt production and sales of the Galaxy Note 7 in order to consider our consumers' safety first and foremost," the South Korean firm said in a filing to the Seoul stock exchange.

Samsung said earlier it asked all global carriers to stop sales of the Note 7s and the exchange of original devices for replacements, while it worked with regulators to investigate the problem. The company is offering to exchange Note 7s for other products or refund them.

Samsung's decision to pull Note 7s off the shelves not only raises fresh doubts about the firm's quality control but could result in huge financial and reputational costs.

Analysts say a permanent end to Note 7 sales could cost Samsung up to $17 billion and tarnish its other phone products in the minds of consumers and carriers.

Investors wiped nearly $20 billion off Samsung Electronics' market value on Tuesday as its shares closed down 8 percent, their biggest daily percentage decline since 2008.

"This is the first time that I have seen a product recall go this badly wrong," financial analyst Richard Windsor said in a note to clients. “When it comes to the damage that it will do to Samsung’s brand, we are in uncharted territory”.

The premium device, launched in August, was supposed to compete with Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) latest iPhone for supremacy in the smartphone market. Well received by critics, its first problem was a shortage as pre-orders overwhelmed supply.

But within days of the launch images of charred Note 7s began appearing on social media, in the first sign that something was seriously amiss with the gadget.

FILLING THE VOID

Samsung, the world's top maker of smartphones had nearly twice the global market share of Apple at mid-year, having shipped 77.6 million phones in the second quarter alone, said Neil Mawston, an analyst at research firm Strategy Analytics.

The South Korean company was counting on the Note 7 to replace its previous flagship model, the Note 5, which had sold around 15 million units over the four quarters ended in June, according to Strategy Analytics data.

Instead, Samsung will be forced to count on existing models such as its Galaxy S7 edge, which has a slightly smaller screen but is also slightly less expensive.

The void left by the demise of Samsung's flagship phone leaves the door open to rivals like Apple, which last month introduced its latest iPhone 7 line and Google (GOOGL.O), which is set to launch its new Pixel phone later this month.

However, the most likely beneficiaries are other high-volume Asia-based makers of premium-priced phones based on Google's Android operating system, Mawston said.

"The gap is likely to be filled by rivals including Apple and Google Pixel, although probably Oppo, Vivo, LG Electronics (066570.KS) and Sony (6758.T) stand to benefit the most," Mawston said.

Oppo and Vivo are distinct smartphone brands owned by privately held Chinese electronics giant BBK Electronic corp., while the other rivals are classic global rivals of Samsung.

CAUSE UNKNOWN

The South Korean firm did not comment on whether it had identified the cause of the fires in the replacement devices, although officials in Seoul said it was looking at several possibilities including the batteries.

"It is more difficult to analyze the cause of the accidents this time because of various patterns of the accidents," an official with the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, which met with Samsung and experts on Monday, told Reuters.

China's quality watchdog said Samsung would recall all 190,984 Note 7s sold in the mainland.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Samsung was making the right decision by halting sales and exchanges of the device.

"No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property," CPSC Chairman Elliott Kaye said in a statement.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and South Korea's transport ministry added their voices to concerns from the aviation industry, saying no Note 7s should be used or charged inside airplanes.

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N), the largest U.S. wireless carrier, said it may shift marketing away from the Note 7 heading into the critical holiday selling season.

"We have the new iPhone, we’re about to launch the new Google Pixel, which is exclusive to us. We’ve got great phones from Motorola as well," Verizon spokeswoman Kelly Crummey said.

"I think you’ll see our marketing focused on those devices because there is certainty on those at this time."

(Additional reporting by Eric Auchard in Frankfurt, Deborah Todd in New York, Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Miyoung Kim, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Alexandra Hudson)

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Giants top Cubs in 13 innings to stay alive

(The Sports Xchange) - Joe Panik doubled off the right field fence to score Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the 13th inning on Monday, giving the San Francisco Giants a 6-5 win over the Chicago Cubs to force a Game 4 in their best-of-five National League Division Series.

Still down 2-1 in the series, the Giants will send left-hander Matt Moore to the mound on Tuesday. The Cubs will start right-hander John Lackey.

Crawford led off the 13th with a two-strike double off Mike Montgomery, the seventh Cubs pitcher, before Panik followed with his third hit of the game over Cubs right fielder Albert Almora Jr.'s head.

Rookie left-hander Ty Blach (1-0) pitched two innings of two-hit shutout relief to get the win for the Giants.

The Giants had scored three times in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 5-3 lead before the Cubs rallied in the top of the ninth on a two-run home run by Kris Bryant (3-for-5) off San Francisco closer Sergio Romo.

The homer came immediately after Romo walked leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler.

San Francisco made a bid for a regulation win when Buster Posey (3-for-5) hit a liner into the right field corner with Brandon Belt on base and running on the crack of the bat.

Almora Jr., however, made a diving catch to save the game, then doubled Belt off first base to send the game to extra innings.

Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman had blown the save when he was called upon with two on and no outs in the eighth with Chicago clinging to a 3-2 lead, which they lost when Conor Gillaspie blasted a two-run triple that gave the Giants the lead.

A three-run home run by starting pitcher Jake Arrieta had given the Cubs their lead into the eighth, but they had to call on Chapman after Belt singled off Travis Wood and Buster Posey drew a walk from Hector Rondon to open the inning.

Chapman struck out Hunter Pence for the first out, but then served up Gillaspie's triple to right-center field, scoring Belt and Posey.

Brandon Crawford followed Gillaspie's triple with a single through a drawn-in infield to increase the San Francisco lead to 5-3.

Arrieta held the Giants to two runs in six innings. He gave up six hits and one walk while striking out five.

Madison Bumgarner, who gave up the homer to Arrieta, left for a pinch hitter after laboring through 101 pitches in five innings. He allowed three runs and seven hits, walked one and struck out four.

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