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  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won a thumping majority of seats in Britain's Parliament — a decisive outcome to a Brexit-dominated election that should allow Johnson to fulfill his plan to take the U.K. out of the European Union next month. With 649 of the 650 results declared on Friday, the Conservatives had 364 seats and the main opposition Labour Party 203. “We did it — we pulled it off, didn't we?'' a jubilant Johnson told supporters. 'We broke the gridlock, we ended the deadlock, we smashed the roadblock!' A few hours later, Johnson was whisked to Buckingham Palace to meet with Queen Elizabeth II as part of the constitutional ritual of forming a new government. He is the 14th prime minister to be asked by the monarch to form a government. Johnson's victory paves the way for Britain's departure from the European Union by Jan. 31. The victory makes Johnson the most electorally successful Conservative leader since Margaret Thatcher, another politician who was loved and loathed in almost equal measure. It was a disaster for left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who faced calls for his resignation even as the results rolled in. U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Johnson on Twitter, and said that 'Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new trade deal after Brexit.” Corbyn called the result “very disappointing” for his party and said he would not lead Labour into another election, though he said he would lead a period of 'reflection'' rather than quit immediately. Results poured in early Friday showing a substantial shift in support to the Conservatives from Labour. In the last election in 2017, the Conservatives won 318 seats and Labour 262. The result this time delivered the biggest Tory majority since Thatcher's 1980s heyday, and Labour’s lowest number of seats since 1935. The Scottish National Party won almost 50 of Scotland's 59 seats, up from 35 in 2017, a result that will embolden its demands for a new referendum on Scottish independence. The centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats took only about a dozen seats. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson stepped down after losing in her own Scottish constituency. The Conservatives took a swath of seats in post-industrial northern England towns that were long Labour strongholds. Labour’s vote held up better in London, where the party managed to grab the Putney seat from the Conservatives. The decisive Conservative showing vindicates Johnson’s decision to press for Thursday’s early election, which was held nearly two years ahead of schedule. He said that if the Conservatives won a majority, he would get Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and take the U.K. out of the EU by the current Jan. 31 deadline. Speaking at the election count in his Uxbridge constituency in suburban London, Johnson said the “historic” election “gives us now, in this new government, the chance to respect the democratic will of the British people to change this country for the better and to unleash the potential of the entire people of this country.” That message appears to have had strong appeal for Brexit-supporting voters, who turned away from Labour in the party’s traditional heartlands and embraced Johnson’s promise that the Conservatives would “get Brexit done.” “I think Brexit has dominated, it has dominated everything by the looks of it,” said Labour economy spokesman John McDonnell. “We thought other issues could cut through and there would be a wider debate. From this evidence there clearly wasn't.” The prospect of Brexit finally happening more than three years after Britons narrowly voted to leave the EU marks a momentous shift for both the U.K. and the bloc. No country has ever left the union, which was created in the decades after World War II to bring unity to a shattered continent. But a decisive Conservative victory would also provide some relief to the EU, which has grown tired of Britain's Brexit indecision. Britain's departure will start a new phase of negotiations on future relations between Britain and the 27 remaining EU members. EU Council President Charles Michel promised that EU leaders meeting Friday would send a “strong message” to the next British government and parliament about next steps. “We are ready to negotiate,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. The pound surged when an exit poll forecast the Tory win, jumping over two cents against the dollar, to $1.3445, the highest in more than a year and a half. Many investors hope the Conservative win will speed up the Brexit process and ease, at least in the short term, some of the uncertainty that has corroded business confidence since the 2016 vote. Many voters casting ballots on Thursday hoped the election might finally find a way out of the Brexit stalemate in this deeply divided nation. Three and a half years after the U.K. voted by 52%-48% to leave the EU, Britons remain split over whether to leave the 28-nation bloc, and lawmakers have proved incapable of agreeing on departure terms. Opinion polls had given the Conservatives a steady lead, but the result was considered hard to predict, because the issue of Brexit cuts across traditional party loyalties. Johnson campaigned relentlessly on a promise to “Get Brexit done” by getting Parliament to ratify his “oven-ready” divorce deal with the EU and take Britain out of the bloc as scheduled on Jan. 31. The Conservatives focused much of their energy on trying to win in a “red wall” of working-class towns in central and northern England that have elected Labour lawmakers for decades but also voted strongly in 2016 to leave the EU. That effort got a boost when the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage decided at the last minute not to contest 317 Conservative-held seats to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote. Labour, which is largely but ambiguously pro-EU, faced competition for anti-Brexit voters from the centrist Liberal Democrats, Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, and the Greens. But on the whole Labour tried to focus the campaign away from Brexit and onto its radical domestic agenda, vowing to tax the rich, nationalize industries such as railroads and water companies and give everyone in the country free internet access. It campaigned heavily on the future of the National Health Service, a deeply respected institution that has struggled to meet rising demand after nine years of austerity under Conservative-led governments. Senior Johnson aide Dominic Cummings said that the opponents of the Conservatives just weren't listening to the public outside London. “After the shock of the referendum, MPs and journalists should have taken a deep breath and had a lot of self-reflection of why they misunderstood what was going on in the country, but instead a lot of people just doubled down on their own ideas,” Cummings told Press Association. “That's why something like this happens against expectations.” Defeat will likely spell the end for Corbyn, a veteran socialist who moved his party sharply to the left after taking the helm in 2015, but who now looks to have led his left-of-center party to two electoral defeats since 2017. The 70-year-old left-winger was also accused of allowing anti-Semitism to spread within the party. “It's Corbyn,” said former Labour Cabinet minister Alan Johnson, when asked about the poor result. “We knew he was incapable of leading, we knew he was worse than useless at all the qualities you need to lead a political party.” For many voters, the election offered an unpalatable choice. Both Johnson and Corbyn have personal approval ratings in negative territory, and both have been dogged by questions about their character. Johnson has been confronted with past broken promises, untruths and offensive statements, from calling the children of single mothers “ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate” to comparing Muslim women who wear face-covering veils to “letter boxes.” Yet, his energy and determination proved persuasive to many voters. “It’s a big relief, looking at the exit polls as they are now, we’ve finally got that majority a working majority that we have not had for 3 1/2 years,' said Conservative-supporting writer Jack Rydeheard. 'We’ve got the opportunity to get Brexit done and get everything else that we promised as well. That’s investment in the NHS, schools, hospitals you name it — it’s finally a chance to break that deadlock in Parliament.' ___ Gregory Katz, Sheila Norman-Culp and Jo Kearney in London, and Angela Charlton, Raf Casert and Adam Pemble in Brussels contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Norway's biggest wireless carrier, Telenor, on Friday chose Sweden's Ericsson to supply part of its new 5G network, ending its cooperation with Chinese tech giant Huawei after a decade. The company signaled it would gradually remove Huawei equipment as it upgrades radio gear for the next generation of mobile networks, in a move likely to please the U.S., which has been lobbying European allies to sideline the Chinese company over cyberespionage concerns. The company “carried out an extensive security evaluation' in its selection process, alongside considering factors such as technical quality, commercial terms and the ability to innovate and modernize, Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke said. “Based on the comprehensive and holistic evaluation, we have decided to introduce a new partner for this important technology shift in Norway,” Brekke said. Telenor, which is moving away from Huawei a decade after they started collaborating, said it will continue to use its existing equipment from the Chinese company as it transitions to the new network over the next four to five years. It has already chosen Ericsson and Finland's Nokia to build the 5G network's core. European mobile phone companies are facing tough business decisions as they find themselves caught in the middle of a geopolitical battle over Huawei. Wireless companies often prefer Huawei because of its reputation for cheap, reliable gear but U.S. officials are warning allies that the company can be used to facilitate spying by China's communist leaders - allegations the company has consistently denied. Superfast 5G networks and the new innovations they promise to bring, such as telemedicine and automated factories, will run heavily on software in the network “core,” which the U.S. says exposes them to greater security vulnerabilities. In a win for Huawei, German carrier Telefonica Deutschland said this week that it chose Huawei and Finland's Nokia to jointly supply equipment for the less-sensitive 5G radio network, with a decision on suppliers for the core due next year. Telefonica Deutschland made its decision even though the German government may tighten up its 5G security guidelines. The company added a caveat that Huawei's participation was “subject to the successful safety certification of the technology and the companies” in accordance with German legal provisions.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has led his Conservative Party to a landslide victory in Britain’s election that was dominated by Brexit. Here are five takeaways from the British election: BREXIT IS HAPPENING Johnson’s campaign was built around his pledge to — finally — complete Brexit. With his whopping majority, Johnson now has the political clout to do just that. Expect him to rush through legislation clearing the way for Britain to leave the European Union by the Jan. 31 deadline. More than three years of wrangling in Britain’s Parliament and in Brussels are set to come to an end with Britain’s departure, although very little will change right away as the Brexit deal with Brussels ushers in a transition period until the end of next year while negotiators attempt to hammer out a comprehensive trade deal between Britain and the bloc. Many analysts believe that time frame is too tight to complete the trade pact. CONSERVATIVES’ CLEAR MESSAGE Johnson has a reputation for ill-advised, off-the-cuff comments landing him into hot water. But throughout the five-week election campaign, he rarely strayed from three simple words: “Get Brexit Done.” The easily digested message was clearly designed to woo voters from both sides of the political spectrum who have grown weary and disillusioned by the squabbling over Britain’s divorce from the European Union. Johnson refused a face-to-face interview with BBC interviewer Andrew Neil during the campaign and opponents even accused him of ducking into a refrigerated milk storeroom to avoid another interview. That bobbing and weaving to dodge tough questioning drew criticism in the media, but clearly didn't hurt him with voters. LABOUR’S WOES While Johnson stayed on message, embattled opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was widely portrayed as sitting on the fence on Brexit and faced unprecedented criticism during the campaign for his failure to decisively tackle allegations of deep-rooted anti-Semitism in his party. That overshadowed his attempts to highlight his raft of big-ticket socialist reforms. In a damaging phone conversation leaked to a right-wing website late in the campaign, Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth summed up his party’s problem, saying voters in central and northern England “can’t stand Corbyn and they think Labour’s blocked Brexit.” And as the dust settled on the historic defeat, former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson called Corbyn “a disaster on the doorstep. Everyone knew that he couldn't lead the working class out of a paper bag.' Corbyn resisted calls to quit immediately, but said he wouldn't lead his party into another election. FRAYING UNION The Conservatives weren’t the only big winners at the election. The Scottish National Party was also celebrating new-found strength on Friday morning after gaining 13 seats to boost its holding to 48. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and leader of the nationalists, said the electoral success gave her a “renewed, refreshed and strengthened mandate' to push for a second vote on Scottish independence. Five years ago, Scots voted in a referendum to remain in the United Kingdom but at the 2016 Brexit referendum Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. Johnson has ruled out approving a second independence vote in Scotland, setting the stage for a possibly bruising battle on the issue between two leaders emboldened by their strong showing. Meanwhile, in another sign of fraying of the ties that bind the United Kingdom, the pro-Britain Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland lost two of its 10 seats. The party’s leader, Arlene Foster, blamed Irish nationalist parties for ganging up against the unionists. The only ray of light for Johnson was in Wales, where his party gained six seats while Labour’s share of the vote slumped. BREXIT PARTY CRASHED The election may have been all about Brexit, but that didn’t help veteran euroskeptic Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party. It didn’t secure a single seat Thursday, just months after winning Britain’s European Parliament elections in May with nearly 31% of the vote. Farage helped Johnson into the saddle by deciding not to contest 317 Conservative-held seats to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote. That cleared the way for the prime minister to push through his Brexit deal — which Farage believes gives too many concessions to Europe. “But I would prefer that to a second referendum,” he told the BBC. ___ Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • The British election result is a boost to the economy and financial markets in the short term as it will ease some of the uncertainty over Brexit that has hobbled business confidence during the past three years. In the longer term, it remains unclear how the Conservatives of Prime Minister Boris Johnson will steer the economy, particularly since so much of Britain's future trade relations remain to be negotiated once it has left the European Union, as scheduled, on Jan. 31. “Today’s result of a Conservative majority means that Brexit is likely to occur quite quickly,' said Sarah Carlson, senior vice president at credit ratings agency Moody's. 'However, Brexit-related uncertainty is unlikely to abate for more than a few months,' The pound and British stocks jumped higher on the outcome of the vote. The currency rose 2 cents against the dollar to $1.3450 late Thursday, when the first exit polls were made public, and has held onto its gains. The FTSE 100 of top British shares rose 1 .8% on Friday. While Britain's departure from the EU has long been considered damaging for businesses - particularly in Britain but also in neighboring EU countries like Ireland and the Netherlands - the delay in carrying out the exit itself have arguably proved as painful. Over the three and half years since the referendum to leave the EU, businesses in Britain have reined in investment and hiring as they awaited clarity on the terms of Britain's departure, or whether it would leave at all. A sudden, non-negotiated break away would result in immediate tariffs on trade, checks on borders and limits on immigration. As part of the EU, goods, money and people have full freedom of movement. A negotiated exit - which Johnson secured this year - would be less disruptive but how it affects the economy will depend on more detailed negotiations on future trade relations. The prime minister has signaled that he wants looser economic ties with the EU, Britain's biggest trading partner, in order to have the freedom to pursue commercial deals with faster-growing economies further afield - from the United States to countries in Asia. That approach could hurt British businesses that depend on supply chains that snake across EU countries and on easily hiring EU workers - both highly skilled professionals as well as seasonal workers in agriculture, for example. Johnson's plan is to bring Britain out of the EU by the end of January on the basis of his Brexit divorce deal. After that, the outlook remains unclear. Now that he has a strong majority, Johnson could approach those talks with the EU on future trade ties with a greater willingness to keep close ties. Until this election, he had depended heavily on the support in parliament of a fringe of the Conservative party that has long demanded a sharp break away from the EU. But Johnson is still likely to find it difficult to provide longer-term clarity for the economy, analysts say. If Britain leaves on Jan. 31, it would have a “transition period” until the end of 2020, whereby it will remain in the EU's tariff-free single market and customs union. That means Johnson's government needs to secure in just a few months a free trade deal that would typically take years to secure. Given the size of his majority in the 650-seat Parliament - currently at 78 - he may have the power to extend that transition period for another two years to facilitate trade talks with the EU. “This is the beginning of the reality of Brexit rather than the end,” said Ross Denton, a trade expert at law firm Baker McKenzie. The talks with the EU could prove tricky as Britain will go into them as a more isolated nation on the world stage. The other 27 countries in the EU are Britain’s largest trading partner, accounting for almost half its international trade. For the rest of the EU, Britain accounts for less than a fifth German business groups on Friday said they were relieved that the U.K. election result might ease some uncertainty hurting trade. Germany, which is Europe's largest economy and depends heavily on trade and manufacturing, only just managed to dodge a recession this year as it suffers from jitters over Brexit and broader concerns, like U.S.-led tariffs disputes, that have hurt manufacturing. One German business group noted how Britain has slipped from being the country's No. 5 trading partner to No. 7 since it voted to leave the EU in 2016. Some Conservatives have said Britain can refocus on trade with the United States, but there, too, the country will be at a disadvantage in talks. U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a tough approach to trade, viewing it as a zero-sum battle to burnish nationalist pride rather than a way to build alliances. As with the EU, Britain's relationship is uneven: the U.S. is Britain's second-biggest export market. For the U.S., Britain is the fifth-largest. Domestically in Britain, big companies seem relieved also at the decisive defeat for the opposition Labour Party, which wanted to nationalize some industries and raise business taxes. The Confederation of British Industry congratulated Johnson and the Conservatives in a statement and urged them to “break the cycle of uncertainty.” Johnson will face pressure to deliver on his campaign promises to increase public spending on sectors like healthcare, after almost a decade of budget cuts that have eroded public services, worsened wealth inequality and stymied the economy. Together with an expected pick-up in private investment, that could help the economy next year. “While the U.K. still faces serious risks and uncertainty from the upcoming U.K.-EU negotiations on the future relationship, the election result could be the first step towards a sustained economic and political recovery,” said Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg bank. ___ Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
  • European Union leaders on Friday debated Britain’s departure from the bloc amid some relief that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has secured a parliamentary majority that should allow him to push the long-stalled Brexit divorce deal through parliament. With or without an agreement, Britain is scheduled to leave on Jan. 31. It’s the first time that a country will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc. Though many EU leaders are relieved that the Brexit saga is finally coming to an end, more than three years after Britons voted to leave, just as many are saddened at the departure of such a heavyweight member state. The sense of relief was evident among European business groups too, though it was tinged with some regret. The uncertainty over Britain's future was a concern among businesses and some have shifted operations out of the U.K. There are still questions over the future relationship after Brexit and whether tariff-free trade between the U.K. and the EU will continue after a standstill transition period expires at the end of 2020. “I deeply regret that the United Kingdom, our friends, are leaving the European Union,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told reporters in Brussels. However, he conceded that “it’s always easier for us to be able to negotiate with a partner who has a strong personal mandate and can control a majority in their parliament.” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said: “I still regret the outcome of the referendum but I respect it. I’m happy that it will be finally now over with this situation where we are able to agree here but in London they are not able to agree. So, finished, this situation, and that’s good for all of us.' Joachim Lang, chief executive of the Federation of German Industries, said Friday that no German company wants Brexit but “our companies are breathing a sigh of relief that there is finally a mandate to accept the withdrawal agreement.” When Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016, there were fears that it could lead to other departures. However, those fears have dissipated as the process has been so politically divisive — two U.K. elections were held over it — and expensive. Though the pathway to Britain's departure by Jan. 31 is reasonably clear, the future relationship between the country and the EU is not. Discussions on that can only begin after Britain formally leaves. The EU has already said that its main Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will lead those discussions. After congratulating Johnson on his victory, new EU Council President Charles Michel said that “we expect as soon as possible the vote by the British parliament on the withdrawal agreement.” “We are ready,' he told reporters as he arrived to chair the meeting of Britain's 27 EU partner countries. “The European Union will negotiate in order to have close cooperation in the future with the U.K.” Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive at the European Policy Center think-tank said that for the EU the election outcome is “positive' as it means the first stage of Brexit can be concluded. “There will not be a re-negotiation, there will not be a further delay,” he said. “Of course the big question is what comes after that.” Ultimately, the Brexit divorce negotiations may yet prove to be the easy part. If Britain does leave at the end of next month, it will have less than a year to negotiate a new trade agreement with its partners and get it endorsed in all their parliaments. Most trade pacts take several years to agree. First thing though, the EU member countries will have to agree on a new negotiating mandate for Barnier. “We are all set,” said new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, whose powerful executive arm negotiates trade deals on behalf of EU member countries. The commission also supervised the Brexit talks. “We have the structures internally. We are ready to negotiate whatever is necessary,” she said. Asked whether it is possible to seal a trade deal in under a year, Michel said: “it is not my intention to predict based on the experience of the past.” Varadkar said that “striking a trade deal by the end of 2020 is tremendously ambitious, but we’re determined to try.' The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that Britain has slipped from Germany’s No. 5 trading partner to No. 7 since it voted to leave the EU in 2016. Its chairman, Eric Schweitzer, said German companies in Britain are “restrained in their investment and employment plans” because of uncertainty over the future. ___ Angela Charlton and Daniela Berretta in Brussels, and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.

News

  • The remains of six victims of a deadly volcano eruption in New Zealand have been recovered. Sixteen people were killed on White Island when a volcano there unexpectedly erupted Monday, The Associated Press reported. Eight military specialists recovered six of the eight victims believed to be on the island, and the bodies will be taken to Auckland for identification, CNN reported. Due to toxic gases still being released from the volcano, the team had to wear protective suits and breathing gear to be on the island, the AP reported. The search had to end as air supplies ran low, the New York Times reported. An additional recovery mission is planned to find a tour guide and boat captain who had taken tourists to the island. At least one of them is expected to be in the water, but the other person’s location is unknown, the AP reported. Forty-seven tourists, many from a Royal Caribbean cruise, and guides were on the island when the volcano exploded. Many of the people who survived were burned. Fifteen tourists not from Australia are in burn units across the country with 11 listed as very critical. Thirteen Australians who were part of the tour have all returned to their home country, the AP reported. Skin banks are sending tissues to hospitals to help treat the burns, as medical teams from Australia, Britain and the U.S. travel to New Zealand to help treat patients, the AP reported.
  • A Minnesota man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 24 years in prison in the death of his 13-day-old son. Michael Herkal, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, nearly 16 months to the day after Apple Valley police responded to an Aug. 12, 2018, medical call for an infant not breathing, WCCO reported. The child died two days later, after doctors determined he had suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain. Herkal was charged initially with felony assault and malicious punishment of a child, but three additional charges of murder were filed after authorities received the autopsy report, KARE11 reported. According to WCCO, Herkal initially told authorities his toddler pulled the newborn off the couch twice but later claimed the baby slipped from his hands and fell onto a coffee table during a diaper change. During his plea hearing, however, Herkal admitted he also shook the infant violently and slapped him, the TV station reported.
  • Major League Baseball announced substantial changes Thursday to its drug use and testing policy, multiple news outlets reported. In addition to removing marijuana from its “drugs of abuse” category – making it the first major US sports league to do so – the organization announced mandatory testing for the presence of opioids, cocaine, synthetic THC, LSD and fentanyl, ABC News reported. Per the policy revisions, players will still be tested for “natural cannabinoids” such as THC, CBD, and marijuana, but punishment for violations will now be treated similarly to those of the alcohol and violence policies, ABC News reported. 'Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties’ Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player’s Club or the Commissioner’s Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids,” the league, in association with its players union, stated. According to NPR, the policy changes will take effect during 2020 spring training.  “The opioid epidemic in our country is an issue of significant concern to Major League Baseball,” MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said in a prepared statement, adding, “It is our hope that this agreement - which is based on principles of prevention, treatment, awareness and education - will help protect the health and safety of our Players.” Read more here and here.
  • Seeking emergency mental health assistance could soon be as simple as dialing 988, federal regulators announced Thursday. The Federal Communications Commission formally began the process Thursday to designate 988 as a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. “The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis,” Dwight Holton, CEO of suicide prevention nonprofit Lines for Life, told USA Today. “No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.' According to The Wall Street Journal, the new hotline is intended to simplify access to services available currently by dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the existing National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Once operational, dialing 988 would connect callers to the existing hotline and then route them to nearby crisis centers equipped to provide assistance. “We believe this historical and critical effort will turn the tide on reducing suicides and promote mental wellness in the United States,” said a statement from Kimberly Williams, chief executive of Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that administers the lifeline, The Journal reported. Read more here and here.
  • An emergency landing by a single-engine plane snarled traffic Thursday night on Interstate 5 in San Diego, multiple news outlets reported. Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, told KNSD the Cessna 182 made a hard landing on the southbound lanes around 7:15 p.m. Within 30 minutes authorities had re-opened two southbound lanes, KFMB reported. Carlsbad Fire Division Chief Mike Lopez told KNSD a man and a woman were on board traveling from the San Gabriel Airport in Los Angeles to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. According to KFMB, no injuries were reported, and the plane did not strike any motorists. “They did a pretty good job landing this thing,” Lopez told KNSD, adding, “The skill of that pilot, he did a stellar job.”
  • A Fort Gibson man recently showed off his blacksmith skills by taking first place in a competition television show. Nic Overton, 23, earned the top spot on the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire,” which is centered around blacksmith work. Along with bragging rights, Overton won a $10,000 prize. Overton told KOKI he’s been fascinated with blacksmithing since he was a child and crafted his first knife out of a railroad spike. He managed to turn his hobby into a career. He owns his own business called Nix Knives.