Towns brace for tidal surge as storm batters coast

One of the strongest storms to hit western Alaska in nearly 40 years battered coastal communities Wednesday with snow and hurricane-force winds, knocking out power, ripping up roofs and forcing some residents to board up their windows and seek higher ground.

As the storm churned the Bering Sea, residents and emergency responders braced for a possible surge of sea water into already soaked villages along the coast.

“People out there are used to extreme weather, but this is not a normal storm,” said Jeremy Zidek, spokesman for the state’s emergency management agency. “This is of a magnitude that can be a storm of record, extremely dangerous, and the state is treating it as such.”


Woman dies after son abandons her in home

A suburban Kansas City woman was left sitting in a vinyl recliner for so long that her skin had fused to the chair and she had to be pried out to be taken to a hospital after suffering an apparent stroke, authorities said.

Carol F. Brown’s adult son told a state official he had left his 74-year-old mother in the chair for five days without helping her get up to use the bathroom or bathe because he was honoring her wishes to die in her Independence home, according to court documents. Brown later died.

Brown’s son, James Owens, told an official with the Missouri Division of Senior and Disability Services that his mother had been in the chair since Oct. 23.


Democrats prod Republicans to offer a counterproposal

Democrats on the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee said Wednesday that Republicans need to up the ante on taxes before negotiations can resume in earnest on a potential deal to cut out-of-control budget deficits. “We are waiting for them to bring us back a fair and balanced proposal,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Republicans said it’s up to Democrats to counter a GOP plan that for the first time proposed new tax revenues.

The impasse came even as lawmakers unaffiliated with the committee took a glass-half-full view of the Republican offer this week in which even GOP hard-liners on taxes showed new flexibility on tax revenue increases.

“I assume good faith,” said Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat. “And I assume that what we heard from Republicans is a breakthrough that can lead to an agreement, and that’s what we need.”

There are just two weeks before the committee’s deadline and the two sides are far apart on how much in new tax revenues a deal should include. Republicans offered up about $300 billion in new tax revenues over 10 years that would be skimmed off the top as Congress overhauls tax laws cluttered with breaks and deductions and uses most of the proceeds to lower tax rates.

ANKARA, Turkey

Second quake collapses buildings, kills at least three

An earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Wednesday night, killing at least three people and leaving dozens trapped in the rubble of toppled buildings damaged in the previous temblor, which had killed 600 people.

About 20 buildings collapsed in the provincial capital of Van following a 5.7-magnitude quake, according to media reports.

In a grim replay of scenes from last month’s quake in the same region, men climbed onto piles of debris and frantically clawed at twisted steel and crumbled concrete in an attempt to find survivors.

Voices could be heard calling for help from under the debris, and at least 10 people were pulled alive from the rubble in early rescue efforts, according to Turkish media.

Rescue workers used the glare of high-powered lights to work through the night.