Wall Street rises on stimulus hopes, Goldman Sachs fined $US3 billion over 1MDB corruption scandal



Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $US2.9 billion ($4.1 billion) over its role in Malaysia’s 1MDB corruption scandal while US stocks have increased despite little signs of progress in stimulus negotiations.

The settlement with the US Department of Justice and other US and overseas regulators resolved an investigation into the role played by Goldman in helping to steal cash from the Malaysian state fund.

The bank underwrote three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised $US6.5 billion for Malaysia’s government.

The US Department of Justice said the deal was the largest penalty ever levied on a US company for breaching the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and involved an unprecedented number of regulators across the globe.

Acting head of the Justice Department’s criminal division Brian Rabbitt said the settlement reflected the bank’s central role “in a massive global scheme to loot billions of dollars”.

Prosecutors said that between around 2009 and 2014, Goldman paid more than $US1.6 billion in bribes to foreign officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to win 1MDB business.

The move follows a $US3.9 billion settlement the bank reached with Malaysia in July to settle all charges against the bank related to the matter.

The scandal relates to the government of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, which set up the 1MDB fund in 2009.

The Justice Department estimated $US4.5 billion was misappropriated by fund officials and their associates between 2009 and 2014 to pay for real estate, art and other luxury items.

Goldman Sachs shares rose 1.2 per cent to $US205.40.

Wall Street cautious over hopes for more stimulus spending

US stocks have gained in another day of volatile trade on optimism that new coronavirus assistance would be approved by Congress.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there had been progress in talks with the Trump administration for another round of financial aid and said legislation could be “hammered out” soon.

Ms Pelosi and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been in discussions on a $US2 trillion economic rescue package but Senate Republicans oppose such a large bill.

However, uncertainty remained after US President Donald Trump yesterday accused the Democrats of being unwilling to compromise.

And Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Richard Shelby told reporters that he thought the negotiations were “not going anywhere.”

As coronavirus assistance runs out, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped 55,000 to 787,000 last week, which was better than forecast by economists.

The figure is still high with the labour market recovery apparently stalling, although new claims are far lower than the record 6.9 million applications filed in March.

Continuing unemployment claims fell from 9.4 million to nearly 8.4 million last week.

Other data showed that home sales had jumped 9.4 per cent to a 14-week high.

The Dow Jones index rose 0.5 per cent to 28,367, the S&P 500 index added 0.5 per cent to 3,453, and the Nasdaq Composite increased by 0.2 per cent to 11,506.

Oil stocks and banks boosted the S&P 500.

Electric car sales boost Tesla

Electric car maker Tesla jumped after it reported its fifth quarterly profit in a row.

It made a revenue record of $US8.8 billion, boosted by a rise in vehicle deliveries and sales of environmental regulatory credits to other carmakers.

Tesla said it was on target to deliver half a million vehicles by the end of this year.

That goal will require it to significantly increase car sales over the fourth quarter.

Tesla shares rose 0.7 per cent to $US425.79.

European stocks recover ground after UK stimulus

New stimulus measures in the UK saw European stocks come off their lows.

The UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced billions of pounds in financial aid for pandemic hit firms.

However rising coronavirus cases worried investors with Spain becoming the first Western European nation to surpass 1 million infections.

The FT100 index rose 0.2 per cent to 5,786, the DAX in Germany fell 0.1 per cent to 12,543 and the CAC 40 in Paris was little change, down 3 points to 4,851.

The Australian share market is expected to open flat today with the ASX SPI 200 futures index up 1 point to 6,170.

The ASX 200 fell 0.3 per cent yesterday, coming off steep falls earlier in the day.

The Australian dollar is little changed at around 71.2 US cents.

Spot gold fell 1.1 per cent to $US1904 an ounce

Brent crude oil rose 1.9 per cent to $US42.50 a barrel.



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Land tax rises catch out shack owners as Premier defends hike during pandemic


Peter Wood, 75, and his wife Jill, 74, have been full-time carers of their daughter Anita for 44 years.

The family love spending time at their shack in Cremorne, in Tasmania’s South.

“Anita is very relaxed down here, we have family here too so she meets up with them, if there was a birthday we’d normally come down too,” he said.

“We bought it in 1995, it’s an original-looking shack, built in the late 1940s.”

Peter said some of the family’s favourite memories have been spent at the shack, fishing and swimming at the beach.

But the family may have to sell up, with the property’s land tax bill now more than double what it was two years ago.

“In 2018 it was valued at $400,000, in 2019 it went up to $660,000 and this year there was a 20 per cent increase on that.”

“[The land tax] was $4,000, then $6,500, this year it’s $8,500,” he said. “That’s totally inappropriate isn’t it, things just don’t go up that quickly.”

Jill Wood with her daughter Anita Wood at their Cremorne property.(Supplied: Peter Wood)

“You could go and do another holiday somewhere else every year for the cost of the land tax, and insurance, and rates — you could have a pretty good holiday somewhere, but this is where Anita enjoys … it’s tough.”

Peter said if they do sell, the family wouldn’t consider buying another shack.

What is land tax?

Land tax is an annual tax payable by the owner of land and is calculated on the assessed land value shown on land tax assessment notices.

A child sitting on a beach towel.
Anita Wood has had many happy years at the shack, her father Peter said.(Supplied: Peter Wood)

The Office of the Valuer-General determines assessed land value annually on 1 July.

Properties that are taxable include vacant land, commercial properties, rental properties and shacks.

It’s not payable on a property which is the owner’s principal place of residence or if the land is classified as primary production land.

‘Not all investors are wealthy’

Maxine Lowry has been a wedding celebrant for 25 years.

She thought she was diversifying her retirement income by also having an Airbnb and a private rental, but all three have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

“I felt I’d done everything right but then coronavirus happened, I thought I had spread my risk,” she said.

Maxine Lowry smiles at the camera.
Maxine Lowry says many shack owners are not wealthy and are “just planning for retirement”.(Supplied:)

“No one is travelling so the Airbnb is largely empty, no one is getting married, and I’ve had to significantly reduce the rent for the rental, so I’m getting roughly 50 per cent of the usual rent.”

Her latest land tax bill, she said, was a shock.

“It took my breath away, it’s gone up more than $1,000 so around a 30 per cent increase, which is significant.”

“My property is my superannuation, so for the government to decide I need to forgo that is shocking.”

Kick in the guts for landlords

Louise Elliot from the Tasmanian Residential Rental Property Owners Association said many Tasmanian landlords have felt “shock and disbelief” after seeing their bills.

“It’s really just another kick in the guts for landlords who have already been seriously burnt over the last six months already,” she said.

Louise said she believes around 50 per cent of Tasmanian landlords have had their rental income affected by COVID-19.

“We’ve actually got some landlords that have not been paid any rent at all for six months and they’re still being given these massive land tax bills,” she said.

She said a number of landlords have written to the State Government, asking for the bills to be frozen at last year’s rate or for a discount to be applied if the property is affected by a lack of rental income.

“At a minimum, allow owners to have at least six months to pay the bill penalty free, just like what we’ve seen with rent,” she said.

Tasmanian beach shack in an unidentified location.
Premier Peter Gutwein says property prices have “held up during a pandemic”.(Supplied)

‘Land values have increased’: Premier

Tasmania’s Shadow Treasurer, David O’Byrne said it was “a massive blow” and “will undermine a unique part of the Tasmanian way of life”.

“It’s not that they’re opposed to the principle of paying tax but they are distraught at the size of the increases,” he said.

“While commercial businesses and property owners have been granted a holiday and can apply for a full waiver due to COVID-19 pressures, the same concession has not been afforded to the humble shack owner or mum and dad investors.”

But Tasmania’s Minister for Finance, Michael Ferguson, said land tax rates have not increased.

“Anyone experiencing difficulty paying their land tax can apply to the Commissioner of State Revenue to defer lump sum payments and pay their land tax by instalments.”

Premier Peter Gutwein said property values across the state have risen.

“The simple fact of the matter is that land value has increased, which is probably cold comfort for those paying the bill … but at the end of the day our property prices have held up during a pandemic,” he said.



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Cream rises to the top for AFL prelims


A week on from the tightest opening round of AFL finals in the final-eight era, the semi-finals proved anything but as the wheat was comfortably separated from the chaff.

Richmond and Geelong overcame the hurdles of their week-one losses to cruise through their semi-finals and set up mouth-watering clashes with Port Adelaide and Brisbane.

It is the first time since 2017 that the top four teams on the ladder have made it to the preliminary finals, and each contender has their own compelling narrative.

Richmond are on the verge of a dynasty – eyeing a third flag in four years and their first without the swelling support of a dominant fan base at the MCG.

In the space of three years, Damien Hardwick’s Tigers have gone from well-liked underdogs to villains – a role they’ve not only accepted, but embraced.

Tom Lynch’s five MRO citings have seen him elevated to the AFL’s public enemy No.1, with the Tigers showcasing the Hawthorn-esque “unsociable football” that surely also draws roots from Hardwick’s own uncompromising playing career.

Richmond sorely missed Lynch in their qualifying-final loss to Brisbane but he was at the heart of everything good – bar wayward goal-kicking and an unsavoury misconduct charge – as they dismantled St Kilda by 31 points on Friday night.

They will meet a well-rested Port Adelaide, who after beating Geelong, will again have the advantage of a parochial Adelaide Oval crowd at their backs.

The minor premiers have completed a stunning turnaround less than a year after Ken Hinkley was one failed season away from the chopping block.

The Power accounted for Richmond in August but will be acutely aware a plethora of key Tigers were missing on that day.

A day after Richmond secured their preliminary final berth, Geelong surged back into premiership calculations with a stunning 68-point mauling of a listless Collingwood.

In the process, they extended Gary Ablett’s farewell tour – with the 36-year-old delivering two early goal assists that set the tone for a blistering start that Collingwood never recovered from.

Patrick Dangerfield led the way with four goals in a pack-crashing, explosive performance and will take on his fifth attempt at securing a maiden grand final berth against Brisbane – who the Cats beat at the SCG in July – at the Gabba on Saturday night.

“If (our win) was the impetus (for Brisbane’s improvement), certainly they’ve played good footy in the second half of the year,” Geelong coach Chris Scott said.

“We’ve had some pretty good games against them here too, some tight tussles … we’ve got a healthy respect for their weapons.

“They finished where they did on the ladder and beat the best side of the last three years reasonably comfortably in the end a week ago – so there’s no risk of under-rating them.”

If Brisbane win next Saturday, former Hawk Grant Birchall will have a shot at becoming a five-time premiership player.

He would become the first player to hit the mark since 1991 – when Michael Tuck won his seventh flag and Dermott Brereton, Gary Ayres and Chris Mew earned their fifth.





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S&P 500 rises again, on pace for its best week since July – Long Island Business News


Stocks are rising on Wall Street Friday as talks appear to be continuing in the start-and-stop drive on Capitol Hill to deliver more aid to the ailing economy.

The S&P 500 was 0.8% higher in afternoon trading, on track for its third straight gain. The benchmark index is also on pace to close out its best week since July, following a weekslong run of mostly shaky trading amid worries about the inability of Congress to support the economy and concerns that stock prices simply got too high during the summer.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 135 points, or 0.5%, at 28,561, as of 2:23 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 1.2% higher. Technology stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending were driving much of the rally.

Despite the market’s early gains, trading underneath the surface continued to be unsettled. Airline stocks climbed at the start of trading, only to drop quickly and then rise again. United Airlines rose 0.6%, American Airlines gained 1% and Delta Air Lines rose 0.7%.

Meanwhile, energy stocks went from helping to lead the market early on to slumping to the sharpest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500.

Much of this week’s focus has been on Washington, where President Donald Trump sent markets on a sudden skid Tuesday after he halted negotiations on a support package for the economy until after the election. Investors have been clamoring for such aid since the expiration of extra benefits for laid-off workers and other stimulus for the economy that Congress approved earlier this year. Economists say the outlook is grim without such support, and the chair of the Federal Reserve has said repeatedly it will likely be necessary.

Trump said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was negotiating in bad faith when he called off the talks. But within a couple hours, he appeared to backtrack. He said that he would back more limited programs that would send $1,200 payments to Americans and support the airline industry and small businesses specifically.

Pelosi on Thursday said she was not interested in a standalone measure to help airlines unless it was accompanied by a broader effort that includes COVID testing and other programs that Democrats say are needed as part of a national strategy to “crush the virus.”

The uncertainty over a deal lingered on Friday as Trump declared on Twitter that talks on a new aid package are “moving along. Go Big!”

Meanwhile, White House economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow told reporters that “developments are positive” ahead of a telephone conversation later Friday between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doubts a deal will get done before the election.

“The fact that Trump reversed course, I think, has given people optimism again,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab.

Frederick said the uncertainty over another stimulus package remains a “substantial risk” to the market.

This week’s rollercoaster — where the S&P 500 swung at least 1.4% for three straight days— is just the latest bout of volatility for a market that has been notably rocky for weeks.

“When the world’s financial markets are at the mercy of the randomness emanating from the White House, it is hardly surprising that investors elsewhere would prefer to wait on the side-lines,” said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda in a report. “Unfortunately, things are unlikely to settle down over the next few weeks.”

Regardless of whether Washington can strike a deal before the election, some investors are getting more optimistic about the chances for a big support package in 2021. If the Democrats sweep the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, the thinking is that they’ll likely approve stimulus for the economy. That could help offset the higher tax rates and tighter regulations on businesses that investors also expect from a Democratic-controlled Washington. Wall Street is seeing a Democratic sweep as more likely than before.

Still, other challenges remain for the market. Chief among them is the still-spreading coronavirus pandemic, highlighted by Trump’s own COVID-19 diagnosis.

Some areas of the economy are slowing following the expiration of Congress’ last round of aid, stocks still look too expensive in the eyes of some critics and tensions continue to simmer between the United States and China.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 0.78%.

In European stock markets, the French CAC 40 rose 0.7%, and the German DAX rose 0.1%. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.1%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.3%. Stocks in Shanghai jumped 1.7% after trading resumed following a weeklong holiday.





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Dow Jones shares: Dow Jones rises at open ahead of business activity data


The S&P 500 and the Dow opened higher on Wednesday, with Nike hitting a record high following a strong quarterly earnings report, while investors looked to domestic business activity data to gauge the pace of an economic rebound.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 125.42 points, or 0.46%, at the open to 27,413.60 and the S&P 500 opened higher by 4.54 points, or 0.14%, at 3,320.11.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.81 points, or 0.12%, to 10,950.83 at the opening bell.





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Bhiwandi building collapse toll rises to 17


The 43-year-old Jilani building collapsed on Monday.

Thane: The death toll in the Bhiwandi building collapse in Maharashtra rose to 17 on Tuesday, with recovery of four more bodies during the night, police said.

The dead include eight children. The body of a girl, Afsana Ansari, 15, was found in the debris during the night, police said.

The number of those rescued from the debris has gone up to 23 with three more persons, including two women, having been pulled out during the night, police said.

 

The 43-year-old Jilani building collapsed on Monday.

Two civic officials have been suspended in connection with the collapse and an offence has been registered against the building owner, an official said.

The building in the powerloom town – which is around 10 km from Thane – had 40 flats and around 150 persons lived there, an official said.

The building, located at Narpoli”s Patel Compound near Dhamankar Naka, collapsed while the residents were asleep.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and personnel of the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF) are still at the spot as the search operation continues, he said.

 

The building was not in the list of dilapidated structures of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation (BNMC), he said.

Bhiwandi DCP Rajkumar Shinde said offences under sections 337,338,304 (2)of the IPC were registered against the owner of building Sayyed Ahmed Jilani after a complaint by civic officials. Jilani is yet to be arrested, he added.

The BNMC suspended two senior officials in connection with the building collapse. An inquiry committee has also been set up and will include the assistant town planner, he said.

Meanwhile, a building resident said most residents of the building were tenants and included autorickshaw drivers, vendors and labourers.

 

A civic official said the building was served two notices, one in 2019 and another in February, over alleged irregularities, but the residents did not leave as the rent was very low.



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Water Rises in Galveston as Tropical Storm Beta Approaches the Gulf Coast


Residents of Galveston, Texas, prepared for the arrival of Tropical Storm Beta as it moved through the northwest Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, September 20. The storm was expected to make landfall on the Texas coast on Monday. The National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surge and high tide along stretches of the Texas and Louisiana coasts. A tropical storm warning was put in place from Port Aransas, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, with tropical storm conditions reported on Sunday. Video filmed by local resident Robert Rodriguez shows rising water levels in Galveston, Texas. Credit: Robert Rodriguez via Storyful



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NSW coronavirus death toll rises to 55, as man in his 70s dies of the disease


A man in his early 70s has died of coronavirus, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, bringing the NSW death toll to 55.

His case was traced back to one of the Sydney CBD clusters.

He died yesterday at Sydney’s Royal North Shore hospital.

A total of 55 people have now died of coronavirus in NSW.

Ms Berejiklian confirmed two new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, one in hotel quarantine.

The other was a Sydney taxi driver who tested positive for coronavirus after working eight days while infectious and visiting several venues in Sydney and on the South Coast.

NSW Health said the confirmed coronavirus case drove in western and south-west Sydney on September 8-10 and 14-18.

People who rode in taxis in Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra may have been affected.

NSW Health confirmed they were working with 13CABS to contact passengers who were at risk of infection.

The confirmed COVID-19 case drove a taxi for over a week while infectious.(Supplied: NSW Government)

Health authorities said anyone who visited a list of six venues including restaurants, golf clubs and service clubs in Sydney’s west, south-west and on the South Coast, were also at risk.

People are considered a close contact of the taxi driver, and must seek testing and immediately isolate, if they spent more than an hour at:

  • Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine on September 16 from 2:00pm-4:30pm
  • Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club on 12 September 12 from 2:00pm-6:15pm
  • Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla on September 12 from 8:00pm-9:30pm
  • Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook on September 13, 12:30pm-2:15pm
  • Mama Wok, MacArthur Square Campbelltown on September 9, from 1:30pm-2:30pm

“They must stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received,” NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said.

Anyone who visited the venues for less than an hour is considered a casual contact, which means they need to monitor for symptoms including a fever, dry cough or tiredness.

In addition to the above, people should monitor for symptoms if they visited:

  • Picnic Point Bowling Club on September 18 from 3:00pm-6:00pm
  • Campbelltown Golf Club on September 16 from 9:30am-2:00pm
  • Wray St Oyster Shed Batemans Bay on September 12 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

NSW Health said early investigations into the source of infection indicate the taxi driver may have caught the virus at Liverpool Hospital.

It’s the second time this weekend that a case has been linked to hospitals in Sydney.

On Saturday, health authorities confirmed just one coronavirus case from local transmission, a staff member who worked at Concord Hospital while infectious.

“The case cared for patients with COVID-19 and further investigation is underway to identify how the infection was acquired,” NSW Health said yesterday.

About 13,500 coronavirus swabs were completed yesterday, and Ms Berejiklian acknowledged testing rates dipped on the weekend.

“But it’s still a state of high alert for us in NSW,” she said.

Ms Berejiklian also announced NSW workers would be eligible for paid pandemic leave to the value of $1,500 if they were forced to take time off work for self-isolation.

“If you’re someone who has a job and you don’t have any leave left, you will be paid $1,500 for that fortnight you have to isolate,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Unions NSW said the decision was “welcome, if overdue”.

“No worker should ever have to choose between their health and their livelihood, a point we first made to the Premier months ago,” Union NSW’s Mark Morey said.

Restaurant with open buffet fined

Meanwhile a Korean BBQ restaurant in Strathfield has become the latest venue to be slugged with a $5,000 fine after inspectors found an open buffet where diners were sharing crockery, cutlery and food.

Inspectors visited Butchers Buffet on September 11 and found the restaurant was not spaced to allow a four-square-metre distance between tables.

They noted that there was no COVID-19 marshal on site, and no limit to the amount of patrons noted on the door.

Diners stood shoulder to shoulder while serving themselves at the buffet, sharing utensils.

people lining up blurred at a buffet
Butchers Buffet in Strathfield was one of 23 venues fined for COVID-19 breaches.(Supplied)

SafeWork NSW Director Work Health and Safety Metro, Sarina Wise, said she thought COVID-19 breaches “defied logic”.

“Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don’t mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items,” Ms Wise said.

“No self-serve, buffet-style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.

“Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission.”

Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading this week dished out 23 new fines for restaurants breaking the rules.

Among them, Albion Hotel in Parramatta, Ashfield Bowling Club in Ashfield, Cafe on Monash in Gladesville, Commercial Hotel in Kingsgrove, Collector Hotel in Parramatta, Crown Hotel in Parramatta, Erciyes Turkish Restaurant in Redfern General Bourke in Parramatta, Glasgow Arms Hotel in Ultimo, Indian Leaf in Redfern, La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria in Jindabyne, Lotus Barangaroo in Barangaroo, Maya Da Dhaba in Redfern, Mohr Fish in St Ives, Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill, Oscars Sports Hotel in Bankstown, Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill, Royal Hotel in Darlington, Ship Inn in Sydney, Southern Cross Hotel in St Peters, St Jude Café in Redfern, Thredbo Alpine Hotel and Zushi Restaurant in Barangaroo.

To date, hospitality businesses have been dealt 150 fines totalling $658,000.



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Death toll rises as firefighters battle West Coast wildfires



Beavercreek, Ore.

Nearly all the dozens of people reported missing after a devastating blaze in southern Oregon have been accounted for, authorities said over the weekend as crews battled wildfires that have killed at least 33 from California to Washington state.

The flames up and down the West Coast have destroyed neighborhoods, leaving nothing but charred rubble and burned-out cars, forced tens of thousands to flee and cast a shroud of smoke that has given Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon, some of the worst air quality in the world.

The smoke filled the air with an acrid metallic smell like pennies and spread to nearby states. While making it difficult to breathe, it helped firefighters by blocking the sun and turning the weather cooler as they tried to get a handle on the blazes, which were slowing in some places.

But warnings of low moisture and strong winds that could fan the flames added urgency to the battle. The so-called red flag warnings stretched from hard-hit southern Oregon to Northern California and extended through Monday evening.

Lexi Soulios, her husband and son were afraid they would have to evacuate for a second time because of the weather. They left their small southern Oregon town of Talent last week when they saw a “big, huge flow of dark smoke coming up,” then went past roadblocks Friday to pick through the charred ruins of their home.

While they are staying farther south in Ashland, known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she said by text message that the forecast may mean they could be on the move again.

“So this isn’t over yet but we just had the car checked so we feel prepared,” Lexi Soulios wrote.

Authorities last week reported as many as 50 people could be missing after a wildfire in the Ashland area. But the Jackson County sheriff’s office said late Saturday that four people had died in the blaze and that the number of missing was down to one.

At least 10 people have been killed in the past week throughout Oregon. Officials have said more people are missing from other fires, and the number of fatalities is likely to rise, though they have not said how high the toll could go as they search. In California, 22 people have died, and one in Washington state. Thousands of homes and other buildings have burned.

Barbara Rose Bettison, 25, left her farm among the trees and fields of Eagle Creek, outside Portland, when a sheriff’s deputy knocked on her door Tuesday. They drove away on a road that became an ominous dividing line, with blue skies on one side and the other filled with black and brown smoke.

She took shelter at an Elks Lodge near Portland, where evacuees wrapped themselves in blankets and set up tents out back.

“It’s terrifying. We’ve never had any form of natural disaster,” she said.

Bettison, a UPS driver, was able to get out with her chickens, rabbits and cats. She hasn’t been back, but neighbors said it is so smoky they can’t see their hands in front of their faces.

“I’m hoping there has not been too much damage because it would break my heart,” she said.

Farther south in the town of Talent, Dave Monroe came to his burned home, partially hoping he’d find his three cats.

“We thought we’d get out of this summer with no fires,” he said. “There is something going on, that’s for sure, man. Every summer we’re burning up.”

Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in the U.S. to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The Democratic governors of all three states say the fires are a consequence of climate change, taking aim at President Donald Trump ahead of his visit Monday to California for a fire briefing.

“It is maddening right now that when we have this cosmic challenge to our communities, with the entire West Coast of the United States on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires, these are climate fires,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

At a rally in Nevada, Trump blamed inadequate forest management, which White House adviser Peter Navarro echoed on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying that for many years in California, “particularly because of budget cutbacks, there was no inclination to manage our forests.”

Firefighter Steve McAdoo has run from one blaze to another in Oregon for six days, seeing buildings burn and trees light up like candles.

“We lost track of time because you can’t see the sun and you’ve been up for so many days,” he said. “Forty-eight to 72 hours nonstop, you feel like you’re in a dream.”

As he and his team battled the blazes, McAdoo worried about his wife and daughter at home just miles away. They evacuated safely, but at times he could communicate with them only in one-word text messages: “busy.”

McAdoo and other firefighters got their first real break Sunday to take showers, shave, and check their equipment. And though it’s a faint shadow of its usual self, he can finally see the sun.

“It’s nice today to at least see the dot in the sky,” he said.

Meanwhile, Oregon’s fire marshal, who resigned after being placed on leave amid a personnel investigation, says he was trying to help a colleague and “didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jim Walker told TV news station KOIN in Portland that state police leaders put him on leave after he tried to help a co-worker whose family was missing in a fire zone, saying his superiors decided he had overstepped his authority.

___

Whitehurst reported from Beavercreek, and Cline from Salem. Associated Press journalist Manuel Valdes in Talent contributed.



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