Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Hundreds of weary, hopeful Bahamas evacuees arrive in Florida by ship

Hundreds of weary Bahamians, some carrying small bags of belongings and children on their hips, disembarked a cruise ship in south Florida on Saturday after fleeing the catastrophic devastation left by Hurricane Dorian. The evacuees arrived at the Port of Palm Beach after an all-night voyage on the Grand Celebration, a cruise ship operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which offered free passage to the U.S. to a limited number of Bahamians.

U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan identified

A U.S. soldier killed by an improvised bomb in Afghanistan has been identified as Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense said on Friday. Barreto, 34 and based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was killed on Thursday when an improvised bomb in a vehicle exploded in a suicide attack near his vehicle in the Afghan capital Kabul, the department said in a statement.

Hurricane Dorian floods island as it swipes North Carolina then heads north

Hurricane Dorian briefly made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Friday, hitting the beach-fringed barrier islands with powerful winds and battering waves days after reducing parts of the Bahamas to rubble. The storm made landfall at Cape Hatteras at about 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) with maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour (150 km per hour), according to the National Hurricane Center. That was far weaker than its slow, deadly tour through the Bahamas earlier in the week that caused at least 43 deaths, according to news media accounts late Friday, and likely many more.

California boat fire to put spotlight on Titanic's legal defense

The company that owns a scuba dive boat that caught fire and sank off California, killing 34 people, has sought to avoid liability by invoking a 19th-century law that has shielded vessel owners from costly disasters such as the sinking of the Titanic. Federal investigators have interviewed https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-fire/california-boat-fire-investigators-interview-captain-crew-idUSKCN1VP2D2 the only survivors from the fire aboard the Conception, the captain and four crew members, as well as Glen Fritzler, whose Truth Aquatics Inc owns and operates the vessel.

Albertsons Companies joins supermarkets in changing guns policy

Supermarket operator Albertsons Companies said on Saturday it would ask customers not to openly carry firearms at its stores, joining an array of retailers and store chains this week who changed their gun policy in light of several mass shootings in the United States. "We want our stores to feel safe & welcoming for all, so we respectfully ask customers to not openly carry firearms in our stores unless they are authorized law enforcement officers," the company said in a tweet http://bit.ly/2HPH03R.

California boat fire victims likely died of smoke inhalation

The 34 people killed when a dive boat caught fire and sank off the California coast likely died from smoke inhalation and may have been dead before flames consumed their bunk area, the local sheriff said on Friday. The disclosure raises questions over whether crew members, who told investigators they tried desperately to rescue the passengers in their below-decks sleeping quarters, were already too late to save them by the time they were alerted to the blaze.

Trump administration weighs another cut to refugee cap for 2020

The Trump administration is considering further cuts to the annual cap on refugees as it diverts caseworkers to handle asylum claims from Central American families at the southern U.S. border, a senior official said on Friday. Since taking office, President Donald Trump, who campaigned on restricting immigration, has slashed the number of refugees allowed into the United States - decisions decried by human rights advocates and national security experts.

As Serena fights for the throne, a duchess watches

Amid the excitement of Serena Williams' latest bid for U.S. Open glory, some off-court news buzzed about the plaza at Flushing Meadows: a duchess had come to Queens. Meghan Markle, the wife of Britain's Prince Harry, sat in the player's box of her good friend Williams as she took on Canada's Bianca Andreescu in the women's final on Saturday.

Director of MIT's Media Lab steps down in wake of Epstein revelations

The director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab stepped down on Saturday after a New Yorker magazine article revealed the lab tried to conceal donations from disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein, the university said. "This afternoon, Joi Ito submitted his resignation as Director of the Media Lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute," MIT President Rafael Reif said in a letter posted online.

Los Angeles County resident dies of lung illness, fifth U.S. death possibly tied to vaping

A Los Angeles County resident has died from a lung illness possibly tied to vaping, bringing the total number of such U.S. deaths to five, health officials said on Friday. Officials are warning against e-cigarette use as the exact cause of any link between vaping and the lung condition remains unknown.