Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

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 30 deaths and likely many more.

Tight U.S. labor market shrinks gender and race gaps to record lows

A tight U.S. labor market and booming demand in industries with an abundance of female workers is drawing more women back into the workforce, helping to shrink the longstanding gap in the labor participation rate between men and women to the narrowest on record. Other parts of a report released by the Labor Department on Friday showed that the longest economic expansion on record is leading to improvements for workers who are often left on the sidelines. Not only did the unemployment rate for African Americans drop to a record low of 5.5% in August, it narrowed to being 1.62 times the white unemployment rate, the smallest gap ever.

After Hurricane Dorian, families turn to technology in search for the missing

As Hurricane Dorian left thousands missing in the Bahamas, South Carolina resident Daniel Huggins worried frantically about his mother on Green Turtle Cay and, with no word from U.S. or Bahamas authorities, turned to Facebook for news. “That was really all that we could do,” Huggins, a 31-year-old commercial driver, said.

Trump in high-stakes balancing act between oil and corn ahead of 2020 bid

At a closed-door meeting at the White House on Aug. 19, President Donald Trump looked increasingly alarmed as his top envoy to China delivered evidence of rising Farm Belt frustration over his biofuel policy along with a stark warning: You've got a problem in Iowa. Terry Branstad, the former Iowa governor and now U.S. ambassador to China, told Trump that while farmers may have remained loyal to him despite the economic pain caused by the more than year-long trade war with China, they would not stomach policies favoring the oil industry at their expense, according to four people familiar with the substance of the meeting.

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 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.

Mallinckrodt to pay $24 million in cash to settle opioid lawsuits with two Ohio counties

Mallinckrodt plc said on Friday it had agreed to pay $24 million in cash to two counties in Ohio, to settle lawsuits related to an ongoing multidistrict opioid litigation in the United States. The development comes as opioid makers in the country face a string of lawsuits seeking to hold them responsible for fueling the opioid addiction crisis.

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.

American Airlines mechanic charged with alleged sabotage of plane amid union dispute

An American Airlines mechanic was ordered temporarily detained Friday after he was charged with purposely damaging an aircraft in July amid a dispute between the airline and its mechanics union involving stalled contract negotiations. Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani will remain in custody pending a hearing on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Federal prosecutors are requesting he continue to be detained pending trial.

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.