NEW YORK (AP) — The mother grabbed her two boys and fled their home as it filled with water, hoping to outrun Superstorm Sandy.
But Glenda Moore and her SUV were no match for the epic storm. Moore's Ford Explorer stalled in the rising tide, and the rushing waters snatched 2-year-old Brandon and 4-year-old Connor from her arms as they tried to escape.
The youngsters' bodies were recovered from a marsh Thursday — the latest, most gut-wrenching blow in New York's Staten Island, an isolated city borough hard-hit by the storm and yet, residents say, largely forgotten by federal officials assessing damage of the monster storm that has killed more than 90 people in 10 states.
"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said as he announced the boys' bodies had been found on the third day of a search that included police divers and sniffer dogs. "It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event."
The heartbreaking discovery came as residents and public officials complained that help has been frustratingly slow to arrive on stricken Staten Island, where 19 have been killed — nearly half the death toll of all of New York City.
From the Sky: With computer-controlled cameras, capturing Sandy's devastation from the air
OVER THE COAST OF SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — It's noisy aboard the King Air turboprop There's a din from the small plane's engines, and wind is whipping through a hole in the floor where a camera is positioned, taking high-resolution photos from the sky of Superstorm Sandy's work.
With his laptop in front of him, sensor operator Andrew Halbach helps direct the computer-controlled camera that shoots hundreds and hundreds of photos of New Jersey's devastated shoreline.
The flight is a regular tour for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which charts the coastal changes storms like Sandy cause. The pictures help emergency responders know where they need to go, help coastal managers plan for the future and let homeowners who can't get back yet find out what's left of them.
Thursday's mission, led by pilot Lt. Cmdr. Scott Price, was to chart Sandy's path over New Jersey's decimated southern coast.
Price and pilot Lt. Rebecca Waddington checked cockpit displays for their preplanned flight and took off from Wilmington, Del., using GPS navigation that has the pinpoint accuracy far more precise than found in the average car.
Last jobs report of the campaign lands as candidates make their final stands
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In the final throes of a spirited campaign, President Barack Obama and rival Mitt Romney are awaiting one more measure of the nation's economic pulse — a monthly jobs report that will leave an imprint on the last four frenetic days of the presidential contest.
The Labor Department announces new hiring numbers and the October unemployment rate Friday morning, a fitting end to a nail-biting political match dominated by the economy.
That data fresh in hand, both candidates are plunging into a hectic pace of campaigning Friday, with Obama eager to fend off Romney in the key battleground of Ohio even as Romney pushed to expand the contest to other states, most notably Pennsylvania, to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
Last month's report showed unemployment dropping to 7.8 percent, the first dip below 8 percent in Obama's presidency. However, the last incumbent president to face a jobless rate as high as 7.8 percent in October of an election year was Gerald Ford in his losing campaign against Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Whatever the number, it will give either Romney or Obama a data point with which to make a concluding case for or against the policies of the last four years. Still, the reports alone are unlikely to sway voters. Few if any remain undecided and they have shown throughout the year not to be susceptible to positive or negative monthly changes in the unemployment rate.
US jobs report is forecast to show modest hiring and uptick in unemployment before election
WASHINGTON (AP) — The October employment report the government will release Friday will likely solidify the picture of the U.S. job market that's emerged this year: Companies are hiring steadily but cautiously. And unemployment remains high.
Economists forecast that employers added 121,000 jobs in October, according to FactSet. That would be up slightly from September but below this year's average monthly gain of 146,000. And it's too weak a hiring pace to quickly reduce unemployment.
Analysts think the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September.
Friday's report is the last broad snapshot of the economy before Tuesday's presidential election. Any increase in the rate would mean that President Barack Obama would face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter when unemployment was 7.8 percent.
US officials lay out timeline on deadly Benghazi attacks to counter reports help was delayed
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just days before the presidential election, U.S. officials are striking back at allegations they failed to respond quickly or efficiently against the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, detailing for the first time a broad CIA rescue effort.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday that CIA security officers went to the aid of State Department staff less than 25 minutes after they got the first call for help from the consulate, which was less than a mile from a CIA annex. The detailed timeline provides the first in-depth look at how deeply the CIA was involved in the rescue attempt, and it comes amid persistent questions about whether the Obama administration responded as quickly and effectively as it could to the siege.
The attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 by what is now suspected to be a group of al-Qaida-linked militants killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
U.S. officials described the timeline in a clear effort to rebut recent news reports that said the CIA told its personnel to "stand down" rather than go to the consulate to help repel the attackers. Fox News reported that when CIA officers at the annex called higher-ups to tell them the consulate was under fire, they were twice told to "stand down." The CIA publicly denied the report.
The intelligence officials told reporters Thursday that when the CIA annex received a call about the assault, about a half dozen members of a CIA security team tried to get heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. But when the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. At no point was the team told to wait, the officials said.
US Environmental Protection Agency audit finds inflated gas mileage in Hyundai, Kia models
DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai and Kia overstated the gas mileage on most of their models from the past three years in an embarrassing blunder that could bring sanctions from the U.S. government and millions of dollars in payments to car owners.
Because of the inflated mileage, discovered during an audit by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Korean automakers must retrofit the window stickers on the cars, reducing their fuel economy figures by one-to-six miles per gallon depending on the model, the agency said Friday.
"Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator of the EPA's air-quality office. "EPA's investigation will help protect consumers and ensure a level playing field among automakers."
The EPA said its inquiry into the errors is continuing, and the agency would not comment when asked if the companies will be fined or if a criminal investigation is under way. But the EPA said it's the first case in which erroneous test results were uncovered in a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer. Only two similar errors have been discovered since 2000, and those involved single models.
Hyundai and Kia executives apologized for the errors, said they were unintentional, and promised to pay the owners of 900,000 cars and SUVs for the difference in mileage. The payments, which will be made annually for as long as people own their cars, are likely to cost the companies hundreds of millions of dollars.
Obama, Romney campaigns have legal teams at the ready if presidential election goes into OT
MIAMI (AP) — Legions of lawyers are ready to enter the fray in case Election Day turns on a legal challenge. One nightmare scenario would be for the results in a battleground state like Florida or Ohio to be too close to call, with thousands of absentee or provisional ballots yet to be counted.
The key, experts say, is whether the difference in votes between the two candidates is within what's known as the "margin of litigation" — that is, the number of outstanding votes must be much greater than the margin separating Obama and Romney when the smoke clears. And, it must be in a state that's decisive.
"You'd have to have a state whose Electoral College votes are absolutely pivotal or there would have to be a massive problem involving voters," said Richard Hasen, law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and founding editor of the Election Law Journal. "There not only have to be problems in an election. They have to be widespread enough or the margin close enough that litigating would actually make a difference."
Legal and campaign officials on both sides say lawyers are poised at both the national level and in the key states to respond immediately if a court challenge is needed. The political parties have gained a lot of experience in legal fights over U.S. Senate and House seats. The last major legal battle over the presidency was the 2000 race, settled by the U.S. Supreme Court favoring George W. Bush over Al Gore.
On the Republican side, Washington attorney Benjamin Ginsberg leads the team. Ginsberg was deeply involved in the 2000 court fight as national counsel to the Bush campaign. Ginsberg is assisted by Kathryn Biber, the Romney campaign's general counsel, and Lee Rudofsky, who is the campaign's Election Day operations director.
Final 10-mile trek for shuttle Atlantis, staying at Kennedy Space Center as tourist exhibit
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space shuttle Atlantis' final journey to retirement is down broad industrial avenues, most of them off-limits to the public. So Friday's trek won't replicate the narrow, stop-and-go turns Endeavour encountered last month while navigating downtown Los Angeles.
The mastermind behind Atlantis' slow 10-mile march through Kennedy Space Center is sweating bullets nonetheless.
Atlantis is the last of NASA's space shuttles to hit the road. It was the last to blast into orbit, more than a year ago, and its final crew members were expected to join a few dozen other astronauts at Friday's daylong hurrah.
"It's only a priceless artifact driving 9.8 miles and it weighs 164,000 pounds," said Tim Macy, director of project development and construction for Kennedy's visitor complex operator Delaware North Cos.
"Other than that, no pressure at all," Macy said, laughing. "Only the eyes of the country and the world and everybody at NASA is watching us. But we don't feel any pressure." He paused. "Of course, we feel pressure!"
Shelton caps resurgence with huge night at CMAs; shares special moment with wife Lambert
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Winning the Country Music Association Awards' entertainer of the year is a top honor and always counted as a career high point. But for Blake Shelton it wasn't even the most memorable moment of an amazing Thursday night.
"The Voice" star took home three trophies, including his third straight male vocalist victory, but nothing compared to sharing song of the year with wife Miranda Lambert. The pair wrote "Over You," about the death of Shelton's brother Richie in a car wreck 15 years ago. He said that trophy will always have a special place in their Oklahoma home.
"For me as a songwriter that is as personal as I can get," Shelton said. "So that songwriter award, song of the year award, it will have its own shelf. It will have spotlights on it and an alarm and everything. Trip wires and there will be a land mine if you walk towards it. It is a real big deal to Miranda and I."
Shelton's entertainer win was the biggest surprise of a night full of them. Even he couldn't believe he'd won the award in a field that included Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley.
"I didn't think about that tonight. I was thinking there's Taylor Swift right there," he said of the two-time entertainer of the year. "Really, this is pretty dumb that there's anyone else even nominated."
Norv's Bolts finally find end zone to beat staggering Chiefs 31-13
SAN DIEGO (AP) — It took a win against arguably the worst team in the NFL to get Norv Turner off the hot seat, at least for 10 days.
And if things have been bad for the embattled Turner, imagine what Romeo Crennel is going through.
Antonio Gates caught a 14-yard yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers on the game's opening drive to snap a streak of six straight quarters without a touchdown and the San Diego Chargers went on to a 31-13 victory Thursday night over the woeful Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs committed four turnovers and lost their fifth straight game.
Turner had been heavily criticized by fans after the Chargers (4-4) blew double-digit, second-half leads in losses to New Orleans and Denver, and then lost 7-6 at Cleveland on Sunday.