Friday US briefing: Pipe bomb investigation focuses on Florida

Trump sends troops to Mexican border ... Panhandle struggles after Hurricane Michael ... Erdoğan demands location of Khashoggi’s body

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Top story: Police and FBI search mail facility near Miami

Federal agents have searched a mail distribution centre in Opa-locka, Florida, as the search narrows for a suspect in the investigation of 10 pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and critics of Donald Trump. The homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, told Fox News she was “confident” the person responsible would be brought to justice.

  • Blame game. The White House rejected suggestions that Trump had contributed to a charged political climate that could have inspired the bombing attempts. In a tweet, Trump instead blamed “the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media”.

  • Trump critics. On Thursday the FBI was examining packages addressed to the former US vice-president Joe Biden and to the actor Robert De Niro, both of whom have publicly condemned the president.

Troops sent to border as Trump inflames midterm tensions

Members of the Arizona National Guard, which already patrols the US-Mexico border.
Members of the Arizona national guard, which already patrols the US-Mexico border. Photograph: Caitlin O’hara/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration is planning to send at least 800 active duty troops to the border with Mexico, as the president seeks to inflame tensions over immigration in the run-up to the midterms. On the campaign trail, Trump has stoked his supporters’ fears over a migrant caravan approaching the US from Central America. On Thursday, the New York Times and Politico reported he was considering an executive action to bar migrants, including asylum seekers, from entering the US via the southern border.

Florida Panhandle struggles after Hurricane Michael

A man in Mexico Beach, Florida examines the wreckage of his home.
A man in Mexico Beach, Florida examines the wreckage of his home. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Life remains precarious for many residents of the Florida Panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, which struck the region with record 150mph winds two weeks ago and left at least 39 people dead. Jamiles Lartey reports from Port St Joe, one of the hardest-hit coastal towns, where some basic utilities are still months from being restored, but where residents say they are determined to rebuild.

  • Climate change sceptic. Rick Scott, the Florida governor, has seen his early poll lead wiped out in his bid for the US senate seat held by the Democrat Bill Nelson. Many blame Scott’s diminishing popularity on his rollback of environmental protections.

Erdoğan demands Saudis disclose location of Khashoggi’s body

The Turkish president is the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists.
The Turkish president is the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists. Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has demanded Saudi Arabia reveal the whereabouts of the body of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and identify an unnamed “local collaborator”, whom Saudi authorities claim disposed of the body after rolling it up in a rug. Exerting further pressure on his regional rival, Erdoğan said the 18 men arrested in Saudi Arabia over the murder “must know” who killed Khashoggi and where his body was taken.

  • Moral high ground? Erdoğan’s critics have warned against giving him too much credit for his response to Khashoggi’s death, given the Turkish president is the world’s most prolific jailer of journalists.

Atlanta Week: the Hollywood of the South

Avengers: Infinity War is just one of the many recent blockbusters made in Atlanta.
Avengers: Infinity War is just one of the many recent blockbusters made in Atlanta. Photograph: AP

On the last day of the Guardian’s week of stories from Atlanta, Steve Fennessy visits Pinewood Atlanta Studios, a sprawling movie production facility that reflects Georgia’s rise as a filmmaking hothouse to rival Hollywood.

Crib sheet


Streisand on Trump: ‘Liar is not enough of a word’.
Streisand on Trump: ‘Liar is not enough of a word.’ Photograph: James Russell

Barbra Streisand’s musical rebuke to Trump

Barbra Streisand’s new album, Walls, is a return to form – and a well-manicured middle-finger to the 45th president of the United States, she tells Emma Brockes. “This is a dangerous time in this nation, this republic: a man who is corrupt and indecent and is assaulting our institutions. It’s really, really frightening.”

How Simone Biles became a gymnastics superpower

There has never been any doubt about Simon Biles’ dominance on the mat. But the 21-year-old’s recent role in the quick exit of a controversial new USA Gymnastics chief has proven just how much power she wields beyond the competition hall, writes Beau Dore.

Is America ready for a wave of Bernie-inspired socialists?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is just one of a slew of leftwing Democrats running in the midterms. Whether they win in November or not, progressives say theirs is a long-term project, comparable to Goldwater conservatism. Adam Gabbatt reports.


American political violence often serves the interests of the public authorities, even when it is perpetrated by private individuals. That is how to see the bombs sent to Barack Obama and other political opponents of Donald Trump, Andrew Gawthorpe argues.

It is no surprise that this febrile atmosphere, in which any lie can be justified if it paints the president’s opponents as traitors, would lead to violence.


A resurgent Mesut Özil has earned his spot in Unai Emery’s Arsenal line-up, while Fred is still waiting for a chance to prove himself at Jose Mourinho’s Man United. Those are just two of the 10 things to look out for at this weekend’s Premier League games.

The NBA travel schedule is more punishing than that of any other professional sports league. So how does jet lag affect the teams, asks Ian McMahan.

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Tim Walker

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