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September 26, 2018 - 12:00 am

FURNITURE WAREHOUSE FIRE

No injuries as fire destroys Mississippi furniture warehouse

PONTOTOC, Miss. (AP) — Fire has destroyed the warehouse at a furniture manufacturing plant in northeast Mississippi.

News outlets report no injuries were reported in the fire Wednesday at Washington Furniture at an industrial park in Pontotoc

Pontotoc Fire Chief Lance Martin says workers were able to get out of the warehouse after the fire started, and the sprinkler system was working.

The company makes sofas, love seats and recliners. Thousands of pieces of furniture were in the warehouse when it burned.

About 300 people work for Washington Furniture. The vice president of sales, John Beard, says the company will come back from the fire.

In January, parts of American Furniture Manufacturing's facility in Pontotoc County were destroyed by fire, but that company was back in full production within weeks.

SEVERE WEATHER-MISSISSIPPI

Heavy rain swamps about 100 houses in Mississippi suburb

PEARL, Miss. (AP) — Heavy rain in Mississippi has caused flash flooding that has inundated about 100 homes and 25 businesses.

The flooding happened Wednesday in Pearl, just east of Jackson.

Gov. Phil Bryant says in addition to buildings, more than 50 vehicles were damaged.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey tells local news outlets that 30 to 40 deputies helped rescue people.

Pearl police say at least one bridge collapsed and a strip mall's roof fell in.

National Weather Service meteorologist Thomas Winesett says more than 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters) of rain were recorded in nearby Richland.

Before dawn Wednesday, heavy rain also fell in northeast Mississippi. National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Baker says radar estimates 11.3 inches (28.7 centimeters) of rain near Blue Springs.

Some roads washed out in Union and Pontotoc counties.

KAVANAUGH-MISSISSIPPI SENATORS

Sen. Hyde-Smith: Accusations against Kavanaugh 'unproven'

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "quickly and convincingly" refuted accusations that he sexually assaulted women when he was young.

Speaking Wednesday on the Senate floor in Washington, Hyde-Smith said her "heart breaks for victims of assault and abuse" and those issues must not be taken lightly. She also said "unproven accusations are so very unjust."

She called accusations against Kavanaugh "disturbing" and said he "refuted them without mincing any words."

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi also supports Kavanaugh and sat behind Hyde-Smith. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to serve temporarily when Sen. Thad Cochran retired in April.

Wicker and Hyde-Smith both face challengers in the November election. She's running to serve the final two years of a term Cochran started.

BURNED WOMAN

Unknown hitchhiker: Link to Mississippi burning death?

BATESVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A woman says she picked up a hitchhiker the night a Mississippi woman was fatally burned, but she's unsure whether it's the man prosecutors have on trial.

Sherry Flowers testified Wednesday in the capital murder retrial of Quinton Tellis, accused of killing Jessica Chambers near a small Mississippi town in 2014. A jury couldn't reach a verdict in Tellis' first trial last year.

Flowers isn't identifying Tellis and agrees with a prosecutor that she didn't know who she picked up. Still, prosecutors seek to connect the ride's timing to Chambers' death. Prosecutors have said Tellis left Chambers' car before returning to set it and her on fire. The defense disputes the timing.

A medical examiner says Chambers' death was a homicide from soot and smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

FLOATING BODY

Authorities identify body found in Mississippi creek

(Information from: WDAM-TV, http://www.wdam.com)

SEMINARY, Miss. (AP) — Authorities are identifying a body found floating in a south Mississippi creek popular with boaters as a 55-year-old man.

Covington County Coroner Chris Daquila tells WDAM-TV that the body found Saturday in Okatoma Creek was Gary Lynn Dunn of Seminary.

How Dunn died is still under investigation. Daquila says autopsy results are pending.

Dunn's body was found by a group of people who were canoeing.

Daquila has said the body was decomposed when authorities retrieved it from the creek and they couldn't immediately identify it.

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ABORTION-LOUISIANA

Louisiana's 'admitting privileges' abortion law upheld

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court panel has ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals does not violate women's constitutional abortion rights.

Wednesday's 2-1 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals notes a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down an admitting privileges law in Texas. But, the majority said, Louisiana's law does not impose the same "substantial burden" on women as the Texas law.

The majority said there is no evidence that any Louisiana clinics will close because of the law.

Supporters of the law said abortion doctors need to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles (50 kilometers) in case of medical complications. Opponents said the law would make it very difficult or impossible for many women to obtain abortions.

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