WCBE

Colin Dwyer

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

As the morning sun rose over the cities of Central Mexico on Wednesday, where city blocks had lain neatly arranged, there was now a mess of rubble and stunned residents, watching as thousands of earthquake volunteers and rescue workers dug through scattered stones searching for signs of life.

The 7.1 magnitude quake struck Tuesday in Puebla state, some 75 miles from Mexico City, but it devastated a vast expanse of the country. Mexican authorities put the death toll at 230.

Updated 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency has lowered the number of people confirmed dead in Tuesday's earthquake. Luis Felipe Puente now says 217 people were killed. Earlier he said the death toll was 248. He gave no explanation for the revised number.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET

The death toll continues to rise in Mexico after Tuesday's earthquake. The country's national civil defense agency confirmed the death toll stands at 248. Rescue teams are digging through the rubble to find survivors.

For just under half an hour Saturday night, President Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, tackled the missile threat looming from Pyongyang. The pair of leaders condemned North Korea's recent ballistic missile test — and once more vowed to strengthen their joint defenses and ratchet up economic pressure on Kim Jong Un still further.

Four days, 40 nominees — and now, a clear idea of which writers have a shot to win the 2017 National Book Awards.

The National Book Foundation unveiled its longlists of nominees in stages this week, releasing a new set of 10 nominees each day. The rollout concluded Friday with the list of fiction contenders.

The Man Booker Prize rolled out its 2017 shortlist on Wednesday, delivering a list of six nominees showcasing a hefty dose of literary heavyweights and a pair of newcomers. Of the six novels on the list, just one will go on to win this year's prestigious literary prize at gala ceremony next month in London.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Edith Windsor loved Thea Spyer. For nearly half a century, the two were partners and eventually were legally married as well. When Spyer died in 2009, though, the federal government didn't recognize that love on Windsor's tax forms, expecting her to pay more than $350,000 in estate taxes.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

It was to be a "day long celebration of the dough, cheese, tasty sauces and delicious toppings." It was to be a gala of gooey mozzarella, a tribute to toppings every stripe and style — heck, it was even supposed to be an ambitious attempt to finally "settle the NYC styled Pizza against Chicago Deep Dish pizza wars!"

One morning, when JR awoke, an image lingered from his dreams: The wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and above it a young kid peering curiously over.

A child just 1 year old, who has "no idea that's a wall that divides people — he has no idea of the political context," JR imagined. "What is he thinking?"

Equifax, an international credit reporting agency, has announced that a cybersecurity breach exposed the personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers. In a statement released Thursday, the Atlanta-based agency acknowledged that "criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files."

Humans the world over have devised varied ways to note the opinions of a group. Want to cast a vote? Take your pick between ballots, raised hands or inked fingers — heck, just shout "aye" if you can't be bothered to move.

For all our electoral ingenuity, there is one method we can be reasonably sure no one's tried yet: sneezing.

Nearly one month since Danish inventor Peter Madsen returned to Copenhagen, rescued alone from his sunken homemade submarine, he appeared in court to explain the death and gruesome burial of the reporter who had been with him when he set out.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

By all accounts, Hurricane Irma is a behemoth, a "potentially catastrophic" storm bearing 185-mph winds and the threat of devastation for the islands caught in its northwesterly course toward Florida. That threat packed an added wallop Wednesday for Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory already reeling from billions in debt.

In a span of less than two weeks, rampant violence has driven nearly 125,000 members of a Muslim ethnic minority from their homeland. And as the Rohingya cross the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh, they have borne little but the clothes on their backs and their brutal stories of the systematic rape, murder and arson they escaped.

The Houston Rockets announced Tuesday the franchise has been sold to a local and longtime fan, Tilman Fertitta. The billionaire businessman, sole owner of the Landry's restaurant empire and Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels, now becomes sole owner of the Rockets as well — pending approval from the NBA's Board of Governors.

When state security forces entered the western Myanmar village of Chut Pyin in the midafternoon Sunday, they weren't alone. According to the survivors who spoke with Fortify Rights, an international aid group, armed residents of a nearby village mingled with the troops — but they both had a common target.

David Clarke Jr., a prominent supporter of President Trump's, drew an end to his controversial tenure as Milwaukee County sheriff Thursday, submitting his resignation to the county clerk in a letter that consisted of a single sentence.

Take a good long look at the state flag of Nebraska, everyone.

Mark well its concentric circles crowded with golden text, its deep blue background, its central scene busy with contrasting colors. Then, reflect on this crucial question: Would you even be able to tell the difference if it were flying upside-down?

Apparently state lawmakers couldn't. In fact, for a span of 10 days earlier this year, not a single visitor to the Nebraska Capitol noticed that the flag had been hoisted upside down — not even state Sen. Burke Harr, who related the story in January.

The U.S. State Department has ordered Russia to shutter its consulate general in San Francisco as well as an annex building in New York City and one in Washington, D.C.

The decision was made "in the spirit of parity," the department said in a statement Thursday, indicating it was a direct response to the Kremlin's decision last month to force the expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats and staff.

Nearly a decade after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a special court in Pakistan has handed down a verdict addressing the two-time prime minister's killing. The anti-terrorism court sentenced two ex-police officers to prison, acquitted five suspected Islamist militants and labeled former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf a fugitive for failing to appear in court.

It's a pair of rites we see often at the passing of great authors: first, the tributes from those who loved their books; then, the good-faith effort to find their unfinished works and shepherd them to the bookshelves they never would have found otherwise.

A federal judge has dismissed Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. U.S. District Judge Jed S.

When Ecuadorean authorities boarded the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 earlier this month off the Galápagos Islands, they had little idea what awaited them.

It was a lovely late summer afternoon at a beach in southern England. Sun, surf and not a cloud in the sky — until the strange "chemical haze" drifted in off the sea, that is. It was at that point the beachgoers found their eyes streaming tears and their throats growing sore, their gag reflex triggering as some began to vomit.

Then, the professionals in hazmat suits showed up.

More than a day later, authorities still aren't exactly sure what happened to people at Birling Gap beach on Sunday.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Just days into one of the biggest storms to hit the U.S. in decades, authorities have rescued thousands of people in Houston alone. And as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, continue to rise across southeast Texas and neighboring Louisiana, officials expect that still thousands more evacuees will need to be sheltered in the days to come.

For a little while Thursday, young adult literature had a new reigning New York Times best-seller. In the paper's list of most popular YA hardcover novels, a new face had toppled Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give from the perch it has occupied nearly half a year. By mid-afternoon, though, the order the YA world had known for weeks was restored.

Things got a little out of hand in Detroit on Thursday.

The way the game between the Tigers and the New York Yankees opened, though, you'd be forgiven for having thought it was going to be just another dog-day matinee. The two teams exchanged a pair of runs in the early innings, but for the most part, it was shaping up to be a low-scoring, modest affair.

If Angelenos know one truth, it may well be this: There is absolutely no love lost between the University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles. In the classroom, on the football field, around campus — few places escape the pervasive sway of LA's great rivalry.

But this week, the battle has found a new theater: the proper spelling of Shakespear(e).

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