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5 former presidents appear at hurricane relief concert

All five living former Presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 on Saturday, as they appeared at a benefit concert in Texas to raise money for hurricane relief efforts, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” on the campus of Texas A&M University. President Donald Trump appeared in a taped video message to the concertgoers, CNN reported.

The concert featured rock and country musicians such as Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Sam Moore and Yolanda Adams. Country music singer Lee Greenwood was emcee for the event.

Lady Gaga made an unbilled appearance and tweeted, "Nothing more beautiful than everyone putting their differences aside to help humanity in the face of catastrophe. #OneAmericaAppeal"

As of Saturday night, the "One Heart" effort had raised $31 million in tax-deductible, private funds from more than 80,000 donors since Sept. 7, said Jim McGrath, spokesman for George H.W. Bush. Funds collected through concert ticket sales will be distributed through various organizations in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Four of the five former presidents spoke at the concert, appealing for national unity to help those affected by the hurricanes. The elder Bush, sitting in his wheelchair, did not speak but smiled and waved to the crowd.

Carter told the crowd that Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization he has worked with for 36 years, has agreed to build 6,000 homes in devastated areas. The group has raised $20 million of a needed $100 million, he said.

Clinton said that the country “has been volunteering since before the Constitution, when Benjamin Franklin organized the first volunteer fire department in Philadelphia.”

“The heart of America, without regard to race or religion or political party, is greater than our problems,” Clinton said.

“What we’ve also seen was the spirit of America at its best,” Obama said. “When ordinary people step up and do extraordinary things.”

“I want to thank all the volunteers, but I am here for another reason. I speak for the folks right here when I say we really admire and love George H.W. Bush,” the younger Bush said.

The last time the five men appeared together was in 2013, when Obama was still in office, at the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library in Dallas.

Trump thanked the former presidents in his taped message.

“To Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance," Trump said. "This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and our devotion to one another.”

Report: Some of Puerto Rico’s water coming from hazardous waste site

Water being provided to some residents of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria is being pumped to them from a federally designated hazardous waste site, CNN reported. CNN reported that evidence to support its claim came from Superfund documents and from interviews with federal and local officials on the island.

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Resident Jose Luis Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn't startle him.

"I don't have a choice," he told CNN. "This is the only option I have."

More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, more than 35 percent of the island’s residents remain without safe drinking water, CNN reported.

On Friday, workers from the Puerto Rican water utility, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, distributed water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site, which was listed in 2016 as part of the federal Superfund program for hazardous waste cleanup.

In announcing the addition of the Dorado site to the Superfund program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the area was polluted with industrial chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, which "can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer," according to the EPA, which said it plans to do testing in the area over during the weekend..

"The EPA is gathering more information about the quality of water from the wells associated with our Dorado groundwater contamination site, as well as other Superfund sites in Puerto Rico," the agency said in a statement issued to CNN on Friday. "While some of these wells are sometimes used to provide drinking water, the EPA is concerned that people could be drinking water that may be contaminated, depending on the well. We are mindful of the paramount job of protecting people's health, balanced with people's basic need for water."

Regional EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez confirmed the location is part of a Superfund site, CNN reported.

All living former U.S. presidents to attend hurricane relief concert

All five living former U.S. presidents will attend a newly announced hurricane relief concert at Texas A&M University on Oct. 21.

>> Read more trending news

“Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” will feature Alabama, the Gatlin Brothers, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Yolanda Adams and several other music acts, according to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation. Country music star Lee Greenwood will emcee the event.

>> Related: Former presidents join forces for hurricane relief

The former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — recently launched One America Appeal to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Read the full story on mystatesman.com

Trump bashes mayor of San Juan for ‘poor leadership ability’

President Donald Trump lashed out at the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on social media early Saturday, criticizing her for “poor leadership ability” in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

>> Read more trending news

“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.” the president tweeted. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.

On Friday, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz criticized a Trump administration official who said the federal relief effort 10 days after the Category 4 hurricane hit the island commonwealth was “a good news story,” Reuters reported.

Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, head of the parent department for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said on Thursday she was satisfied with the disaster response so far. 

“I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane,” Duke said.

“Damn it, this is not a good news story,” Cruz told CNN. “This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a life or death story.

“It is not a good news story when people are dying.”

Trump lauded the effort of first responders to Puerto Rico, saying they have done “an amazing job” despite a lack of electricity, damaged roads and no road service.

In another tweet, he blamed “Fake News CNN and NBC” for going out of their way “to disparage our great First responders.

“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” the president tweeted.

Trump said he will travel to Puerto Rico on Tuesday with first lady Melania Trump. He added that he also hopes to stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where people are “working hard.”

After a barrage of criticism, Trump responded Saturday afternoon on Twitter.

Trump did thank Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello and congreswoman Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon as well as U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp. 

Rihanna to Trump: 'Don't let your people die like this'

Singer Rihanna criticized President Donald Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastating impact on Puerto Rico in a tweet on Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Hurricane Maria slammed into the island with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, bringing with it torrential rains and catastrophic wind gusts. The storm knocked out the country’s power grid and left millions of people without potable water.

Rihanna on Thursday shared an image with the president of the New York Daily News’s Sept. 27 front page which read, “No food, no water, no power, no medical care for the dying … Puerto Rico needs more help, Mr. President!” over the words “American tragedy.”

“Dear @realDonaldTrump I know you've probably already seen this, but I just wanted to make sure!” Rihanna, who is from Barbados, wrote Thursday. “Don't let your people die like this.”

Rihanna is the latest celebrity to urge Trump to do more in response to the storm, along with “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, rapper Pitbull and actress Jennifer Lopez.

A few hours after posting her message to Trump, Rihanna called for a “round of applause” for efforts to aid Puerto Rico from former presidents George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Government officials are also being criticized by Puerto Rican authorities after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke declared that the federal response to the damage on the island is a “good news story.”

"When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story," Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told CNN on Friday. "Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people-are-dying story."

Recovery efforts in Puerto Rico are ongoing.

Trump waives Jones Act to aid Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

President Donald Trump on Thursday morning waived a little-known federal law aimed at protecting the U.S. shipping industry in an effort to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

>> Read more trending news

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the decision in a tweet Thursday morning.

“At (Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s) request, (Trump) has authorized the Jones Act to be waived for Puerto Rico,” Huckabee Sanders said. “It will go into effect immediately.”

The Jones Act bars foreign-flagged ships from taking goods and passengers between U.S. ports.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke waived the law earlier this month to help ease fuel shortages in the Southeast following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. That order included Puerto Rico, but expired last week shortly after Hurricane Maria struck.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Deshaun Watson gives first NFL paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check Wednesday afternoon to three team employees who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey.

>> Watch the video here

The three employees Watson helped work in the team cafeteria at NRG Stadium. With a base salary of $465,000 in 2017, the former Clemson star and 2017 first-round pick is set to earn $29,062.50 per game. Because of Watson’s generosity, each of the women received close to $10,000.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

“For what y’all do for us every day, and never complain. I really appreciate y’all,” Watson told the employees, according to HoustonTexans.com. “I wanted to give my first game check to y’all to help y’all out in some type of way. Hopefully that helps you out and helps you get back on your feet. Anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

For those who have followed Watson’s football career, this act of kindness should come as no surprise.

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Watson has settled in nicely as Houston’s starting quarterback. He had an impressive performance in his second career NFL start against the New England Patriots in Week 3, and his play will likely be the deciding factor in whether the Texans return to the postseason in 2017.

Royal Caribbean cancels cruise, uses ship for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

Cruise line Royal Caribbean has sent one of its ships to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

>> Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

According to CNN, the company canceled an upcoming Adventure of the Seas cruise so the ship, which holds 3,800 people, could pick up evacuees and bring supplies to Puerto Rico. The cruise ship also will travel to St. Croix and St. Thomas.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

Royal Caribbean tweeted about the ship's arrival in storm-ravaged San Juan on Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"Adventure of the Seas arrived in San Juan to drop off supplies and pick up evacuees. Next up: St. Thomas & St. Croix," read the tweet, which included photos.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here.

Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

On Sunday, singer Jennifer Lopez appeared alongside New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a press conference to announce that she will be donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Lopez, 48, spoke first in Spanish and then in English in a speech that was live-streamed on Twitter.

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“Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are utilizing all of our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” Lopez said.

>> On Rare.us: Alex Rodriguez bashfully addresses Jennifer Lopez engagement rumors

“I’ve been so moved by the initial responses … They have been overwhelming,” she said. “Nobody has said no. Anybody we’ve have called is right there asking what they can do. They’re all very eager to help.”

Lopez also confirmed that she still hasn’t heard from all of her family members in Puerto Rico. “My cousin and I and our family still haven’t been able to hear from all of our family over there, and we are concerned for them and for everybody on the island,” she said.

>> Watch the video here

Mexico earthquake: 'Frida Sofia,' girl supposedly trapped in rubble, never existed, officials say

As rescue workers tirelessly searched and the world waited breathlessly for them to find a 12-year-old girl believed to be trapped under the rubble of a caved-in school toppled by the devastating earthquake in Mexico City, it became apparent that the little girl never existed, Mexican officials said.

>> PHOTOS: Major earthquake strikes Mexico City

According to the New York Post, the girl, called “Frida Sofia,” was a case of a story that ran wild in the frantic aftermath of the disaster.

>> How you can help Mexico and people affected by the Mexico earthquake

“We are certain that it was not an actuality,” Adm. Angel Enrique Sarmiento, assistant secretary of the Mexican navy, told local paper El Universal. “We don’t have any knowledge, we never had any knowledge of the account.”

>> Frida, the hero rescue dog, saves 12 following Mexico earthquake

In the face of unimaginable destruction and hundreds killed, the story took on a life of its own as a symbol of much-needed help. A report first surfaced Wednesday that a little girl had signaled to rescuers from under the rubble of the Enrique Rebsámen school.

>> On Rare.us: A family is devastated after this baptism turned tragic during the Mexican earthquake

From that report came a series of details that included the girl’s name and age, and even reports of communication with the girl. Rescuers said they managed to slide a hose to her for her to drink, and other workers told MSNBC that they handed the little girl a phone and that she reported two other children were trapped with her under a granite table.

>> On Rare.us: Salma Hayek generously pledges $100,000 to Mexican earthquake victims

However, no parents came to claim the girl, which led some to believe she was misidentified. And, then Thursday, Sarmiento announced that after 11 children had been rescued, and 19 other children, plus six adults found dead, there were no other children beneath the collapsed school.

>> Read more trending news

“We have carried out a full count with the directors of the school, and we are sure that all the children are either safe at home, in the hospital or, unfortunately, died,” Sarmiento said.

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