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Dorian hits North Carolina, Mugabe dies and defense rules as NFL season kicks off: The Morning Rundown

Hurricane Dorian is lashing North Carolina with high winds and a "life-threatening" storm surge.
Image: Heavy surf caused by approaching Hurricane Dorian rolls in among beach houses
Heavy surf caused by approaching Hurricane Dorian rolled in among beach houses on Thursday in Rodanthe, North Carolina.Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Dorian, now a Category 1 storm, has taken aim at its latest target: North Carolina's coast. Elsewhere, Zimbabwe's longtime strongman has died.

Here's what we're watching today.

North Carolinians warned that Dorian 'won't be a brush-by'

A weakened Hurricane Dorian was still packing a powerful punch as it skimmed North Carolina's coast Friday morning, bringing fierce winds and a dangerous storm surge, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Residents were told to shelter in place Thursday, while more than a quarter-of-a-million homes and businesses were left without power on the South Carolina coast in the storm’s wake.

"Get to safety and stay there," Gov. Roy Cooper said in a warning to North Carolinians. "This won't be a brush-by."

Track Dorian's progress as it moves up the East Coast here.

In the Bahamas, the death toll of 30 people was expected to soar as rescue workers began to assess the devastation left behind by Dorian, the country's health minister warned late Thursday.

Meantime, despite being called out by meteorologists, President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on his assertion that the storm was at one point headed for Alabama.

His insistence inspired a spate of satire on social media under the hashtag #Sharpiegate.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's liberator turned brutal dictator, dies at 95

Robert Mugabe, the former president of Zimbabwe who became an African liberation hero after toppling white colonial rule but then led his country to the brink of starvation, has died at the age of 95.

Mugabe was the world's oldest ruler when he resigned as Zimbabwe's president in November of 2017, following a military coup. He had ruled the country since 1980.

The liberation hero cast himself as a champion of racial reconciliation when he first came to power, but nearly four decades later critics denounced him as an autocrat willing to unleash death squads, rig elections and trash the economy.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe leaves behind a checkered legacy.Mike Hutchings / Reuters file

Robert Mugabe's life in pictures: From liberation hero to Zimbabwe's brutal dictator

Lester Holt: What I learned from spending two nights in a maximum-security prison

The anchor of "NBC Nightly News" embedded with inmates at the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola.

He spent three days and two nights just a few steps away from death row in an effort to get closer to the issues at the heart of America's criminal justice system.

Is it supposed to be only about punishment? Retribution? Or is the goal to make us safer?

Read his account of the people he met, what it was like to sleep behind bars — and what he learned about the value of hope in a dark place.

See more of the NBC News Justice for All series.

The Week in Pictures

People walk thorough damage wrought by Hurricane Dorian on Thursday, in Marsh Harbor, Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

See more of the most compelling images from the last week here.

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THINK about it

Are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry facing the same media danger Princess Diana did? James Rodgers, head of International Journalism Studies at City, University of London, asks that question in an opinion piece.


Want to get more done? Use this calendar technique to schedule a better day.

Quote of the day

"I will not shed a tear, not for that cruel man."

Tariro Makena, a street vendor in Harare, on the death of Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for 37 years.

One inspiring thing

Fourteen-year-old Tim Bannon does it all — from nailing a field goal to finishing a triathlon to landing a 20-foot box jump — despite being born without arms.

The freshman place kicker at Chicago's Proviso West High School doesn't let the genetic condition he was born with limit him.

"I'm different but I'm just like you at the same time," Bannon told NBC News Kevin Tibbles.

"I can write, I can draw, I can do everything you do with your hands. I can just do it with my feet."

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

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Thanks, Petra