Storm Watch
August 5, 2014

Hurricane Bertha, the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, weakened to tropical storm status overnight, with its top sustained winds dropping to 65 miles per hour. Bertha is expected to continue weakening as it passes between the East Coast and Bermuda on Tuesday. The storm poses no direct threat to the U.S., but it could cause potentially dangerous rip currents on the Jersey shore. Read more at The Associated Press. Harold Maass

The subtlety of politics
8:42 a.m. ET
YouTube

You really have to see this video to believe it. Produced by the pro-Paul America's Liberty PAC, this wrestling-themed 2016 campaign video features a fire-breathing bald eagle, a jacked-up and shirtless Rand Paul dubbed "The Rand Man," President Obama as "the head of the Washington spy machine," and Sen. Ted Cruz as "the capitulating Canadian." Oh, and like any good wrestling-themed promo, it includes a dutifully growly "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!"

America's Liberty PAC was founded "by veterans of both the Ron Paul presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012 and veterans of Rand Paul’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign," and is "the only super PAC endorsed by Senator Paul." Ben Frumin

rescues
8:20 a.m. ET
Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

Emergency responders rescued dozens of people from continuing flash floods in Texas early Friday. Flood alerts stretch nearly 800 miles from southern Texas to central Missouri. Texas is facing its wettest May on record. At least 23 people have died in flooding and tornadoes caused by severe storms across Texas and Oklahoma in the past week. Another 14 were killed in northern Mexico. About 56,100 Texans remain without power. Read more at CNNHarold Maass

2016 fever
8:07 a.m. ET
(Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced Thursday that he was abandoning the Common Core program and calling for state education officials to develop new education standards. Christie once supported the controversial Common Core, but said in the five years since its adoption it had created "confusion and frustration" for parents and created unanticipated new problems. "The truth is that it's simply not working," Christie said. "We need to do something different." You can read more at CBS news. Harold Maass

Follow the money
7:27 a.m. ET

That's not revenue — that's pure profit.

FIFA, soccer's global governing body, took in $4.8 billion on last year's World Cup alone, the BBC reports, and incurred only $2.2 billion in expenses:

(BBC)

About $4 billion of FIFA's revenue came from sponsorships and broadcasting rights. Ticket sales only totaled $527 million.

So where did this mind-boggling profit go? "FIFA re-invests the majority of its revenue but it does hold on to a proportion of any profit to create a cash reserve," the BBC says. The reserve — which ballooned to $1.5 billion last year, from $350 million in 2005 — is meant to protect the organization in case the World Cup is canceled. By contrast, the $150 million that top FIFA allegedly accepted in bribes looks like just a drop in the bucket.

For more on FIFA's finances, head over to the BBC. Nico Lauricella

crisis at sea
2:35 a.m. ET
Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

In Thailand on Friday, representatives from more than 20 countries gathered at the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean to discuss the migrant crisis taking place in the region.

Thousands of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar are adrift at sea in southeast Asia, Reuters reports, unable to land in Thailand now that the country has made it too risky for traffickers to drop them off. Many of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, a minority group that the country considers stateless. Htein Lin, director general at Myanmar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Myanmar is not to blame for the crisis, adding, "You cannot single out my country. In the influx of migration, Myanmar is not the only country."

Malaysia says it has taken in 120,000 migrants from Myanmar, and Indonesia promised to give temporary shelter to migrants at sea, but said it needs other countries to help resettle them. Thailand will not allow the boats to dock because it is already hosting 100,000 migrants from Myanmar, but is offering medical aid to migrants at sea. The country also gave the U.S. permission to fly surveillance flights over its airspace in an attempt to track down boats carrying migrants. "We have to save lives urgently," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard said. Catherine Garcia

protests
1:44 a.m. ET

On Thursday, a Southern California man ended his 55-day fast protesting the Armenian genocide that took place 100 years ago.

Agasi Vartanyan of Glendale began his fast on April 3, and spent the last 55 days inside a glass box outside of a Burbank church, only consuming bottled water. Vartanyan went on the hunger strike to bring attention to the 100th anniversary of the genocide of about 1.2 million Armenians in their homeland in 1915, and conducted a similar protest in Russia in 2006. A nonprofit group set up a livestream of his protest, and it drew almost 20 million viewers. "What makes what I'm doing worthwhile is when I see young people remembering their roots and their heritage," he told the Los Angeles Times through a translator.

The number 55 was important to Vartanyan, as he'll be turning 55 this year and he wanted to end his fast on May 28, the day Armenians celebrate their independence. It took him a year to prepare, both physically and mentally, and dropped 56 pounds over the 55 days. He would like to see the Turkish government recognize the massacre as genocide, and believes it deserves the same recognition as the Holocaust. "I've done these things for the memory of the victims," he told supporters who came to watch him finish the fast. "You never get anywhere without fighting for it." Catherine Garcia

This just in
1:12 a.m. ET

A volcano erupted without warning in Japan on Friday morning, causing the government to order all 140 residents of the Kuchinoerabu island to evacuate.

Authorities say that so far, no injuries or damage have been reported, although several people are not accounted for and others are on boats headed to an emergency shelter. Following Mount Shindake's eruption, Japan's meteorological agency raised its alert level to five, the highest on its scale, The Guardian reports.

Officials say that pyroclastic flows, or currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the volcano, have reached the north-west shore of the island. Witnesses said they heard what sounded like an explosion and felt the earth shake, then saw black smoke rising into the air. Catherine Garcia

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