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wild weather
June 11, 2014
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There is a 90 percent chance that a global El Niño will hit in 2014, The Guardian reports. An El Niño starts as a huge pool of warm water swelling in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon that triggers weather events around the world. It's not clear what makes the unstable Pacific Ocean-atmosphere system turn into an El Niño, but weaker trade winds that blow to the west are a key component.

In India, under El Niño conditions, it's likely that weaker monsoon rains will cause problems for the country's food supply, while Australia will probably see soaring temperatures and droughts. It's not all disastrous, though: The western half of the United States could see the rain that is so desperately needs.

This El Niño is being predicted by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, which The Guardian says is considered one of the most reliable prediction centers. Principle scientist Tim Stockdale says it's "very much odds-on for an event" because of the high level of warm water in the Pacific, but "what is very much unknowable at this stage is whether this year's El Niño will be a small event, a moderate event — that's most likely — or a really major event."

The last major El Niño hit in 1997 and 1998, and about 23,000 people were killed worldwide due to droughts, cyclones, floods, and wildfires. Read more about the impact of an El Niño, especially on countries like India and Australia, at The Guardian. Catherine Garcia

last night on late night
12:20 a.m. ET

Harry Potter, the fictional boy wizard, turns 35 on July 31. To wish him an early happy birthday, and scar any Harry Potter fans watching The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon had Simon Pegg on to imagine the mess that would be a 35-year-old inebriated Ron Weasley. "Drunk Ron Weasley" draws pretty heavily from the Dudley Moore school of drunk Britons, but Pegg's "10 points for Gryffindor!" ad-lib is pretty good. Watch the debauchery and shattered childhood dreams below. Peter Weber

election 2016
July 28, 2015
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The top 10 Republican presidential candidates, as determined by Fox News polling, will still appear on stage for the prime-time Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland. But thanks to a modification to its rules announced Tuesday evening, Fox News will allow all of the second-tier candidates to participate in the happy hour debate earlier that evening, at 5 p.m. ET. Previously, only candidates polling at 1 percent or greater were allowed in the 5 p.m. debate.

The change in requirements means that you can watch former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina, ex-New York Gov. George Pataki, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) face off against Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Rick Santorum, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, according to Politico's tally. The nine Republicans competing for air time with Donald Trump from 9 to 11 p.m. are Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.), Rick Perry, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and Rand Paul (Ky.)

The "kid's table" debate will also be moderated by lower-profile moderators, Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum. The later one will feature Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace. Peter Weber

Whatever You Say
July 28, 2015
Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Mark Cuban — billionaire, investor, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks — has weighed in on the 2016 election, and he's giving two thumbs up to Donald Trump.

According to Cuban, Trump is "probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time," although apparently that has nothing at all to do with Trump's actual politics and everything to do with his bombastic personality.

"I don't care what [Trump's] actual positions are," Cuban clarified. "I don't care if he says the wrong thing. He says what's on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years."

More important than anything? Okay, if you say so!  Jeva Lange

Deflategate
July 28, 2015
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The NFL issued a 20-page statement Tuesday announcing that it would uphold the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after he was found "at least generally aware" of team employees tampering with game balls during the 2015 playoffs. The NFL originally suspended the star signal-caller back in May after a league-commissioned report found "credible evidence" that he was involved in the scheme.

The NFL said its decision was based in part on the fact that Brady destroyed a cell phone he used the week of the Patriots' January 18 playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, The New York Times reports, during which it is alleged members of New England's staff deliberately deflated Patriots footballs to make them easier to grip. The cell phone apparently contained potentially incriminating evidence in the form of texts between Patriots staff members that seem to suggest Brady was aware of team employees adjusting the air pressure in footballs. Brady has consistently denied knowledge of tampering, and appealed his original suspension in June, which set the stage for the league's ruling Tuesday. Kimberly Alters

This just in
July 28, 2015
Matthew Busch/Getty Images

Donald Trump's personal aide Michael Cohen claimed he was speaking during a moment of "shock and anger" when he told a Daily Beast reporter that "You cannot rape your spouse." Cohen made the comment while defending Trump against a Daily Beast exposé, which claimed that Trump's ex-wife Ivana had used the word "rape" to describe an incident that occurred between the couple while they were still married.

"Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me," Cohen said in a statement. "In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment — which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely."

Ivana Trump has since added that The Daily Beast's story is "totally without merit," and that her comments were made during a time of "very high tension." Jeva Lange

This just in
July 28, 2015
Joe Klamar/Getty Images

Jonathan Pollard, the U.S. intelligence analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in 1985 for passing classified documents to the Israeli government, will be released on parole on November 21, the United States Parole Commission announced Tuesday.

Pollard was scheduled to become eligible for parole in 30 years, granted the government did not show he was still a threat to national security. Pollard will be required to remain in the U.S. for the next five years following his November release from a North Carolina prison. Becca Stanek

zombie apocalypse
July 28, 2015

Watching zombies gruesomely try to rip apart and devour the stars of AMC's The Walking Dead may not be appetizing, but if watching the show makes you thirsty, Terrapin Beer Co. is here to help.

The Athens, Georgia brewery is partnering with AMC to concoct the themed beverage, and they already spilled the flavor — a red IPA made with blood orange peel and, naturally, a "horrific amount" of hops.

There's no sale date for the specialty brew yet, but if the zombie apocalypse ever becomes a reality, here's hoping the undead like this beer more than human flesh. Stephanie Talmadge

(Courtesy photo)

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