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August 29, 2017

Houston is a mostly flat, rapidly growing city about 35 feet above sea level that has struggled to keep up with its flood-amelioration infrastructure, but it's hard to imagine a city that could handle up to 50 inches of rain in a week, much less the average of 33 inches that Tropical Storm Harvey has already dropped on Houston's Harris County.

Harvey will likely "produce more rain than we have ever seen before in the U.S. from a tropical system, and over the fourth-largest city in the country," Eric Fisher, chief meteorologist at Boston's WBZ-TV, tells The Washington Post. "It's hard, if not impossible, to compare this to any other storm." It's also hard to visualize the 9 trillion gallons of water that the Post calculates Harvey had already dumped on Houston and southeast Texas by Monday morning, with 5-10 trillion more gallons expected this week. Still, people are trying.

For example, USA Today points out, 26 inches of rain on Harris County would "provide drinking water for the entire county for roughly five years." During Hurricane Katrina, The Times-Picayune notes, New Orleans got up to 13 inches of rain, and even with the storm surge that caused most of the flooding, the total floodwater in New Orleans and surrounding parishes was an estimated 282 billion gallons. Harris County Flood Control District official Jeff Lindner says about 732 billion gallons of water have already fallen on Harris County.

Matthew Cappucci at The Washington Post says if you took the water that's fallen on Texas and dumped it onto New Orleans, instead of the 10-20 feet of flooding the city saw during Katrina, New Orleans would be buried under 128 feet of water. He has more comparisons:

The 9 trillion gallons of water dispensed so far is enough to fill the entire Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City — twice! It would take nine days straight for the Mississippi River to drain into Houston and equal the amount of water already there. If we averaged this amount of water spread equally over the lower 48 states, that's the equivalent of about 0.17 inches of rain ... occupying every square inch of the contiguous United States. [The Washington Post]

You can find more mind-bending analogies at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

1:43 a.m. ET
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Earlier this month, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico's president-elect, sent President Trump a letter, calling on him to resume NAFTA negotiations and work with Mexico and Central American countries to stem migration.

On Sunday, Lopez Obrador's proposed foreign minister read the letter during a press conference. The missive urged Trump to join Lopez Obrador for an initiative to combat poverty and violence in Central America, two of the issues that cause people to flee to the United States, and discussed setting up a fund for development in the region. It also said Lopez Obrador's transition team will work with the current Mexican government on NAFTA negotiations. Lopez Obrador will be inaugurated on Dec. 1. Catherine Garcia

1:17 a.m. ET
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A gunman opened fire in a neighborhood in Toronto's east end on Sunday night, killing one person and injuring at least 13 others, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.

The shooter was killed "in an exchange of gunfire," Saunders told reporters, and "a young girl, I believe eight or nine years old, is in critical condition." The shooting took place near Danforth and Pape avenues, on "one of the busiest streets in the country," Saunders said. Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters police have "not drawn any conclusions about what happened here or why."

Witness Jim Melis told The Globe and Mail he was driving down the street when he saw a white man wearing a black hat and bandana start firing into a cafe. Another witness, John Aruldason, said there were lots of people eating out in restaurants, and patios were full. "No one thinks this would happen in Toronto," he added. "People were slow to react — it wasn't believable."

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Catherine Garcia

12:33 a.m. ET
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On Sunday night, President Trump tweeted an all-caps message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, seemingly in response to a warning Rouhani issued earlier in the day.

Rouhani declared during a meeting of Iranian diplomats that "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars." Trump directly addressed Rouhani in his tweet, saying, "To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!" Catherine Garcia

12:12 a.m. ET
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It took awhile to get right, but now, Dooma Wendschuh's beer brewed from cannabis no longer tastes like "rotten broccoli."

Wendschuh is an entrepreneur who moved to Ontario, Canada, from Miami in 2016, and is developing what he says is the world's first beer brewed from cannabis. He started Province Brands in order to ride the pot wave; on October 17, Canada will legalize marijuana for recreational use, with edibles expected to follow next year. Most cannabis beer on the market was brewed from barley and infused with marijuana oil, he told The Guardian, but "that's not what we do. Our beer is brewed from the stalks, stem, and roots of the cannabis plant."

To get the beer to lose its broccoli taste, Wendschuh hired a chemist, and he has since come up with a concoction using hops, water, yeast, and cannabis, which yields a non-alcoholic, gluten-free beer that gets you high. "The flavor is dry, savory, less sweet than a typical beer flavor," he told The Guardian. "The beer hits you very quickly, which is not common for a marijuana edible." This beer is also environmentally friendly, since roots, stocks, and stems are typically tossed. "We take them off the grower's hands, saving them the cost of hiring a licensed disposal company to dispose of them," Wendschuh said. Catherine Garcia

July 22, 2018
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One person was killed and another injured Sunday afternoon during a shooting inside a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel in Fallon, Nevada, about 63 miles east of Reno.

KTVN-TV reports that the suspect, John K. O'Connor, 48, is in custody, and the person who was injured sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the leg. A spokesperson for the LDS Church told CBS News, "We express our love to those in this congregation and our prayers for the victims and their families. Local leaders are ministering to them at this time."

KTVN says at least 50 people were inside the church during the shooting, and O'Connor left and went back to his home, where he was arrested. Police said the motive is not yet known. Catherine Garcia

July 22, 2018
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In 2015, accused Russian agent Maria Butina met with senior officials at the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve while working as an interpreter for Alexander Torshin, then the Russian Central Bank's deputy governor, Reuters reports.

Torshin and Butina had one meeting with Nathan Sheets, then Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, and another with Stanley Fischer, then Fed vice chairman, with both arranged by the Center for the National Interest. The pro-Russia foreign policy think tank put together a report regarding its Russia-related activities from 2013 to 2015, Reuters reports, and said the meetings helped bring together "leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia."

Butina, 29, pleaded not guilty last week to charges she acted as a foreign agent for Russia. Fischer told Reuters he did meet with Torshin, who has close ties to Putin, and his interpreter, but couldn't remember much beyond that they discussed "the state of the Russian economy." Catherine Garcia

July 22, 2018
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Mondelez Global, the manufacturer of Ritz Crackers products, has announced a voluntary recall of some varieties, due to concerns over salmonella.

Mondelez said the supplier of whey powder for its crackers recalled the ingredient because of the possible presence of the bacteria. The recall affects Ritz Bits Cheese, Ritz Cheese Cracker Sandwiches, Ritz Bacon Cracker Sandwiches with Cheese, Ritz Whole Wheat Cracker Sandwiches with White Cheddar Cheese, Ritz Everything Cracker Sandwiches with Cream Cheese, and Mixed Cookie, with expiration dates from Jan. 14, 2019 to April 13, 2019.

Salmonella can make young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems seriously ill. Mondelez said that so far, they have not received any complaints from consumers about salmonella, and the recall is out of an abundance of caution. Catherine Garcia

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