Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 29, 2017

Harvey's floodwaters continue to rise in Texas, North Korea fires missile over Japan, and more


Texas floodwaters continue to rise

Floodwaters continued to rise into early Tuesday as Tropical Storm Harvey's rains continued, with officials warning the storm could end up sending 30,000 people into emergency shelters. The storm is expected to hit some areas with more than four feet of rain before it is done. It is "one of the largest disasters America has ever faced," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said. A Houston TV station reported Monday that six family members — four children ages 6 to 16, and their great-grandparents — were believed to have drowned when their white van was caught in rising floodwaters as they tried to flee on Sunday. Texas authorities said they were trying to confirm the report, which came as the confirmed death toll from the storm reached at least 10.


North Korea fires missile over Japan

North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew over northern Japan early Tuesday, escalating tensions between the isolated communist regime and the rest of the world. Pyongyang has been threatening to launch a missile over Japan in the opposite direction, into waters near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. It was not immediately clear where in the Pacific this rocket came down. Japan's government warned residents in some areas to seek shelter. It is the third time North Korea has launched a missile over Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after an emergency national security council meeting that "launching a missile and flying it over our country was a reckless act, and it represents a serious threat without precedent to Japan."


Louisiana braces for flooding from Harvey

Authorities and residents in Louisiana braced for increasing rains from Tropical Storm Harvey overnight, as the storm began to edge into the state while continuing to drench neighboring Texas. President Trump, who is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday, issued emergency declarations for five Louisiana parishes on Monday. "Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency," the White House statement said. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) asked for the declaration in a letter to Trump, saying the storm was expected to cause "significant damage in Louisiana," and adding that more parishes might need disaster declarations once the heaviest rains arrive.


Emails show Trump lawyer sought Putin help on Moscow tower

A business associate of President Trump's pushed a potential real estate deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, asserting during the campaign that a Trump Tower in Moscow would "get Donald elected," The New York Times reported Monday. In an email that was part of a series acquired by the Times, the associate, Felix Sater, wrote to Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen: "Our boy can become president of the U.S.A. and we can engineer it ... I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this." Also Monday, The Washington Post reported that Cohen emailed Dmitry Peskov, Putin's personal spokesman, shortly before the project was abandoned in January 2016 to ask for "assistance" getting the project moving and "arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals."


Amazon slashes some prices as it takes over Whole Foods

Amazon.com cut prices on a selection of items at Whole Foods on Monday, the online retail giant's first day as owner of the specialty and organic grocery chain. The discounts included a 43 percent price cut on Fuji apples, 30 percent to 38 percent on bananas, and 33 percent reductions on "responsibly-farmed" Atlantic salmon and tilapia. Amazon's purchase and integration of Whole Foods — once mocked for high prices with the nickname "Whole Paycheck" — could upend grocery shopping. Amazon also plans to offer special deals for subscribers to its Prime service.


Indian guru sentenced to 20 years for raping two followers

Controversial Indian guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined about $46,000 on Monday for raping two of his followers in 2002. The so-called "godman," known as the "Guru of Bling" and "Rockstar Baba" for his flashy lifestyle, reportedly asked forgiveness when the judge sentenced him. The victims plan to ask a higher court to impose a longer sentence. Police in Haryana state braced for rioting after more than 100,000 of the guru's followers gathered near the court and erupted in violence when the conviction was announced on Friday.


Trump defends pardon of Arpaio

President Trump on Monday defended his controversial pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who recently was convicted of criminal contempt for violating a 2011 court order to stop rounding up Hispanic motorists out of suspicion they could have entered the country illegally. "A lot of people think it was the right thing to do," Trump said of the pardon. He added that Arpaio did "a great job for the people of Arizona. He's very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly." Trump said he announced the news Friday as Hurricane Harvey hit because he figured TV ratings would be higher.


Investigators: German nurse suspected of killing 86 patients

A German nurse sentenced to life in 2015 for killing two of his patients is now suspected of murdering at least 86 others, German authorities said Monday after an investigation. The former nurse, identified as Niels Högel, confessed to the first two killings, and a court found him guilty of giving overdoses of heart medication to patients in intensive care. During his trial, he said he intentionally induced cardiac arrest in 90 patients, and that 30 died. Officials investigated the deaths of 130 of Högel's patients, and concluded that he likely was responsible for the deaths of at least 86 of them. "It defies any scope of the imagination," said Johan Kühme, chief of police in the northern German city of Oldenburg.


Gunman kills two at New Mexico library

A gunman opened fire in a New Mexico public library on Monday, killing two women and wounding four other people. Investigators did not immediately identify the victims. After the shots broke out, police swarmed the Clovis-Carver Library with their guns drawn. Clovis Police Chief Doug Ford said officers arrested a suspect without resistance. Friends identified the suspect as a sophomore at Clovis High School, The Eastern New Mexico News reported. Clovis Mayor David Lansford praised police for the "quick and immediate response," saying it prevented the situation from getting "much worse."


HBO: Game of Thrones Season 7 finale set ratings record

The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale set an HBO ratings record with 16.5 million viewers, including those who watched on cable as well as HBO Go and the stand-alone HBO Now app. The fantasy drama has been HBO's most popular show for years, but its audience is still growing as it heads toward its final season. Last year's finale had 8.9 million viewers, and this season's premiere in July had 10.1 million. With delayed viewing, the numbers are far higher. HBO said each episode this season had more than 30 million viewers across platforms. There is plenty of time for anticipation to build for the six-episode final season, which might not premiere until 2019.


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