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10 things you need to know today: August 30, 2017

Trump urges teamwork in Texas response to Harvey, Trump and U.N. condemn North Korea's missile test, and more


Trump visits Texas urging teamwork in Harvey response

President Trump visited Texas on Tuesday to check on the recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Harvey. Joined by first lady Melania Trump, Trump stopped in Corpus Christi, about 30 miles south of where Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm, then went to Austin to tour the Emergency Operations Center and get a briefing from state officials. Trump urged officials to make the response a model for future disasters. "We want to do it better than ever before," he said. Harvey has dropped four feet of rain on parts of Houston. "This is historic, it's epic, what happened," he said. "But you know what, it happened in Texas, and Texas can handle anything."


Trump and U.N. Security Council condemn North Korea's missile test

President Trump said Tuesday that "all options are on the table" in responding to North Korea's firing of a missile that flew over Japan's Hokkaido island and into the Pacific. "Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world," Trump said. The White House said Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talked after the launch, and agreed that Pyongyang "poses a grave and growing direct threat" to the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. In an emergency meeting, the United Nations Security Council condemned the missile test, calling it "outrageous." North Korea has tested several missiles recently, but sending one over Japan's mainland is rare.


Harvey's rains set records in Texas and move into Louisiana

A reservoir west of downtown Houston spilled over on Tuesday for the first time ever as Tropical Storm Harvey's record-breaking rainfall continued. The Cedar Bayou gauge near Highlands, Texas, reported 51.88 inches of rain, topping the 48-inch record for rainfall during a tropical cyclone in the contiguous U.S. Harvey's center made a second U.S. landfall early Wednesday in Cameron, Louisiana, near the Texas state line, heading north. The storm's toll rose to at least 18 confirmed deaths, including veteran Houston police Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, who drowned in his patrol car Sunday trying to get to work. Houston police imposed a curfew to prevent looting.


Mattis freezes Trump transgender ban pending study

Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Tuesday that transgender people could continue serving in the military for now. He said he is freezing implementation of President Trump's ban on transgender troops and establishing a panel to make recommendations on how to carry out the policy, which reverses an order by former President Barack Obama to let transgender people serve in the armed forces. The Pentagon said Mattis was moving "as directed" by Trump in a memo last Friday, with the study and implementation plan marking the first step toward carrying out Trump's directive. In a statement, Mattis said that once the panel provides recommendations he will advise the president "concerning implementation of his policy direction."


Mueller issues subpoenas to Paul Manafort's former lawyer

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued subpoenas seeking documents and testimony from a former lawyer and a current spokesman for Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, CNN reported Tuesday. The push for information from Melissa Laurenza, who represented Manafort until recently, and Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni steps up pressure on Manafort, whose home investigators searched last month in a dawn raid to find financial documents. Mueller's team has issued dozens of subpoenas in recent months since the former FBI director was appointed to take over the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by Trump associates.


Poll: Only 16 percent of Americans like the way Trump behaves

Only 16 percent of Americans "like" how President Trump "conducts himself as president," a new Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday revealed. A notable 58 percent of Americans reported they did not like Trump's conduct, while 25 percent said they have "mixed feelings" about it. Republicans approved of Trump's conduct more than Democrats did, but still only 34 percent of Republicans reported liking the president's behavior. Meanwhile, 46 percent of Republicans reported having "mixed feelings," and 19 percent flat out said they disliked Trump's conduct. Just 2 percent of Democrats reported liking the president's conduct, while a whopping 89 percent said they did not.


Judge dismisses Palin's lawsuit against The New York Times

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed former Alaska governor and one-time GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. Palin sued the newspaper over an editorial that linked a Palin ad to the 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, then a Democratic congresswoman from Arizona. Judge Jed Rakoff said Palin did not meet the legal standard of showing that the Times' claim stemmed from malice rather than "an unintended mistake." "Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States," Rakoff wrote in his ruling. "In the exercise of that freedom, mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others."


Gasoline futures jump as Harvey forces another refinery to close

Gasoline futures jumped by about 3 percent early Wednesday after shooting up by 4 percent on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Harvey's flooding caused more disruption for energy companies. Motiva reportedly shut the nation's largest refinery, increasing the share of U.S. refining capacity now offline to 19.6 percent. The Gulf Coast is home to nearly half the nation's refining capacity. "We have no idea when (the refineries will) come back on, the market is taking a wait and see approach," said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy. Gas prices on Wednesday rose to a two-year high.


Murdochs pull Fox News off air in U.K.

Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced Tuesday that it was pulling the conservative news outlet off the air in the U.K. because it had failed to attract an audience there. "Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.," 21st Century Fox said in a statement. "We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the U.K." Fox News also had become a target for criticism by opponents of plans by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, who control the media empire, to take over Sky, the U.K.'s top pay TV provider, for $15 billion.


Kerber becomes second defending Open champ to lose in 1st round

Angelique Kerber lost 6-3, 6-1 to 45th-ranked Naomi Osaka of Japan on Tuesday, becoming only the second defending U.S. Open champion in the professional era to get knocked out of the tournament in the first round. The drubbing was just the latest in a series of setbacks for the former No. 1 tennis player this year. In 2016, the 29-year-old German burst to the top of women's tennis, reaching the first three major title finals of her career. She won two of them, beating Serena Williams to win the Australian Open and Karolina Pliskova to take the U.S. Open. In 2017 she is 0-9 against opponents in the top 20. "This year is a completely different year," she said.


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