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News Wrap: Texas Gulf Coast braces for hurricane ‘Harvey’

August 24, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
In our news wrap Thursday, the Texas Gulf Coast is bracing for a major hurricane. The storm, dubbed “Harvey," could have winds of up to 125 miles per hour when it comes ashore. Also, the California Supreme Court upheld a ballot measure approved by voters last year to expedite the legal process leading up to an execution.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: From President Trump today, more not-so- friendly fire, aimed at his own political party. He lambasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan for not raising the nation’s debt ceiling before now. He also attacked McConnell, again, over the U.S. Senate’s failure to replace Obamacare. We’ll have a full report after the news summary.

The California Supreme Court has upheld a ballot measure to speed up executions. The state’s voters narrowly approved the initiative last year. It calls for expediting appeals, and granting extensions only in rare instances. The court did rule that a five-year deadline for carrying out an execution is only advisory, not mandatory. California has not executed anyone since 2006.

The Texas Gulf Coast is now bracing for a major hurricane, late Friday or early Saturday. Harvey powered up today in the Gulf of Mexico, and could have winds of 125 miles-an-hour when it comes ashore. Already, people in coastal communities, like Corpus Christi, have flocked to grocery stores. The mayor says those in flood-prone areas should leave, before it’s too late.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR JOE MCCOMB, Corpus Christi, Texas: At some point in the storm let me reiterate, there will come a time that rescue operations will cease and everyone has to go in an protect themselves protect their own lives. And so, please don’t put our public service people in that type of jeopardy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF: The storm now shapes up to be the first major hurricane to strike the mid-Texas coast in nearly 15 years.

Southern China is reeling after its strongest typhoon in 50 years killed at least 16 and scores more injured. Eight people died in Macau after the storm slammed the gambling hub yesterday. It brought widespread flooding and winds over 80 miles an hour. The southern province of Guangdong reported eight more deaths.

Separately, seasonal monsoon rains have now killed nearly 1,000 people across southern Asia. Disaster officials said today that overall, almost 40 million people are affected in northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Widespread flooding, as seen here in India, has also triggered landslides that damaged roads and washed away thousands of homes. The monsoon runs from June to September.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis sharply criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine today, during a visit to Kiev. Mattis said that the Trump administration is actively reviewing whether to send heavy defensive weapons to aid Ukraine against Russian-backed rebels. He watched a Ukrainian independence parade with President Petro Poroshenko, and he pledged that the U.S. will be a steadfast ally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES MATTIS, U.S. Defense Secretary: We do not and we will not accept Russia’s seizure of the Crimea and despite Russia’s denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF: The Obama administration had argued that giving heavier weapons to Ukraine would only provoke Moscow. President Trump has not yet taken a position.

The U.S. Navy today called off the search at sea for nine sailors still missing after a wreck off Singapore. The destroyer John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided on Monday. The navy found the body of one sailor, in a search that lasted 80 hours. Divers have also found some remains in the destroyer’s flooded compartments.

The U.S. interior secretary is recommending that President Trump downsize at least three national monument areas. Ryan Zinke reviewed 27 sites after the president charged many were a, quote, federal land grab. “The Washington Post” is reporting that Zinke proposes reducing the scope of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, and a separate site in Oregon. He did not call for eliminating any of the areas studied.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 28 points to close at 21783. The Nasdaq fell seven points to close at 6271. And the S&P 500 slipped five.

And, a Massachusetts woman claimed the Powerball jackpot today, worth $758 million. It’s the largest ever won in the U.S. by a lone individual. Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee is 53 years old. She’s a long-time employee at a local hospital, but she said today: I called and told them I will not be coming back. Wanczyk will take a lump sum payment. After taxes, that comes to $336 million. Congratulations.

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