What to Know
- the House is swiftly moving to pass President Trump's request for a $7.9 billion first installment of relief for victims of Harvey
- Chipotle hopes its new queso dip will satisfy its customers' cravings — and help reinvigorate sales that have been hurt by food scares
- Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey will headline a one-hour telethon to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims
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House Voting on $7.9B Harvey Relief Bill
With federal disaster reserves running out, the House is swiftly moving to pass President Trump's request for a $7.9 billion first installment of relief for victims of Harvey. GOP leaders also hope to use the urgent Harvey aid bill to solve a far more vexing issue: Increasing the U.S. debt limit to permit the government to borrow freely again to cover its bills. Wednesday morning's vote comes as the government's response to Harvey is draining existing disaster reserves, with Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster accounts hovering at $1 billion or less. FEMA is warning lawmakers that disaster funds run out on Friday, even as a much more powerful hurricane, Irma, is bearing down on the eastern U.S. This week's measure is to handle the immediate emergency needs and replenish reserves in advance of Irma. Far more money will be needed once more complete estimates are in this fall, and Harvey could end up exceeding the $110 billion government cost of Hurricane Katrina.
Powerful Hurricane Irma Hits Barbuda, 1st of Caribbean Islands
The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean, churning along a path pointing to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida. The eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m., the National Weather Service said. Residents said over local radio that phone lines went down. Heavy rain and howling winds raked the neighboring island of Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters. Officials warned people to seek protection from Irma's "onslaught" in a statement that closed with: "May God protect us all." The Category 5 storm had maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Its forecast was for the winds to fluctuate slightly but for the storm to remain at Category 4 or 5 strength for the next day or two. The most dangerous winds, usually nearest to the eye, were forecast to pass near the northern Virgin Islands and near or just north of Puerto Rico through the day.
“Everyone Deserves a Chance”: Silicon Valley Reacts to Trump's DACA Decision
The Trump administration decided to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, triggering ripple effects throughout Silicon Valley. The tech industry is known as a place where immigrants have risen to, and often started, successful companies. The loss of DACA, which gives renewable, two-year permits to immigrants who entered the United States as undocumented minors, is expected to heavily cost Silicon Valley. “This has a very real impact on the bottom line of companies,” said Peter Leroe-Munoz, the vice president of tech and innovation policy at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He said certain industries have especially benefited from young immigrant employees. Meanwhile, at the Asian Law Alliance, the phone rang off the hook, with young immigrants from all over the world reacting to the uncertainty of their future.
Chipotle Says Queso Will Fill Gap in Menu, Boost Sales
Chipotle hopes its new queso dip will satisfy its customers' cravings — and help reinvigorate sales that have been hurt by food scares. The Mexican food chain said it will begin offering all-natural warm queso in restaurants nationwide. Chipotle marketing director Mark Crumpacker had said earlier this year that company research showed the top reason why "lapsed customers" weren't visiting as frequently as in the past was "boredom" with the menu. Steve Ells, Chipotle's chairman and CEO, said queso was the No. 1 requested menu item, but the company didn't want to use industrial additives. The chain said it developed a recipe with cheddar cheese, peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos that passed customer tests in 350 restaurants, but will vary a bit from batch to batch. It'll cost $1.25 with a meal or $5.25 for a side order.
Beyonce, Streisand to Headline Harvey Relief Telethon
Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey will headline a one-hour telethon to benefit Hurricane Harvey victims that will be simulcast next week on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CMT. The event will be telecast live at 8 p.m. Eastern on Sept. 12, and on tape delay at 8 p.m. on the West Coast, and streamed live on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Houston rap artist Bun B and Scooter Braun, a Hollywood talent manager and founder of SB Projects, are the organizers. Bun B, a Houston native and lecturer at Rice University, said he was trying to organize a local event through his contacts and recognized that Harvey was a broader tragedy. "One morning it just hit me — this is a national disaster," he said. "It's personal for me because it's home to me, it's in my city, but it's a national disaster."
Richard Simmons Sex Change Libel Suit Dismissed
A judge dismissed on free-speech grounds a libel/invasion of privacy lawsuit that Richard Simmons brought against the National Enquirer, Radar Online and their publisher over stories claiming the fitness guru was undergoing a sex change, court papers show. "This court finds that because courts have long held that a misidentification of certain immutable characteristics do not naturally tend to injure one's reputation, even if there is a sizeable portion of the population who hold prejudices against those characteristics, misidentification of a person as transgender is not actionable defamation absent special damages," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian wrote in a ruling. The judge heard arguments, then had taken the case under submission. The lawsuit filed May 8 contends the series of articles falsely suggested that Simmons was transitioning from male to female, and that the stories were based on phony information provided by a former assistant.