Texas floods

More heavy rain was expected on Tuesday night with Texas and Oklahoma already dealing with the effects of near-historic severe weather, after a day that saw the worst-ever flooding in and around Houston. Authorities said storms have so far left at least 17 people dead and several missing while thousands of properties are thought to have been destroyed in Houston alone. Fox News reported that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said disaster declarations in the state stretch from “literally the Red River to the Rio Grande.”

Dramatic drone footage from the Washington Post shows the extent of the flooding.

Residents in Wimberley, Texas, about three hours west of Houston, spoke of a “wall of water” that destroyed everything in its path after the Blanco River rose a staggering 26 feet in one hour.

* Full coverage from The Houston Chronicle is here.

Thirteen people were killed when a tornado touched down in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Acuna. The twister – the worst in a century – was thought to be on the ground for just a few seconds.

The Huffington Post reports on why this sort of weather could be the new normal for the country’s most vulnerable regions.

In its latest report, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that heavy precipitation events in North America and Europe appear to have been growing more frequent and more severe. Furthermore, the panel said, it’s “very likely” that these precipitation events will get worse and surface air temperatures will continue to rise in the coming century.

Finally, as if it means anything at a time of such despair and loss, but maybe a certain NFL quarterback learned a lesson about when not to tweet today.


* SPORTS * Swiss law enforcement authorities are understood to have moved early on Wednesday to arrest a number of top officials of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, ahead of expected indictments in the US alleging wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, the New York Times reports. Fifa President Sepp Blatter was not among those arrested. Blatter is up for re-election on Friday.

The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt has been tweeting from the lobby of the hotel in Zurich where the arrests took place.


* WORLD * Britain’s new Conservative government will spell out its legislative program on Wednesday through the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament. The BBC reports that the first all-Conservative agenda since 1996 will feature an EU referendum, tax cuts for low-earners and an extension of Right to Buy provisions.

The Guardian has a bill-by-bill guide to what to expect and you can watch proceedings live here.

The City of Cleveland agreed to sweeping police reforms, including new rule son the use of force by its officers, as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice following an investigation of civil rights violations. The Cleveland Plain Dealer – whose headline says the report requires police to “stop hitting people on heads with guns,” reports that

The consent decree, which comes after five months of negotiations and dozens of meetings with police, community groups, church leaders and advocates, addresses a December report that noted offers were inadequately trained to deescalate tense situations. Not all squad cars had computers, and those that did often lacked technology to give officers vital information.


* POLITICS *  A panel of appeal judges on Tuesday dealt a blow to President Obama’s executive action on immigration by denying the administration’s request to proceed. Politico reports that “If the administration can’t get the Supreme Court to act promptly to lift the injunction or chooses not to try, the White House could find Obama’s long-promised immigration actions on hold until the Supreme Court rules definitively on the legal questions at stake — a ruling that likely wouldn’t come until next June.”

But the ruling may not be all good news for the President’s political opponents.

Senator Bernie Sanders launched his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination on Tuesday in Burlington, VT, taking aim at Wall Street and pledging to keep the issue of wealth inequality in the spotlight. You can watch the full event here at the candidate’s site (Sanders’ speech begins at 40:00)

Sen Sanders’ only opponent thus far, Hillary Clinton, continues to have her campaign mired in the “complexity” of the family’s finances. The Associated Press reported that “newly released financial files on Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s growing fortune omit a company with no apparent employees or assets that the former president has legally used to provide consulting and other services, but which demonstrates the complexity of the family’s finances.”

Meanwhile, the International Business Times reported that governments that donated to the Clinton Foundation “got weapons deals” from the State Department.

IBT writes:

The Clinton Foundation has not released an exact timetable of its donations, making it impossible to know whether money from foreign governments and defense contractors came into the organization before or after Hillary Clinton approved weapons deals that involved their interests. But news reportsdocument that at least seven foreign governments that received State Department clearance for American arms did donate to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia.

Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post looks at the Obama administration’s Office of Digital Engagement, which already has a bigger staff than George W Bush’s  entire White House Press Office.

Barack Obama rose to prominence as a politician who could deliver broad, sweeping speeches with universal themes, and he has leveraged the opportunities of the digital age to maximum political advantage. But often, this now means speaking narrowly to his base voters or to groups disconnected from the mainstream political process.


Critics worry that governance by social media will cheapen the power of the presidency by substituting hashtag activism for serious policymaking. And in these exceptionally partisan times, some see the president’s prodigious use of social media as just another example of the cozy political relationship between the political left and Hollywood and Silicon Valley.


* BUSINESS * Some 100,000 taxpayers’ data is thought to have been compromised following a security breach at the Internal Revenue Service, between February and the middle of this month, Wired reports.

Mary Meeker’s annual review of Internet Trends is released on Wednesday morning – 11am ET.


* MEDIA * Vox Media is buying the parent company of Re/code, the tech news site launched in January 2014 by a number of key writers formerly with the Wall Street Journal.

Iran is understood to have begun the closed-doors trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The Post reports that the case was adjourned after the reading of a four-count indictment in a two-hour session in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. Rezaian’s brother spoke to the AP about what’s known and what isn’t.

(Associated Press)


* CULTURE * Finally, the New York Times has a heartwarming post-Memorial Day story about how Jon Stewart has been running an informal training program giving returning veterans skills in television production.

“The Daily Show” developed the program over the last three years without publicizing it, but now, because Mr. Stewart is preparing to leave the show, he has taken it into the open, urging other shows to develop their own programs to bring more veterans into the industry.

“This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea,” Mr. Stewart said in an interview at his Manhattan studio recently. “It isn’t charity. To be good in this business you have to bring in different voices from different places, and we have this wealth of experience that just wasn’t being tapped.”

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