National News

5 things for August 25: Harvey, Samsung sentence, execution, Whole Foods

Posted August 25

Don't be fooled by the word "energy" in your favorite energy bar. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey is blowing toward Texas, and people are getting out of its way. Harvey is now a Category 2 storm in the Gulf of Mexico. But by the time it makes landfall near Corpus Christi -- late tonight or early tomorrow -- it's predicted to be a dangerous Category 3 that could bring as much as 35 inches of rain, winds of at least 111 mph and storm surges as high as 12 feet.

People are evacuating-the Texas coast, and traffic was bumper-to-bumper on roads and interstates. Harvey's also causing concern in New Orleans, where heavy rains could overwhelm the city's already-compromised drainage system. Gas prices will probably rise in some parts of the country, too, since the Gulf Coast is home to lots of oil rigs and platforms.

2. Samsung sentence

The man in charge of Samsung was sentenced to five years in prison. Lee Jae-yong was convicted of bribery and corruption. The case is important because it's part of the influence-peddling scandal that took down ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Lee was convicted of bribing Park in exchange for government help in a merger that helped him gain more power at Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker. Lee's prison sentence is-unlikely to affect the tech giant's day-to-day operations, analysts say.-He is expected to appeal.

3. Florida execution

Florida held its first execution in a year and a half, utilizing a lethal injection drug that had never been used in America. Mark Asay was executed without incident for the 1987 racially motivated murders of two men in Jacksonville. Florida used etomidate in the execution as a substitute for midazolam, a drug that's hard to get because drug manufacturers don't want it used in executions.-The state hadn't held an execution in 18 months because of a US Supreme Court ruling that said Florida's sentencing process gave judges too much power in deciding whether to execute someone and was unconstitutional. The state now has a law that elevates the power of juries in such decisions.

4. Debt ceiling

The Trump administration says it doesn't want a fight over raising the debt ceiling, which must be done so the government won't default on its debt. Well, somebody needs to tell that to President Trump. Members of his team have said they support a "clean bill,"-meaning raising the debt ceiling without any strings attached. But the President hit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan in (what else?) a tweet, indicating that he may have some conditions in mind. That could be just fine with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which generally won't support a debt ceiling increase without cuts in government spending. Congress has until the end of September to get this done. And there could be chaos if it doesn't.

5. Whole Foods

Amazon will officially be running Whole Foods on Monday, and the first thing the Internet behemoth-will do is cut prices at the stores. It could mean less silliness, like the $6-a-bottle "asparagus water" that turned up in a California store a couple years ago. While customers and other critics of the chain's high prices will be happy, regular old supermarkets won't be. They're already battling Walmart and Target for market share, so the prospect of now having to take on an Amazon-fortified Whole Foods is absolutely frightening for them.


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