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The VICE Morning Bulletin

The VICE Morning Bulletin

Harvey sparks fire at chemical plant outside Houston, Russian lobbyist testifies to grand jury, Japanese defense ministry wants to ramp up missile program, and more.
Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

US News

Harvey Sparks Fire at Chemical Plant Outside Houston
A fire broke out early Thursday at a chemical plant in Crosby, northeast of Houston, after two separate explosions. The Arkema company had warned its plant would explode due to a power loss in the floods brought on by Hurricane Harvey, but at least ten police officers inhaled (apparently non-toxic) fumes in the aftermath. —VICE News

Judge Puts Texas 'Sanctuary Cities' Ban on Hold
A federal judge in Texas has blocked a new state law giving police permission to ask about immigration status during traffic stops and other points of contact. The Senate Bill 4 law, described as a "sanctuary cities" ban by its critics, was set to come into force Friday, but US district judge Orlando Garcia ordered an indefinite suspension.—VICE News


Russian Lobbyist Testifies for Special Counsel
Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian-born lobbyist who sat in on a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner during the campaign, has reportedly provided testimony for special counsel Robert Mueller. Akhmetshin apparently spoke at a grand jury hearing convened earlier this month.—AP

Trump Outlines Plan for Tax Cuts
President Trump offered a rough outline of plans to change the tax code Wednesday during a speech in Springfield, Missouri. Trump said the business tax rate should be lowered to 15 percent but provided few other details. He said he wanted to "bring back Main Street by reducing the crumbling burden on our companies and on our workers."—CNN

International News

At Least 21 People Dead After Building Collapses in Mumbai
At least 21 people were killed after a building crumbled in the Indian city of Mumbai Thursday morning. Rescue teams pulled another 21 people alive from the ruins of a six-story building in the Bhendi Bazaar district, and continued to search for others believed to be under the rubble.—BBC News

Japan May Ramp Up Missile Program
The Japanese defense ministry has asked lawmakers to approve an extra $160 million for its annual budget to advance the country's missile program. Members of the Liberal Democratic Party are apparently keen on Japan being more capable of striking North Korea's missile own capacity directly.—Reuters


Brazilian Judge Halts Government Plan to Mine Nature Reserve
A federal court in Brazil has at least temporarily halted the government's plan to scrap allow an area of preserved forest in the Amazon to be mined. Judge Rolando Valcir Spanholo ruled President Michel Temer did not have the power to eliminate protections on Renca, an area of almost 18,000 square miles, and said Congress would have to approve the move, though the administration can appeal.—The Guardian

Two Killed in Car Bomb Attack in Benghazi
At least two soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack on a security checkpoint Thursday in the Libyan city of Benghazi. The soldiers were part of the Libyan National Army, which controls much of the country's east.—Reuters

Everything Else

Solange to Play Benefit Show for Flood Victims
Solange Knowles will play a special benefit concert in Boston next month, with all proceeds going to Houston residents hit by Hurricane Harvey. Solange said the money would go to organizations helping "the city that raised me with so much love."—Rolling Stone

Flavor Flav Sues Public Enemy
Flavor Flav has filed a lawsuit against Chuck D and others involved in Public Enemy's business affairs. The rapper claims he has been denied royalties and did not agree to a recent album release.—Billboard

Chris Cantwell Wants to be Treated as 'Goddamn Human Being'
Christopher Cantwell, the white supremacist featured in VICE News' Charlottesville coverage and dubbed the "crying Nazi" for weeping in a self-made YouTube video, has asked for compassion. Facing various felony charges and possible prison time, Cantwell said: "One minute I'm a fucking white supremacist terrorist and the next minute I'm a fucking crybaby? I'm a goddamn human being."—The Daily Beast

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile Drop New Track
Singer-songwriters Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile have dropped the first track from their forthcoming album Lotta Sea Lice. The duo premiered "Over Everything" on Beats 1 before releasing a black-and-white video for the song.—Noisey

Thieves Use Parisian Catacombs to Steal $300,000 Worth of Wine
Thieves in Paris reportedly crept through the catacombs under the city to steal vintage wines worth $300,000. Police said the crooks dug through an ancient wall next to a private wine cellar and made off with 300 rare bottles.—VICE

Composer Alf Clausen Dismissed from 'The Simpsons'
Alf Clausen, the composer who has provided The Simpsons with original music for the past 27 years, has been sacked by the show's executives. Producer Richard Sakei reportedly told Clausen the series needed "a different kind of music."—Noisey