Vanessa Romo

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to start cutting checks for victims of Hurricane Harvey starting now.

At a meeting with business leaders in Rockport, Texas, Tuesday — one of the areas slammed hardest by the storm — the governor announced the state expects to receive more than $1 billion in hazard-mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency by next summer. Five hundred million of that is available immediately.

Isreali police are urging the attorney general to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases involving bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The recommendation is the result of more than a year of investigations into allegations that Netanyahu improperly accepted expensive gifts including pink champagne and cigars from Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer in exchange for favors.

California has a giant rodent problem.

To clarify, it's not that California has a huge problem with run-of-the-mill rats, it's that the state has an emerging problem with jumbo-sized critters.

Nutria, otherwise called Myocastor coypus, were thought to have been eradicated from the state's wetlands and rivers as far back as 1965, but they have mysteriously reappeared in three counties over the past year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Peter Tira told NPR.

The Albuquerque Journal issued an apology Thursday for running a nationally syndicated cartoon that has been assailed as a racist attack on Latino immigrants by critics.

"In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes," Editor Karen Moses wrote in the paper.

Just days after a monthlong hiatus from making megabucks-generating videos, YouTube vlogger Logan Paul is in trouble again for creating more questionable content.

Seattle's mayor and city attorney announced plans to ask the courts to vacate all misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions that were prosecuted before it was legalized in Washington state in 2012 — a move that could affect the records of hundreds of people.

For years, pot convictions have had painful implications on the everyday lives of Washington's most vulnerable populations, Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a press conference Thursday.

"It could be a barrier to housing, to getting credit, to getting good jobs and an education," she said.

A federal judge concerned over the safety of jurors has ordered special protections for the panel of people who will eventually determine the fate of the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, according to court documents obtained by NPR.

Updated at 2:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

A series of earthquakes is rocking Taiwan, leaving at least four people dead and more than 100 injured, according to The Associated Press, which cites Taiwan's premier, William Lai.

The shaking started late Tuesday night local time, toppling buildings, destroying one bridge and buckling paved streets along the island's eastern coast. The quakes continue to jolt the area near Hualien County through early Wednesday morning.

The latest AP tally reports 225 people injured and more than 140 unaccounted for.

Actor John Mahoney, best-known for his portrayal of the grouchy and sharp-witted father of the title character in the TV show Frasier, died Sunday. He was 77.

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company confirmed his death, saying in a statement, "John Mahoney passed away due to complications from cancer while in hospice care on Sunday."

For 11 years, from 1993 to 2004, Mahoney played the blue-collar, retired-cop foil to Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, his dandy and effete sons on the NBC hit show.

Researchers have found a link between today's eight-legged spiders and an ancient group of arachnids that also possessed tails, according to two studies published in the latest issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Federal prosecutors have charged Douglas Haig, a man identified earlier this week as "a person of interest" in the Las Vegas mass shooting, with selling bullets he had modified to make them more potent — referred to as armor-piercing.

The 55-year-old aerospace engineer did not have a license to manufacture and sell the armor-piercing bullets he sold to Stephen Paddock in the weeks before the massacre that left 58 people dead. Paddock died at the scene from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Here's a reminder that while you are out in the world buying groceries, picking up dry cleaning or catching up on The Crown, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is on the red planet doing work.

A woman who was sexually assaulted by a Stanford University swimmer outside a campus fraternity party will no longer participate in the creation of a memorial marking the site of her attack.

University spokesman Ernest Miranda told The Associated Press Tuesday the decision was made after campus officials and the victim, who was attacked while unconscious by then-star swimmer Brock Turner, failed to agree on a quote to include on the plaque.

Updated 6:45 p.m. ET

Actor Mark Salling died Tuesday in what was reported to the coroner's office as a suicide by hanging. No official determination on whether it was suicide has been annouced. The 35-year-old former Glee star was weeks away from sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.

Attorney Michael Proctor confirmed Salling's death.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspended ongoing peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) on Monday, after the leftist rebel group killed several police officers in a series of bomb attacks over the weekend. It is the second time this month, negotiations between the government and the last remaining rebel group have been put on hold.