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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chemical fires and dirty water: The new dangers of a flooded Texas

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Chemical fires burn at a flooded Texas facility. Its boss 'fully expects' more.

Black smoke poured out of a Houston-area chemical plant Thursday that had flooded after 40 inches of rain. The cause: A lack of power to refrigerate certain chemicals let them "degrade" with explosive results, said an Arkema Inc. executive who "fully expects" more fires. It's one in a wave of complications facing Texans after Hurricane Harvey, from  knocked-out water systems to devastated homes without flood insurance. Hope shines, though, from Air Force reservists saving stranded victims to Houston NFL star J.J. Watt raising $10 million for relief. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma lurks in the Atlantic. 

Here's how to help Harvey victims and double your donation.

Diana died 20 years ago today. Here's why she still haunts us. 

Princess Diana died at the height of her allure two decades ago in a fatal car crash, but her charitable workiconic style and  royal influence endure powerfully to this day — especially in America, which uniquely embraced the aristocrat-turned-royal. Her "celebrity has not been matched by anyone else since then," royals author Christopher Anderson said. Explore a timeline of the day Diana died, and learn why it's still as if she never did.

The fastest hunk of Legos in the galaxy is now the largest, too

Lego will debut its largest set ever this fall ahead of Star Wars' The Last Jedi — a 7,541-piece Millennium Falcon of galactic proportions . Also astronomical is its price tag at $799.99 for the set. The Ultimate Collector Series edition of Han Solo's iconic ship overtakes the former all-time biggest set, a 5,922-piece Taj Mahal. (The previous Falcon in the series had 5,197 pieces). See USA TODAY's exclusive first look of the massive set and its accompanying minifigures, too.

White House hits Russia with diplomatic clapback 

The Trump administration retaliated Thursday against Russia's expulsion of 755 U.S. diplomats by ordering closed the Russian consulate in San Francisco and a scaled back diplomatic presence in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled the American diplomatic personnel in July, days after Congress passed legislation strengthening sanctions on Moscow over its alleged meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. won't require any Russian diplomats to leave, and those working at the closed facilities can be reassigned to other posts. 

Those fake accounts at Wells Fargo? They might've found 1.4 million more

Wells Fargo's fake accounts scandal got even bigger Thursday as the bank revealed an additional 1.4 million potentially fake accounts that may have been opened without the permission of consumers and small business owners. The bank said it will provide $2.8 million in extra refunds and credits atop the $3.3 million Wells Fargo previously refunded to customers affected by the embarrassing episode. 

A high-flying show of force

U.S., Japanese and South Korean warplanes flexed their muscles in North Korea's face after that nation's ballistic missile launch over Japan on Tuesday. The trio flew near and over the Korean peninsula and later displayed their attacking prowess with live fire in a practice area. After the air show, the U.S. and South Korea made strong statements underlining the fact they're ready to attack should they be provoked. While North Korea views the demonstrations as preparation for war, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. is "never out of diplomatic solutions."

What else is happening this week? Bookmark our calendar.

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This week’s retirement strategies and news

August 31    
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  Personal Finance
  Wiles: When money issues hit workers, then employers pay  
  When workers struggle with money on the job, employers apparently pay the price with eroding productivity.  
  Read Story Read Story  

  Personal Finance      
    How big is the average person’s Social Security check?
The amount that men and women receive in Social Security benefits per month varies, but on average, it exceeds $1,400 per month.                              
  Personal Finance      
  Health care costs can be difficult to plan for when saving for retirement.   Expect to spend more on health care in retirement — even if you're well
Fidelity estimates a healthy, 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need $275,000 to cover health-care costs in retirement. In 2016, the estimate was $260,000.                              
  Personal Finance      
    Simple to complex: 4 ways to find your retirement number
Do you know your "retirement number?" If not, you're risking running out of money after you retire.                              
  Personal Finance      
    No time to relax: 4 common money hassles for retirees
Retirees must make complex financial decisions throughout their retirement.                              
  Personal Finance      
    4 ways to finance health care in retirement
Healthcare expenses can be a challenge even for the young and healthy. For retirees, they can turn into a nightmare.                              
  Personal Finance      
  Some of the most valuable financial lessons you can impart should be shared right now, before your child heads out into the world.   10 essential financial life lessons: What to teach your kids before they leave home
Some of the most valuable financial lessons you can impart should be shared right now, before your child heads out into the world.                              
  Personal Finance      
    4 questions to ask yourself before retiring
Are you sure you're ready for retirement? Ask yourself these questions before you commit.                              
  Personal Finance      
    Here are 2017's best and worst cities to retire
Not sure where to live as a senior? This guide will help you better explore your choices.                              
  Personal Finance      
    How to have money rolling in without doing anything
Passive income allows you to have a stream of income pouring in with little on-going work on your part.                              
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  The Day In Pictures Gallery
A young girl lays flowers at the Gates of Kensington Palace on the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London.

A young girl lays flowers at the Gates of Kensington Palace on the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London.
  Popular Stories
U.S., South Korean and Japanese warplanes carry out show of force against North Korea
Hurricane Irma forms in Atlantic, forecast to reach 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 strength
Chemical plant: Officials expect more fires at flooded Texas plant
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