Nicholas strengthens, may hit Texas as hurricane

HOUSTON — Tropical Storm Nicholas gathered strength Monday and threatened to blow ashore in Texas as a hurricane that could bring up to 20 inches of rain to parts of the Gulf Coast, including the same area hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and storm-battered Louisiana.

Although the system was expected to generate only a fraction as much rain as Harvey, nearly all of the state’s coastline was under a tropical storm warning that included potential flash floods and urban flooding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said authorities placed rescue teams and resources in the Houston area and along the coast.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the system’s top sustained winds reached 65 mph (105 kph), an increase of 5 mph (8 kph) from earlier in the day. If the winds hit 74 mph (119 kph), the storm would become a Category 1 hurricane. It was moving northeast at 12 mph (19 kph) and was predicted to make landfall in the evening along the central Texas coast.

Israel, Egypt leaders hold first public meeting in decadeCAIRO — Leaders of Egypt and Israel met publicly for the first time in over a decade Monday, with rising tensions in the Gaza Strip at the top of their agenda.

Gaza is sandwiched between Israel and Egypt, and both countries have enforced a border blockade of the territory to varying degrees since 2007 when the Islamic militant group Hamas took control there.

The meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett signaled a significant thaw in a relationship that had been frosty under Bennett’s predecessor, Israeli hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu.

El-Sissi told state television that he and Bennett discussed maintaining the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, in addition to Ethiopia’s dam on one of the Nile River’s tributaries, which Egypt sees as a threat to its water supply.

Militia leader gets 53 years in Minn. mosque bombingST. PAUL, Minn. — The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group who authorities say masterminded the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque was sentenced Monday to 53 years in prison for an attack that terrified the mosque’s community.

Emily Claire Hari, who was previously known as Michael Hari and recently said she is transgender, faced a mandatory minimum of 30 years for the attack on Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Defense attorneys asked for the minimum, but prosecutors sought life, saying Hari hasn’t taken responsibility for the attack.

No one was hurt in the bombing, but more than a dozen members of the mosque community gave victim impact statements Monday about the trauma it left behind. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank said evidence clearly showed Hari’s intent was to “scare, intimidate and terrorize individuals of Muslim faith.”

— Compiled From Tribune Wire Services

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