By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. space agency's Cassini spacecraft will end its 13-year mission to Saturn in mid-September by transmitting data until the final moment before it plunges into the ringed planet's atmosphere, officials said on Tuesday. Cassini, the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn, will make the last of 22 farewell dives between the planet's rings and surface on Sept. 15. The spacecraft will then burn up as it heads straight into the gas giant's crushing atmosphere.
By Susan Heavey and Jack Kim WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that all options are on the table for the United States to respond to North Korea's firing of a ballistic missile over northern Japan's Hokkaido island into the sea in a new show of force. The missile test further increased tension in east Asia as U.S. and South Korean forces conducted annual military exercises on the Korean peninsula, angering Pyongyang which sees the war games as a preparation for invasion. North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under its leader, Kim Jong Un, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, but firing projectiles over mainland Japan is rare.
President Donald Trump headed to Texas to confront the first major natural disaster, and biggest test yet, of his presidency as officials struggled to manage an unprecedented deluge delivered by Hurricane Harvey. The mammoth storm dropped more than 15 trillion gallons of rain bringing catastrophic consequences to Houston, America's fourth biggest city where 6.8 million people live. More than 3,500 people were rescued by police, firefighters and National Guard troops as boat and helicopter searches continued. Donald Trump arrives in Houston for briefings on Hurricane Harvey 00:50 Appearing at an emergency briefing at a fire station in nearby Corpus Christi, Mr Trump, wearing a "USA" baseball hat, said: "This was of epic proportion, nobody's ever seen anything like this. This is a special place, a special state." Donald Trump raises a Texan flag at a fire station Credit: AP Addressing first responders he added: "We want to do it better than ever before. We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now, as this is the way to do it. I won't say congratulations. We don't want to do that, we'll congratulate each other when it's all finished." Hero volunteers rally to help rescue children from Houston floods 01:36 Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Corpus Christi, Texas Credit: Carlos Barria/REUTERS Mr Trumplater climbed up on a fire engine ladder to address a crowd and held aloft a Texan flag. He said: "We love you, you are special, we are here to take care of you. It's going well. "It's historic, it's epic, but I tell you, it happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything." Jewellery company volunteers to save Houston residents stranded by Hurricane Harvey floods 00:59 Greg Abbott, the Republican Governor of Texas, said Mr Trump was "a champion of Texas and a champion of helping us rebuild". Damages were already estimated in the billions of dollars and rebuilding is expected to last beyond Mr Trump's current four-year term. A group of civilian volunteer rescuers assemble whatever floating vessels they have and take to the flooded streets of west Houston Credit: James Breeden / Telegraph Around 17,000 people were in shelters, including 9,000 in a Houston convention centre intended to hold half as many. Hundreds of roads were blocked by high water, Houston's two main airports were shut, and 6,000 prison inmates were evacuated. The official death toll of nine was expected to rise. With 50 inches of rain in some places, and more expected, Houston police chief Art Acevedo said: "I'm really worried about how many bodies we're going to find." Hurricane Harvey: drone footage shows a suburban Houston underwater 01:33 Virginia Saldivar told the Associated Press she lost six members of her family, including four siblings aged six to 16, as they tried to escape in a van. She said the children Daisy, Xavier, Dominic and Devy, perished along with two other adult relatives. Houston's Office for Emergency Management was unable to confirm the presumed deaths. BREAKING: Levees breached at Columbia Lakes in Brazoria County. “Get out now,” the alert reads— Alli Hedges (@AllisonLHedges) August 29, 2017 Angela Sanchez, 34, told The Telegraph she and her husband and floated their three children to safety in a fridge freezer as the waters reached chest height. She said: "We ripped the door off the fridge and put the kids in it." Her daughter Valencia, 16, added: “When we finally left my sister sat in the freezer part, my brother sat in the fridge part, and I sat in the middle." The family were forced to leave two of their dogs behind. Mrs Sanchez said: "We put them on high ground and dumped all the food from the fridge out next to them so they could eat." Leaving now for Texas!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2017 At the convention centre in Houston Iashia Nelson said she had been a victim of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, after moving from Louisiana to Texas. She told CNN: "It took us 15 hours to get out of there from all that water. There were six families in the house. There was a window pane and I busted it with a hammer. I got the children out and we were on t he roof. I was so scared. One girl I knew drowned and she left behind two babies. It brought back all the memories (of Katrina)." Hurricane Harvey: rescuers reach people trapped on vehicle roof as waters rise 00:59 The Cajun Navy, a grassroots group formed after Katrina, use their boats to rescue people in Houston. Flint Theriot, a member of the group described rescuing a family including a three-day old baby. He said: "The rain was filling our boats out so hard we couldn't bail them out. It was rough. People were getting really desperate." President Donald Trump walks with Melania Trump prior to their Marine One departure from the White House Two reservoirs near Houston built to handle drainage water were beginning to overflow. Water was released to alleviate pressure on dams, which added to flooding. Local officials also sent out a warning that a levee had breached and telling people to "GET OUT NOW!!" Melania Trump ridiculed for wearing high heels to visit Houston floods 00:58 Amid some reports of looting and armed robbery Mr Acevedo, the Houston police chief, said: "We are not going to tolerate people victimising our community. That's despicable. If you do it you won't see the sunlight any time soon." Tuesday was the 12th anniversary of Katrina hitting the neighbouring state of Louisiana, killing 1,800 people. Residents use boats to evacuate flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey along Tidwell Road east Houston Credit: REUTERS The slow government response to that disaster was a hugely damaging blow to the administration of President George W. Bush. Hurricane Harvey: US coast guard airlifts dozens to safety 01:16 Amid debate over whether his presence in Texas would divert resources Mr Trump avoided traveling to Houston itself. Melania Trump, the first lady, raised eyebrows as she donned stiletto heels for the couple's departure from the White House, but on arrival in Texas she had changed into more suitable footwear. Trump on Texas floods: Protecting US lives is my top priority 01:19
Crises, and especially natural disasters, create a special kind of challenge for any politician, but especially for a president. There’s very little that a national leader can do in the early days of a disaster; much of the initial response is organized ahead of time or devolved to state and local authorities. While later on, White House muscle can be important, the first days are a time when there’s little to do but play the role of president.