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Rapid Reads: 6 Big stories of the day

Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target and screen time. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Stir, Mommyish and more.

Jimmy Carter reveals cancer diagnosis, Frozen fever just won't let go & more

Didn't have time to catch up on the news this morning? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about today:

1. Absolutely terrifying

A series of massive explosions in Tianjin, China, left 500 people injured and 44 dead yesterday. The explosions reportedly took place at a warehouse full of "hazardous goods," though investigators have yet to name an official cause. Dozens of people are still missing and at least 60 of those injured are in critical condition. Our hearts go out to the people of Tianjian as they bounce back from this awful tragedy. — CNN

2. A devastating diagnosis

Former President Jimmy Carter has announced that he has cancer. He didn't say what kind of cancer he has, but did reveal that it's advanced and that he had a mass removed from his liver earlier this month. The 90-year-old said he will rearrange his schedule to undergo treatment. President Obama released a statement saying, "Jimmy, you're as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you." Best of luck to Carter and his family. — NBC News

More: 3 Cancers women should take as seriously as breast cancer

3. Not lovin' it

McDonald's plans to close 59 locations as the company continues to be plagued by poor sales. McDonald's currently has 14,350 U.S. locations — basically one on every corner — but their same store-sales have been in decline for seven straight quarters. They've tried a number of marketing campaigns to combat their slumping sales, but none seem to be working. Diners appear to be more interested in fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle, where they can get higher quality food for around the same price and level of convenience. — Bloomberg

More: McDonald's finally reveals the secret behind their fries

4. California is throwing shade at this whole drought situation

Yesterday, California began turning their reservoirs into what look like the world's largest ball pits. What's actually going on is they're using 96 million black plastic balls to preserve the state's water supply. The "shade balls" float atop the water and protect it from algae growth while simultaneously slowing the rate of evaporation. The balls do not emit chemicals into the water and they look super cool, so it's a win-win that will help California as they struggle to recover from one of the worst droughts in the state's history. — The New York Times

5. Do you want to build a snowman sand castle?

The director of Disney's Frozen, Chris Buck, says he thinks Anna and Elsa are related to Tarzan. The theory first became popular among fans during a Reddit AMA with Frozen's co-director, in which she revealed that Anna and Elsa's parents did not die in the film's shipwreck, but instead washed up on an island somewhere and had a baby. In a recent interview with MTV, Buck confirmed the theory, saying, "In my little head, Anna and Elsa's brother is Tarzan." So, there you go. Now you don't have to explain death at the hands of a turbulent sea to your kids. You can just say they washed up on a beach and had a baby. Oh, and then got eaten by a leopard. Darn. — Entertainment Weekly

More: 5 New details about Disney's Frozen spin-off (VIDEO)

6. Walk like an Egyptian

A British archaeologist thinks he's located the lost tomb of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Nefertiti ruled Egypt around 1350 BC and the location of her tomb has always been the subject of speculation. Now, through studying scans of King Tut's tomb, Nicholas Reeves believes he's solved the mystery. Apparently King Tut's tomb is really tiny for a king — something that's always perplexed archaeologists — and Reeves thinks that's because it's actually an antechamber leading to the queen's tomb, which is hidden behind the walls. If he's right, it would be a huge discovery. My inner nerd almost can't handle it. — NPR

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