NPR News

It may seem counter-intuitive and head-scratchingly odd, but Congress nearly always approves defense spending bills before the armed services committees — which actually oversee the Pentagon — vote on how the money will be spent.

Not this year.

Three Czech service members with NATO's Resolute Support mission were killed Sunday in eastern Afghanistan by a suicide bomber, the U.S. military and Czech authorities said.

In addition, one American service member and two Afghan soldiers were injured.

They were on foot patrol with Afghan forces, according to NATO.

Five years ago, when George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old named Trayvon Martin, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter lit up the social media universe and ignited powerful dialogue around racial injustice and police brutality.

Updated at 11:03 p.m. ET

Venezuelan officials say that President Nicolás Maduro has escaped an assassination attempt unharmed.

Maduro was giving a live televised speech in the capital city of Caracas on Saturday when, a government spokesman said, explosive-carrying drones went off near the president.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez called the incident an "attack" on the leader, reports The Associated Press, and said seven National Guard soldiers were injured.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET

Chinese authorities are razing one of the Beijing studios of dissident artist Ai Weiwei. He said that demolition crews showed up without advance warning, and have begun the process of tearing down the studio.

Ai has been a longtime critic of the government, and on Saturday, he began posting videos to his Instagram feed of the studio's destruction. "Farewell," Ai wrote. "They started to demolish my studio 'Zuoyuo' in Beijing with no precaution."

Last week was a momentous one for the future of genetically engineered foods, both in the U.S. and in Europe. On July 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Impossible Burger, an all-veggie burger that "bleeds" and sizzles just like meat.

As legalization of recreational and medical marijuana continues to expand, police across the country are more concerned than ever about stoned drivers taking to the nation's roads and freeways, endangering lives.

With few accurate roadside tools to detect pot impairment, police today have to rely largely on field sobriety tests developed to fight drunk driving or old-fashioned observation, which can be foiled with Visine or breath mints.

To the outsider, there is a beguiling charm and tranquility about the farming town of Central do Maranhão in northeast Brazil. It's tucked amid the palm groves, mango trees and rice fields that cover the landscape rolling gently toward the Atlantic Ocean, some 30 miles to the north.

Democrats are playing a very weak hand in the battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. They're locked out of power in Washington, D.C, and can't block the nomination thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision in 2017 to end the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

A week after firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, President Trump got out of Washington to deliver the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He decided to give the graduating cadets some advice.

It's 'Shark Tank' For Global Health Inventions

Aug 4, 2018

What would happen if global health innovators appeared on "Shark Tank," the reality TV show that judges business concepts from straightforward to zany?

States across the country are in the process of receiving grants from the federal government to secure their voting systems.

Earlier this year Congress approved $380 million in grants for states to improve election technology and "make certain election security improvements."

But how states use that money is up to them.

A Washington, D.C.-based federal judge ruled on Friday that the Trump administration must fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, saying the government's rationale for dropping it is inadequate.

The order by U.S. District Judge John Bates barring the administration from ending DACA is the third such mandate by a district court, and the latest blow to the administration's efforts to eliminate DACA.

Police investigating the October 2017 deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas said they've been able to answer the "who, what, when, where and how" of the massacre, but as the end of the probe was announced on Friday, officials still could not explain the "why."

At a pier in San Diego, researchers on Wednesday recorded the warmest sea surface temperature since record-keeping began there in 1916.

Every day, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego collect data — by hand — from the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier.

The Treasury Department slapped sanctions on a Russian bank on Friday, accusing it of processing transactions for North Korea in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank knowingly facilitated "a significant transaction" on behalf of a person affiliated with North Korea's weapons of mass destruction, the agency said in a statement.

The individual was named as Han Jang Su, the Moscow-based chief representative of North Korea's primary foreign exchange bank, the Foreign Trade Bank.

A federal judge said the Trump administration's plan for reunifying hundreds of migrant families who were separated at the Southern border under its "zero tolerance" immigration policy is disappointing.

U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw said that he will order the government to appoint a single point person to oversee the reunification process. He indicated that his order will come no later than Monday.

A new study reveals that the architects and builders of Stonehenge may have been Welsh, from more than 100 miles away. The journal Scientific Reports reveals some human remains excavated at the site were from the Preseli Mountains in Wales. While many studies have focused on the construction of Stonehenge, this is one of the first to explore who the people were that built it.

As the sun rose over Idaho on Friday, residents of suburban West Boise awoke to find some noisy new neighbors horning in on their yards: goats. A teeming host of hungry, grunting goats.

Local reporter Joe Parris got the scoop, tweeting a photo of the horde on hooves. They were unsupervised — no handlers, no herding dogs, not even a nanny.

"Updates to follow," he promised.

A federal judge has dismissed a pair of lawsuits against the Fox News Channel over its coverage in May 2017 of the killing of a young Democratic Party aide named Seth Rich that had to be retracted just days later.

The man suspected of shooting renowned cardiologist Mark Hausknecht, who treated a former U.S. president, killed himself Friday. Authorities say Joseph James Pappas, 62, died when confronted by two Houston police officers at the end of a manhunt Friday morning.

"I thank God that that second officer got there when he got there, because the suspect was not complying with the commands of the [first] officer," Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said at a midday news conference. "I'm convinced that had that second officer not arrived, we might have had a shootout out here."

It was 1981.

A new Republican president with a background in the entertainment business was trying to jump-start the U.S. economy out of a brutal recession.

The president pushed tax cuts.

Then his administration had to come up with a plan to deal with trade. America's auto industry was suffering, as new competition came in from Japan.

What the Reagan administration did about it has shaped the auto industry we see today in America. And it could serve as an example for the Trump administration in its ongoing, rancorous trade battles.

Updated at 2:22 p.m. ET

More than a hundred households have been evacuated from their homes in Lynchburg, Va., after heavy rains amid concerns that an aging dam might fail and unleash dangerous floodwaters.

Video posted by the city overnight showed water flowing over the dam and into Blackwater Creek.

NASA has announced the names of the astronauts who will be the first people in history to ride to orbit in private space taxis next year, if all goes as planned.

One week away from the release date of Madden NFL 19, some folks have already picked up an early copy of the perennial gaming powerhouse. And as they perused the video game's menu, at least one user heard something a little bit off.

During a song on the soundtrack, YG's "Big Bank," Big Sean's guest verse goes quiet for a second or two — just as one may expect of a track edited for a game with a wide audience, censoring obscenities for the sake of young listeners.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

China has announced a plan to impose new tariffs on $60 billion of American goods, in retaliation for the latest tariff threats from the Trump administration.

Earlier this week, the White House said it was considering boosting tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, raising those tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent. That particular set of tariffs has not yet taken effect.

Tension is rising between Iran and the United States these days. But Iran's leaders are facing pressure from various sides at home, too.

Ordinary Iranians are mounting protests that refuse to go away, despite a sharp response from the authorities.

The demonstrations began to make news late last year, focusing largely on economic hardship. As those protests continued in cities around the country, another movement re-emerged: young women standing up against the enforcement of conservative Muslim strictures on their dress and behavior.

Farmers face a growing dilemma. Specifically, a food-growing dilemma.

How do you feed an increasing number of people without harming the environment?

As it turns out, growing as much food as possible in a small area may be our best bet for sustainably feeding the world's population, according to new research.

It all comes down to how we manage greenhouse gases and climate change.

Amazon says it removed several items of racist propaganda from its store in response to questions from a Democratic lawmaker — though white supremacist literature and other propaganda items remain widely available on the site.

After criticism from advocacy groups and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison about the availability of Nazi-themed toys and baby onesies with pictures of burning crosses on Amazon's website, the company said this week that it had removed several items and banned sellers who had violated its policies.

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