National & International News

We follow stories about America and the world, with help from NPR.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury in Albuquerque has indicted five residents of a rural New Mexico compound on new terrorism-related charges connected to an alleged conspiracy to attack FBI and military personnel.

Amid calls for Saudi Arabia to cooperate with a U.N.-led investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the head of the kingdom's Human Rights Commission said on Thursday the accused killers were being brought to justice and reiterated the government's opposition to suggestions for an international probe into the case.

Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban delivered his remarks to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva during a periodic review of the nation's human rights record.

The Woman Who Calculated 31 Trillion Digits Of Pi

Mar 14, 2019

Emma Haruka Iwao grew up fascinated by pi. Now, she's computed over 31 trillion of its digits.

Iwao set the newest Guinness World Record for the most accurate value of pi on Thursday. The Google employee and her team calculated 31,415,926,535,897 digits of pi – crushing a 2016 record by trillions of digits.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that it has fired Morris Dees, one of its founders. The civil rights nonprofit, based in Montgomery, Ala., is well-known for its tracking of hate groups and its Teaching Tolerance program.

Dees co-founded the SPLC in 1971. The organization had $450 million in assets in 2017, according to a tax filing.

Updated at 4:16 p.m. ET

The Republican-controlled Senate approved a resolution to terminate President Trump's national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, putting Congress on a path to its first veto confrontation with the Trump administration.

An intense winter storm — a "bomb cyclone" of snow and wind — has stranded drivers and shut down interstates in the Rockies and Plains regions of the U.S.

Colorado's National Guard said Thursday that it has now rescued 75 people and two dogs, after checking on 148 vehicles stuck in the storm.

Mazen looks like he wants to disappear into his gray hoody as he sits in the corner of a tent in a camp for displaced Yazidis in Iraq. The 13-year-old boy's eyes are haunted and huge in a face still gaunt from not getting enough to eat.

After almost five years held captive by ISIS, Mazen says he wants to talk about what happened to him but he doesn't have the words.

"How do I feel?" he says as if bewildered by the question. "Really I don't know how to feel."

Aidy Bryant mourns the time she lost in her teens and early 20s feeling self-conscious about her body. The Emmy-nominated comic and actor says she lived in fear of judgments about her weight.

"I felt like the worst possible thing that anyone could ever do would be to think that I was fat, to call me fat," she says.

Bryant began to direct her energy into her writing and comedy career. She moved to Chicago to pursue comedy at Second City, and in 2012, became a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

Did Cooking Really Give Us The F-Word?

Mar 14, 2019

Processed foods get blamed for a lot of things. But this week, a group of linguists took it to a whole new level.

To put it crudely, they argue that the invention of processed foods like yogurt and gruel thousands of years ago gave us the F-word. Lots of F-words. To be more precise, the researchers think that softer foods led to more frequent use of the sounds "f" and "v" in human languages. (Other experts on language are skeptical; more about that later.)

According to the new theory, food influenced language through a complex chain of events.

After months of silence, the Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting against Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting.

Many air travelers are breathing a sigh of relief now that the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded all Boeing 737 Max airplanes after two of the aircraft crashed in recent months, but some airline passengers are finding their flights canceled on Thursday as a result.

Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET

In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives called Thursday for special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to be made public when it is completed.

The vote is not legally binding, but it represents the growing pressure from both sides of the aisle on the Justice Department to disclose as much of the report as possible.

Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, maintaining his innocence amid allegations that he faked a possible hate crime against himself earlier this year. Smollett's legal team entered the plea Thursday at a courthouse in Chicago, while the Empire actor and singer looked on silently.

An odd thing about famous crimes is what details enter pop culture and stay there.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

Nearly three years since Britain voted to leave the European Union, everything has come down to the wire — but Parliament wants to give itself a slightly longer fuse.

In a vote Thursday, Parliament approved a government plan to ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit process. Members voted 412 - 202 for the motion, which declares that Britain will ask the EU to extend the process until June 30.

Britain will leave the bloc in a mere 15 days unless the EU approves a delay.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

A study published Thursday in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology finds the percentage of U.S. teens and young adults reporting mental distress, depression and suicidal thoughts and actions has risen significantly over the past decade. While these problems also increased among adults 26 and older, the increase was not nearly as large as among younger people.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

A former British paratrooper has been charged with the killing of two unarmed protesters in Northern Ireland in 1972, in an incident that has become known as Bloody Sunday. The veteran, identified as Soldier F, will also face prosecution for the attempted murder of four others.

He will face trial for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney, and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

Francesco "Frank" Cali, the reputed leader of the Gambino crime family, was shot to death outside his house in Staten Island on Wednesday night, in a killing that echoes Mafia murders of the 1980s.

The New York Police Department says that at 9:17 p.m. ET, officers received a 911 call reporting an assault in progress in front of Cali's house.

"Upon arrival, officers found a 53-year-old male with multiple gunshot wounds to the torso," the police said in a statement sent to NPR. Cali was taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Students with disabilities and disability rights advocates are among those angry — and feeling victimized — after the arrests in the college admissions and bribery scandal Tuesday.

"Stories like this are why we continue to see backlash to disability rights laws," Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement.

The case against a Vietnamese woman accused of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother will go forward, prosecutors in Malaysia said Thursday.

Two women were accused of smearing a toxic nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam as he walked through a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal in 2017. The man was dead within 20 minutes, and the women — who said they thought they were taking part in a Japanese game show — were arrested and charged with murder.

Updated at 11:12 a.m. ET

A federal order grounding all 737 Max jetliners in the U.S. comes after repeated assurances from the manufacturer that the planes are safe.

A woman in California who says Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma was awarded $29 million by a jury Wednesday. J&J says it will appeal the judgment.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is running for president, hoping to build on the momentum the Democrat generated in a Senate contest last year.

One of the most prominent members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election will soon leave the office and the Justice Department, two sources close to the matter tell NPR.

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

California Sen. Kamala Harris says she was bent toward a career fighting for civil rights almost since birth.

The Democrat is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father who met at the University of California, Berkeley, and were active in the movement during the 1960s.

"I was born realizing the flaws in the criminal justice system," she told NPR's Steve Inskeep.

The value of civility is one of the few things Americans can all agree on — right? That's the common assumption. And yet it's an assumption that depends on everyone thinking they're a full member of the community.

But what about when they aren't?

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, is set to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
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Commerce Secretary Wilbur

The federal case announced this week charging parents with buying their kids admission to top universities is shining a light on the admissions process. Every year, U.S. colleges and universities are tasked with sorting through a mountain of applications. Some of the most selective schools, like Harvard, can get upwards of 40,000. So how do officials know if the information in all of that paperwork is truthful?

Terry Cowdrey, a former acting dean of admissions at Vanderbilt University, says the key is in consistency.

The new president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, signed a decree Wednesday pardoning about 700 political prisoners and fulfilling a promise he made in his inaugural address in January.

With its fastest-selling plane grounded in the U.S. and around the world, Boeing faces potential hits to its bottom line as well as to its reputation. A lengthy delay could cut Boeing's revenues by billions, some analysts say.

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