National & International News

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It has been an epic clash of media titans worthy of a blockbuster movie itself like, say, the X-Men — notably a property of 21st Century Fox. And as with any blockbuster franchise, there are already sequels lined up.

The broadband, cable and entertainment giant Comcast announced Thursday that it would withdraw from the field, conceding defeat in its audacious bidding war for most of the entertainment assets of Fox, controlled by the Murdoch family.

A Texas nonprofit that works with families separated at the border has turned down a $250,000 contribution from Salesforce, a company under pressure for its work creating software for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

When Saudi Arabia started allowing women to drive last month — a historic shift in the last country in the world to ban women from getting behind the wheel — Samah Damanhoori was watching closely from California. The 29-year-old Saudi woman has a lot at stake.

Who Knew The World Bank And The U.N. Are Emoji Lovers?

3 hours ago

Did you notice the emoji explosion on social media this week?

Mission Health, the largest hospital system in western North Carolina, provided $100 million in free charity care last year. This year, it has partnered with 17 civic organizations to deliver care for substance abuse by people who are low-income.

Based in bucolic Asheville, the six-hospital system also screens residents for food insecurity; provides free dental care to children in rural areas via the "ToothBus" mobile clinic; helps the homeless find permanent housing and encourages its 12,000 employees to volunteer at schools, churches and nonprofit groups.

It's built for oversize cargo — but it also sports a smile: The Airbus BelugaXL took off on its maiden flight on Thursday, creating a unique sight as the jet with the bulbous upper half rolled down the runway.

The BelugaXL's paint job "features beluga whale-inspired eyes and an enthusiastic grin," the aircraft company says. That whale flew over southern France, soaring over the coast and mountainside.

British police examining CCTV footage have reportedly identified multiple Russian suspects believed to have carried out the March nerve-agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The Skripals were found slumped on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, in southern England, on March 4. Subsequent investigation indicated they were poisoned by a nerve agent of the type Novichok, a group of deadly chemicals developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s.

Rachael McRae, a fifth-grade teacher in central Illinois, was sitting on the couch the other day with her 4-month-old when she saw the email.

"He was having a fussy day," she says, "so I was bouncing him in one arm, and started going through my emails on my phone, just to feel like I was getting something done." In her spam folder, she found an email from an organization called My Pay, My Say, urging her to drop her union membership.

House Republicans claimed a political victory Wednesday after the House voted 244-35 in favor of officially supporting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a vote intended to force Democrats to take a position amid calls from progressives to abolish the agency.

A pyrotechnic week of geopolitical intrigue has yielded new clarity about the whys and wherefores of the Russia imbroglio, including one insight straight from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why did Putin order the campaign of "active measures" that have been directed against the United States and the West since before the 2016 election?

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

President Trump is getting a strong reaction after a Fox News interview in which he appeared to question the need to honor NATO's collective defense clause, while suggesting that newest alliance member Montenegro is a country of "aggressive people" who could trigger World War III.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that he stands by the U.S. intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and he warned that the Kremlin has not stopped trying to undermine American democracy.

"My view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and that it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day," Wray said. "It's a threat that we need to take extremely seriously and respond to with fierce determination and focus."

The White House has announced Steven Dillingham as its nominee for the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau. If confirmed by the Senate, Dillingham will oversee an upcoming national head count that has already sparked a legal fight over a new citizenship question and cybersecurity concerns as the first U.S. census to be conducted mainly online.

A high school social studies teacher who fired a gun inside his Georgia classroom in February, hitting a window and alarming students and staff just days after the Parkland, Fla., shooting massacre, was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison, followed by eight years probation, according to Conasauga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Bert Poston.

Walter Carr didn't panic, he made a plan.

The Terminator's killer robots may seem like a thing of science fiction. But leading scientists and tech innovators have signaled that such autonomous killers could materialize in the real world in frighteningly real ways.

During the annual International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm on Wednesday, some of the world's top scientific minds came together to sign a pledge that calls for "laws against lethal autonomous weapons."

When people think of particle accelerators, they tend to think of giant structures: tunnels many miles long that electrons and protons race through at tremendous speeds, packing enormous energy.

But scientists in California think small is beautiful. They want to build an accelerator on semiconductor chips. An accelerator built that way won't achieve the energy of its much larger cousins, but it could accelerate material research and revolutionize medical therapy.

First of all, what is an accelerator?

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has words of praise for Sarah Sanders, his successor on the podium, and says she has figured out how to please President Trump in the job in a way he struggled to do.

"I think Sarah has done a great job of making sure that she understands what the president wants," Spicer told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly in an interview on Wednesday in advance of next week's release of his book The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

A federal magistrate judge ordered Wednesday that a Russian woman charged with being a Russian agent in the United States must be jailed ahead of her trial after prosecutors said she was a flight risk.

The woman, Maria Butina, has been in regular contact with Russian intelligence, the Justice Department says, and she attempted to offer sex in exchange for a position with an organization she targeted.

More than a year after a landslide shut it down, a section of Highway 1 running along a coastal stretch in California's Big Sur region reopened early Wednesday.

The California Department of Transportation announced that the roadway at Mud Creek was opening about two months ahead of schedule, thanks to favorable weather and worker productivity.

"It's a big deal to open the highway unrestricted," Colin Jones, a Caltrans spokesman told NPR.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

The White House is denying that President Trump believes Russia is no longer targeting U.S. elections and other infrastructure, despite his apparent answer to a reporter's question Wednesday morning.

Asked at the start of a Cabinet meeting whether Russia is still targeting the U.S., Trump shook his head and said "no."

Later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders sought to clarify Trump's comments, saying his "no" meant that he was not taking any questions from reporters.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has apologized for his part in a spat with a British diver involved in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk had tweeted a personal attack on Vern Unsworth, calling him a pedophile after the diver dismissed Musk's offer of help with a vulgar comment.

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Ethiopia's "bird of peace" has landed.

After two decades of bloody conflict, Ethiopia and Eritrea have been repairing their relationship with remarkable speed following a peace deal reached last week. On Wednesday, a new milestone was marked — the first commercial flight between the neighboring countries in 20 years.

The days of plastic straws are drawing shorter.

Marriott International on Wednesday became the latest big company to announce it will stop using plastic straws, saying it would remove them from its more than 6,500 properties by next July. The giant hotel chain said it will stop offering plastic stirrers, too.

Iram Sabah, mother of two, is terrified by messages her family has been receiving on their smartphones.

Her husband recently was forwarded a video that shows a child's mutilated body. It's unclear where or when the video is from, or whether it has been doctored. A voice implores people to forward it to others, and to stay vigilant — that kidnappers are on the loose.

Sabah, 27, doesn't know if the video is fake or real. But she's not taking any chances.

At 8 a.m. on a sunny morning in April, people are sweeping the hilly streets of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, with straw brooms and picking up stray bits of litter.

The roads are empty of cars, and all vehicles and shops are shuttered here — and across the country.

This is "Umuganda," a community cleanup held on the last Saturday of every month. It's one reason that Rwanda is renowned in Africa for its cleanliness.

Alabama Republican Rep. Martha Roby has won a primary runoff against a former Democrat who challenged her over a pledge she made in 2016 not to vote for then-candidate Trump.

Roby, a four-term incumbent representing Alabama's 2nd congressional district in the state's southeast, defeated Bobby Bright, a former "Blue Dog" conservative Democrat who served in Congress until 2011. Bright later switched parties for the run against Roby, whom he tried to paint as insufficiently supportive of the president.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET

The European Commission has fined Google $5 billion for violating the European Union's antitrust rules — specifically, by forcing manufacturers of Android phones to install the Google search app and the Chrome Web browser.

"Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits."

The 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach subsisted on water that flooded the cave where they were trapped for two weeks — and they now regard the divers who saved them as family, they said at a news conference on Wednesday after finally leaving a hospital and preparing to return to their homes in northern Thailand.

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