National & International News

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The Justice Department announced Thursday that together with the FBI and international law enforcement agencies, officials had shut down "the largest darknet marketplace in history." AlphaBay, a Web bazaar where users' identities were cloaked and illicit goods and drugs were sold, has officially been seized and shut down.

A plan to build an ultrafast Hyperloop tube train has been given "verbal [government] approval" to connect large cities on the East Coast, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says. He adds that the system would whisk passengers from New York to Washington, D.C., in 29 minutes.

Washington, D.C., police say six teenagers from Burundi who competed in an international robotics competition were reported missing on Wednesday.

Two of the teens — 16-year-old Don Ingabire and 17-year-old Audrey Mwamikazi — were last seen leaving the U.S. and heading into Canada, the Metropolitan Police Department tells The Two-Way blog, adding that there is "no indication of foul play."

Doctors use words like "aggressive" and "highly malignant" to describe the type of brain cancer discovered in Arizona Sen. John McCain.

The cancer is a glioblastoma, the Mayo Clinic said in a statement Wednesday. It was diagnosed after doctors surgically removed a blood clot from above McCain's left eye.

Doctors who were not involved in his care say the procedure likely removed much of the tumor as well.

India announced the election of its new president Thursday — but before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP party nominated him last month to be head of state, few saw Ram Nath Kovind coming.

Kovind secured 65 percent of the votes from an electoral college drawn from more than 4,000 members of 31 legislative assemblies across the country and 776 members of Parliament. He will take office as India's14th president next week.

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET

The United States has ended the ban on large electronics in the cabins of airlines that it announced in March.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

A small, humble-looking bag received its moment in the spotlight today. It traveled to the moon and back, then sat forgotten in a museum basement. It was seized by officials who didn't know its value, sold unceremoniously to a keen-eyed space enthusiast, then battled over in court.

Then the lunar collection bag from the Apollo 11 mission — and the tiny bits of moon dust embedded within it — hit the Sotheby's auction block.

It has been just a month since the death of Otto Warmbier — an American tourist jailed by North Korean authorities, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for pulling down a propaganda poster, and eventually released to the U.S. in a coma under mysterious circumstances.

A 50-cent meningitis vaccine. Kid-friendly malaria drugs. A vaccine to prevent a deadly diarrheal disease.

These U.S.-funded global health innovations have saved millions of lives around the world. But they also come with an added bonus for Americans.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will stay at his post for "as long as that is appropriate." That follows comments by President Trump, who said he wouldn't have appointed Sessions had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET

Beltway denizens heading to work on Thursday were forced to contemplate something inevitable but which no one expected anytime soon: the possibility of a Washington without Sen. John McCain.

McCain, the irascible old living legend. McCain, the Vietnam War hero. McCain, the globe-trotting State Department of one. McCain, the outspoken hawk who championed American troops — and Pentagon spending — and also pilloried the defense contractors he felt let them all down.

In a fitness-crazed land of spin classes and CrossFit gyms, Octavia Zahrt found it can be tough to feel as though you're doing enough. "When I was in school in London, I felt really good about my activity. Then I moved to Stanford, and everyone around me seems to be so active and going to the gym every day," she says. "In the San Francisco Bay Area, it's like 75 percent of people walk around here wearing exercise clothes all day, every day, all the time, and just looking really fit."

A Baltimore man was held in jail for months after police found a stash of drugs — but the officer who found the drugs also seems to be the one who hid them in that spot, according to footage from his body camera. The public defender's office says the man is now free and it is questioning the officer's involvement in 53 active cases.

The officer has been suspended and two of his colleagues are on administrative duty, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said, as the agency's internal affairs unit looks at the case.

At a lunch on Wednesday, President Trump tried to persuade some reluctant senators to endorse repealing the Affordable Care Act.

When Bao Phi's family fled Vietnam in 1975 and settled in Minneapolis with other refugees, he was just a few months old. He was too young to understand the scene at the airport that day: Communist soldiers were firing rockets at planes filled with people trying to escape, incinerating them in the sky. Phi's parent's told him about their family history bit by bit, and he began to form a stronger sense of his own identity.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke to the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, on Thursday in Denver, but protests from left-wing activists and teacher groups started Wednesday.

Hundreds marched from the state Capitol in Denver to the Hyatt Regency, the site of the speech, with signs reading: "Dump Betsy DeVos," "Take Devouchers Elsewhere" and "Stop School Privatization!"

O.J. Simpson will find out on Thursday if he soon will be released from the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. He has been held there for nearly nine years for convictions on armed robbery and other charges.

The former NFL hero, TV pitchman and movie star, now 70, stands a good chance of being granted parole when he appears before the Nevada Parole Board via video link. No one has registered to testify against him. He will likely try to persuade the board of his good behavior behind bars.

If paroled, Simpson would be released from prison no sooner than Oct. 1.

President Trump did not do much to sell the Senate health care bill before its failure. But he gave the sale a shot Wednesday in the White House before cameras and a captive audience of nearly all the Republican senators. His comments were at times confusing, and in some cases, outright incorrect.

It shows the challenge for a president who doesn't dive deeply into policy to sell his agenda.

What opportunities are there for a coal-mining community after its main industry has waned?

In Somerset County in southwestern Pennsylvania, that's not an easy question to answer. For this county of roughly 76,000 residents, renewable energy and health care offer hopes for its future. But first it has to attract qualified workers.

Renee Hall will be the first female chief of the Dallas Police Department.

Hall will follow former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who retired in October after leading the department through the aftermath of the July 2016 ambush that left five officers dead.

Her appointment means women of color now hold the top three law enforcement jobs in Dallas County: — Hall, Sheriff Lupe Valdez and District Attorney Faith Johnson.

A former head policy adviser at the Interior Department is accusing the Trump Administration of reassigning him to a lesser position for speaking out about the dangers of climate change.

Joel Clement, a scientist who was director of the Interior Department's Office of Policy Analysis for much of the Obama Administration, was recently reassigned to work to an "accounting office," the agency's Office of Natural Resources and Revenue.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Republican National Committee is joining a slew of deep-pocketed conservative PACs in taking aim at GOP lawmakers who say they will vote no on repealing Obamacare.

With no significant legislative successes in the months since the elections, Republicans are anxious to show that with control of the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, they can get on with their agenda — a key component of which has long been rolling back President Obama's signature health care law.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix says. McCain, 80, underwent surgery for a blood clot on July 14.

The hospital says testing revealed that a tumor "known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot."

"The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation," the hospital statement said.

President Trump says if he had known ahead of time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would have chosen someone else for the post, calling the move "very unfair."

In an interview with The New York Times, he also accused James Comey, the FBI director that he fired in May, of trying to save his job by leveraging a dossier of compromising material on Trump.

President Trump lives in the White House, but he also spends weekends at his other residences in New York's Trump Tower and Florida's Mar-A-Lago resort. Taxpayers cover the security costs for his use of those private locations.

Now there will be yet another part-time residence covered by federal funds for security. Rep. Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican, announced Wednesday that the small town of Bedminster — population 9,000 — has been designated a priority for the Secret Service.

As Poland's ruling party moves to take control of the country's high court, protesters are taking to the streets and European Union officials are warning of the possibility of sanctions.

There is fear, both within and outside of Poland, that a proposed measure would upend an already-weakened system of checks and balances.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, the president's eldest son and his former campaign chairman, are set to testify publicly next week before a committee probing Russia's attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

In a statement issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump Jr. and Manafort are listed as witnesses scheduled to appear on Wednesday, July 26.

The two men are expected to be questioned about allegations of collusion with Russia to influence the election.

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