National & International News

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In an intense legal battle over the role of race in Harvard University's admissions policies, a group that is suing the school says Harvard lowers the rankings of Asian-American applicants in a way that is unconstitutional.

Harvard says that its admissions process is legal — and it notes that the plaintiff group, the Students for Fair Admissions, is backed by the same activist who previously challenged the University of Texas' affirmative action policy.

McDonald's says it will start using paper straws instead of plastic at all its locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it plans to test sustainable alternatives to plastic straws in some restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe later this year.

A huge study on the possible health benefits of drinking alcohol will be completely shut down, because its credibility was compromised by frequent and early interactions between alcohol industry executives, scientists and government officials.

When La Guardia Cross first heard his wife was having a child, "it completely caught me off guard. I didn't feel ready."

By the time his daughter Amalah was born in 2014 — although still freaking out — he got out his camera and started recording. The hospital room — him holding his little baby in his arms. Amalah sleeping. Amalah crying. Lots of stuff about diapers and poop.

Milos Zeman, president of the Czech Republic, had an important announcement — but he wanted it to be a surprise. So he called a news conference Thursday.

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

President Trump took Capitol Hill by surprise on Friday morning when he said that he would not sign a House GOP immigration bill — only to reverse course later in the day.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump told Fox News in a previously unannounced interview on the White House lawn.

Judge Orders Paul Manafort To Jail

Jun 15, 2018

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The Eiffel Tower is being retrofitted with bulletproof glass, the latest measure to protect the Paris site and visitors from potential terrorist attacks.

The panels are nearly 10 feet high and more than 2 inches thick. They will bookend the monument at its north and south ends, running parallel to the Seine River and Avenue Gustave-Eiffel. At the east and west sides, metal fencing has been installed to help stop any vehicles that try to ram into the grounds.

Jean Marie Rukundo did not accompany his wife to the clinic the first two times she gave birth. Here in rural Rwanda, that was considered the duty of another woman, like her sister. His main job was farming — though his wife farmed too. After work, Rukundo used to leave his hoe with her and then go play cards with men in the village. Meanwhile, his wife went home from the fields, gathered firewood and water, prepared dinner, cleaned dishes and cared for their children.

A painkiller prescription could become a ticket for medical marijuana in Illinois. Lawmakers there passed a bill making anyone with a prescription for opioids eligible for its medical cannabis program.

With this move, Illinois joins a growing number of states turning to legal cannabis in the fight against painkiller addiction.

"As we see the horrible damage inflicted by opioid use and misuse, it seems like a very low-cost and low-risk alternative," says state Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, Ill., and sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It was a rare sight at the White House this morning.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET

President Trump, in a freewheeling impromptu news conference in front of the White House on Friday morning, said the Justice Department inspector general's report looking into the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server "totally exonerates me."

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Italian prosecutors dropped a sexual harassment case against a powerful sports executive, in part because they believed his alleged victim was too old to be intimidated, according to reporting by The Guardian and The New York Times.

Carlo Tavecchio — the former head of the Italian soccer federation, who stepped down last year after Italy was eliminated from the World Cup — is accused of groping and attempting to kiss female soccer executive Elisabetta Cortani in his office in 2015.

Updated at 3:57 a.m. ET Saturday

President Trump is enacting a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods "that contain industrially significant technologies," after months of exchanging threats amid concerns over a potential trade war.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin to collect tariffs on the first $34 billion worth of Chinese imports on July 6. A second set of imports subject to tariffs is still under review.

The Afghan government and the Taliban have begun a rare three-day cease-fire in honor of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The cessation in hostilities is actually two separate, unilateral cease-fires — one by the government, which began earlier this week and is expected to last about a week, and an overlapping three-day cease-fire by the Taliban.

Newly released body camera footage from January shows police officers in Mesa, Ariz., hitting and mocking a 23-year-old man they were taking into custody.

It's the third use-of-force controversy for the Phoenix suburb so far this month. The police chief told The Associated Press that the arrest is under review.

The video was shared with the press by Bret Royle, a lawyer representing Jose Luis Conde, the man arrested in the video.

Royle said that the video shows an arrest that was more brutal than the arresting officers described in their official report.

The Army has long had shortages of health care workers and speakers of certain languages, and in 2009 it started doing what other industries, including the medical field have done: It looked to skilled immigrants.

The number of people graduating with nuclear engineering degrees has more than tripled since a low point in 2001, and many are passionate about their motivation.

"I'm here because I think I can save the world with nuclear power," Leslie Dewan told the crowd at a 2014 event as she pitched her company's design for a new kind of reactor.

Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET

A federal judge ordered Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to jail on Friday following allegations by prosecutors that he tampered with witnesses in his case.

"You've abused the trust placed in you six months ago," said Judge Amy Berman Jackson. "I thought about this long and hard, Mr. Manafort. I have no appetite for this."

But Berman Jackson said she could not turn a blind eye to the charges that Manafort had attempted to contact witnesses in his case after he was on bail.

Updated at 11:06 a.m. ET

The Justice Department's internal watchdog agency unveiled a doorstop-sized report Thursday that provides an inflection point — but no closure — in the never-ending war over the 2016 presidential campaign and its aftermath.

Fifty years ago, photographer and folklorist Roland Freeman hitched his hopes to a humble caravan of mule-driven wagons. The Mule Train left the small town of Marks, in the Mississippi Delta, for Washington, D.C. It was part of Martin Luther King Jr.'s last major effort to mobilize impoverished Americans of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

A roller coaster derailed at the boardwalk in Daytona Beach, Fla., Thursday night, sending two riders crashing 34 feet to the ground while leaving several others stranded in a roller coaster car, dangling above the ground.

The local fire department says 10 people have been rescued, and six people have been sent to the hospital.

There have been no reports of fatalities, but the fire department could not describe the extent of injuries.

The Daytona Beach Fire Department posted photos and videos of the nighttime rescue of the trapped riders.

The voice of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking is to be broadcast into space after his memorial service on Friday, according to British media outlets.

Specifically, it will be directed toward the nearest black hole. Hawking, who died in March, revolutionized the scientific understanding of black holes — and won the hearts of people across the world with his tireless scientific advocacy.

In the spring of 2014, Eric Abramovitz got the opportunity of a lifetime.

He just didn't know it.

Abramovitz was the victim of a deception that a Canadian judge called "despicable," as he granted Abramovitz $350,000 Canadian dollars (more than $260,000 U.S.) in damages.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to explain why the Trump administration has launched a policy of separating families seeking illegal entry into the United States.

"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order," Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind.

As Arab airstrikes pummel areas around Hodeidah, backing a Yemeni government push to dislodge Houthi rebels from the country's major Red Sea port, international observers are struggling to respond to the bloodshed — which threatens to exacerbate a desperate situation already deemed the "world's worst humanitarian crisis."

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) is a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and author of a novel about how a nuclear war with North Korea might begin, The 2020 Commission Report.

The number of people incarcerated in American prisons is the lowest it's been in decades. But a new report from The Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit research group that wants to limit mass incarceration in the United States, tells a more complex story.

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