Two Way

People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They're made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But a humble worm may hold the key to biodegrading them.

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm.

Explosions, a running gun battle, hostage-taking and an attack on a police station took place along Paraguay's border with Brazil on Monday, as a gang of bandits assaulted a private security company and reportedly made off with millions of dollars in what's being called the biggest heist in Paraguayan history.

Estimates of the amount of money taken have ranged from $8 million to $40 million, but none of those figures have been confirmed by authorities.

Updated 3:40 p.m. ET

Senior lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee say Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, appears to have violated the law when he took payments from groups associated with foreign governments.

Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., spoke at a news conference Tuesday, after they received a classified briefing.

"I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law," Chaffetz said.

North Korea marked Tuesday's anniversary of the founding of its military with artillery drills, celebrations that took place as a U.S. guided missile submarine docked in South Korea and U.S. Navy ships conducted exercises with South Korea and Japan.

Meanwhile, envoys from the U.S., South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo to discuss the rising tensions with the rogue nation and "map out further punishment if the North goes ahead with more nuclear or missile tests," NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

Two Obama administration officials will testify in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee as part of ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia attempted to help Donald Trump win the election. Investigations by the House, Senate and FBI are examining what exactly Russia did and whether the Trump campaign was involved, among other questions.

Robert Siegel, whose career with NPR has spanned more than four decades, will be stepping down as co-host of NPR's All Things Considered next year.

One of the most distinctive voices on NPR's airwaves, Siegel will be leaving the host's chair in January 2018. He has hosted the show for 30 years.

First daughter Ivanka Trump discussed female entrepreneurship, her father and feminism at the W20 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday, joining a panel that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Netherlands' Queen Maxima.

Merkel invited Trump to the G20-linked event during her visit with President Trump last month in Washington, D.C.

The Trump administration announced it will impose a 20 percent tariff on imported softwood lumber from Canada.

The dispute is not new — the United States and Canada have sparred over imports of forest products for decades. But the action comes as the two nations prepare to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which President Trump has harshly criticized.

Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans in the Senate to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next secretary of agriculture.

The vote was 87-11. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., voted "present" and presided over the vote.

Sonny Perdue grew up on a farm in central Georgia and has owned several agriculture companies. He is not associated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

NPR's Geoff Bennett reports for our Newscast unit:

In the 1950s, television producer Albert Freedman captivated audiences with his carefully crafted game show Twenty-One, which had been foundering before he helped turn it into the most popular program in the country.

A Jewish advocacy organization expects a staggering increase in anti-Semitic incidents by the end of 2017. That projection comes after the Anti-Defamation League counted an 86 percent spike in attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions so far this year, according to a report released Monday.

Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88.

His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, "after a period of failing health."

After years of legal wrangling and intimidation, New Orleans has begun the process of dismantling four monuments of the Confederate and Jim Crow eras.

The first monument, which honors members of a white supremacist paramilitary group who fought against the city's racially integrated, Reconstruction-era police force in 1874, was dismantled and removed before the sun rose Monday.

Following death threats, the contractors wore flak jackets and helmets as they broke down the Battle of Liberty Place monument, as WWNO's Tegan Wendland reports.

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced sanctions on 271 individuals it says are scientists working on weapons development for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The new sanctions are a response to the deadly April 4 chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, an attack the U.S. government accuses Assad of carrying out against civilians.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

A new lawsuit filed Monday by a suspended Fox News host accuses the network and senior executives of arranging to have her private communications spied on as part of a campaign of intimidation.

A lawyer in the Philippines has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court accusing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity.

The attorney, Jude Sabio, represents an admitted assassin who has testified against Duterte and accused him of ordering deaths before he became president, back when he was the mayor of Davao City.

Afghanistan's defense minister and its army chief of staff stepped down in the wake of a Taliban-claimed attack Friday in which at least 100 Afghan soldiers died. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan since 2001.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the high-level resignations Monday, on the same day that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in the country on an unannounced visit, as the Trump administration reviews its Afghanistan policy.

Updated 11:40 p.m. ET

Arkansas executed two inmates on Monday night, the first double execution in the U.S. since 2000.

The second inmate put to death was Marcel Williams. He and the prisoner executed just before him, Jack Jones Jr. — both convicted murderers — had filed last-minute appeals that were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The road trip might be a rite of passage. But, as a rule, it requires a driver's license.

In Australia, home of the apocalyptic Mad Max franchise, a 12-year-old boy was on a coast-to-coast trip, from his home in Kendall in New South Wales all the way to Perth on the continent's western side. He managed about 800 miles, or about a third of the way, of the 2,500-mile trip before police caught him.

He was pulled over and arrested near the remote town of Broken Hill on Saturday because the car's bumper was dragging on the ground.

Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station.

North Korea could reduce a U.S. strike force to a sea wreck if it's provoked, the country's propaganda outlets said Monday, adding to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. With the threat of a nuclear test in North Korea looming and another U.S. citizen reportedly detained there, China's President Xi Jinping is urging President Trump to avoid escalating the situation.

The body of Associate Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to be appointed to New York's Court of Appeals, was found dead in the Hudson River on April 12.

At first, clues led authorities to believe she had committed suicide: There appeared to be no signs of trauma on her body, she was fully clothed and there were no obvious signs that a crime had taken place.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Emmanuel Macron, a centrist politician who's never held elective office, and Marine Le Pen, the far-right firebrand who wants to take France out of the European Union, are expected to advance to next month's runoff for the presidency of the country, according to official results.

Kuki Gallmann, a conservationist best known for her book I Dreamed of Africa, was ambushed and shot while she drove across her conservancy in Kenya Sunday morning.

Gallmann, 73, was shot in the stomach and "severely injured" while surveying her property with rangers of the Kenya Wildlife Service, according to her brother-in-law Nigel Adams and a press release from a farmers' association of which she's a member.

She was flown to a hospital in Nairobi for treatment, and was still conscious and speaking after the attack, according to The New York Times.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET Monday

Erin Moran, best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on the 1970s sitcom, Happy Days, is dead at age 56.

The Harrison County Sheriff's Department says Moran was found unresponsive after Indiana authorities received a 911 call Saturday afternoon. In a short press release on Monday, the department said an autopsy revealed that Moran "likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer." Toxicology test results were still pending.

President Trump awarded the Purple Heart to Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

Barrientos was wounded in Afghanistan on March 17 and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee, according to The Associated Press. He was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Tammi. First Lady Melania Trump was also in attendance.

Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers killed more than 100 Afghan Army soldiers Friday at a base in northern Afghanistan, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. It is one of the deadliest attacks on an Afghan military base since the war began.

Another nightmare encounter between a passenger and an airline is going viral and sparking an outcry against an industry accused of routinely mistreating its customers.

An American Airlines employee allegedly took a stroller from a woman boarding Flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas Friday, and knocked her with it while she held a baby in her arms.

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