Human rights groups are accusing the Iraqi government of indiscriminate bombing. Baghdad officials deny that and note they're fighting a Sunni insurgency that commits mass executions and suicide bombings.
Yet rights workers say civilians are being killed by government attacks with so-called barrel bombs β the crude weapons made famous in Syria's current conflict. Barrel bombs are illegal and indiscriminate explosives, packed in things like oil drums or gas cylinders.
North Korea has fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, according to The Associated Press, which quotes an unnamed South Korean official.
The test is described as beginning with a launch in the country's southwest Hwanghae province on Saturday morning and ending when the missile landed off the east coast at the end of a 310-mile flight path.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
'Trans Bodies, Trans Selves': A Modern Manual By And For Trans People: Modeled after the groundbreaking feminist health manual Our Bodies, Ourselves, the book details the social, political and medical issues faced by transgender people.
Most of what we know β or think we know β about how kids learn comes from classroom practice and behavioral psychology. Now, neuroscientists are adding to and qualifying that store of knowledge by studying the brain itself. The latest example: new research in the journal Developmental Science suggests a famous phenomenon known as the "fourth-grade shift" isn't so clear-cut.
Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 10:42 pm
Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET.
The U.S. has temporarily closed its embassy in Libya and evacuated diplomats amid what is being described as a significant deterioration in security, with rival militant factions battling in the capital, Tripoli.
"Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. When Stephen Carter's new novel opens, President Kennedy is alone in a bedroom with the beautiful intern. Did I say this was a novel? We'll let Professor Carter pick up his narrative.
Nearly two decades ago, a massive wave struck the Tokio Express, a container ship that had nearly 5 million Legos onboard. The colorful toy building blocks poured into the ocean. Today, they are still washing up on shores in England.
Tracey Williams and her children first happened upon the Tokio Express Legos in the late 1990s. Since then, she's created a Facebook page called β Lego Lost At Sea β where other collectors show off their findings.
Astronomers have a mystery on their hands. Two large radio telescopes, on opposite sides of the planet, have detected very brief, very powerful bursts of radio waves.
Right now, astronomers have no idea what's causing these bursts or where they're coming from. And nothing has been ruled out at the moment β not even the kind of outrageous claims you'd expect to see in tabloid headlines.
Fishing purists, be warned. This story is not for you.
Yes, it's about salmon fishing on a scenic river in Alaska. But no one here is hooking a prize fish in the remote wilderness. This kind of fishing is all about crowds and slop buckets and big contraptions called dipnets β and the lengths Alaskans will go to in order to fill their freezers with sockeye salmon.
A humanitarian cease-fire went into effect on Saturday, a plan agreed to hours earlier by Hamas and Israeli leaders. The truce would allow Palestinian civilians to get food and aid where it's needed, and would last for 12 hours, officials say.
The Associated Press reported that the Israeli military warned that it "shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit" the lull to attack Israeli troops or civilians.
Rep. Curt Clawson hasn't been in Congress long β he was sworn into office exactly one month ago. We mention that as a caveat, because in a congressional hearing Thursday, Clawson seems to have mistaken Americans who work in the U.S. departments of State and Commerce for representatives of India's government.
In Magic in the Moonlight, a new film from Woody Allen, Colin Firth plays a 1920s stage magician who is also an expert at debunking spiritualists. Stanley, Firth's character, takes on the case of a young woman, played by Emma Stone, who is a supposedly adept medium.
Firth tells NPR's Robert Siegel how some of the more well-known myths about working will Allen checked out, and why he's been appearing in fewer comedies.
President Obama met with the leaders of three Central American countries at the White House on Friday, telling them that they share responsibility with Washington for stemming an influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina and Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren discussed the growing humanitarian crisis with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Several new surveys show voter interest is low, anti-incumbent sentiment is high, and voters from both parties are questioning whether their elected leaders should return to Congress next year.
In short, the electorate is disengaged and disgusted with politics.
Voter turnout in the 2010 primaries was only about 18 percent, and now it's even lower. Less than 15 percent of eligible citizens cast ballots in the 25 states that have held statewide primaries this year, according to a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate.
Approving a bill that has already passed the Senate, the House of Representatives has given its consent to legislation that lets U.S. consumers "unlock" their cellphones, rather than having them remain linked to specific service providers.
President Obama says he will sign the bill into law, applauding Congress today for taking "another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cellphone carrier that meets their needs and their budget."