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For the last 44 years, you could ask Maria how to get to Sesame Street, but not any more. Sonia Manzano, the actress who has played the character since 1971, is retiring and won't be part of the next season.

Manzano, 65, announced the news earlier this week at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

Maybe it seems like just yesterday that you were storing away your holiday decorations.

Maybe it actually was yesterday because life gets busy and tasks get put off, and before you know it, half the year is over and you're scrambling to catch up.

So in case you have been too busy to pay close attention, here's what we now know about the just-ended half of this year's economy:

Adm. Michael Rogers is among the American officials most likely to know which country perpetrated the Office of Personnel Management's massive data breach, possibly the biggest hack ever of the U.S. government. He's not only director of the National Security Agency, but also heads the U.S. Cyber Command.

Can racism cause post-traumatic stress? That's one big question psychologists are trying to answer, particularly in the aftermath of the shooting at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the recent incidents involving police where race was a factor.

What's clear is that many black Americans experience what psychologists call "race-based trauma," says Monnica Williams, director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville.

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Instead of ignoring the strange things a woman's body does through motherhood and aging, Deborah Landau's new collection revels in them. It's called "The Uses Of The Body." Tess Taylor has our review.

For the past several years, the group Coexister has been going into secular French schools to break down religious stereotypes in the classroom.

Since January's attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, the demand for their interventions has skyrocketed.

The self-declared Islamic State has released photos purportedly of its fighters destroying an ancient artifact in the Syrian city of Palmyra weeks after the Islamist extremists captured the city.

A "priceless" 2,000-year-old statue of a lion dating from the city's Roman heritage is seen being smashed in what Syrian antiquities director Maamoun Abdelkarim tells Agence-France Press is "the most serious crime [ISIS has] committed against Palmyra's heritage."

Scientists say they've found a bit of DNA in woolly mammoths that could help explain how these huge beasts were so well-adapted to live in the cold of the last ice age.

Woolly mammoths had long shaggy fur, small tails and ears to minimize frostbite, and a lot of fat to help stay warm as they roamed the tundra more than 12,000 years ago.

Rearranging veggie genes is big business, and we're not even talking about biotechnology. Private companies and university researchers spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year breeding better genetic varieties of food crops.

But organic farmers say those programs have a big blind spot when it comes to figuring out which new varieties are truly better. Few companies or researchers test those varieties under organic conditions.

You can now order genetic tests off the Internet and get your child's genome sequenced for less than the cost of a new car. The question is, should you?

Almost certainly not, according to the American Society for Human Genetics, which released a position paper Thursday intended to give parents some help navigating the dizzying world of genetic tests.

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the 2016 contest.

"Wow, pulled back wrong side throttle."

An appeals court in Afghanistan has overturned the death sentences handed to four men who were part of a mob that attacked and killed a 28-year-old woman falsely accused of burning the Quran.

How Salt + Car Battery = Clean Water

Jul 2, 2015

It's easy to take clean, safe water for granted. It just flows out of taps continuously — even in drought-ridden California.

But for hundreds of millions of people around the world, clean water is a luxury. In many places, even patients in hospitals and kids at school don't have water that's safe to drink.

Now, an unlikely partnership of an outdoor equipment manufacturer and a global health NGO is trying to change that.

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The Supreme Court term that just ended included historic rulings in support of same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. "Political scientists will say that this is a liberal term for the ages," Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent at The New York Times, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

The stakes are high for a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station, after a string of failures has left the orbiting outpost running somewhat low on supplies.

Call it the latest sign of "Bernie-mentum" — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' latest event in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday drew an estimated 10,000 supporters. He packed the arena at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the liberal college town.

Sanders said last month that he was "stunned" by the large crowds showing up for him. Organizers were once shocked by 300 in Iowa, then 5,000 in Minnesota.

This is what has unfolded in Greece in the past week:

June 26: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announces a July 5 referendum on terms put forward by the strapped country's creditors and urges his people to vote "no."

Sure, playing in the women's World Cup burns a lot more energy than watching the women's World Cup. But the number of calories expended in sports and daily activities isn't always so obvious.

To figure it out, we dove into this database compiled by Arizona State University. It charts the energy expenditure for hundreds of activities, from mainstream ("bicycling, leisure, 5.5 mph") to obscure ("caulking, chinking log cabin").

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BP on Thursday announced an $18.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government, five Gulf Coast states and more than 400 local governments. The agreement comes five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Eleven workers were killed in the accident.

The company says the payments, to be made over the next 18 years, "settle all state and local claims arising from the event."

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Your Colonoscopy Is Covered, But The Prep Kit May Not Be

Jul 2, 2015

With summer vacations coming up, one reader this week asked about travel insurance, while others had questions about coverage of preventive services, including costs related to colonoscopies.

We know now that anesthesia for a screening colonoscopy is covered with no cost sharing as a preventive service under the health law. As a plan administrator, I am also struggling to find guidance on how to handle bowel prep kits for colonoscopies. Can you help?

U.S. prosecutors have sent Switzerland a formal request to extradite seven FIFA officials who had been arrested in May in Zurich in a corruption investigation of soccer's governing body.

The FIFA officials were arrested May 27, and the extradition request, submitted by the U.S. Embassy in Bern, came within the deadline laid down by the bilateral extradition treaty between the U.S. and Switzerland.

The U.S. economy keeps adding jobs at a steady pace, but the Labor Department report for June also shows more people are leaving the labor force and wages are not rising.

The economy added 223,000 jobs last month as unemployment fell to its lowest rate since 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. The jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May.

Updated at 12:27 p.m. ET

The Washington, D.C., Police Department has issued an "all clear" at the Washington Navy Yard, the scene of a 2013 mass shooting, where there was a report today of possible gunshots.

"At this time, there is no evidence of gunshots. There is no evidence of a shooter. And there's no evidence of any victims today," District Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference.

The U.S. Navy also confirmed there was no sign of a shooting.

I've had this phrase running through my head since we started updating our Commencement Speeches database a few weeks ago: "If you're too big for a small job, you're too small for a big job."

Who said that? It was Katie Couric at American University last year.

Who knew that a commencement address could get stuck in your head? Well, the best of these speeches have a lot in common with a great pop song. They are simple, emotional, and pack a universal message into just a few words.

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