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Olivier Boitet/The Associated Press 

When Vincent Lancisi and his wife were traveling in the south of France earlier this year, they began chatting with their driver. And he told them a story about his former employer.

“He said, ‘I was a driver for a famous man,’” Lancisi said. “‘You probably don’t know his name but there’s a movie about him made with Jeremy Irons called 'M. Butterfly.'"

“My wife looked at me, her jaw dropped.”

Driving up to a trailhead just a few miles from the US-Mexico border in Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, biologist Rosemary Schiano’s first advice is to cover our spare water gallons.

“People will break into your car if they see water, especially in this heat,” she says.

It’s just past 8 a.m. and the temperature in this part of the Sonoran Desert is already climbing above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Arroyos slice into a mountainous expanse laden with Organ Pipe’s namesake cactus.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not be going home anytime soon. His opinion piece in The Washington Post has drawn fire in the Saudi press, all because he dared write about a crackdown on free speech in the kingdom.

Aliou Touré told me not too long ago, "When you write a song about racism, it's a big deal." Touré is lead singer of Songhoy Blues, a band from Mali.

He said this in the context of the band's new song "One Colour," off their new album, "Résistance."

The song was recorded with a school children's choir in London. Touré says recording with kids made him optimistic about the future, especially if adults take the moment to learn from them.

Morne Hardenberg/Shark Explorers 

When Alison Kock was a little girl, her father would take her out fishing for lobster. That was when she started to foster her passion for the ocean — and sharks.

While fishing, shysharks would sometimes get caught in the crawfish nets. Kock watched as the sharks would wrap their tails around their heads and cover their eyes.

“I was really concerned," Kock says. "My dad said to me, ‘Listen, they'll be fine. Just pick them up, kiss them on the nose and release them back into the water.’”

The unsung Soviet officer who averted nuclear war

17 hours ago

 

Stanislav Petrov, a Russian hero of the Cold War, died in May at his home outside of Moscow. However, his death went unmarked until this month. 

Petrov, 77, was largely unheralded in his own country, despite an act of bravery that likely prevented nuclear armaggedon and kept the world in course.

To understand his choice, first dial the clock back to the summer of 1983.

Earlier this summer, the first Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week featured the creations of 25 designers from First Nations communities across Canada. Joleen Mitton, a former model who has Plains Cree and Blackfoot ancestry, launched the four-day event, held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, Canada.

Courtesy of Jericho Road Community Health Center

Beginning life in a new country as a refugee is not easy. Culture shock can kick in over food, languages — or health care.

For some women from conservative Muslim families, US health care practices can clash with what they’re used to. Reporter Sarah Varney went to Buffalo, New York, a city that is increasingly accepting refugees from countries such as Somalia, Syria and Iraq, to speak to some women who are in that position. 

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

It's been over a week since Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and southern Florida, but the recovery has been slow.

In Miami, some neighborhoods didn't have electricity for 10 days. 

WLRN reporter Nadege Green lives in one of those areas, and before the power returned, she noticed that a sense of community was forming as people were forced to cook outside on charcoal grills.  

Trump's Twitter storms have a parallel in India

Sep 20, 2017
Thomas White 

Social media is shaping politics across the world, and perhaps nowhere more so than in India. And, as in the US, the head of government's Twitter has become a key factor in political debates.

According to journalist Swati Chaturvedi, author of "I Am A Troll," India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi also uses Twitter as his preferred means of communication.

Russia puts Kalashnikov on a pedestal

Sep 20, 2017

Russia is putting Kalashnikov on a pedestal, literally and metaphorically.

Literally, a statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the iconic AK-47 rifle, was unveiled in downtown Moscow on Tuesday. Metaphorically, the Kremlin is pushing his rifle as “a true cultural brand of Russia.”

The Kalashnikov rifle, in all its forms, is the most popular weapon ever made. It's killed more people than any other single weapon, including the atomic bomb. And yet, now you can buy Kalashnikov tchotchkes at a special souvenir shop at the Moscow International Airport.

Rescue teams are frantically working to save people trapped by rubble after a powerful earthquake hit Mexico Tuesday.

The 7.1 magnitude quake was centered about 100 miles from Mexico City, but caused about 45 buildings in the capital to collapse.

Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

It’s been more than a month since members of a Rohingya militant group attacked police outposts in northern Myanmar, killing 12 people.

The attack led to a massive Myanmar military crackdown on the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority that is denied equal rights and widely despised by the Buddhist majority.

Would Superman be a DACA recipient?

Sep 20, 2017
Courtesy of DC Comics

The latest issue of the “Superman” comic has outraged some, and inspired others.

In Action Comics #987, the iconic character steps up to defend immigrants from an armed white American who is angry over the loss of his factory job.

Wiki Commons

Donald Trump loves the military. He claims "our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been." And now he’s touting an idea for celebrating the US armed forces: a massive military parade in Washington, for the Fourth of July, perhaps as soon as next year.

He was inspired by the Bastille Day parade he witnessed in Paris in July.

Jason Margolis

Forty years ago, Alaska had a near monopoly on supplying the world with salmon. But then Norwegian fishermen began experimenting with salmon farming — raising fish in enclosed ocean pens. By the 1990s, international salmon farming had taken off, not just in Norway, but also in Canada, Scotland and Chile.

As global supplies skyrocketed, Alaskan salmon prices plummeted.

Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin is widely believed to be behind social media disinformation campaigns aimed at influencing the 2016 US presidential election. As Germany’s general elections approach, many worry that a similar scenario could play out in that country.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Questions continue to swirl around President Trump's beleaguered former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. 

Will he eventually cut a deal with federal investigators? Will he face an indictment and then enjoy a presidential pardon? Or will he be accused of a crime in the State of New York, and be beyond the reach of Oval Office mercy? 

Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa says none of those possibilities can be ruled out, now that it's clear a federal judge approved two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants — or FISA warrants — allowing wiretaps.

When a massive luxury cruise ship docked outside the tiny Inuit town of Cambridge Bay this summer, it doubled the population of the town for a day.

“It was just jaw-dropping to think that the same amount of people that are in Cambridge Bay could fit onto that ship,” said Mia Otokiak, 21, a lifelong resident of the small, largely Inuit town in the Canadian province of Nunavut. 

A Jewish folk song is preserved in a Japanese video game

Sep 19, 2017
Kim Kyung-hoon/Reuters

In the world of video games, the journey ahead might last days or it might last just a few hours, but the soundtracks to those passing hours are often so integral to the game — and steeped in the intensity of a quest — that the music is timeless. 

In 1996, Konami released the video game “Sexy Parodius” and the soundtrack is everything you’d want from an anthropomorphic world inhabited by scantily dressed women, flying pigs, kissing penguins, dragons and mythical humanlike beings. The soundtrack is fun, bright and delves into 8-bit wonders.

Devi Lockwood

If you walk along the Chicago River behind the Lyric Opera House between now and Oct. 1, you’ll hear a low groan, a twinkling sound — a distinctive hum that is not-quite-urban.  

Passersby have compared the noises to an airplane passing overhead, a whale’s vocalization or a penguin singing. This noise, an addition to the echoing urban soundscape, comes from four waterproof speakers affixed to the top of 2 North Riverside Plaza.

United States Army 

The founding father of modern Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh. He led Vietnam's communist revolution against French colonial rule and then took on the US. But it seems he long had an admiration for the US and repeatedly sought the country's help in the decades before the Vietnam War.

What people might find most surprising is that he once lived in the United States: in Boston and in New York City.

Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the most powerful women in the world.

For 12 years, she has been a role model to many women and is expected to win a fourth term during the national elections on Sept. 24.

But it might be a surprise to some that progress for German women, as a whole, has been slow.

Women in Germany make 21 percent less than men — a higher pay gap than the European average of 16 percent. And despite Merkel holding the highest office in the country, very few women fill leadership positions in other industries.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

US President Donald Trump attends his first United Nations General Assembly this week.

The annual summit brings together thousands of world leaders, diplomats and advocates. This year, a long list of issues — including North Korea's nuclear program, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Paris climate accord — are expected to come up during talks and debates.

How will the president fare during a week full of diplomatic talks?

The World’s Marco Werman checked in with Colum Lynch, who reports on the UN for Foreign Policy magazine.

A ‘man of no land’ tries to find home in Saudi Arabia

Sep 18, 2017
Arthur Nazaryan/PRI

When Salih Abdullah, 33, decided to move from the United States to Saudi Arabia, he thought he would have refuge from religious discrimination in a “Muslim utopia” abroad. He never imagined that, five years later, he would find himself so disillusioned with that utopia that he would be considering a move back to the US.

Wild Fish Conservancy

A catastrophic failure of a large aquaculture pen near Cypress Island recently freed thousands of nonnative Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound, near Seattle.

In the aftermath of this outbreak, the Wild Fish Conservancy has launched a lawsuit against Cooke Aquaculture, the international corporation responsible for the accident.

Wikimedia/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>

Chelsea Manning is in the news again.

The 29-year-old former military whistleblower is at the center of a dustup at Harvard University's prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The school invited her to speak to students and faculty and, as is often the case with such guests, dignified her with the title of visiting fellow. That outraged many military and intelligence veterans.

So, early Friday morning, the Kennedy School backed down.

Communities along the upper Mississippi River have seen a major uptick in heavy rains and flooding in the last decade.

Residents, environmentalists, engineers and government agencies agree that they need a coordinated strategy to manage flooding. That could be particularly important in the coming years, as scientists predict that climate change will likely bring more heavy rain to the region.

The idea that people have different styles of learning — that the visually inclined do best by seeing new information, for example, or others by hearing it — has been around since the 1950s, and recent research suggests it’s still widely believed by teachers and laypeople alike. But is there scientific evidence that learning styles exist?

“The short answer is no,” says Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Bringing science and engineering stories to life for students

Sep 16, 2017

What does it take to bring science and engineering to life for students?

How about a little news?

That’s the idea behind the Science Friday Educator Collaborative, now in its second year. Seven teachers around the country are designing curiosity-provoking science, technology, engineering and mathematics resources for anyone to use, based on stories from Science Friday.

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