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In July, a new law took effect in Florida, and it concerns what’s in the state’s schoolbooks.

HB 989 allows any Florida resident to “challenge the use or adoption of instructional materials,” and its supporters say the law gives Floridians a greater say in what students are taught. But some in the scientific community worry the new law will be used to target evolution and climate change in classrooms.

Farewell, Cassini

Sep 16, 2017
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Applause for the demise of a ship. Not your usual reaction, but this was not your usual voyage.

It was a 20-year voyage from Earth to Saturn, and it finally ended early this morning — Earth time — when the Cassini spaceship burned up in the atmosphere of the giant planet.

“The signal from the spacecraft is gone,” announced a NASA flight controller from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “I’m going to call this the end of [the] mission.”

Jason Lee/Reuters

There are perhaps no two nations more desperately in need of peace talks than North and South Korea.

Distant as this hope may seem, South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has staked his reputation on it. This son of North Korean refugees has spoken glowingly of a nuclear weapons-free peninsula, reunited as a single nation — its two halves fused just as East and West Germany became one.


North Korea’s young dictator Kim Jong-un is often described as unpredictable. But that’s a little misleading. 

Judging by his actions since he assumed the role of supreme leader in late 2011, Kim’s intentions are pretty clear to North Korea watchers. The grandson of the country’s late founder and eternal president, Kim Il-sung, wants to develop the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped long-range missile. 

However you want to label the sound of Kronos Quartet, it's led them to some surprising and extraordinary collaborators.

Their new collaboration is with Trio Da Kali, three traditional griot musicians from Mali. Together they've released one of my favorites this year. It's called "Ladilikan."


It’s no secret that in recent years, North Korea has stepped up efforts to expand its nuclear weapons stockpile.

More quietly, though, it’s been stashing another commodity: bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

According to a report by the security firm FireEye Inc., North Korean hackers have been targeting South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.

Sonia Narang/PRI

The US-Mexico border wall as an interactive art museum? That’s what French artist JR had in mind when he created a 65-foot-tall image of a baby looking over the wall in Tecate, California.

JR is known for pasting larger-than-life photographs of people on large public walls around the world, from Havana to Tunisia. The idea for creating this installation at the US-Mexico border came to him in a dream.

Ximena Cortez, a 22-year-old software test engineer, clutches two manila folders as she sits across from a lawyer. They contain her and her brother’s renewal applications for a federal program that grants two-year reprieves from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, like them.

Reuters/Carlos Barria

The White House announced the Thursday night menu at Mar-a-Lago. It would include pan-seared Dover sole with champagne sauce or dry aged prime New York strip steak. No mention of the 59 Tomahawk missiles that were served up around the same time.

Photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang

President Donald Trump has been doing a lot of tough talk on North Korea. North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been a growing concern to the United States. The country tested missiles three times during Trump's short time in office. 

Trump says that "China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won't. And if they do that will be very good for China, and if they don't it won't be good for anyone."

"If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."

Kyodo via Reuters

The latest edition of Politico Magazine asks the question: "Who Killed Otto Warmbier?" Warmbier was the American student who died shortly after being released from imprisonment by North Korea, where he'd fallen into a coma after serving 17 months of a 15 year prison sentence on allegations he tried to steal a propaganda poster during a December 2015 trip to the authoritarian nation.


One of the more memorable times when someone openly talked about assassinating North Korea’s leader, it was a joke.

In the 2014 comedy, "The Interview," Seth Rogen and James Franco play journalists who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un instead of interviewing him.

North Korea was not happy about it — Pyongyang even threated military action against the US.

Now, it looks like South Korea is stepping into the fray.

Eat, pray, admit you're from an empire

Sep 14, 2017
Murad Sezer/Reuters

Author Suzy Hansen's journey to faraway lands in the post-9-11 world wouldn't work as a big-studio, rom-com.

Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh was really looking forward to his campaign event last week in Brampton, Ontario — a "JagMeet & Greet."

"This event was going to be in the city where my political career began. And it was a room filled with friends and supporters who have been with me since the beginning. So it was an atmosphere of celebration,"​ says the New Democratic Party leadership candidate.

But the atmosphere soon turned sour.

Joseph Flaherty/Phoenix New Times

Hotel chain Motel 6 has come under fire this week, after it was reported that staff at two of its locations in Phoenix have been handing over guest information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

According to the Phoenix New Times, which first reported the story, at least 20 undocumented immigrants have been arrested as a result of information provided by the hotel. 

Before Houston flooded, there was Piura, Peru

Sep 14, 2017

The weather in the Peruvian city of Piura has been extremely unusual for the last couple of years. First came a crippling drought in 2016 that dragged on so long, the government declared a state of emergency. Then, like the gods were answering prayers, it began to rain — but not the usual temperate rains. Starting this year in January, there were torrential downpours, every day, for months.

Yet what happened on March 27 shocked everyone.

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Mexico is still reeling from the worst earthquake in a century.

The 8.1 magnitude earthquake last week killed nearly 100 people, and left many more homeless in the southern part of the country, which was hardest hit.

Franc Contreras, who has been reporting from Juchitán, an indigenous town in the state of Oaxaca, says approximately 40 percent of buildings in the town were either reduced to rubble or damaged beyond repair.

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

When Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, 38, took office in June, he broke several glass ceilings at once: He became the youngest ever, first gay and first nonwhite person to lead the country.

Varadkar, the son of an Indian father and Irish mother, came in as the new taoiseach, the Irish word for prime minister, with a promise that he and his party would “seek to build a ‘Republic of Opportunity,’ and that is a republic in which every citizen gets a fair go and has the opportunity to succeed.”

Hurricane Irma is just the latest tragedy to visit the US Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and a host of smaller islands.

The Caribbean lands are frequently pummeled by hurricanes. Hugo in 1989 and Marilyn in 1995 were harsh, recent examples. But they have also suffered a remarkable number of man-made tragedies.

The islands became US territory in 1917 when they were purchased from the Kingdom of Denmark for $25 million in gold.

Courtesy of Lucas Chapman

It was Oct. 1. The dead of night. Lucas Chapman was as close as he'd ever been to realizing his dream. He was finally getting smuggled into Syria.

The small group he was traveling with had just left the Iraqi Kurdish region. And the plan was to make it into Syria on foot.

"The entire walk was about seven hours," Chapman recalls. "So even after the first maybe half-hour, just walking up and down these gentle hills, I was like wheezing, gasping for air."

John Gastaldo/Reuters

Egyptian-born physician Ahmed Ragab became a US citizen in Boston last Thursday morning. That afternoon he drove to neighboring Cambridge and broke the law. 

Ragab joined 30 of his colleagues from Harvard and other nearby universities to protest President Donald Trump's decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects young immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Police charged the demonstrators with disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct.

<a href="">Courtesy of the&nbsp;Boise State University Arborglyph Database</a>

John Bieter never knew his grandfather. A Basque immigrant from Spain, his grandfather had died by the time his grandson was born in Idaho.

But Bieter has found a way to connect with the world where his grandfather walked: names, pictures and messages carved into the aspen groves that cover the mountains surrounding Boise, carved by the last century’s Basque sheep herders.

Laignee Barron

Peace and quiet is hard to come by in Myanmar, where overenthusiastic use of megaphones has long frazzled the nerves of locals and foreigners alike.

The amplified calls of snack vendors, public officials and religious leaders add to the din of traffic and jackhammers — this is the soundscape of a country desperate to modernize after decades lost to isolation and military dictatorship.

Pierre Albouy/Reuters

On Sept. 25, Iraqi Kurds will vote in a referendum that will reveal whether they want to stay part of Iraq, or go their own way and establish an independent Kurdish state. Kurdish leaders, especially President Masoud Barzani who has been the driving force behind the movement, say the vote is binding and it is for independence.

Jason Margolis

Tanner Lee Swiger graduated from high school in Wayne County, West Virginia this spring. His father and grandfather both worked in West Virginia’s coal industry. But not Swiger, or any of his high school classmates.

Nobody from his graduating class is working in coal, says Swiger. “[They’re] honestly working in fast food, or not working at all.”

Not Swiger. He has a job installing rooftop solar panels. He says his family is delighted with it.

Barbuda needs the world's help right now

Sep 13, 2017

Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. An estimated 95 percent of Barbuda’s structures are damaged, and the entire island of around 1,800 people has been evacuated.

“The damage is complete,” says Ambassador Ronald Sanders, who has served as Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US since 2015. “For the first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda — a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished.”

Bryan Woolston/Reuters

More than half of Florida’s population is estimated to have lost power because of Hurricane Irma. Many of the nearly 7 million Floridians who remained without power Tuesday will likely have to wait weeks before it's restored.

Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Aung San Suu Kyi has been celebrated around the world and received the Nobel Peace Prize for her long struggle for democracy in Myanmar.

When her party gained power in 2015, there was a sense that Suu Kyi’s leadership would move the country forward.

Claudia Daut/Reuters

As Hurricane Irma churned toward Cuba last weekend, residents on the island switched on their televisions and radios, hoping to hear a familiar, reassuring voice. 

No, it wasn't the words of the late leader Fidel Castro they longed for — it was the forecast of esteemed Cuban meteorologist José Rubiera. 

But the beloved weatherman was nowhere to be found.

Why a former DHS secretary thinks DACA should continue

Sep 12, 2017
Herwig Prammer&nbsp;/ Reuters

When Janet Napolitano was secretary of homeland security under Barack Obama, she created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a federal program that protects some young immigrants from deportation and gives them temporary work authorization.