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Newborn conjoined twins were evacuated from a Syrian rebel stronghold to the capital Damascus after lengthy negotiations earlier this month.

But brothers Moaz and Nawras died early Wednesday before they could be transferred to a hospital outside Syria for urgent heart surgery. It's a tragic end to a story that was the subject of an international campaign to save their lives.

Scientists announced the discovery of a habitable planet Wednesday, orbiting the solar system’s nearest neighboring sun Proxima Centauri.

Rumors of the finding circulated for several days and were confirmed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which added more details in a press conference.

Kelly Beatty of Sky & Telescope talks about the planet with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says the death toll from the quake that hit central Italy has risen to 120.

Renzi spoke Wednesday evening in the provincial capital of Rieti after visiting rescue crews and survivors in the hard-hit town of Amatrice and flying over other demolished towns in nearby Le Marche region.

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

17 hours ago

Julia Green of Front Street Books in Alpine, Texas, recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Canada's Mounties Say Female Officers Can Wear Hijabs

19 hours ago

Canada's national police force says it is allowing women in its ranks to wear the hijab.

A spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known as the Mounties, recently approved the headscarf for its Muslim officers.

Beth Orton On World Cafe

19 hours ago

When Beth Orton released her debut album, Trailer Park, in 1996, critics dubbed her music "folktronica" for its use of acoustic instruments, singer-songwriter vibe and electronic beats. Whatever it was called, the songwriting and performance were sensational. Orton has experimented with her music through the years, leaning in her recent albums toward the acoustic side — but her newest record, Kidsticks, finds her mostly abandoning acoustic instruments for electronic keyboards and loops.

Tropical Storm Colin ripped across the Gulf of Mexico in June and hit the coast of southwest Florida with 60-mile-an-hour winds. Before it arrived, a team from the U.S. Geological Survey used a new computer model to predict how far inland the waves would invade. When the storm hit, the USGS sent Joe Long out to film it.

It has been three years since The Office wrapped, and actor John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert, is still feeling lucky. Landing a role on the NBC comedy series had been an unfathomably big break for the actor, whose previous work had been in a series of commercials and off-Broadway plays.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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In Maine's North Woods, forests and rivers that used to feed paper mills will now be permanently protected as a national monument — thanks to a donation by the co-founder of Burt's Bees.

President Obama announced the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on Wednesday, just one day before the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

A potentially habitable planet about the size of Earth is orbiting the star that is nearest our solar system, according to scientists who describe the find Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Gunmen attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday evening, as students and staff hunkered down in place or fled for their lives, witnesses say.

Hospital officials say at least one student was killed and at least 14 injured, as Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, tells our Newscast unit.

"Right now there are dozens of Afghan police, security forces, special forces. They've surrounded the campus," Glasse says. Here's more:

Nestled among rolling hills and grazing cows, Elmore Mountain Bread in central Vermont is quintessentially pastoral. The setting is apropos, given the owners' recent decision to start grinding their own flour by stone — a veritable step back in time.

A fisherman in the Philippines might have discovered the largest natural pearl ever found — and then kept it hidden under his bed for 10 years.

The pearl's existence was revealed by Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao, a tourism officer in Puerto Princesa, on the island of Palawan.

She says the fisherman is one of her relatives and that he discovered it in a giant clam and kept it as a good-luck charm.

Graduate students win recognition as employees

22 hours ago
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Amy Scott

Colleges and universities are still absorbing the news of a ruling Tuesday by the National Labor Relations Board. The board voted 3-1 that graduate student research and teaching assistants at Columbia University are employees and have the right to unionize. Grad student unions have been recognized at many public universities since 1969. Among private schools, just New York University voluntarily recognizes a student union.

TPP proponents face a tough crowd this election season

22 hours ago
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Sabri Ben-Achour

Trade deals are rarely popular in election years but this year they seem to be extra unpopular.  Mr. Trump appears opposed to most of the U.S. trade deals up to this point and both he and Secretary Clinton oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership.  That complicates the efforts to get the thing passed, even as President Obama has said he would make a push for the deal after the election. 

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook central Myanmar around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, damaging buildings and sending people running into the streets across the region.

The U.S. military is kinda like Walmart, here's how

23 hours ago
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Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Rosa Brooks did a stint at the Pentagon as well as a civilian counselor of the undersecretary of defense for policy.

Her experiences there are the foundation for a new book about the way the American military does what it does today — which is a whole lot.

It's called, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.”

Turkish troops crossed into Syria early Wednesday, carrying out airstrikes and launching artillery fire to clear ISIS militants from a border area in coordination with the U.S.-led coalition.

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Sam Beard

The warnings were dire.  Vote for Brexit and Britain will suffer a disaster, said a whole slew of experts before the referendum . The stock market will crash.  House prices will plummet. Three million people will be thrown onto the dole.

Two months on, none of this has happened. In fact, the opposite has occurred: the stock market has reached new highs, unemployment has sunk to its lowest level for a decade and house prices are stable and retail spending is up.

There was perhaps no movie more buzzed-about coming out of the Sundance Film Festival in January than Nate Parker's directorial debut, The Birth of A Nation, a retelling of Nat Turner's 19th century rebellion of enslaved people in Virginia.

Vincent Van Gogh's paintings might not make it obvious that he was an artist troubled with depression and mania. But a computer algorithm might be able to figure that out. Computer programs are getting pretty good at discovering health information by studying heaps of social media data.

A computer script analyzed galleries of photos posted to Instagram and accurately predicted if the users had depression, according to a study posted this month to the public online repository arXiv.com.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Turkish Rules Leave Syrian Refugee Children In Limbo

Aug 24, 2016

Aref al-Krez has the look of a young, laid-back guy with well-coiffed hair, stylish clothes and carefully cultivated stubble.

But the 24-year-old Syrian refugee and father of a young daughter has a world of worries about her future and his role in it.

Like so many Syrians now living in Turkey, Krez faces huge bureaucratic hurdles while trying to obtain the right government-issued documents that prove his daughter is actually his.

Corporate Ethics In The Era Of Millennials

Aug 24, 2016

Corporate social responsibility has been added to the growing list of demands that investors, customers and employees present to companies.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As we've been reporting, Italy is reeling from a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. It struck before dawn this morning local time. At least 38 people are reported killed. More are still missing.

Computers have already beaten us at chess, Jeopardy and Go, the ancient board game from Asia. And now, in the raging war with machines, human beings have lost yet another battle — over typing.

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