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About 16 years ago, I lost my hungry heart to a flour tortilla. I was in the small town of Las Vegas, N.M., at Charlie's Spic & Span Café, when a server placed a basket on the table. Inside was a stack of thick, charmingly floppy tortillas, dotted with browned bubbles and closer in thickness to pancakes than the wan, flaccid discs I was used to at the supermarket. My Brooklyn-by-way-of-Michigan palate was infatuated: What magic was this? How could I not have known that tortillas like these existed?

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Always, the ever-tantalizing, ever-impossible discussion in every sport revolves around who's the greatest player ever. It's so difficult trying to compare champions from different eras, but it's a constant party game and especially in vogue now, as Serena Williams prepares to try to win the U.S. Open. Doing so would not only give her the first tennis Grand Slam since Steffi Graf won in 1988 but would give Williams her 22 major titles, tying Graf at the top of the tree.

Peek into a Peloton indoor cycling class in New York's posh Chelsea neighborhood and it'll look like most other indoor cycling classes. Sixty stationary bikes are clustered in a dark room, loud music blares to get the heart racing, and a mic-ed up instructor motivates riders.

Except this class has one major difference: Instructor Jen Sherman isn't just talking to riders in the classroom. She's also monitoring metrics for riders in places like New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Kansas. "Jamie in Wichita, good to see you this morning," she says.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep with the story of an English teacher hoping to find a way to make sure that a love for literature takes root. Here's Rebecca Kruth of Michigan Radio.

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Abercrombie bets future earnings on a turnaround

Aug 26, 2015
Andy Uhler

Abercrombie & Fitch is reporting second quarter earnings just a week after its stock hit a more than six-year low, and the retailer announced it is restructuring its front office by bringing in a batch of new designers and executives to reinvent the brand.

One day after the racing community was shocked by the death of driver Justin Wilson at age 37, news has emerged that Wilson, a well-known advocate for charities who often spoke about his dyslexia, donated his organs to others — and gave vital help to six people.

Wilson died Monday after suffering a head injury during a race at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., Sunday. He was struck by airborne debris from another car and then crashed into a wall on the track.

Evangelical voters are courted every presidential election by Republicans, especially in Iowa. But this year, they could have an even larger impact.

That's because a slew of Southern states are holding primaries on the same day in March of next year, just a month after Iowa votes. And one candidate is making a bold early effort to win them over — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

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There is a subset of puns - businesses that name themselves based on a pun. You know, the kind of thing you see on a storefront sign that makes you groan or maybe laugh, depending on your mood.

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In today's crowded TV landscape, the casting director's job is no small thing. And that talent will be honored at the Emmy Awards next month. Jennifer Euston, who has been in the casting business for two decades, has been nominated this year for outstanding casting for a comedy series and for a drama series.

"I get the script, I read it, I break it down. Anyone who has a speaking part is my responsibility," she says. "Even if the person says, 'Hi' — one word."

Five months after climbing a stone wall to enter the White House grounds, Curtis Smith used a knife to slash at a sheriff's deputy at an entrance to the Chester County, Pa., courthouse on Tuesday. The guard shot and killed Smith.

Here's part of a statement released by Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan:

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The trash crisis in Lebanon doesn't appear to be ending any time soon. Fights have erupted between police and hundreds of demonstrators over heaps of uncollected trash in the capital city, Beirut. 

Since the middle of July, more than 20,000 tons of garbage has accumulated all over Beirut. Rami Khouri, a senior fellow at the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, says people are disgusted by the fact the government can't resolve this situation.

Courtesy of Letibee

When 24-year-old Koki Hayashi first came out to his mom, he was a junior in college.

"I just kind of said it quickly, 'Hey, I’m gay,'" he recalls.

“Stop it. That’s disgusting,” she said, according to Hayashi. That really hurt.

Japan — unlike the US — doesn't have a Puritan history that says homosexuality is some kind of cardinal sin. And for years it wasn't uncommon to see a cross-dresser on TV giving fashion advice or a Japanese cartoon with gay characters.

Courtesy Subhi Nahas

Life wasn't easy for Subhi Nahas, as an "outed" 20-something man in the Syrian town of Idlib. Then the militant group al-Nusra seized control and it became unbearable. 

"They entered the mosque, and they announced there that they would 'cleanse' the city," says Nahas, recalling events that occurred three years ago. The militants arrested three local men on suspicion of being gay. "I knew before they started that they would take it to another level of violence." 

Nahas never learned what happened to the three men. He wondered who would be next. 

Why is lime flavor suddenly everywhere?

Aug 25, 2015
Nan Palmero/ Creative Commons 

If you go to any grocery store in America today you will most likely find something — chips, soda, beer, or even condiments — that are "hint of lime" or "con limon."

Now it's cucumber-lime flavored Gatorade at the 7Eleven, even a whole section of supposedly Latino-themed beers — all with lime.

"Now you got not only the American companies coming in," says comedian Adrian Villegas, standing in an Austin 7Eleven aisle, "but now you have Mexican companies with [fruit-flavored] Modelo Chelada. You’re already a Mexican beer and you’re trying to make it more Mexican.”

Josue Decavele/Reuters

Since April, thousands have packed Constitution Square in Guatemala City each week to protest alleged corruption in the government.

Young members of Guatemala City's middle class organizes the protests through Twitter and Facebook, says BBC Mundo's Arturo Wallace. But a broad cross-section of the city turned out — not just the students who often protest. Who didn't protest? Rural residents.

With angry street protests complaining about both political dysfunction and a garbage-collection crisis, members of Lebanon's Cabinet rejected the winning waste management bid Tuesday.

Stock prices took another beating Tuesday, with all major stock measures falling.

Two closely followed market indicators, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500, each fell roughly 1.3 percent, despite opening the day with big gains.

This huge summer sell-off must mean the U.S. economy is sinking, right?

Well, so far at least, that's not right. In fact, the economy has been improving, and Tuesday brought yet more evidence of that. Here are some highlights:

I stepped out my parents' front door last Thursday, expecting a typically glorious summer day in southern Oregon. Instead, I was hit with acrid wood smoke that stung my eyes and throat. The air was thick with haze that obscured the mountains. I quickly retreated inside.

Health departments across the West are mobilizing to protect residents from smoke generated by dozens of fires that have sent smoke as far east as the Midwest.

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For years there has been mounting evidence that U.S. schools suspend and expel African-American students at higher rates than white students. A new study by the University of Pennsylvania singles out 13 Southern states where the problem is most dire.

Schools in these states were responsible for more than half of all suspensions and exclusions of black students nationwide.

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Twenty-two-year-old professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian is attempting to become the first woman to scale the Paciencia route on the north face of Mount Eiger. The peak in the Swiss Alps is known as the "Wall Of Death."

There's a new candidate in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness.

I encountered it at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, a combination of Super Bowl, Mecca, and Disneyland for the folks who put the processing in processed food.

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