National & World News from NPR

A 65-year-old Russian adventurer has piloted a balloon around the world solo and non-stop in 11 days, claiming a new world record.

If the record is confirmed, Fedor Konyukhov has shaved a full two days off the previous record set by American adventurer Steve Fossett in 2002. The World Air Sports Federation, which makes the determination, congratulated Konukhov and said it was waiting for an official claim to ratify the record.

Appearing on stage together for the first time since Friday's vice presidential announcement, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine made a push for voters of color by highlighting his record on diversity and civil rights.

Kaine also spoke about gun violence, job creation, equal pay and raising equal pay — all mainstays of Clinton's campaign.

Clinton said Kaine has "lived" the values of diversity. That, she argued, is in contrast the GOP ticket and last week's Republican National Convention. "Tim Kaine is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not," she said.

Hillary Clinton has chosen Tim Kaine to be her vice presidential running mate. The Virginia senator has been an elected official — including mayor, governor and senator — for over 20 years and was once the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He was also on President Obama's shortlist of running mates in 2008.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

An attack on a protest march by Afghanistan's minority Hazara community in Kabul has killed dozens of people.

Afghan authorities said that at least 80 people were killed and 231 were injured in the attack, according to The Associated Press and Reuters.

For These Cosplayers, Geeky Costumes Are The Cat's Pajamas

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This weekend, San Diego will be invaded by comic book characters, all 12 Doctor Who doctors and lots of Lycra. The normal sights of Comic-Con International weekend, of course. Many enthusiastic Comic-Con-goers opt to dress in cosplay — for the uninitiated, that's a mashup of the words "costume" and "play" — inserting themselves into their favorite stories.

Meanwhile, two cosplayers in Seattle are avoiding the San Diego heat, staying at home instead and refining their art.

Eleven U.S. Army soldiers are headed to the Summer Olympics in Brazil next month on a mission that doesn't have anything to do with security. They're all U.S. Olympians, including some who only recently became American citizens.

The Uppermost Aristocracy of the Hoverfly Society

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You may have seen a hoverfly before. You also may have mistaken it for something else — a bee, or a wasp. They are masters of mimicry, imitating more dangerous insects to avoid predators.

Fredrik Sjöberg is not fooled by these disguises. He's spent the last thirty years hunting for hoverflies, and can distinguish between species based on tiny differences in antennae color or wing shape.

Sjöberg is an amateur entomologist, but a committed one.

"You want to know something that no one else knows," he explains, "you want to become the real expert."

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Summertime means college graduates are on the lookout for work and housing. For those eyeing big city life the trick to paying reasonable rent might mean downsizing — really downsizing.

In coastal cities, where space is scarce and demand is through the roof, there is a new housing trend developing: micro apartments.

Think dorm life, but a little more grown up. Small studio apartments, kitchenettes and beds that fold into the wall to make space.

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Since his debut novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers has finessed a line between fact and fiction. His latest, Heroes of the Frontier, is a novel about a dentist who, after a bad breakup, packs up and moves to Alaska with her two young children.

Alaska is "a working state" that's "not too precious about itself," Eggers tells NPR's Scott Simon. "It's still very raw and there's still so much of it that you can discover, and be alone."

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

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

The phrase, "America First" was invoked a few times at this week's Republican convention. That slogan comes with a lot of echoes, and you might wonder how much the people who chant it now really know about its history.

The America First Committee was founded in 1940 by a group of Yale students, many of whom would go on to distinguished careers, and funded by prominent Chicago business leaders. It was one of the largest peace organizations in U.S. history, with more than 800,000 registered members.

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

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

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

When they make a transition to publicly presenting themselves as a different gender, transgender people face many challenges. Possible surgeries and hormone treatments are some of them.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the#NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

The suspect in the attack on a shopping mall in Munich on Friday is an 18-year-old German-Iranian high school student who lived in Munich and had a history of depression, Munich police said. The shooting rampage left at least 10 people dead, including the alleged attacker, and 27 injured, according to police.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden flew four times on the space shuttle and was the first voice to be broadcast from Mars.

We've invited him to play a game called "You're not Charles in Charge — he is!" Click the audio link above to hear Bolden answer three questions about the remarkable career of actor and Republican National Convention speaker Scott Baio.

The NPR Politics team was on the road this week, bringing you stories from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Math is "contemptible and vile."

That's not from a disgruntled student. It's from a textbook.

The author, 16th century mathematician Robert Recorde, nestled the line just after his preface, table of contents and a biblical quote citing God's command to measure and number all things.

Recorde didn't believe in math's awfulness — quite the opposite. He was simply reflecting popular opinion on his way to a spirited defense of math. Why?

Fran Beesley was still in her bathrobe early one morning in June when she emerged from her home to find a Japanese family taking photos of her flowerbeds.

She lives in a 1970s-style one-story bungalow in the rural village of Kidlington, about a 90-minute drive northwest of London. It's a quiet place. Doesn't get many visitors. Beesley is retired and cares for her invalid husband. They're both in their 70s.

What are the biggest social and economic problems the world faces today? And how close are we to ending them?

Those are the questions that the U.N. Economic and Social Council aims to answer in its first report on the Sustainable Development Goals, released this past week.

The SDGs, as they're known, are 17 global goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. The U.N.'s member states approved them last September.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is promising a military shake-up after last week's failed coup attempt. More than 7,000 soldiers are already in custody, including nearly 100 generals.

Turks were thrilled to see last Friday's coup effort thwarted, but some are wondering if the armed forces are in any condition to deal with the many challenges facing the country — fighting the Islamic State, battling Kurdish militants and managing chaotic borders with Iraq and Syria.

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