National & World News from NPR

Meeting your college roommate used to be one of the anxieties of the first week of school. But these days, many freshmen meet in advance online and arrange to room together.

Now, some schools have decided to bring back largely random pairings in the interest of broadening their students' horizons. Duke University announced their change earlier this year.

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We turn now to Ron Elving, senior editor and correspondent on NPR's Washington Desk. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

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His Dad Didn't Want Him To Draw. Dad Didn't Know Best

Apr 21, 2018

Behind pea-green curtains in a steamy office in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui, comic book artist Didier Kassai carefully dips his paintbrush into a nut brown pigment on his palette, wipes it on a scratch sheet then slowly puts it to paper. His brush strokes bring a watercolor to life – itself a scene of death. The brown is used to color the butt of a rebel's gun in a strip chronicling his country's spiraling conflict.

In January, Ursula K. Le Guin died. Her Washington Post obituary is glowing; it notes that The Left Hand of Darkness "was cited by literary critic Harold Bloom in The Western Canon, his overview of classic literature, and paved the way for Ms. Le Guin's broader acceptance." It also, reverentially, identifies her as the "grande dame" of science fiction.

An elite group of movie lovers in the Saudi capital Riyadh got a special treat on Wednesday — a screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther. The invitation-only event marked the lifting of a ban on cinemas that's lasted more than three decades. It also heralds a new era for Saudi filmmakers, who for years have faced harassment from Saudi authorities for pursuing a profession considered haram, or forbidden, in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Unlike her trademark three-strand pearl necklace, Barbara Bush was known for her authenticity.

The former first lady to President George H.W. Bush, and mother of President George W. Bush, died this week at the age of 92. Her funeral is Saturday, and those eulogizing her might not have to look far for inspiration — to her own words.

This week in the Russia investigations: Did we learn anything from James Comey? Michael Cohen opts for discretion in the face of some new legal challenges.

What Comey Says Trump Said Putin Said

President Trump, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus and then-FBI Director James Comey were sitting together in the Oval Office. Trump, in Comey's telling, was monologuing, as the former FBI director says he often did.


Emily Nakano began doing lockdown drills when she was in second grade.

"An alarm plays over the PA system, and we lock the door, turn off the lights and hide in a corner away from the window," she explained.

The high school senior from Illinois said she's grown up with a fear of school shootings in the back of her mind, even though she's not scared of guns. In fact, she's been around guns her entire life.

When Teens Cyberbully Themselves

Apr 21, 2018

During the stressful teen years, most adolescents experience emotional highs and lows, but for more than 20 percent of teenagers, their worries and sad feelings turn into something more serious, like anxiety or depression. Studies show that 13 percent to 18 percent of distressed teens physically injure themselves via cutting, burning or other forms of self-harm as a way to cope with their pain.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced that his country no longer needs nuclear or missile tests and that it would shut down its nuclear weapons test site.

"The nuclear test site has done its job," Kim said in a statement carried by North Korea's state media. The report also said the decision was made in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its warning to consumers Friday to stay away from all types of romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region because of an E. coli outbreak that has infected at least 61 people in 16 states.

The agency had previously instructed people not to eat chopped and bagged romaine lettuce from the area. But the new warning includes whole heads of romaine in addition to all of the packaged products.

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A startup company in California is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to advise fire departments about how to plan for earthquakes and respond to them.

The company, One Concern, hopes its algorithms can take a lot of the guesswork out of the planning process for disaster response by making accurate predictions about earthquake damage. It's one of a handful of companies rolling out artificial intelligence and machine learning systems that could help predict and respond to floods, cyber-attacks and other large-scale disasters.

A U.S. district judge handed a sentence of life in prison today to a driver who was transporting undocumented immigrants in a tractor-trailer so hot that ten people died.

"I am so sorry it happened," said James Matthew Bradley Jr. in a video statement played in court which The San Antonio Express-News reported. "There's not a day or night that goes by that I don't relive this scene."

Malibu Moves To Ban Single-Use Plastic

Apr 20, 2018

In terms of environmental impact, there are alternatives to plastic straws — glass, paper, metal even. But each one had its particular flaw in the eyes of Robert Morris, who owns the Paradise Cove restaurant in Malibu, Calif.

"I've tried paper, but they just don't work as well with our cocktails, and we've had paper straws in the past for years, but pasta straws are just better and take less time to decompose," Morris said.

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The issue of James Comey's memos is where we're going to begin our Friday political chat. Kristen Soltis Anderson of the Washington Examiner and author of "The Selfie Vote" is here in the studio. Hi, Kristen.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON: Hi.

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The U.S. government has been holding an American citizen in Iraq without charge for more than seven months. Yesterday, a federal judge blocked the government from transferring the man against his will to a third country.

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The U.S. government has been holding an American citizen in Iraq without charge for more than seven months. Yesterday, a federal judge blocked the government from transferring the man against his will to a third country.

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