National & World News from NPR

Les Amazones d'Afrique is a collective of female West African singers. They each have careers of their own, but came together to collaborate on République Amazone, an album that envisions a world of gender equality.

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We usually turn to NPR blogger Adam Frank to explore ideas about outer space. Today, he has this commentary on the messy business of politics and how it's affecting the climate.

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Massachusetts formally dropped more than 21,000 tainted drug convictions Thursday that were linked to a disgraced state chemist who in 2013 admitted to faking test results.

It's the largest single dismissal of convictions in U.S. history, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

As the first American president to be elected with no prior political or military experience, Donald Trump has had to adapt quickly to the responsibilities of public office.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state's rapidly eroding coastline.

It's an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects.

"Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising sea levels have made the Louisiana coast the nation's most rapidly deteriorating shoreline," WWNO's Travis Lux tells our Newscast unit. "It loses the equivalent of one football field of land every hour."

It was a trifecta of conservative celebrities in the White House Wednesday night.

Ted Nugent, a longtime Trump supporter; camouflage-cowboy-hat-wearer, Kid Rock, who's been known to be strongly anti-shirt but pro- marijuana; and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin all gathered in the Oval Office for a quick photo shoot to go over some paperwork and have a little dinner.

All three jumped on the Trump train early in the primary campaign and appeared at numerous rallies on Trump's behalf in the months leading up to his election victory last November.

At 3:33 p.m. ET on Wednesday, SeaWorld welcomed its last orca born in captivity.

The birth at the SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas, wasn't streamed live — unlike with April the giraffe — but it will be the final chance for SeaWorld guests to see a baby orca grow up.

The woman leading the Justice Department's investigation of foreign meddling into the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has told staff members she will leave the department in May.

Mary B. McCord has served at the highest levels in the national security unit, either as its leader or chief deputy, for the past three years. A longtime federal prosecutor based in Washington, McCord easily won the confidence of both career lawyers and her supervisors inside the Justice Department.

Tim Wharton bristles at being called a "foodie," with its connotation of lush, sumptuous "food porn." He prefers "gastronaut," a label popularized by late British television chef Keith Floyd, for its evocation of intrepid culinary exploration.

Animals, especially mammals, need oxygen to keep their bodies and brains humming along.

But leave it to the African naked mole-rat to buck that trend. The rodents are bizarre in just about every way. They're hairless, ground-dwelling and cold-blooded despite being mammals. Now, scientists report in the journal Science that the animals are capable of surviving oxygen deprivation.

When 18-year-old Nermeen Ileiwat first began college, she could not wait to get into a relationship — maybe even get engaged before graduation. But after one year, the rising sophomore realized she had no idea what she wanted out of life and was in no position to get into a relationship.

That decision didn't last long. Only a few months after, Ileiwat met someone at a party, and their friendship quickly turned into something more.

House Republicans are mulling over new changes to their health care proposal, hoping to wrangle enough votes to pass a bill that would allow them to keep their campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The latest proposal allows states to make changes to the ACA's rules governing health insurance policies and markets, in an effort to allow some states to offer stripped-down policies with lower premiums.

In case you ever find yourself hurtling into space, know this: When the little stuffed dog starts to float, that's when you've reached Earth's orbit.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

General Motors has stopped operations in Venezuela after its only plant there was illegally seized by authorities, the automaker says in a statement. The details are murky: Multiple employees at the plant tell NPR that they believe auto dealers, not government officials, were responsible for the takeover.

The seizure happened Wednesday, as the "mother of all protests" brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to demonstrate against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Beans, beans, the magical fruit

Healthy, tasty

And useful, to boot!

Save that canned water,

And whip it to foam

It's an egg-white replacement

Made right at home!

OK, so it's not the playground rhyme you grew up with. But with the avid following that canned bean water — more appetizingly known as "aquafaba" — has gained in just a few short years, maybe it's time that rhyme got rewritten.

The French go to the polls Sunday to cast ballots in the first round of a political race like no other in France's recent history: Entrenched politicians have been swept aside, with fringe candidates and untested newcomers filling the void.

After Sunday, the field of 11 presidential candidates will be narrowed down to two contenders, who will face each other in a runoff on May 7.

People with a brain injury or dementia often struggle to remember simple things, like names or places. In research published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, scientists have shown it may be possible to improve this sort of memory using tiny pulses of electricity — if they're properly timed.

A typical person's ability to remember things tends to vary a lot, says Michael Kahana, who directs the computational memory lab at the University of Pennsylvania.

The United States spends the most on health care per person — $9,237 – according to two new papers published in the journal The Lancet.

Somalia spends the least – just $33 per person.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET

Arkansas has carried out its first execution since 2005, just minutes before the expiration of the inmate's death warrant.

Ledell Lee was executed by lethal injection minutes before midnight Friday Central time in Grady, Ark. at the Cummins Unit facility, shortly before the warrant was set to expire.

Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. Thursday, NPR member station KUAR Public Radio reports.

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Democrats want to show off a positive election result in Georgia. Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez speaks tonight to Georgia Democrats as he tours the country with Bernie Sanders. Last night, Perez spoke at a rally in Miami.

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Marie da Silva is among the 25 percent of voters who are undecided ahead of Sunday's first round of voting in France's crucial presidential election.

The 52-year-old building manager and mother has soured on the men in the race, finding them too weak, unrealistic or communist.

Though she identifies as conservative, da Silva had never voted for the far-right party, National Front.

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On Fox News the other night, Bill O'Reilly said he was going on a long, planned vacation.

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'Tender' Stories Are A Feast Of Ideas

Apr 20, 2017

Sofia Samatar's duology of novels, 2013's A Stranger in Olondria and last year's The Winged Histories, took place in a mythic land of Olondria — a place where words are equal to religion, politics, and magic in the power they hold over people. It's one of the most dreamlike and far-flung settings in contemporary fantasy, and it's netted Samatar a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, and the John W. Campbell Award.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep with a guide to this day's news. David, where do we start?

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