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The young girl walks so fast that the sleeves of her sparkly black dress and untucked portions of her blue headscarf billow behind her. As she makes her way to the front of the High Court of Kono, an eastern district of Sierra Leone, she passes the defendant's stand but is careful not to look at the person in the dock. (Neither person's name is being used in this story to protect their privacy and the privacy of their families.)

The girl takes a seat on a wooden chair in front of the judge. The state prosecutor asks whether she is Christian or Muslim.

"Muslim," she says.

There's a new, unreleased song from R.E.M. out today, with all proceeds going to Mercy Corps, an organization helping those in the Bahamas impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

General Motors workers made big concessions to help pull the automaker out of its 2009 bankruptcy. Now, the company is making record profits.

But, the Warren Transmission plant in Michigan shut its doors at the tail end of June, and most of the workers have been placed at other plants. It's a ghost factory.

Have you ever volunteered abroad?

From students and young professionals to retirees, nowadays everyone seems to be trying to make a difference in communities around the world.

But what are these efforts really achieving? Do they help — and if so, who benefits? And if they cause harm, what can we do to make things better?

All important questions, as volunteering abroad has grown tremendously. Estimates suggest the industry is now worth at least $173 billion.

In a photo taken last March, a teenage boy is sitting at his desk with a plastic pellet gun that looks a lot like an AR-15. The airsoft rifle is propped up on the arm of a chair, pointing at the ceiling, and the boy, Eric, is looking at the camera. We're not using his last name to protect his privacy.

Eric's friend took the picture. At the time, Eric says, he didn't realize his friend had captioned the photo "Don't come to school Monday" and had sent it to others on Snapchat.

This year, Mexico surpassed Syria to become the deadliest country for journalists, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Many consider that overall levels of violence and impunity in Mexico are the biggest problems facing Mexican journalists. But press advocates say the president's harsh rhetoric toward the media isn't helping the situation.

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Samantha Power has been many things: an activist, a war correspondent, an author and a policymaker.

She served on President Obama's National Security Council, and later, she was his ambassador to the United Nations.

In her new memoir, The Education of an Idealist, she describes how she went from working outside the system – as a fierce and idealistic defender of human rights — to moving inside, as a diplomat who must, above all else, be ... diplomatic.


Interview Highlights

On her sense of danger and risk

When Lesley Del Rio goes to the library to do her college math homework, she often has a study buddy: her precocious 8-year-old son, Leo.

Del Rio is working on her associate degree; Leo is working on third grade.

And Del Rio is not alone: More than 1 in 5 college students in the U.S. are raising kids. That's more than 4 million undergraduates, and they are disproportionately women and people of color. Of those students, more than half will leave school without getting a degree.

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Detroit automakers are bracing for a possible strike. The United Auto Workers Union is set to renegotiate their contract, and it could get contentious. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has the view from outside a shuttered General Motors plant in Warren, Mich.

To work at the pleasure of President Trump is to never know when your last day will come and whether the exit will be on your own terms. National Security Adviser John Bolton's resignation this week (or was it a firing?) is just the latest example.

Sure, it's unlikely that the Japanese macaque you see above actually threw up a Wu-Tang sign. Probably by some providential mix of the photographer's skill, patience and plain old dumb luck, this deadpan monkey stumbled into a funny looking moment — not a lifelong appreciation for RZA & Co.

Still, though: Isn't it pretty funny to think so?

Donald Trump's immigration stances — family separation, a ban on immigrants from several majority-Muslim nations, the cancellation of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals program, to name a few — have given Democrats much to criticize as the 2020 presidential election approaches.

It means that the Democratic candidates are pretty uniform in coming out hard against the president on immigration. However, they differ on the particulars of what policies they would like to put into place instead and, in many cases, have not articulated what they would do specifically.

There are now less than five months to go before the first votes are cast in the Democratic presidential nominating contest. So the spotlight is going to be even hotter on the 10 candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate in Houston. (Follow NPR's live analysis here.)

The New Jersey couple tried and tried to have a baby.

When they were unable to conceive on their own, Kristina Koedderich and Drew Wasilewski opted for artificial insemination through IVF, or in vitro fertilization. In 2013, after spending nearly $500,000, the procedure helped them realize their parenting goals with the arrival of a baby girl.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid drug OxyContin, has reached a tentative deal worth billions of dollars that would resolve thousands of lawsuits brought by municipal and state governments who sued the company for allegedly helping to fuel the opioid crisis.

The pending settlement likely means Purdue will avoid going to trial in the sprawling and complicated case involving some 2,300 local governments across 23 states.

Note: An updated version of the letter, with additional signatures, was published Sept. 13.

"We blew it."

That was Forbes editor Randall Lane's assessment on Twitter after his publication released a list of America's 100 most innovative leaders that included only a single woman.

The Supreme Court says the Trump administration can begin denying asylum requests from migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border nationwide who have not first applied in another country they traveled through.

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Nearly eighteen years after the Sept. 11 attacks, New York City firefighter Michael Haub has finally been laid to rest. Family and friends gathered in New York City's Franklin Square to remember him.

Among those attending the ceremony was 53-year-old firefighter Andrew Mulchinski.

"Mike was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything for anybody, whether he knew you or not," Mulchinski says.

The two were volunteer firefighters together at the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department in Long Island, New York.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration may curtail asylum applications at the southern border while a legal challenge to the new rule is litigated in court.

President Trump announced Wednesday that the administration will move to force e-cigarette companies to take flavored vaping products off the market, as young people's use of them continues to rise and reports emerge of deaths and illnesses tied to vaping.

"Vaping has become a very big business, as I understand it, but we can't allow people to get sick and allow our youth to be so affected," Trump said.

There's been a lot of excitement lately that the powerful gene-editing technique CRISPR could offer a new way to treat health problems ranging from cancer to blindness.

But there hasn't been much direct scientific evidence in actual patients about whether it might work or would be safe — until now.

Chinese scientists have published the first report in a scientific journal of an attempt to use CRISPR-edited cells in a patient--a 27-year-old man who is HIV-positive.

The outsider singer, songwriter and visual artist Daniel Johnston has died. His death was confirmed to NPR by his brother, Dick Johnston, who said that Daniel had just been released on Tuesday from a hospital, where he had been treated for kidney issues. Dick Johnston said that Tuesday night, Daniel had seemed well, but he was found dead at his home in Waller, Texas, near Houston, Wednesday morning. He was 58 years old.

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New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of rape in a federal lawsuit in Florida. From member station WGBH in Boston, Esteban Bustillos has more.

Top-tier black college athletes should take their talents to historically black institutions. That's the argument that Jemele Hill is making in a new piece for The Atlantic. She says that doing so could benefit both the colleges and the communities around them.

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