NPR News | KUER 90.1

NPR News

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The president of the University of Texas at Austin has ordered the immediate removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and three other Confederate-era figures — Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg — from a main area of campus.

President Greg Fenves announced the statues' fate Sunday night, and the removals should be complete by mid-morning Monday. A university spokesman says the area has been blocked off.

Jerry Lewis, a comedic fixture on big screens and charity telethons for decades, has died at the age of 91.

His death was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and confirmed by NPR with his publicist and spokeswoman Candi Cazau.

Cazau provided the following statement:

"Famed comedian, actor, and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side."

Arthur J. Finkelstein, a longtime GOP pollster and strategist credited with helping elect Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, has died at age 72 of lung cancer, his family says.

Finkelstein, considered less flamboyant but arguably more influential than better known Republican strategists, such as Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes, is widely regarded as the man responsible for turning the word "liberal" into a pejorative to be wielded against Democrats. He was also considered a pioneer in developing political action committees to raise vast sums of money for campaigns.

The head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has harshly criticized a government campaign of alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects that has claimed thousands of lives, calling it a "humanitarian concern" that cannot be ignored.

For 72 years since the cruiser USS Indianapolis sank after being struck by Japanese torpedoes in the waning days of World War II, its exact resting place had been a mystery.

But a team of researchers led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen now says they have positively identified the wreckage, 18,000 feet below the surface in the Philippine Sea.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET

A Catholic Mass was held in Barcelona on Sunday to honor the victims of last week's terror attacks, as authorities continued a manhunt for at least one suspect in the killings of 14 people along Spain's northeast Mediterranean coast.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Barcelona that thousands attended the Mass, held in Spanish and Catalan languages, at the city's iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica. Among those present were King Felipe and Queen Letizia.

As President Trump doubled down on his defense of Confederate statues and monuments this week, he overlooked an important fact noted by historians: The majority of the memorials seem to have been built with the intention not to honor fallen soldiers, but specifically to further ideals of white supremacy.

President Trump is only the latest man in the White House to see his plans, his governing coalition and his popular standing all at risk because of a racially charged issue.

On a recent weekday, Vamsi Komarala guides me up to the rooftop of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, where he teaches physics. Fields of solar panels adorn the buildings.

I swipe an index finger across one of the panels to see if weeks of monsoon rains have washed it clean. My finger comes back filthy with grit.

Vamsi tells me the panels are washed twice a week, then explains the grime: "That is because in New Delhi, we have a lot of dust."

Updated August 22.

A group of alumni from one of the country's most influential evangelical Christian universities is condemning their school's president for his continued alignment with President Trump.

Imagine the worst has happened to your family. You've been forced to flee your home.

You eventually make it to safety. But now you're living in a camp for displaced persons.

You don't want to just depend on handouts. So how do you make a living?

When children in Turkey head back to school this fall, something will be missing from their textbooks: any mention of evolution.

The Turkish government is phasing in what it calls a values-based curriculum. Critics accuse Turkey's president of pushing a more conservative, religious ideology — at the expense of young people's education.

At a playground in an upscale, secular area of Istanbul, parents and grandparents express concern over the new policy.

Last weekend, when white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest, it was clear that almost exclusively white, young males comprised the so-called alt-right movement — there were women, but very few.

So where were the white women who weren't out protesting in the streets?

For the most part, journalist Seyward Darby discovered, they're online.

Last week, NPR had a story that garnered a huge response from listeners and Shots readers.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DWANE BROWN, HOST:

At least seven people were wounded by a man with a knife who went on a stabbing rampage in the northern Russian city of Surgut.

No one was killed in the attack in the central Siberian city, but four people were in serious condition, according to state-run Tass news agency, which cited a regional health official.

Islamic State says the man — shot dead by police — was a "soldier" of the extremist group. However, Russian authorities say psychiatric information on the assailant is being sought, suggesting they believe the claim by ISIS may be opportunistic.

President Trump will skip the annual Kennedy Center Honors this year to allow the "artists to celebrate without any political distraction," the White House said Saturday.

Three of the five artists set to be honored had either expressed a specific intent to boycott the traditional White House reception before the event or were said to be considering it.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

A small number of right-wing "Free Speech Rally" demonstrators disbanded early from Boston Common after they were confronted by thousands of counterprotesters shouting anti-Nazi and anti-KKK slogans.

Deborah Becker, a reporter with member station WBUR in Boston, said that "a few dozen" rally attendees were escorted from Parkman Bandstand by police and placed into police vehicles "for their own safety."

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was removed from the entrance to Duke University Chapel early Saturday by order of the university president who said in a letter that the move was not only a safety measure but also meant to express the "abiding values" of the school.

The decision to remove the statue from the Durham, N.C., campus, comes after it was defaced on Wednesday and follows violent clashes last week in Charlottesville, Va., between right-wing extremists and counterprotesters over plans to remove another statue of Lee.

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET

Spanish authorities say they have dismantled a terror cell of mostly Moroccan natives that is believed to be responsible for vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that killed 14 people and hurt more than 100 others.

But a manhunt continues for the alleged driver of a van used in the main attack on pedestrians on Thursday in Barcelona. Two other suspects are believed to be at large.

"The cell has been completely dismantled in Barcelona," Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said at a news conference on Saturday.

A message in a bottle washed ashore this week in Gaza.

"Hello! Thank you for picking up this bottle!" began the letter in neat black handwriting. "We are currently on holiday in Rhodes and would love to know how far this bottle got – even if it's just the next beach!"

Before any hard battle, it's common to seek a little spiritual guidance.

In preparation for the coming fight this fall to overhaul the entire federal tax code, a group of House Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee traveled this week to Rancho del Cielo — the ranch of former President Ronald Reagan, outside Santa Barbara, Calif.

The ranch is where Reagan signed one of his major tax cuts into law, and the GOP is working this month to capture some of that Reagan-era magic to deliver a modern tax bill of its own.

There is a telling photo that has gotten some attention in social media after Steve Bannon's exit as President Trump's chief strategist. (You can see it above.)

It shows President Trump behind the desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by his top advisers: Seated are Vice President Pence and national security adviser Mike Flynn; standing, from left to right, are chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer.

That was Jan. 28, eight days after Trump was inaugurated.

Today, only Pence remains.

Brace yourselves, North America — we're about to get mooned. Or, more accurately, eclipsed.

Mary Abagi is a 63-year-old widow who has spent most of her life eking out a living by growing crops on a tiny plot of land in her Kenyan village. Then, last fall, Abagi learned that the village had been picked for an unusual experiment that promised to change her life.

Most teachers these days last no more than five to 10 years in the classroom, but Paul Miller taught math for nearly 80. At one point, he was considered the "oldest active accredited teacher" in the U.S.

His career started in his hometown of Baltimore. It was 1934, the Dust Bowl was wreaking havoc in the Plains, Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down by police in Louisiana, and a thuggish politician named Adolf Hitler became president of Germany.

Miller taught elementary school kids by day, college students at night and his mother on weekends.

Pages