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After Hurricane Harvey, it was no surprise that restaurants in New Orleans quickly became a hub for many local efforts to help.

In the long haul, though, it is restaurants in the very areas hard-hit by Harvey that will be their own sources of community self-help.

That's one lesson from New Orleans' experience after Hurricane Katrina, and it's one that translates to others facing monumental loss. It's the way restaurants, fancy and modest alike, become beacons, and how the principle of service reaches beyond hot meals and cold drinks.

The Trump administration says many of the organizations that help people enroll in health plans on the federal insurance marketplaces don't provide enough bang for the buck, sometimes costing thousands of dollars to sign up each customer. So it is cutting their funding, some by as much as 90 percent, the government told the groups last week.

The letters "CFPB" may not be much more than alphabet soup to your average student loan borrower. They stand for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new-ish federal agency — created in 2011 — with a unique mission and a big effect on student lenders and for-profit colleges accused of defrauding or otherwise mistreating Americans.

An estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. each year, enough to fill Chicago's Willis Tower 44 times. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted annually.

These are tough times for Washington's roughly 400 think tanks — the policy factories where scholars get paid to study issues and give politicians advice. Powerful external forces are reshaping the industry.

One current example is the left-leaning New America Foundation, founded in 1999. It works on public policies for the digital age. Last month it landed in the think tank industry's latest money controversy.

There's a chance Republicans wouldn't be so close to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania hadn't dropped into the Capitol barbershop this spring.

"I was up on the Hill, I happened to just go by the barbershop to see if I could get a haircut, and Lindsey was in the chair," Santorum said. "And Lindsey asked me what I was doing, and I thought to myself, 'Well, let me just bounce it off Lindsey.' "

The Republican Party's infighting is on full display in Alabama ahead of next week's Senate runoff — a race that's getting nastier by the day.

Eight months after he packed up his White House office and vacated the premises, President Barack Obama's top lawyer is finally opening up.

In a speech at Columbia University's law school last week, Neil Eggleston told students that "I'm not sure where the lawyers are" in the vetting process for some of President Trump's controversial executive orders, from the travel ban that now covers visitors from six majority-Muslim countries to efforts to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

Updated 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency has lowered the number of people confirmed dead in Tuesday's earthquake. Luis Felipe Puente now says 217 people were killed. Earlier he said the death toll was 248. He gave no explanation for the revised number.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET

The death toll continues to rise in Mexico after Tuesday's earthquake. The country's national civil defense agency confirmed the death toll stands at 248. Rescue teams are digging through the rubble to find survivors.

The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they're banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

Even as former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly appeared Tuesday on rival NBC to deny that he had ever sexually harassed colleagues, Fox was acting to defend itself on several fronts in court and in the court of public opinion.

In the most prominent instance, Fox is seeking to scuttle yet another lawsuit — this one filed over a retracted story about the late Seth Rich — by convincing a judge that the key source in the story should be treated as an employee.

Every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter has pledged commitment to historically black colleges, or HBCUs.

And just about every year, HBCU leaders gather in Washington D.C., to lobby Congress and the White House. This year President Trump was not there to greet them, which was just as well because the meeting took place amid simmering frustration with the Trump administration.

Much of that frustration is due to what HBCUs consider little or no support from the administration, and what they call a lack of understanding of the financial straits some schools are facing.

It wasn't that long ago that the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died once and for all in the Senate.

In the picturesque German city of Potsdam, a crowd gathers at the main square where a band is playing innocuous 1980s covers.

The friendly-looking musicians on stage attempt to rouse some enthusiasm from those waiting to hear Martin Schulz — the main challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sunday's elections — speak at a campaign rally.

More than 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which left much of Houston underwater.

Officials in Puerto Rico are warning residents to prepare for catastrophic winds and floods as Hurricane Maria bears down on the island. The storm has already devastated the island of Dominica, where the governor describes the damage as “mind-boggling.”

Meteorologist Jeff Huffman (@HuffmanHeadsUp) of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network gives Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson the latest on Maria.

A welcome mat was literally rolled out for refugees resettled in the U.S. at a somewhat unexpected locale Saturday: President Trump's childhood home.

In a very pointed message, international charity Oxfam invited four refugees from three countries to spend the day at the Queens, N.Y., home where Trump spent his earliest years.

Women's Roles In Gangs

Sep 19, 2017

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Kids who start playing tackle football before the age of 12 are at much higher risk of developing behavioral and emotional troubles as adults, according to a new study.

Researchers found much higher rates of depression, apathy and other neurological problems among those who started young — whether or not they suffered concussions.

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For the first time since Hurricane Irma, people who live in the lower islands of the Florida Keys are returning home. For many, that means arriving at a home to no power and no running water. And some who live in Marathon, Summerland and Big Pine Key — islands hard-hit by Irma — found their homes no longer livable.

When Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key last week, it carried winds of 130 miles per hour. For islands like Marathon Key on the "dirty" — more powerful — side of the storm, the storm surge was even more damaging than the winds.

Dylann Roof, on federal death row for gunning down nine people two years ago at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., wants his legal team dismissed because of the lawyers' ethnicity as he seeks to have his conviction and death sentence overturned.

"My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian respectively," Roof wrote in a letter filed Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case."

'Why We Shoot'

Sep 19, 2017

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In 2009, food writer Emma Christensen began brewing beer at home. She quickly grew to love each stage of the hours-long process, much of which is spent tending to a crock of boiling wort, or unfermented beer, and adding hops every few minutes. Over the course of making more than a hundred batches, she has become skilled at the art of turning barley, water, hops and yeast into beer.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump delivered a stern warning to North Korea's leader at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

It does not take a hurricane to put nursing home residents at risk when disaster strikes.

Around the country, facilities have been caught unprepared for far more mundane emergencies than the hurricanes that struck Florida and Houston, according to an examination of federal inspection records. And these nursing homes rarely face severe reprimands, even when inspectors identify repeated lapses.

In some cases, nursing homes failed to prepare for even the most basic contingencies.

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