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A former Malian rebel leader has pleaded guilty at the International Criminal Court to destroying priceless monuments in Timbuktu in 2012.

As the Two-Way has reported, the trial against Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is believed to be the first time desecration of cultural heritage has been prosecuted as a war crime by the tribunal in The Hague.

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Students returned to school on Monday in Miami amid a new concern: the threat of Zika. Nine schools in Miami-Dade County are in or near a zone where nearly a month ago health officials confirmed that mosquitoes are spreading the virus.

One of them, Jose de Diego Middle School, is in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood, an area known for its restaurants, cafes and street art. It's also home to middle-class and low-income families, many newly arrived from Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti.

Ah, rum, with its legendary pirates bellowing for grog, tiki umbrellas peeking up from neon-colored cocktails, tequila-spiked punch at college parties. Rum, universally imbibed and yet often scorned. Most rum is "the distilled essence of industrial waste," in the words of Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. That waste is molasses, the byproduct of sugar production.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he's running once again for the presidency — years after a failed re-election bid that was seen as a rebuke to his leadership.

The conservative politician announced his decision to run in 2017 elections by publishing on social media an excerpt from his soon-to-be-released book. Reuters has this quote from the announcement:

"I felt I had the strength to lead this battle at a troubled time in our history. ... The five years that come will be full of danger, but also of hope."

The headline of a recent NPR's story about Omran Daqneesh, a little Syrian boy who was rescued in Aleppo, asked: "Can One Photo End A War?"

One of the last medals awarded at the Rio Olympics went to a 21-year-old middleweight boxer from Flint, Mich.: Claressa Shields.

It was gold. With that Sunday victory, Shields became the first U.S. boxer ever to win back-to-back gold medals.

On the podium, after the medal was slipped around her neck, she reached into her pocket, pulled out her gold medal from the 2012 London Games and draped that one over her head, too.

Editor's Note: The photos in this story may be distressing to some viewers.

Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of the Philippines, campaigned as a tough-on-crime candidate, threatening death for drug dealers.

And in the seven weeks since he took office, nearly 1,800 alleged criminals have died — at the hands of police or under mysterious circumstances. The wave of extrajudicial killings has prompted outcry from human rights watchdogs, the Catholic Church and the United Nations.

Snidely Whiplash may have been famous for yelling, "Curses, foiled again!" And those "meddling kids" have spoiled many a villainous plot.

But sometimes, good doesn't win the day. Sometimes the bad guys get away with it.

And if we're going to talk about villains, let's talk about the biggest of the Big Bads, the Grand-daddy of Ghouls, the Imperator of Iniquity — Satan himself. Specifically, the version of Satan set down by John Milton in Paradise Lost.

Voice actor and comedian H. Jon Benjamin released a jazz album in which he plays piano. Unfortunately, he cannot play the piano at all. NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Benjamin about his album Well, I Should Have...Learned How to Play Piano. This story originally aired on Jan. 19, 2016 on All Things Considered.

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The U.S. and South Korea began annual military drills today amid heightened inter-Korean tensions and threats of a nuclear strike from the North.

In a statement, U.S. and South Korean forces described the 12-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian war games as "non-provocative in nature" and designed to enhance "readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula."

Saying it can't condone Ryan Lochte's behavior during Rio's Summer Olympics, swimwear company Speedo is ending its sponsorship deal with the decorated American swimmer.

The announcement comes after Lochte and three other swimmers were caught in an embarrassing episode in which Lochte claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint — a story that Rio de Janeiro police and U.S. officials found to be a fabrication.

Months after the Obama administration advised school districts that transgender students should be given access to bathrooms based on their gender identity, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the guidance from going into effect — for now.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor has granted a preliminary, nationwide injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas and a number of other states.

Is Donald Trump considering wavering on a key campaign promise?

That's what several news reports published over the weekend suggest. And while the Trump campaign issued a statement denying any shift on immigration policy, top surrogates and campaign operatives hinted that a change just might be on its way.

The issue: what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants already living in the United States illegally.

A devastating suicide attack on a wedding in Turkey appears to have been orchestrated by the Islamic State, Turkish officials say.

The bombing in Gaziantep killed at least 54 people, according to local officials, and injured at least 66 more. Fourteen of the wounded are said to be critically injured.

At least 22 of the victims were children.

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Good morning, I'm David Greene. In the movie "Major League," some prayer rituals were involved in the Cleveland Indians turning around their season.

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In 1998 Oklahoma became one of only two states to offer universal preschool, and it's been one of the most closely watched experiments in the country.

Today, the vast majority of these programs are in public schools. The rest are run by child-care centers or Head Start, the federally funded early-childhood education program.

At Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., the New Revolution Virtual Reality Coaster hurtles you up, down and around — while you're wearing VR goggles over your eyes.

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Politics In The News

Aug 22, 2016
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And so after that campaign shake-up last week, is there a new Donald Trump or not? You decide. This is the candidate on Friday speaking about African-Americans in front of a largely white audience in Dimondale, Mich.

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When Phillip decided to stop using heroin, he knew sticking around home was a recipe for failure.

"It's just, like, a heroin epidemic on Long Island where I'm from. So I had to get away from that and now I'm in Prescott, Ariz.," Phillip says. NPR agreed not to use his last name because he is struggling with addiction and fears it might hurt his chances of future employment.

Everybody eats, which is what makes food a perfect choice to resolve conflicts and foster connections among nations. The concept is called "gastrodiplomacy," and South Korea is one of its strongest champions.

The country is one of the world's best at branding itself through food, using its cuisine as a kind of "soft power" to help spread South Korea's influence. And even as the government supports its citizens in opening Korean restaurants around the world, it pays special attention to promoting that most ubiquitous of Korean foods: kimchi.

Twenty years ago, welfare as Americans knew it ended.

President Bill Clinton signed a welfare overhaul bill that limited benefits and encouraged poor people to find jobs.

"We're going to make it all new again, and see if we can't create a system of incentives which reinforce work and family and independence," Clinton said at a White House bill signing ceremony.

The goals were admirable: help poor families get into the workforce so they'd no longer need government aid. They'd get job training and support, such as help with child care.

No one is flying home from Rio with more medals than the U.S. women.

The full American squad — both men and women — won the most medals overall, 121, as has often been the case in the Summer Games. But first in London four years ago, and again in Rio, the U.S. women have captured most of those medals.

The U.S. women took 61, the men had 55, and there were five in mixed events, including equestrian and mixed-doubles tennis.

How good were the American women?

Young, healthy people referred to as "young invincibles" pose a serious challenge to the success of President Obama's expanded health care coverage, the Affordable Care Act. Kaiser Health's Julie Rovner explains more about this group of uninsured Americans.

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