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NPR News Coverage

By springtime of 2016, it looked like California might have a decisive role in choosing the presidential nominee for a major party for the first time in several generations.

With the June primary approaching last year, Hillary Clinton toured the state, while Bernie Sanders spent nearly an entire month holding rallies and giving speeches. Meanwhile Donald Trump and his Republican rivals were building organizations in the state.

The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School announced Wednesday that Chelsea Manning would be one of its visiting fellows, but less than two days later, the school's dean withdrew the invitation.

Manning, a 29-year-old transgender woman, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted of leaking classified information.

Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET

A day after meeting with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., to discuss improving race relations, policy issues of specific concern to communities of color and Scott's pointed criticism of President Trump after his comments in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Trump is standing by those remarks.

Snow leopards are no longer endangered, according to the global authority for assessing risks to species. However, the situation is looking dire for five species of ash tree, now listed as critically endangered.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the changes to its Red List on Thursday.

Let's start with the good news.

Conservatives are livid after President Trump appeared to have made a deal with Democrats in order to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program — claiming he is abandoning his base and the stringent immigration platform he campaigned on.

It's an administrative task for the ages.

Medicare is getting ready to issue all 60 million of its beneficiaries new cards with new ID numbers as way to combat identity theft and fraud.

The rollout begins next April, but the agency is already beginning its outreach campaign.

Hurricane Irma arrived on the doorstep of the Virgin Islands just over a week ago. A Category 5 storm, historic in its terrible might, Irma shredded homes and hotels into the bare materials that made them, its winds scattering floorboards and roofs and light poles like so many matchsticks.

Prisoner advocates convened at an unusual spot this week: President Trump's White House.

Earlier this year, Trump promised to crack down on "American carnage" and decried the "public safety crisis" facing many American cities. His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has directed federal prosecutors to take a tough approach to drug criminals, seeking mandatory-minimum prison terms for them.

Updated 9:15 p.m. ET

One soldier has died and 22 other military personnel have been injured in incidents on consecutive days during training operations on military bases at opposite ends of the country.

The Army says a Special Forces soldier, Staff Sgt. Alexander P. Dalida, 32, of Dunstable, Mass., died after he and seven other soldiers were injured during demolitions training at Fort Bragg, N.C., Thursday morning, according to a statement by the Army Special Operations Command. The service says Dalida's death is being investigated.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has unveiled an unusual strategy to help ease the chronic food shortage faced by many of his nation's 30 million people — something he calls Plan Conejo, or "Plan Rabbit."

Maduro and his ministers are embarking on a somewhat surprising — and to many, alarming — campaign to convince Venezuelans to eat rabbits. They say rabbits will make an excellent source of protein for the large number of people who don't have regular access to red meat or chicken as the result of the country's economic collapse.

California lawmakers must decide by the end of the day Friday whether to approve the most ambitious clean energy goal in the country: 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

The state wouldn't be the first. Hawaii already has its own 100 percent goal. But California uses about 30 times more electricity than Hawaii and is the fifth largest economy in the world.

To some, it's a chance for the state to cement its environmental leadership as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era climate change programs.

When it comes to dealing with the aftermath of Equifax's massive data breach, it'll be up to consumers to be on guard against data thieves, experts say.

Updated 8:45 p.m. ET

The shocking news that eight people who were residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Fla., died at the facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma has sparked many questions about how such a thing could happen. It has also led to nearly 150 patients being taken to local hospitals.

"The Hollywood Police Department has been granted a search warrant for this property," Raelin Storey, the city's public affairs director, said at a news conference outside the nursing home Thursday morning.

For years, the government has been trying to reduce the risk that legitimate biological research could be misused to threaten the public's health, but those efforts have serious shortcomings.

That's the conclusion of a report released Thursday by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that examined existing practices and policies on so-called dual-use biological research.

Ken Burns became a star on PBS a generation ago by telling the story of the Civil War in a huge — and hugely popular — documentary series. Since then, he and his collaborators have done invaluable work, including a lengthy and superb examination of World War II.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

More than 20 people died in a dormitory fire at a Malaysian religious school in the early morning hours Thursday, trapping mostly young students behind barred windows, according to news reports citing local officials.

Police said smoke inhalation killed the majority of the victims at the Islamic boys' school in Kuala Lumpur: 21 students and two teachers, Reuters reports.

Walking through mobile homes ravaged by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Fla., President Trump praised first responders and residents for doing an "incredible" job on rescue and recovery. Earlier in his one-day visit to Florida, Trump also lauded state and federal officials for their preparation and response to the hurricane.

"We love the people of Florida and they went through something that, I guess, the likes of which we could really say nobody's ever seen before," Trump said in Naples.

Chef Douglas McMaster's flagship restaurant, Silo, takes that "industrial chic" aesthetic that dominates the modern dining scene to a whole new level. Located an hour south of London, in Brighton, England, the restaurant inhabits a 180-year-old building that has been styled into something like a barn — or a grain silo. Let's call it preindustrial chic.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

In one of the biggest shows of military might since the end of the Cold War, Russia and Belarus are conducting joint maneuvers on NATO's doorstep, where the exercises are prompting jitters in some former Soviet satellites.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stepped up security on his country's border with Belarus, warning that the Zapad 2017 exercises could be a prelude to an invasion. Zapad means "west" in Russian

When you feel like everyone around you is having more fun and spending more time with friends, it can make you feel bad about yourself — even if it's not true.

But according to Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who studies how our view of the world affects our view of ourselves, this perception can challenge us to become more social and make more friends.

Why would anyone want to harm an aid worker?

They're just there to help. They don't take sides. They're protected by international humanitarian law. Yet they've repeatedly been the target of some of the worst forms of violence, from kidnapping to gang rape to beheadings. In 2016 alone, 288 aid workers were attacked.

Arkansas Licensed Lay Midwives are regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health. Current rules require mothers to prove they are medically fit to endure a midwife-assisted birth by undergoing two medical assessments with a qualified medical provider or public health clinician. Midwives must relinquish care of any client found to be at risk, or risk losing their license.

Mortgage backers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have recently changed lending rules to give more leeway to borrowers like Kristen Griffin with high student loans.

Griffin is a librarian at Nemo Vista High School in Center Ridge. She and her husband Mark are window-shopping on Zillow while their 2-year-old son Fletcher sleeps nearby.

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