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A potentially habitable planet about the size of Earth is orbiting the star that is nearest our solar system, according to scientists who describe the find Wednesday in the journal Nature.

In Maine's North Woods, forests and rivers that used to feed paper mills will now be permanently protected as a national monument — thanks to a donation by the co-founder of Burt's Bees.

President Obama announced the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on Wednesday, just one day before the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Gunmen attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday evening, as students and staff hunkered down in place or fled for their lives, witnesses say.

Hospital officials say at least one student was killed and at least 14 injured, as Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, tells our Newscast unit.

"Right now there are dozens of Afghan police, security forces, special forces. They've surrounded the campus," Glasse says. Here's more:

Moth Fundraising Hour Fall 2016

Aug 24, 2016
Eddie Hejka
Liz Mackinder

Ideas for scripting are included below to segue between stories, adapt for your station's approach. NPR news compatible.

Richie Disalvo invents “the baby calzone” while nervously dealing with loan sharks. Ally Mason unwittingly accepts the role of Babe, a giant blue ox in a 3rd grade play about Paul Bunyon.  Kathi Kenner Hill is denied admittance to a town pool because of her race. Eddie Hejka treats his son’s autism and learns to trust the community around him for support. 

Nestled among rolling hills and grazing cows, Elmore Mountain Bread in central Vermont is quintessentially pastoral. The setting is apropos, given the owners' recent decision to start grinding their own flour by stone — a veritable step back in time.

A fisherman in the Philippines might have discovered the largest natural pearl ever found — and then kept it hidden under his bed for 10 years.

The pearl's existence was revealed by Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao, a tourism officer in Puerto Princesa, on the island of Palawan.

She says the fisherman is one of her relatives and that he discovered it in a giant clam and kept it as a good-luck charm.

Graduate students win recognition as employees

Aug 24, 2016
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Amy Scott

Colleges and universities are still absorbing the news of a ruling Tuesday by the National Labor Relations Board. The board voted 3-1 that graduate student research and teaching assistants at Columbia University are employees and have the right to unionize. Grad student unions have been recognized at many public universities since 1969. Among private schools, just New York University voluntarily recognizes a student union.

TPP proponents face a tough crowd this election season

Aug 24, 2016
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Sabri Ben-Achour

Trade deals are rarely popular in election years but this year they seem to be extra unpopular.  Mr. Trump appears opposed to most of the U.S. trade deals up to this point and both he and Secretary Clinton oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership.  That complicates the efforts to get the thing passed, even as President Obama has said he would make a push for the deal after the election. 

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook central Myanmar around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, damaging buildings and sending people running into the streets across the region.

Turkish troops crossed into Syria early Wednesday, carrying out airstrikes and launching artillery fire to clear ISIS militants from a border area in coordination with the U.S.-led coalition.

The U.S. military is kinda like Walmart, here's how

Aug 24, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Rosa Brooks did a stint at the Pentagon as well as a civilian counselor of the undersecretary of defense for policy.

Her experiences there are the foundation for a new book about the way the American military does what it does today — which is a whole lot.

It's called, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.”

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Sam Beard

The warnings were dire.  Vote for Brexit and Britain will suffer a disaster, said a whole slew of experts before the referendum . The stock market will crash.  House prices will plummet. Three million people will be thrown onto the dole.

Two months on, none of this has happened. In fact, the opposite has occurred: the stock market has reached new highs, unemployment has sunk to its lowest level for a decade and house prices are stable and retail spending is up.

There was perhaps no movie more buzzed-about coming out of the Sundance Film Festival in January than Nate Parker's directorial debut, The Birth of A Nation, a retelling of Nat Turner's 19th century rebellion of enslaved people in Virginia.

Vincent Van Gogh's paintings might not make it obvious that he was an artist troubled with depression and mania. But a computer algorithm might be able to figure that out. Computer programs are getting pretty good at discovering health information by studying heaps of social media data.

A computer script analyzed galleries of photos posted to Instagram and accurately predicted if the users had depression, according to a study posted this month to the public online repository arXiv.com.

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Keeping business afloat in Louisiana flooding

Aug 24, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal

Horst Pfeifer and his wife, Karen, run Middendorf's, a catfish restaurant north of New Orleans. Pfeifer has been flooded out three times since he bought the restaurant in 2007. The restaurant is on a causeway between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, which both collect floodwaters from the Mississippi and the lowlands along it. We talked with Pfeifer about what it's like to run a business in a place where high water is an inevitability.

On how he looks after his employees during floods:

Turkish Rules Leave Syrian Refugee Children In Limbo

Aug 24, 2016

Aref al-Krez has the look of a young, laid-back guy with well-coiffed hair, stylish clothes and carefully cultivated stubble.

But the 24-year-old Syrian refugee and father of a young daughter has a world of worries about her future and his role in it.

Like so many Syrians now living in Turkey, Krez faces huge bureaucratic hurdles while trying to obtain the right government-issued documents that prove his daughter is actually his.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As we've been reporting, Italy is reeling from a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. It struck before dawn this morning local time. At least 38 people are reported killed. More are still missing.

Computers have already beaten us at chess, Jeopardy and Go, the ancient board game from Asia. And now, in the raging war with machines, human beings have lost yet another battle — over typing.

Updated at 12:50 a.m. ET on Thursday:

Officials in Italy say the death toll has risen to 247. The Associated Press quotes the country's civil protection agency, after it announced updated figures about 27 hours after the earthquake struck. Urgent search efforts continue.

Original Post:

Smartphones To Blame For Limp Handshakes

Aug 24, 2016
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On a Saturday morning, a group of adults gather in a circle in an elementary school classroom on the campus of Gallaudet University. Each wears a name tag — and on that name tag is a common sexual term: "Ejaculation." "Orgasm." "Condom."

One by one they introduce themselves by the name on their tag. Not in spoken words, but in American Sign Language (ASL).

These are parents and caregivers who have — or work with — children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The moms and dads are bashful at first, but after signing for a few minutes, they're laughing at themselves.

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