NPR News

Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, one of three top leaders in the Southeast Asian country, has died at age 61, according to state media, which says he suffered from a "serious illness."

Quang was sworn in as president in 2016 and served in the largely ceremonial post alongside Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and secretary-general of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, who experts believe wields the bulk of the power in the country's leadership triumvirate.

After years of successfully operating as an independent entity, 14-member hip-hop boy band Brockhampton unveiled its major label debut, iridescence, late Thursday night.

Airline travelers should prepare to dig deeper or pack lighter, as many of the biggest U.S. airlines have now raised the price for checking luggage.

American Airlines, the largest air carrier by passenger volume, is the latest to do so, announcing Thursday that it will raise fees from $25 to $30 for the first checked bag and from $35 to $40 for the second checked bag each way on flights to and from destinations within the U.S., North America and the Caribbean. The airline will begin charging the higher fees Friday, Sept. 21.

Alberto Carrión got out of bed while it was still dark Wednesday morning, and as he drove the winding road toward Puerto Rico's eastern coast, he looked up at the clouds through his drizzled windshield and worried.

"Please don't let it rain," he thought to himself. "Oh, no, please don't let it rain."

Carrion is a well known singer and composer in Puerto Rico, and on Wednesday morning, the first anniversary of Hurricane Maria's destructive tear across the island, he was driving toward Yabucoa, the town where the hurricane made landfall.

Florence may have concluded its crawl over the Carolinas, but officials are warning residents not to let the fairer weather deceive them. For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and as all that water continues to make its way downstream, rivers keep on rising.

The storm's death toll ticked up to 41 people on Thursday; 31 people in North Carolina alone, which entered its 13th day under a state of emergency.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. Friday

Newly unsealed court documents have explained the mysterious closure of a New Mexico observatory earlier this month, revealing that authorities were investigating one of the facility's janitors for possession and distribution of child pornography.

The Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak was shut for 11 days for "a security issue," and its closure drew cheeky speculation that authorities were investigating the presence of UFOs.

Google has warned some senators and Senate aides that their personal Google accounts have been targets of attempted hacks backed by foreign governments, the company confirmed on Thursday.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote to Senate leaders on Wednesday that his office has discovered a number of senators and Senate staff members were warned by a major technology company "that their personal email accounts were targeted by foreign government hackers."

Updated on Sept. 21 at 2:33 p.m. ET

If you feel like your commute is taking longer, that's because it is.

New survey data show the average American's commute inched up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey.

Last week, hackers stole an estimated $59 million from a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange called Zaif, according to a statement released Thursday by the owners of the exchange.

According to Cointelegraph, the Tech Bureau Corp. said the breach occurred on September 14. The company discovered something was wrong on September 17, and realized it was a hack the following day, September 18.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has reinstated Russia's state anti-doping regulator after a major doping scandal that reverberated across international sports. The move has been roundly condemned by anti-doping advocates.

The reinstatement of RUSADA, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, is subject to conditions. Nine members of WADA's executive committee backed the decision. Two voted against it – the agency's vice president and Oceania. Europe abstained.

When people are crossing a U.S. border, they expect to be asked about their citizenship. But not when they're driving up the East Coast.

U.S. Border Patrol agents are boarding buses from private lines like Greyhound and Concord Coach within 100 miles of a U.S. border, asking passengers if they're American citizens. It turns out agents are empowered to do this through a little-known law called the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. There are more and more reports of officers stopping cars and buses.

Life Can Be A Mess, But So Is 'Life Itself'

Sep 20, 2018

Imagine that you sit down in a darkened theater to see a film about which you know nothing. (This film does not exist, but go with it.) In the first scene, a man lovingly rehabilitates a three-legged dog. In the next — apparently unconnected — scene, a young girl sits behind the wheel of a car on her father's lap, giggling as he lets her "drive." Words come up on the screen: "Written by Dan Fogelman." At this point, if you are smart, you will lean over to the person next to you, and you will whisper in their ear, as inconspicuously as you can.

Carmen Lugo has lived in Puerto Rico her whole life, and her whole life she has feared the water that comes out of her tap.

"When I was a child, we used filters," she says, leaning on the doorjamb with her 11-year-old in front of her and two teenage sons sleepy-eyed behind her on a morning in July.

"The water here," she says, pausing as she purses her lips in a tight smile. She chooses her words carefully. "We want to be in good health," she finally says. "My husband, he buys water from the Supermax," referring to a local grocery store.

Ireland officially revoked its ban on abortion this week – and its health minister says that under a new law, women won't have to pay for abortion services in the country. The goal is to ensure access and make sure women aren't forced to travel for the procedure, Health Minister Simon Harris says.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins signed the abortion referendum bill into law on Tuesday, striking the Eighth Amendment from the books.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in the 1980s, have begun discussing terms of her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

"She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety," Debra Katz, Ford's lawyer says in an email to committee aides first reported in the New York Times and confirmed by NPR.

It was a damp and dreary November nearly three years ago, when the London Metropolitan Police decided it was time to act. People kept calling with reports of grisly findings: mutilated cats, some with their heads and tails removed in and around the borough of Croydon.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Three people were killed in a workplace shooting Thursday morning in northeast Maryland. Several other people were wounded during the attack at a Rite Aid distribution center.

The shooter, identified by the sheriff as Snochia Moseley, 26, of Baltimore County, also died; she shot herself in the head.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's hopes of persuading her peers in the European Union to keep the U.K. in the bloc's single market were dashed at an informal summit in Salzburg that ended on Thursday.

She appealed for compromise to ease the United Kingdom's departure from the EU, speaking in the theater where "So Long, Farewell" was performed by the Von Trapp family in the 1965 film The Sound of Music. But EU leaders clearly were not feeling nostalgic.

When the creators of the HBO series The Deuce first approached Maggie Gyllenhaal about starring in the show as a sex worker, she didn't immediately say yes.

Set in New York City in the 1970s, The Deuce centers on the intersection of sex work, pornography, organized crime, the police, politicians and feminists. Gyllenhaal didn't have a problem with the role, but she did have strong feelings about how the power dynamics of sex should be portrayed.

Unless you've experienced it, it's difficult to fathom just how intense the power of a Category 4 hurricane is. And to get slammed by two in less than a month?

Scientists say they have taken a potentially important — and possibly controversial — step toward creating human eggs in a lab dish.

A team of Japanese scientists turned human blood cells into stem cells, which they then transformed into very immature human eggs.

The eggs are far too immature to be fertilized or make a baby. And much more research would be needed to create eggs that could be useful — and safe — for human reproduction.

What were you doing when you were 7 years old?

North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong Un wants to meet with President Trump again, says South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has just returned from Pyongyang. Moon also spoke directly to the North Korean public, describing a peaceful future to an audience of some 150,000 people.

"We had lived together for five thousand years but apart for just 70 years," Moon said in his speech on Thursday, in which he repeatedly addressed the crowd as "Citizens of Pyongyang, fellow Koreans."

Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET

Can the Senate Judiciary Committee enlist the FBI to investigate the claims of sexual assault brought by an accuser against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominee to the Supreme Court?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said on Wednesday that she thinks the committee must look into the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her three decades ago.

As Jet Airways Flight 9W697 took off from Mumbai on Thursday, something terrifying quickly became clear: The cabin was not properly pressurized.

Oxygen masks dropped from the cabin's ceiling. "Thirty out of 166 passengers experienced nose and ear bleeding [and] some also complained of headache," an official with India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation said, according to the Hindustan Times.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

Judges have unveiled their finalists for the 2018 Man Booker Prize on Thursday, whittling the prestigious fiction award's possible winners to a shortlist of just half a dozen novels: Anna Burns' Milkman, Esi Edugyan's Washington Black, Daisy Johnson's Everything Under, Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room, Richard Powers' The Overstory, and Robin Robertson's The Long Take.

Experiments with two gambling monkeys have revealed a small area in the brain that plays a big role in risky decisions.

When researchers inactivated this region in the prefrontal cortex, the rhesus monkeys became less inclined to choose a long shot over a sure thing, the team reported Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

By all accounts, Florence was a massive, wet monster of a storm — and an expensive one, too. Its historic deluge swelled inland rivers and wrecked homes across the Carolinas, racking up costs that early estimates set as high as $22 billion.

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