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Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who presided over clandestine nuclear tests that confirmed India as a nuclear power but soured relations with rival Pakistan, died Thursday at the age of 93.

A 45-year-old Iraqi national who was granted refugee status in the U.S. is accused of having fought for ISIS and al-Qaida and is now facing extradition to Iraq on a murder charge.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Omar Ameen at his home in Sacramento on Wednesday. Ameen is charged in the 2014 death of an Iraqi police officer in his hometown, Rawah, just after it fell to the Islamic State.

Curtis McMurtry On Mountain Stage

Aug 16, 2018

"The last time we were here, I told the audience I only play sad songs and mean songs," Curtis McMurtry noted while making his second appearance on Mountain Stage. "It's been three years since we were here and I'm happy to report that since that time, I've added melancholy, vindictive, and bleak to my emotional songwriting palate."

Just the mention of Aretha Franklin's name conjures up the memory of her undeniable voice. And with a career spanning more than five decades, touching gospel, R&B and pop, Franklin has earned her place in the history books and in the hearts of music fans.

Though the Detroit-raised powerhouse is known for chart-topping hits like "Respect," "Think" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," true fans know there's just as much beauty in the Franklin songs with a couple of fewer spins in the jukebox.

Though her career carried her from the Baptist churches of Detroit to a life of platinum plaques and diamond-drizzled furs, Aretha Franklin's voice never lost its flavor. Her ability to rouse emotion is a talent few other artists have ever been able to touch. And her piano-playing prowess, which she developed in church, was unmatched. It's the reason she earned the title of Queen of Soul in the 1960s.

Aretha Franklin: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Aug 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin was more than a woman, more than a diva and more than an entertainer. Aretha Franklin was an American institution. Aretha Franklin died Thursday in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Two women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's dictator, will remain in custody after a judge in Malaysia on Thursday said there is enough evidence of a "well-planned conspiracy" to move the case forward.

After working at a call center for two decades, Linda Bradley's job came to an end about a year and a half ago. Since her layoff, she has combed online job sites every day looking for work — without much luck.

Bradley, who is 45 and lives near Columbus, Ohio, began suspecting age discrimination after someone at her union mentioned how recruiters often target online ads at younger candidates. "I thought to myself, 'Oh, that's why I wasn't seeing some of the ads that my daughter has seen on her Facebook,' " she says.

The Colorado baker who won a Supreme Court case over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is suing state officials, alleging religious discrimination over his refusal to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.

Attorneys for Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., said Wednesday that the state is "continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs."

As students prepare to go back to school, more and more parents are thinking about school safety. A recent poll found 34 percent of parents fear for their child's physical safety at school. That's almost triple the number of parents from 2013.

Aaron Reid is lying in a hospital bed at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center when doctors arrive to make sure he's ready for his experimental treatment.

"How's your night? Any issues?" asks Dr. Katherine Barnett, a pediatric oncologist, as they begin to examine Reid.

Reid, 20, of Lucedale, Miss., has been fighting leukemia since he was 9 years old. He has been through chemotherapy and radiation twice, a bone marrow transplant and two other treatments.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" is a song many African-Americans know from school or church. But if you didn't hear it there, you may know it from one of a few landmark performances.

Disenchantment, Matt Groening's new animated series that hits Netflix on Friday, August 17th, does for our mythical past what Futurama did for our imagined future, but it does so in a manner so closely reminiscent of that other show's wryly cynical sci-fi hi-jinks that it could have just as easily been called Pastarama, if that didn't sound quite so much like a seasonal promotion at Olive Garden.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in this year's midterm elections. Her future may depend on how closely she can align herself with President Trump without angering members of her own party.

Heitkamp must walk that fine line because she's campaigning in a state that went for Trump by more than 35 points in 2016. That pressure was on display this week after she became one of the first Democrats to meet privately with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Image and fame are among pop music's chief obsessions. Artists have often chosen to take on these themes in surreal and stylized ways, even veering into performance art territory.

Just when we think we've atoned for our mistakes or healed from old wounds, the past always finds a way to resurface. Domenic Palermo knows this as much as anyone. As the guitarist, singer and songwriter of the Philadelphia rock band Nothing, Palermo has channeled a lifetime of tragedies into song, to the point where his backstory and his music are so enmeshed he can never quite escape.

Dee White's back story almost sounds like too good of a journalistic hook to be true. It goes like this: A teenager unassumingly cultivates sophisticated country music sensibilities in an unincorporated Alabama hamlet until his dad introduces him to a fellow Alabamian,who turns out to be none other than Harold Shedd, a producer and record executive whose work with the archetypal arena-rocking country band Alabama launched one of Nashville's most enviable streaks of success.

When Candi Staton first auditioned the drummer for Unstoppable, her 30th studio album, he had not, let's say, fully matured as an artist.

Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET

More than 300 news publications across the country are joining together to defend the role of a free press and denounce President Trump's ongoing attacks on the news media in coordinated editorials publishing Thursday, according to a tally by The Boston Globe.

Updated at 8:51 a.m. ET

More than 70 people overdosed in or around a historic Connecticut park near the Yale University campus on Wednesday after receiving what authorities believe was synthetic marijuana laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl. Although there have been no deaths, at least two people suffered life-threatening symptoms, according to authorities.

As students arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the start of the new school year on Wednesday, they found a tall new fence surrounding the perimeter, banners draped along the exterior willing them to be "#MSDStrong," and a fresh coat of burgundy paint in the hallways.

Each in its own way was an attempt to mark the setting as a place of learning and reassure its occupants of a fortified safety within its walls.

At a news conference held on the school lawn, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie called it a "bittersweet day."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There are a bunch of historical anniversaries in August. The Watts riots happened 53 years ago. Woodstock was 49 years ago today in fact. And then there's the 46th anniversary of Wattstax.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

"I am a navy officer who has been stabbed in the back by his brothers in arms," reads a pinned tweet by Turkish former Lt. Cmdr. Cafer Topkaya.

"Trapped, purged, and imprisoned by his fellow countrymen. Once a NATO staff officer, now an exile. I guess it's time to tell my story!"

Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become an outspoken critic of the president.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the move on Wednesday following an earlier discussion about pulling the clearance held by Brennan and a group of other targets.

Determined to combat New Zealand's lofty housing prices, the country's lawmakers have trained their aim at a distant target: the buyers beyond their borders. By a close vote Wednesday, the Parliament passed a law banning most nonresident foreigners from purchasing existing homes or residential land.

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