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Pope Francis met with the president of Venezuela on Monday for a private conversation about that country's acute political and economic crisis, as the Vatican announced it would be mediating a meeting between Venezuela's government and the opposition.

A statement from the Holy See, as translated by Catholic News Agency, said the pope encouraged President Nicolas Maduro "to undertake with courage the path of sincere and constructive dialogue" and "to alleviate the suffering of the people — first of all, those who are poor."

In a working-class city in southeast Michigan there's a barbershop where kids get a $2 discount for reading a book aloud to their barber.

Antarctica's ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating.

Antarctica is bigger than the U.S. and Mexico combined, and it's covered in deep ice — more than a mile deep in some places. Most of the ice sits on bedrock, but it slowly flows off the continent's edges. Along the western edge, giant glaciers creep down toward the sea. Where they meet the ocean, they form ice shelves.

Telecom giant AT&T has reached an $85.4 billion deal to buy media titan Time Warner. The news of this transformational merger has shaken up both industries, raising eyebrows on Wall Street and drawing criticism from lawmakers and even the presidential campaigns.

It's a familiar scene for sleep-deprived parents everywhere: They put down the baby in the bassinet to sleep, and those tiny eyes flutter shut. Then they flutter back open and the crying starts. The only thing perhaps more harrowing than those long wakeful nights of a baby's first year is the fear that one day the child won't wake up.

President Obama's days in office are dwindling, and it's clear he intends to have as much fun as he can on the way out. Last night during a West Coast fundraising trip, he stopped by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Obama took part in a recurring bit called "Mean Tweets," which consists of reading aloud some of the, you guessed it, mean tweets about him of late.

Such as:

@nathan: "Barack Obama is the Nickelback of presidents."

@woodstockdave: "Obama couldn't negotiate getting a Whopper without pickles."

Four people have died at an amusement park in Australia after an accident on a water ride on Tuesday.

The victims were all adults — two men and two women — Stuart Cohen reports for NPR from Sydney. The accident occurred at Dreamworld amusement park, a popular destination on Queensland state's Gold Coast.

An attack on a police academy in Quetta, Pakistan, has left more than 60 people dead and more than 100 others injured, NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Most of the dead were young police cadets, he says.

"The cadets were asleep when the assault began. One survivor says three or four gunmen barged into their dormitory and started firing," Philip reports. "Some cadets escaped by jumping off the roof. Officials say all the attackers are now dead, and that two detonated suicide vests."

Lipton tea can be found in almost any grocery store, and the brand is just about synonymous with industrial Big Tea. So tea enthusiasts who sniff at the familiar square bags might be surprised that once upon a time, Lipton was known as the "farm to table" of the tea world. In fact, it was sold with the catchy slogan "direct from tea garden to tea pot."

So how did Thomas Lipton build this tea empire?

The Amorphophallus titanum is a striking plant even before you get close enough to smell it. Its scientific name means giant, misshapen phallus and it is not hard to see why. A giant column called a spadix rises 7 feet into the air from the center of a pleated funnel.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Good morning. I'm David S. Greene. Perhaps you saw that "Saturday Night Live" skit with Tom Hanks in a crazy pumpkin suit. He was David S. Pumpkins, the not-so-scary but frequent feature of a haunted house.


William Bowen, a scholar and former president of Princeton University, died last week. He is associated with one of the key explanations for just why a college degree keeps getting more and more and more expensive.

Bowen, who was President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and before that, led Princeton from 1972 to 1988, died Oct. 20 at the age of 83.

Nearly half of all American adults have been entered into law enforcement facial recognition databases, according to a recent report from Georgetown University's law school. But there are many problems with the accuracy of the technology that could have an impact on a lot of innocent people.

University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing's body camera was on when he pulled over Sam DuBose last year for a missing front license plate. From the footage, it is clear that Tensing is asking DuBose for his driver's license, and DuBose says he doesn't have it.

Not so very long ago, colonoscopy was the gold standard for colon cancer screening. But times are a-changing. Last month when I went in for a checkup, my primary care doctor handed me a FIT test, a colon cancer test you can do at home without the unpleasantness and risk that turn people off to colonoscopy.

The FIT test, or fecal immunochemical blood test, is a newer and more accurate way to test for blood in stool, which can be a symptom of colon cancer.

Next month, there's a world chess championship match in New York City, and the two competitors, the assembled grandmasters, the budding chess prodigies, the older chess fans — everyone paying attention — will know this indisputable fact: A computer could win the match hands down.

They've known as much for almost 20 years — ever since May 11, 1997. On that day, IBM's Deep Blue defeated the great Garry Kasparov who, after an early blunder, resigned in defeat.

The Iraqi military and its allies have been pushing for a week toward the city of Mosul, held by the Islamic State. For people fleeing the fighting, a few thousand so far, it's been an unbelievably frightening seven days.

In the Debaga camp for displaced people, about 50 miles southeast of Mosul, which is becoming more crowded, I sit with a family who tell me about leaving the village where they lived under ISIS more than two years.

Pennsylvania's former attorney general, Kathleen Kane, has been sentenced to 10 to 23 months in jail after she was embroiled in a scandal that shook the state's political establishment.

The cost of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is expected to rise an average of 22 percent in 2017, according to information released by the Obama administration Monday afternoon.

Still, federal subsidies will also rise, meaning that few people are likely to have to pay the full cost after the rate increases to get insurance coverage.

Parents can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by keeping their child's crib in the same room, close to their bed, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

New research finds little lies pave the way for big ones.

It's one thing to appreciate a 20-year-old fine wine. It is something else to brew up a 2,500-year-old alcoholic beverage.

While sifting through the remains of an Iron Age burial plot dating from 400 to 450 B.C. in what is today Germany, Bettina Arnold, an archaeologist and anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and others uncovered a cauldron that contained remnants of an alcohol brewed and buried with the deceased.

More than 35 million eligible voters in the U.S. — about one in six — have a disability. And in the last presidential election, almost a third of voters with disabilities reported having trouble casting their ballots — whether it was getting into the polling place, reading the ballot, or struggling with a machine.

Despite some improvements, many of these voters are expected to face similar problems again this year.