National News

Mapping What You Cannot See, Cannot Know, Cannot Visit

When I was a boy I had a globe. I could take it in my hands, rest it on my lap, give it a spin and look down on Africa, Europe, North America and Asia spinning by.

Peikwen Cheng; <em>Praying</em> from the <em>Lost and Found</em> Series, 2010.

China Gets Its First Taste Of Fine Art Photography

China's largest fair devoted to fine art photography opened in Shanghai this weekend. The first-time event is called Photo Shanghai and includes more than 500 works from photographers around the world.

One of the exhibits drawing a lot of Chinese visitors this weekend is by photographer Zhang Kechun. One of the most striking images features a Buddha head, about 40 feet high, sitting in the middle of an open pit coal mine.

A Ukrainian army checkpoint burns on the road to Russia after loud explosions were heard on the outskirts of Mariupol late Saturday.

In A Test Of The Cease-Fire, Ukraine Checkpoint Reportedly Destroyed

The cease-fire in Ukraine is barely two days old, but the relative peace was ruptured by steady overnight shelling near the port city of Mariupol.

The BBC says the city is now quiet, but artillery fire by pro-Russian forces destroyed a major government checkpoint. Mariupol is on a major highway leading to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia earlier this year, and is the site of defensive posts against the rebels.

Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma delivers a speech during the Softbank World 2014 annual forum in Tokyo in July. Alibaba is preparing for a multi-billion-dollar stock offer on the New York Stock Exchange.

China's Alibaba Could See $155 Billion Valuation In U.S. IPO

Preparing for its initial public offering, e-commerce company Alibaba estimates its stock will sell for $60 to $66 a share. The retailing giant will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in what's expected to be one of the biggest IPOs ever.

NPR's Zoe Chace reports:

"Alibaba says that it expects to raise about $24 billion in the IPO — and yeah, that would be the biggest. More than Google, Facebook, Visa — the heavyweights.

Dry California Braces As Wildfires Continue

The so-called Bridge fire that started Friday afternoon is already threatening hundreds of homes. The blaze in Mariposa County is one of many large fires burning in drought-stricken California. Officials say this weekend's conditions will make the danger even greater.

The Bridge fire has moved quickly, and officials say it now threatens hundreds of homes near Yosemite National Park. (You can follow the state's wildfire season on member station KPCC's Fire Tracker).

NPR's Nathan Rott reports:

Kei Nishikori of Japan reacts after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia to reach the finals of the 2014 U.S. Open.

Japan's Nishikori Beats Djokovic, Making History; Federer Falls To Cilic

Update at 6:15 p.m. EDT

After dispatching world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in four sets Saturday, Kei Nishikori put a buzz into the U.S. Open crowd in New York and put himself into the history books, becoming the first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam tennis final. Saturday's match was also the first elite semifinal he'd reached.

In the final, Nishikori will meet Marin Cilic of Croatia, who defeated Roger Federer in the other semifinal. Cilic, the 14th seed, beat second-seed Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

The men's final is scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

Levi's didn't even call them "jeans" until after James Dean wore them. Would he have preferred stretch fabrics and elastic waistbands?

Blue Jeans Losing Their Grip On American Hips

The AP says that the nation's devotion to denim is wearing thin. Sales fell a significant 6 percent over the last year after decades of steady growth, according to the market research firm NPD Group.

Seems the nation is leisurizing its pants, bypassing the dungarees and choosing elastic waistbands and sweats instead. Sales of yoga pants and other active wear climbed 7 percent in the same period.

Obama Will Put Off Executive Actions On Immigration

Responding to fellow Democrats' concerns in a tight election season, President Obama will delay acting on his own on immigration issues until after November's midterm vote, the White House says. Earlier this summer, the president had pledged to use executive actions to address immigration if Congress did not.

"The reality the president has had to weigh is that we're in the midst of the political season," a White House official says, noting that Obama "believes it would be harmful to the policy itself and to the long-term prospects" for reform if he acted before November.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell arrives at federal court in Richmond on Aug. 28.

If It's Not About Sex, It Must Be About Money — Unless It's About Power

With the stunning conviction of former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife on corruption charges, people are once again posing that age old question: Why do so many politicians get into trouble with the law?

The list of reasons comes as a shock because it's so short. The mighty are laid low by the same three temptations, over and over.

French citizen Mehdi Nemmouche, seen here at right in a courtroom drawing, has been identified by a former hostage of the Islamic State as one of the group's jailers. Nemmouche is accused of attacking a Jewish museum in Belgium.

Former IS Hostage Says Museum Shooting Suspect Was His Jailer

A French journalist who was held by the Islamic State says one of the jailers during his 2013 captivity is the same man who police say killed four people in an attack on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May. The accused gunman is also French, increasing fears in Europe over European citizens' ties to extremist groups.

From Brussels, Teri Schultz reports:

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