National News

Peter Theo Curtis smiles as he talks with reporters outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Mass., on Wednesday.

Back Home, Freed American Journalist Says He's 'Overwhelmed By Emotion'

American journalist Peter Theo Curtis was back home in Cambridge, Mass., today, after he was released by a militant group in Syria.

Speaking to reporters, Curtis said he was "overwhelmed by emotion." Curtis, if you remember, disappeared in 2012 and was freed over the weekend by Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida affiliate operating in Syria.

Rice is just as nice as ice when it comes to bucket challenges. Right: Manju Latha Kalanidhi, inventor of the Rice Bucket Challenge, gives grains to a hard-working neighbor.

Rice Bucket Challenge: Put Rice In Bucket, Do Not Pour Over Head

There's the Ice Bucket Challenge. And now there's the Rice Bucket Challenge.

More than a million people worldwide have poured buckets of ice water over their heads as part of a fund-raising campaign for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

But when word of the challenge made its way to India, where more than 100 million people lack access to clean drinking water, locals weren't exactly eager to drench themselves with the scarce supply.

An injured man sits after being treated at a medical center following shelling in the city of Douma, Syria.

U.N. Says Assad Regime, Islamic State Are Committing War Crimes In Syria

A report presented by the United Nations today paints a pretty grim picture of Syria.

It tells the story of a country mired in a ruthless civil war in which all sides are indiscriminately killing and torturing civilians. It presents a laundry list of human rights violations and war crimes undertaken by both the forces of President Bashar Assad and non-state armed groups, such as the Islamic State, that are fighting to topple the regime.

A kids shirt that was for sale on Zara.com.

Fashion Retailer Zara Pulls Kids Shirt Resembling Concentration Camp Uniform

The clothing retail giant Zara is apologizing and has pulled a kids' shirt from its stores after hearing complaints that it resembled the uniform worn by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

In a tweet, Zara said the shirt was "inspired by the sheriff's stars from the Classic Western films."

Reporting from Spain's Canary Islands, Lauren Frayer tells our Newscast unit that this isn't the first time the Spanish retailer has gotten into trouble. She filed this report:

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

French Prosecutors Put IMF's Lagarde Under Investigation

Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, says French prosecutors have put her under formal investigation.

The New York Times reports:

"Ms. Lagarde said in a statement through her lawyer that she was being investigated for 'simple negligence,' by the Court of Justice of the Republic, the judicial body that is charged with investigating the conduct of high government officials....

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Any way you slice it, Americans are obsessed with pizza. One in eight of us are noshing it on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the average American consumes pizza about 39 times a year, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.

The signature of a great American-style pizza is not the toppings du jour but the cheese: hot, gooey mozzarella, with big, dark splotches of caramelization.

Afghan election commission worker sorts ballots for an audit.

Both Afghan Candidates Pull Observers From U.N. Audit Of Votes

The Afghan election process was thrown further into disarray on Wednesday, when both candidates pulled their observers from a U.N.-led audit of the country's ballots.

The Associated Press reports that Abdullah Abdullah was the first to withdraw his observer, saying the process was full of fraud. The news service adds:

What's on the menu at Tim Hortons? Coffee and doughnuts --” and also sandwiches and pastries.

Canadians Fret Merger With Burger King Will Change Tim Hortons

Never heard of Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain that U.S. fast-food chain Burger King recently announced it was buying? In Canada, that's like asking an American, "What's Starbucks?"

The brand affectionately called Timmy's is everywhere in Canada. Tim Hortons has more than 3,000 stores across Canada as well as about 600 in the U.S.

Redemption Hospital, in Liberia's capital of Monrovia, offers free medical care. After several health care workers were infected with Ebola, people have been afraid to come.

Why Patients Aren't Coming To Liberia's Redemption Hospital

Redemption Hospital is a government-run facility in Liberia's capital city of Monrovia.

It offers care to all who come, free of charge.

Only now, patients aren't coming. It's rainy season — and malaria season. Tita Horace, head nurse of the pediatric ward, says her department usually sees 25 patients a day this time of year. Today, there are only five.

The sick are staying away, she explains, because they are afraid. "Some of them are afraid that maybe when they come they will get in contact with [an] Ebola patient. So they don't want to come to the hospital."

American Eric Harroun threatened Bashar Assad on Facebook and YouTube. He spent six weeks fighting with a rebel army, a journey that did not end well for him.

U.S. Officials Try To Gauge Threat From American Fighters In Syria

The heyday of "war tourism" was probably the 1930s, when a host of intellectuals and artists left the U.S. to bear witness to the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway wrote about it. George Orwell, just to name another, actually fought in it.

Regular people from all walks of life showed up on those fields of battle as well, in much the same way young men — both Muslim and non-Muslim — are streaming to Syria today. The modern-day result: Instead of newspaper articles and Homage to Catalonia, there are literally hundreds of Facebook entries that chronicle the fight.

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