National News

Smoke and flames rise from the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday in this aerial photo.

Wildfires Force Evacuation Of Towns, Hospital In Washington State

This post was updated at 2 p.m. ET:

The small town of Pateros in north-central Washington has emptied out as wildfires burning in the area destroyed as many as 100 homes.

The roughly 650 residents of Pateros — as well as a nearby hospital — were evacuated late Thursday.

The Carlton Complex wildfires had burned 260 square miles by Friday morning — a dramatic increase from the 28 square miles estimated Thursday night.

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (center) arrives for a court hearing in Naples in June, where he was appearing as a witness in the trial of an associate. Berlusconi's conviction on sex with a minor and abuse of power was overturned by a court in Milan on Friday.

Berlusconi Underage Sex Conviction Overturned By Italian Court

An appeals court in Italy has overturned the conviction of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute and then abused his power to cover up the crime.

A firefighter tries to douse smoldering wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine on Thursday. Kiev officials accuse pro-Russian separatists of firing a missile at the jet, which crashed in territory held by rebel insurgents. The separatists, Ukraine's military and Russia have all denied any involvement.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Crash: What We Know

This post was updated at 11:55 a.m. ET.

One day after the downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was likely shot down by a missile fired from eastern Ukraine.

"We assess Malaysian Airlines Flight 17... was likely downed by a surface-to-air [SAM] missile, an SA-11, operated from a separatist-held location in eastern Ukraine," Power said today.

An Israeli artillery shell is fired at the border with Gaza on Friday near Sderot, Israel. Late last night Israeli forces escalated their operation with a ground offensive, sending troops into Gaza. More than 250 Palestinians have lost their lives since Israel began operation "Protective Edge."

Israeli Ground Operation In Gaza Continues

Updated at 11:05 a.m.

Israeli tanks and troops entered the Gaza Strip as part of a ground invasion late Thursday, heightening a conflict that so far had been restricted mainly to an air war with Hamas militants.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske sits under an image of New York's Ground Zero in his office in Washington. For him, it serves as a daily reminder of the security threats that have shaped his agency.

Border Agency Chief Opens Up About Deadly Force Cases

The new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says he is reviewing scores of incidents in which agents have used deadly force.

R. Gil Kerlikowske made that statement during an exclusive interview with NPR's Morning Edition. It was his first extended conversation about controversial incidents in which the Border Patrol has killed civilians without apparent accountability. (Click here for a full transcript of the interview.)

The call center of Zappos.com gets high marks from consumers for strong customer service.

Better Culture Could Have Prevented Viral Comcast Call

This week, one man's customer service call to Comcast turned into a badgering — a simple request to cancel his service was repeatedly beaten back by the employee on the other end of the line. It was a familiar feeling for a lot of us, which perhaps explains why more than 4 million people have listened to it in less than a week.

The CDC's director, Tom Frieden, testified before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday regarding a recent anthrax incident and lab safety improvements he's instituting.

Head Scientist At CDC Weighs Costs Of Recent Lab Safety Breaches

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the hot seat.

It all started in mid-June, when the CDC announced that dozens of its scientists might have accidentally been exposed to anthrax.

FedEx was indicted Thursday on charges of assisting illegal online pharmacies by shipping controlled substances.

FedEx Charged With Shipping Drugs For Illegal Online Pharmacies

A federal grand jury has indicted FedEx on charges of assisting illegal pharmacies. Prosecutors say the shipping company knowingly distributed controlled substances, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

FedEx is "accused of conspiring to distribute prescription drugs to people who never met with doctors — a violation of the Controlled Substances Act," Johnson says.

She says prosecutors in San Francisco demanded that representatives for FedEx appear in court on July 29.

At The Scene Of The Crash: An Attempt To Make Sense Of The Wreckage

Libya Asks U.N. For Assistance In Protecting Oil And Airports

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz asked the United Nations Security Council for help protecting the country's ports, airports and oil installations on Thursday, warning that the country could become a failed state.

He pleaded with the council "to take the case of Libya seriously before it is too late," according to Reuters.

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