National News

In this photo released Thursday by a website run by Islamic State militants, damaged Syrian helicopters sit at Palmyra air base, which was captured by ISIS after a battle with the Syrian government forces earlier this week.

Islamic State Reportedly Seizes Last Syria-Iraq Border Crossing

Fighters with the self-declared Islamic State have seized the last border crossing in Syria, where they control half of the country, according to a British-based monitoring group.

Syrian government forces withdrew from al-Tanf, known as al-Waleed in Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The border crossing lies at the extreme northwest of Iraq's border with Syria.

Substitute teacher Josephine Brewington receives the substitute teacher of the year award.

An Irreplaceable Replacement, This Sub Gets The Job Done

One of the toughest jobs in education is the substitute teacher. The pay is low, schedules are unpredictable and respect can be hard to come by. But because the average teacher missed 11 days of school in 2012-2013, a sub like Josephine Brewington ends up playing a crucial role.

And this week — Brewington was rewarded for her efforts — winning the 2015 Substitute Teacher of the Year award.

How Do You Motivate Kids To Stop Skipping School?

It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good.

Nuns vote on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, at a polling station in County Dublin, Ireland, on Friday.

Irish Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Voters in Ireland are deciding today whether the country will amend its constitution to make same-sex marriage legal.

The vote follows months of debate in the heavily Catholic country. Opinion polls suggest the referendum will pass and Ireland become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in a national vote.

But, as NPR's Ari Shapiro points out, "polls in this part of the world have been totally wrong in the past.

Sabas Sanchez Jr. was better known among his neighbors in Madison, Neb., as "Gordo" — Spanish for chubby. He also had an oversized personality. His father keeps this tattered photo in his wallet.

In America's Heartland, Heroin Crisis Is Hitting Too Close To Home

Heroin, today, is killing more and more people in rural America.

One Mexican cartel has seeded low-cost heroin around rural towns in the Southwest and Midwest, selling it cheap and easy, almost like pizza.

Madison, Neb. — population 2,500 — is just a speck of a town, a two-hour drive from the big-city bustle of Omaha. But it's not far enough away to avoid the growing impact of heroin.

"The world's gotten smaller," says Police Chief Rod Waterbury. "If drugs can make it to Chicago, they can make it here."

Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain.

Census Reveals Universe Of Marine Microbes At Bottom Of The Food Chain

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Microbes in the ocean!

There are (and scientists have done the math) trillions of microorganisms in the ocean: plankton, bacteria, krill (they're maybe bigger than "micro," but not by much), viruses, protists and archaea (they're like bacteria, but they aren't bacteria).

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-Ah, after being released by a Seoul appeals court.

Korean Air 'Nut Rage' Executive Freed From Jail

Former Korean Air executive Cho Hyun-ah, or Heather Cho, is out of jail after a four-month stay. If her name and alias don't ring a bell for you, the reason why she was in jail might.

Police officers observe the scene at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, the site of the recent motorcycle gang-related shooting.

Uneasy Rider: The Origins Of Motorcycle Gangs And How They Remain A Force

The shootout involving motorcycle gangs last weekend in Waco, Texas, resulted in 170 arrests and put a spotlight on the gangs' history, which dates back to the 1940s.

Various food items that contained trans fats in November 2013. That month, the Food and Drug Administration first announced plans to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products. A final rule is expected any day now.

Adios, Trans Fats: FDA Poised To Phase Out Artery-Clogging Fat

The case against trans fats is not new. For years, health experts have been telling us to avoid them.

And as retailing behemoths such as Wal-Mart have committed to the removal of all remaining, industrially produced trans fats in the products they sell, the food industry has stepped up its pace to reformulate its offerings.

Former President Bill Clinton speaks earlier this month at a conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, sponsored by the Clinton Foundation.

Millions Of Dollars In Speech Fees Support Clinton Foundation

Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton brought in millions of dollars for their charitable foundation through paid speeches. They gave the honorarium to the organization. This is the latest release of information about the foundation's funding, as a result of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Last week, the campaign filed a financial disclosure showing that since January of 2014, Bill and Hillary Clinton made more than $25 million dollars in paid speeches. Thursday's release from the Clinton Foundation begins to complete the picture.

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