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He Was An Interpreter For U.S. Forces In Afghanistan And Now He's Driving For Uber

Ahmad Zai Ahmadi was just a teenager when he ran into a group of U.S. Marines at a bazaar in his hometown of Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2003.

"I just started saying, 'Hi' and 'How are you,' and they say, 'OK, you speak English. Do you want to be translating for us?' I say, 'Of course, yes!' " recalls Ahmadi, now 36.

He went on to work as an interpreter for U.S. forces for nearly a decade, a job that took him all over Afghanistan. He forged friendships with U.S. service members, including a number of high-ranking officers. His nickname was Rock.


Annice Lyn for NPR

PHOTOS: They Could Put Food On The Table — Until The Pandemic Struck

Filipino broom maker Gloria Hernandez longs for chicken and milkfish — big milkfish. She can only afford small ones now, and they don't add up to a decent meal. She eats rice with coffee twice a day so she doesn't feel hungry. Fried eggs and bread — those are the foods Nigerian clergyman Femi Oyekan Moses used to eat all the time and misses the most. Now he mainly eats beans and corn and often skips lunch.


AP

Children And Teens Gained Weight At An Alarming Rate During The Pandemic, The CDC Says

As a group, American children and teenagers have seen a significant increase in weight gain since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with the biggest jumps occurring in younger school-aged children and those who were already prone to obesity, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


AFP via Getty Images

More Than 600,000 White Flags On The National Mall Honor Lives Lost To COVID

Updated September 17, 2021 at 11:18 AM ET

For more than two weeks starting this month, over 600,000 white flags will fill the National Mall — symbolizing the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States.

Each of the flags, displayed across the 20 acres of grass, will hold a written personalized message from loved ones honoring their memory.


AP

In Texas, Officials Are Reporting A Surge Of Migrants At The Southern Border This Week

A surge in migration at the U.S.-Mexico border is again causing issues for federal authorities and local officials in Texas.


AP

European Official: We Have A 'Moral Duty' To Help Afghan Refugees

Updated September 17, 2021 at 8:34 AM ET

European Commissioner Ylva Johansson believes Europe has an obligation to help Afghan refugees.

"We have a lot of people that have been fighting for our values and done that in a real good way in Afghanistan. And it's our moral duty now to do everything we can to protect them and evacuate them to a safe home," Johansson told NPR's Rachel Martin.


Getty Images

Yes, We're Calling It Hispanic Heritage Month And We Know It Makes Some Of You Cringe

Updated September 17, 2021 at 11:54 AM ET

As the headline unambiguously states, here at NPR we've kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month.

Not Latino Heritage Month. Not Latinx Heritage Month. Not even a compromise or a combination of the three: Hispanic/Latino/Latinx Heritage Month.


A Single Fire Killed Thousands Of Sequoias. Scientists Are Racing To Save The Rest

On a hot afternoon in California's Sequoia National Park, Alexis Bernal squints up at the top of a 200-foot-tall tree.

"That is what we would call a real giant sequoia monarch," she says. "It's massive."

At 40 feet in diameter, the tree easily meets the definition of a monarch, the name given to the largest sequoias. It's likely more than 1,500 years old.

Still, that's as old as this tree will get. The trunk is pitch black, the char reaching almost all the way to the top. Not a single green branch is visible.


AP

Hundreds Of Dead Migratory Birds In New York City Prompt Calls For Dimming Lights

Updated September 16, 2021 at 8:24 PM ET

Early Tuesday morning, Melissa Breyer set out to do her usual volunteer work — collecting the bodies of migratory birds who had died colliding with skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan.


Department of Justice via AP

The Trump-Russia Probe's Special Counsel Has Charged A Lawyer With Lying To The FBI

Updated September 16, 2021 at 10:27 PM ET

A Washington attorney who specializes in cybersecurity issues has been indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI ahead of the 2016 election in a conversation about possible ties between Donald Trump and Russia.

Michael Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who had worked at a law firm with longstanding links to the Democratic Party, is the second individual to be charged in special counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe.


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