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What is being described as "catastrophic flooding" has inundated South Carolina and much of the Mid-Atlantic, as Hurricane Joaquin — despite staying well offshore — has fueled torrential rains in the region.

President Obama has declared a state of emergency in worst-hit South Carolina. Rain and flood warnings for much of the U.S. East Coast continue through today. The rainfall will reach into the Southeast and the Tennessee Valley with flash-flood threats in several states, including parts of New Jersey, Georgia and North Carolina.

Saul Mindiola is running for mayor of Pueblo Bello — a farm town of 16,000 residents tucked in Colombia's snow-capped Sierra Nevada. The view makes it clear how the place got its its name, which means "beautiful village" in Spanish.

Good Gourd! What's With All The Weird-Looking Squash?

34 minutes ago

When Virginia farmer Charles Martin first got into the pumpkin game a decade ago, he started small, with a half-acre plot of traditional round, orange jack-o-lanterns. Today he grows 55 varieties of gourds, squash and pumpkins, and he's always looking for something new.

We often feature musicians who make cover albums — their versions of songs made popular by others. Now comes a project where writers — some of the most acclaimed of our time — cover Shakepeare's works, retelling the Bard in their own words. Jeanette Winterson's new novel, The Gap of Time, is a re-imagining of The Winter's Tale, and it's the first book in the series to be published.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

If your company hasn't launched a wellness program, this might be the year.

As benefits enrollment for 2016 approaches, more employers than ever are expected to nudge workers toward plans that screen them for risks, monitor their activity and encourage them to take the right pills, food and exercise.

What It's Like To Take Photos Of A Dying Man

2 hours ago

For more than 10 years, disease had slowly eaten away at He Quangui's lungs, leaving him, for the most part, bedridden.

But Quangui was no smoker — he was a Chinese gold miner. Quangui was stricken with silicosis, a respiratory illness caused by inhaling silica dust. An estimated 6 million Chinese miners suffer from the debilitating disease pneumoconiosis — of which silicosis is one form.

The news of John Boehner's resignation as Speaker of the House has many wondering what comes next in such a deeply divided Congress.

NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with House Democratic Leader and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi about the role of the speaker and her take on the current climate of the House. She said it has a full agenda and that it can "be one that is a successful path to the future or it can be a calendar of chaos, and that really is up to the Republicans."

Interview Highlights

On current climate of the House

In this installment of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we're sharing a recent video of Greg O'Brien at home on Cape Cod, Mass. A longtime journalist, O'Brien was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

The first time I interviewed Greg O'Brien, back in January, I asked him what he was most afraid of.

After Thursday's mass shooting at an Oregon community college, which left nine people dead and more injured, President Obama aired his frustration over gun laws in the U.S. At a news conference Friday, he called on voters to push their representatives to take action.

"You just have to, for a while, be a single-issue voter, because that's what is happening on the other side," Obama said. "And that's going to take some time. I mean, the NRA has had a good start."

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Airstrikes on a clinic in the Afghan city of Kunduz have killed patients and staffers from Doctors Without Borders. Al Jazeera Arabic's Washington Bureau Chief Abderrahim Foukara tells NPR's Michel Martin that, together with the Taliban capturing Kunduz, "this is really bad news."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

The sheriff in Roseburg, Oregon, where a gunman killed 9 students at Umpqua Community College earlier this week, said that the shooter killed himself during a confrontation with police at the scene of the campus assault.

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, speaking at what he said would be the final scheduled new conference on the Thursday shooting, said that the Oregon medical examiner has identified the cause of death of the shooter as suicide.

Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a 43-year-old Polish priest who revealed his homosexuality, and a same-sex relationship on the eve of gathering of bishops from around the world, has been stripped of his doctrinal responsibilities for what the Vatican says are "very serious and irresponsible" actions.

"The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Amy and Dave Freeman are willing to risk brutal winters, thin ice and hordes of hungry mosquitoes to raise awareness about impending mining operations on the border of public lands in northern Minnesota.

A year without a shower takes a tremendous amount of dedication and passion. Why do the Freemans believe the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is worth the sacrifice?

"The Boundary Waters belong to all of us. It's a national forest, it's federal lands. It's like a Yellowstone or a Yosemite," Dave says. "There's no other place like it on Earth."

Authorities are trying to build a profile of the 26-year-old gunman who shot and killed 9 people and wounded as many at a western Oregon community college on Thursday in hopes of discovering what his motive might have been.

The Douglas County Sheriff, John Hanlin, has refused to say the shooter's name, stating that he doesn't want to "glorify" him, but officials have said he is Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer and that he was killed at the scene in a shoot-out with police.

Here's what we know about him:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has lately been confronting questions about ethnic diversity, gender equality and LGBT rights.

Now the church's believers, and its critics, are watching closely to see what a membership shake-up might mean for the church. The senior governing council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is expected to name three new leaders to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles after the fairly recent deaths of three elder members.

Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET

Hurricane Joaquin is moving rapidly away from the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 155 mph. Although forecasters say it will stay well offshore from the U.S. East Coast, Bermuda could be in the storm's crosshairs.

Even without a direct hit on the Eastern Seaboard, severe flooding, partly from hurricane-generated rain, was is a big concern in the Carolinas. The White House has declared a state of emergency in South Carolina, which is getting historic levels of rainfall.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

"What's the first thing we do when we get to our bike?" David Gesualdi asks his second-graders. "Check the air!" they yell back at him.

His 19 students are sitting in a semicircle in the gym at Walker-Jones Education Campus, not far from the U.S. Capitol.

Decked out in blue helmets, hair nets (for lice protection) and bright orange mesh vests, their eyes shift impatiently between their phys-ed teacher and the racks of shiny new BMX bikes behind him.

First, though, he walks them through the A-B-C's: "Air. Brake. Chain."

Joe Biden is flying high as speculation swirls around his joining the race for the White House.

But while the vice president may have soaring popularity in the polls right now, the true test of whether he can keep his favorables afloat comes after he becomes a candidate.

President Obama is losing his patience when it comes to the country's gun laws. Speaking Thursday following a deadly shooting in Oregon, he sounded aggravated as he excoriated Congress for not doing more to pass stricter gun legislation.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this summer, he called gun policy "one area where I feel that I've been most frustrated and most stymied."

It's wonder enough in sharply-divided Washington that nine Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate came together this week to do anything, let alone touch the once politically charged arena of crime and punishment.

But groups as different as the ACLU and Koch Industries had joined this year in a coalition to press for change, and so too did senators as different as Iowa Republican Charles Grassley and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.