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Human smugglers prey on the desperation of people who flee war and oppression. They've made millions moving people across borders, without regard to safety. Thousands have died, locked in packed trucks or trapped in sinking ships — like the "ghost ships," crowded with Syrian refugees, which have been set on course to crash into the Italian coast.

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In Brazil, Syrian Refugees Retrace Migration Trails

Sep 26, 2015
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Since Syria's civil war began, Brazil has quietly accepted more refugees from there than any other country in Latin America. Catherine Osborn reports some of these refugees have been building new lives in Rio by connecting with Syrian history there.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The U.S. is in a frenzy over Pope Francis. And with the pontiff visiting Philadelphia on Saturday, vendors there are ready with commemorative memorabilia – including, as we've reported, a toaster that burns the pontiff's image onto bread.

Competition to get admitted to the papal trip to Cuba and the U.S. was fierce: Some 140 reporters and photographers applied for the 76 seats available for print, radio and TV journalists. I strategized for much of June on the best way to secure one of them.

On the day the decision was announced, those who were rejected received politely written emails expressing regrets from the Vatican spokesman. Those who were admitted learned of it only by going to the Vatican press room to see the list pinned on the bulletin board.

There's getting a little choked up. There's shedding a few tears. There's full-on crying. And then, there's John Boehner, American politics' crier-in-chief.

This week, (soon to be former) Speaker of the House Boehner's tear ducts stole the show yet again, definitely upstaging the Pope's little black Fiat and newly-named baby panda Bei Bei to become our #MemeOfTheWeek.

So, what happened?

Syrian rebels, armed and trained by U.S. and allied forces, reportedly surrendered equipment to a suspected Al Nusra Front intermediary, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

NPR's Tom Bowman reports:

The ad begins: "A better network as explained by backup quarterback Luke McCown."

Turned off by a slightly smelly fillet of halibut? Don't think that grilled salmon will be any good tomorrow?

Such mealtime decisions may seem innocent enough, but when they're made by people all over the country, they add up to a staggering amount of waste. Nearly half the U.S. seafood supply winds up uneaten, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

From 2009 to 2013, 2.3 billion pounds of seafood on average in the U.S. was wasted annually. That's 208 billion grams of protein a year that no one got to eat.

Breaking bricks. That's what 50-year-old Mohammed Alfazuddin has done for about half of his life outside Dhaka, Bangladesh.

"We do it because we are poor and because we don't have any stones in Bangladesh, so we need to break up bricks to mix in with the concrete when we make buildings," he says.

For each brick he smashes, Alfazuddin makes the equivalent of about 3 cents. He's illiterate and lives with his family in a tin-shed home owned by his in-laws.

Updated 6:25 p.m. ET

Friday the State Department revealed two new, unrelated developments related to Hilary Clinton's private email server.

First, the State Department announced that the Department of Defense uncovered a previously undisclosed email chain between former Secretary of State Clinton and retired Gen. David Petraeus about personal matters. NPR's Tamara Keith reports that the chain starts before she became secretary of state and continues into the early days of her time in office.

Pope Francis' second day in New York continues with a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, followed by a motorcade ride through central park at 5 p.m. Afterwards, he will celebrate a mass at 6 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.

Earlier in the day, the pontiff addressed the United Nations General Assembly, advising the assembled global leaders to put humanity before partisan interests.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Here's a phrase you don't hear a lot in the US: "Pakistani pop music." In fact, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has a thriving music industry — and singer Zebunissa Bangash, or Zeb for short, is one of its stars.

There has been violence and threat to Pakistani culture since the country was founded 68 years ago, both for political and religious reasons. Zeb was never subjected to that scrutiny: She studied art history at college in the US before returning home to form a band with her cousin, Haniya. Their accessible pop songs found a devoted following.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



House Speaker John Boehner’s surprise resignation announcement has House Republicans scrambling today. Boehner announced that he will resign from leadership and from Congress at the end of October. The announcement came one day after Boehner, a devout Catholic greeted Pope Francis in a historic joint meeting of Congress.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd discusses Boehner’s resignation with ABC News’ Rick Klein.

House Speaker John Boehner will resign from leadership and from Congress at the end of October. His announcement came a day after he shed tears standing next to Pope Francis in Washington and nearly five years after he took the lead of a divided Republican caucus in the House.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with NPR’s Domenico Montanaro about what fueled Boehner’s resignation.

If you order oysters at a restaurant, how do you know they’re fresh? And can you only eat them during months that have an “r” in them, as the saying goes?

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd gets a primer on oysters from Matt Louis, chef and owner of The Franklin Oyster House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

3 Pearls of Oyster Wisdom from Matt Louis

1. Geography affects taste.

It's a new day, and it might not be the same again.

"My, oh my, what a wonderful day..." House Speaker John Boehner sang as he took to the podium in the Capitol Friday to announce his intention to resign as speaker of the House at the end of October.

But he isn't the only one reacting gleefully — conservatives are, too.

Boehner's resignation happens to coincide with the Values Voter Summit taking place in Washington Friday. Many at the conservative confab of religious voters were overjoyed.

NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the#NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From NPR social media editor Lori Todd:

Mark this time in the history books: 1:09 p.m. That's the moment on Friday when Pope Francis' influence came through in two simultaneous news conferences, held by two men who haven't always seen eye to eye.

At one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, House Speaker John Boehner was reflecting on his decision to resign.

Pope Francis, addressing the U.N. General Assembly today, urged international cooperation not only to solve humanity's largest problems but to save humanity itself.

Quoting a speech to the U.N. by his predecessor Pope Paul VI in 1965, Francis said of the world today: "The real danger comes from man...."

He stressed that humans have a moral duty to protect the earth, saying that it is the creation of God and humans don't have the authority to abuse or destroy it.

Children of anxious parents are more at risk of developing an anxiety disorder. But there's welcome news for those anxious parents: that trajectory toward anxiety isn't set in stone.

Therapy and a change in parenting styles might be able to prevent kids from developing anxiety disorders, according to research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry Friday.

The baby giant panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., was given a name.

The little guy had some VIP help. The name was chosen by first lady Michelle Obama and China's first lady, Madame Peng Liyuan.

Here's the pool report from the ceremony:

"The panda born on August 22 here to Mei Xiang has a name! It's Bei Bei. It was chosen by FLOTUS and Ms. Peng and they revealed it in English and Chinese by unrolling scrolls tied by ribbons with help of two school kids."

It's pronounced "Bay-Bay."