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In a new development that could change the dynamic of Syria's civil war, Russian military began carrying out airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday. Russia says it will target ISIS fighters as part of a plan to fight terrorism.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby says a Russian official informed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad about the missions and also requested that American military aircraft avoid Syrian airspace during Russian operations.

At least seven people are dead in Liucheng county in southern China after a series of powerful explosions that are being blamed on parcel bombs. As many as 17 explosions caused the damage in and around the city of Liuzhou, according to local media.

The blasts were strong enough to rip away portions of buildings and overturn cars. More than 50 people were reportedly injured.

Addressing reports that Pope Francis met privately with controversial Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his U.S. visit, the Vatican acknowledges that the meeting took place. Davis, who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, says she met the pope at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.

"I cannot deny the meeting took place but I have no comments to add," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in Italian Wednesday.

It's a typical morning at the Dupont Veterinary Clinic in Lafayette, La. Dr. Phillip Dupont is caring for cats and dogs in the examining room while his wife, Paula, answers the phone and pet owners' questions. Their two dogs are sleeping on the floor behind her desk.

"That's Ken and Henry," Paula says, pointing to the slim, midsize dogs with floppy ears and long snouts. Both dogs are tan, gray and white, with similar markings. "I put a red collar on Ken and a black collar on Henry so I can tell who's who."

Dog Drives His Owner's Truck Into A Lake

Sep 30, 2015

This could happen to any dog owner. A man in Ellsworth, Maine, walked his Yorkshire terrier.

Which wanted to fight another dog. So the man put his terrier in his truck.

And the dog put the truck in gear.

It started rolling, downhill, 75 feet, into a lake.

And sank in 10 feet of water.

A family friend dove in to rescue the dog, and it's easy to imagine that dog's face - freshly bathed, completely oblivious, wondering where's the food.

Not all was lost in the sinking of the Titanic. And several of its artifacts will be auctioned online Wednesday.

They include a lunch menu offering grilled mutton chops ... and a ticket for the ship's Turkish baths.

Both survived in the pocket of a passenger who jumped into the "Money Boat," a notorious lifeboat taken over by a handful of millionaires who left everybody else behind.

The crumpled menu is expected to sell for $50,000.

At a Catholic Mass at the Magyar Szentek Plébánia church, in a leafy riverside area of Budapest, there is no extra collection for refugees. No canned food drive. No charity bake sale.

This church, like many across Hungary, is caught in the middle of a debate on how to help refugees — or whether even to help at all.

Pope Francis has called on all of Europe's Catholics to take in refugees, but in Hungary, a predominantly Catholic country, church leaders have been hesitant.

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Updated 5:35 p.m. With Oklahoma Delay

Convicted of orchestrating her husband's death in 1997, Kelly Gissendaner was executed in Jackson, Ga., on Tuesday evening, becoming the first woman in 70 years to be put to death in the state.

Sugar and tea have a love story that goes way back.

As The Salt's Maria Godoy has written, they are a "power couple that altered the course of history. It was a marriage shaped by fashion, health fads and global economics," and, of course, the slave trade.

Tea, especially black tea, is bitter. A lot of people decided it tasted better with sugar and made a habit out of adding it.

The revelation that Volkswagen rigged software to cheat on emissions tests got us wondering: What else is the software in your car doing that you don't know about?

Well, that answer, for the time being, will remain a mystery.

That's because there's a little-known law in the U.S. that bars car owners — and researchers — from accessing the software inside vehicles.

There are as many as 100 million lines of computer code in some new cars. They help control the steering, cruise control, air bags, entertainment and anti-skid systems.

We might not be able to remember every stressful episode of our childhood.

But the emotional upheaval we experience as kids — whether it's the loss of a loved one, the chronic stress of economic insecurity, or social interactions that leave us tearful or anxious — may have a lifelong impact on our health.

Doctors are finding elevated levels of lead in the children in Flint, Mich., and local tap water is the likely cause.

That's the latest alarming news to come out of the city, which switched its water source about a year and a half ago.

Ralph Lauren Corporation announced that Stefan Larsson has been named CEO, starting in November. The 75-year-old founder and face of the fashion mega-house, Ralph Lauren, will continue to "actively drive the company's vision," a company statement read.

A bipartisan group of senators on the Judiciary Committee is preparing to unveil a criminal justice overhaul proposal as early as Thursday, two sources familiar with the deal told NPR.

The plan follows months of behind-the-scenes work by the staffs of Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the committee, and several other lawmakers representing both political parties.

Twitter's newest high-profile user just might push the issue of domestic surveillance back into the presidential campaign's conversation.

Edward Snowden sent his first-ever tweet at noon on Tuesday, asking, "Can you hear me now?"

Driving in rural, southern Hungary, especially at night, you're likely to see people emerging from dark forests along the side of the road. They trudge along the highway's narrow shoulder and sometimes flag down passing cars, asking for help.

They're migrants and refugees who've entered Hungary by the tens of thousands in recent months, mostly en route to Germany and other northern European countries.

But it's illegal for civilians in Hungary to help them get there.

House Republicans questioned the head of Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, on whether the women's health group needs federal funding. The testimony comes after the release of a series of videos that allege the organization violates rules on fetal tissue donation for research.

For the first time since surreptitious videos put Planned Parenthood in the spotlight again, the organization's president, Cecile Richards, faced the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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Many people have drawn those parallels between the end of World War II and today's refugee crisis. Ian Buruma wrote the book, "Year Zero: A History Of 1945," and he joins us from Brussels.


IAN BURUMA: Thank you.

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