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In Syria, the United States is focused on countering the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS. But what strikes terror among perhaps even more Syrians are the indiscriminate, so-called barrel bomb attacks by government forces.

Barrel bombs are crude metal drums packed with explosives and shrapnel. They are dropped off the hatch of helicopters and have the power to pulverize an entire block. Syrian activists have filmed hundreds of attacks and posted the videos online.

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Two U.S. Soldiers Help Subdue Gunman On French Train

Aug 22, 2015
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Of the many New Hampshire journalists who have covered the state's presidential primary, few can match longtime Associated Press photographer Jim Cole, who has captured every New Hampshire primary since 1980.

Cole has a rule he follows when out on assignment: No matter how crowded the press gaggle gets, he never takes a picture while he's touching another photographer. The point is to force himself to think of a different approach to each shot.

In one photo, 23-year-old photographer Liu Yuyang captured a special moment between Mei Lin and her two granddaughters. The 83-year-old woman is smiling as one granddaughter leans down to give her a kiss and the other poses for the camera.

But Mei Lin's eyes give away how tired she is. Her hair has completely grayed, and her face is deeply lined. At her age, Mei Lin is supposed to live relatively carefree. Instead, she has to support her family of four: her daughter, son and two granddaughters — all of whom are mentally ill.

The year since Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Mo., several confrontations between African-Americans and police have become national stories. Often, black journalists have been leading the coverage on these incidents and the steady trickle of them have taken a psychological toll. Many of them shared their experiences with Gene Demby of NPR's Code Switch team.

Macedonia's forces are reportedly allowing some migrants gathered just outside the southern border with Greece to enter the country, a day after the tiny Balkan nation declared a state of emergency in an effort to keep them out.

Macedonian police clashed Friday with the migrants and fired stun grenades and tear gas as the crowd, which included men, women and children, attempted to push past the police line and enter the country.

Following four days of jury deliberations, a North Carolina judge declared a mistrial Friday in the case of a white police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick faced up to 11 years in prison for his role in the death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player two years ago.

Police say a man entered a New York City federal office building Friday afternoon, approached a metal detector and shot a security guard at close range. The guard was pronounced dead later at a hospital.

Wow. That was ugly.

For investors, a brutal week ended Friday with prices plunging for stocks and commodities. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 531 to 16,460, a 3.12 percent drop.

Oil's tumble was especially notable. For a while, West Texas crude was trading below $40 a barrel — the first time that happened since March 2009. It finished at $40.45, marking an eight-week stretch of price declines — the longest losing streak since 1986.

Updated 11:40 p.m. ET

An armed man opened fire on a high-speed train en route from Amsterdam to Paris, wounding three people, before he was subdued by passengers, led by two Americans.

The British network ITV aired footage of British passenger Chris Norman, one of the people who brought the gunman down, describing the incident.

Trying to find healthy food at a state fair awash with deep-fried Oreos and foot-long corn dogs is no easy task.

At the Iowa State Fair, one of the rites of passage is trying food on a stick.

But dietitian Nikki Stahr, who works for the Iowa-based Hy-Vee grocery chain, is running a booth at the fair promoting healthy eating and portion control.

She has her work cut out for her.

There's an old fashioned hand-dipped ice cream stand and a cookie booth right across from her, so she's got some competition for her message of healthy eating.

In the hot sun of a Jerusalem afternoon, kids wait for a fountain to turn on.

When water spouts into the air, 9-year-old Tzipora Baranas jumps right in. She's wearing black tights, a black, below-the-knee skirt and a long-sleeved black shirt.

"It's fun when the water spritzes up in my face," she says.

She is Orthodox Jewish and her outfit is in deference to religious modesty. She says she's not hot at all, despite the temperature hitting the 90s and the dark clothes covering all but her face and hands.

Of course, she is dripping wet at the moment.

Mansur Ball-Bey, the black 18-year-old killed by white St. Louis officers earlier this week, died from a single gunshot in the back, according to an autopsy report.

The autopsy's findings were first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There were two officers involved in the shooting; one fired three times and another fired just once, police told the paper.

The investigation of the shooting is ongoing.

The endorsements are already rolling in for 2016 presidential candidates like Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul (Paul was endorsed by his father, Ron, earlier this week) — but now, candidate Deez Nuts has secured his first public endorsement.

A Florida judge will draw up new maps for the state's 27 congressional districts. After meeting in a two-week special session, Florida's House and Senate adjourned without agreeing on what the maps, ordered by the State Supreme Court, should look like.

This was the Florida Legislature's third attempt to draw congressional maps that comply with the state Constitution. Under an amendment adopted by voters in 2010, Florida's Legislature must compile maps for congressional and legislative districts that don't protect incumbents or political parties.

After the levees broke 10 years ago in New Orleans, tens of thousands of residents fled the city and never returned. They resettled in 32 states around the nation, many of them landing in Houston.

New Home Family Worship Center also relocated to that city and became the spiritual family for a dislocated and homesick congregation. Most of the people who came to a special worship service Thursday night were born in New Orleans. With "Katrina 10" projected on the screen behind the altar, Pastor Robert C. Blakes introduced his special guest.

More Somali-American young people have disappeared from the Twin Cities, and community leaders fear the missing have joined the self-declared Islamic State. The news comes as the Somali community remains divided on how to stem the flow of potential fighters for battlefields in Syria.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The second-in-command of the self-declared Islamic State was killed earlier this week during a U.S. airstrike, the White House has confirmed.

"Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz ... was killed in a U.S. military air strike on August 18 while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, along with an ISIL media operative known as Abu Abdullah," White House spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Friday afternoon, Danny became the first major hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season, after it was upgraded to a Category 3 storm. It's still very far out in the Atlantic, and so far there's no sign it'll pose a threat to the United States.

That leads to a question: When was the last time a big hurricane hit the U.S.?

It might surprise you, but the country is experiencing a historic, nine-year lucky streak when it comes to major hurricanes.

Jeb Bush isn't pulling punches anymore when it comes to Donald Trump.

The former Florida governor has delicately danced around the billionaire businessman in the 2016 presidential primary so far. But the gloves came off this week when Bush called out Trump as a closet Democrat. He was trying to stunt Trump's rise while attempting to recover his own political mojo.

Akron Loves Devo

Aug 21, 2015

A life-sized photo of the new wave band Devo was mounted over an abandoned storefront in downtown Akron, Ohio, this past week. The picture was taken in 1978, and features the band dressed in yellow hazmat suits.

This piece of public art is designed to capture the moment the band made the leap from hometown heroes to worldwide fame. From the Here & Now contributors network, David C. Barnett of WCPN brings us the story of Devo’s Rust Belt roots.

As the nation approaches the 10-year anniversary of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina, it’s worth remembering that while New Orleans felt the eye of the storm, Katrina also left 238 people dead in Mississippi, and destroyed 230,000 homes in that state.

How did the Mississippi Gulf Coast recover after such devastation, and what lingering issues still remain? Evelina Burnett of Mississippi Public Broadcasting discusses this with Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd.

Faced with a shortage of primary care doctors, more and more clinics are relying on nurse practitioners to fill the gap. But that creates another gap, in the level of training providers bring to the job.

As Rowan Moore Gerety of Northwest Public Radio reports, residency programs, once reserved for physicians, are popping up for nurse practitioners as well.

#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's acting executive editor, Edith Chapin:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

We've all heard the advice about the importance of filling our bellies in the morning. It's a notion that's based on a blend of intuition, cultural tradition and science.

Some of the earliest evidence goes back to the 1960s when pioneering researchers in Alameda County, Calif., began documenting the effects of everyday habits. Their long-term study linked eating breakfast — along with a host of other lifestyle choices — to good health and longevity.

1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, and Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, received their Ranger tabs Friday, becoming the first women ever to successfully complete the U.S. Army's Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. — a grueling course that puts a premium on physical strength and endurance.

Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, and Griest, a military police platoon leader, completed the course to the same standards as their 94 male classmates — a point emphasized by Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony.

Have you heard that a giant asteroid is due to strike Earth sometime between Sept. 15 and Sept. 28?

If so, you probably thought it was a hoax. And you'd be right.

But some people who read "numerous recent blogs and web postings" about impending doom from space weren't sufficiently skeptical. NASA on Thursday sought to clarify:

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