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Nation's Report Card: mostly flat

The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, showed no statistically significant changes from 2015, except for a slight uptick in 8th grade reading scores. This test is given every two years to fourth and eighth graders in reading and math. It is not high-stakes, but it is the largest single test enabling a comparison of students across the country.

Russian officials condemned the U.S.-led airstrikes on three sites in Syria early Saturday, calling the attacks "treacherous and insane" and a "clear and present danger to world peace."

The U.S., U.K. and France carried out the strikes in the early morning hours on targets that U.S. officials said were linked to a Syrian government chemical weapons program. The strikes were a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime on April 7.

In an attempt to alleviate the soaring homelessness problem in Los Angeles County, officials want to pay homeowners to house people by building new living units or bringing existing dwellings up to code if they are in violation.

Updated at 2:03 a.m. ET Saturday

The U.S., Britain and France carried out airstrikes early Saturday against three sites in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack last week by President Bashar Assad's regime.

President Trump announced military action against Syria Friday as a response to an alleged chemical weapons attack April 7 in a Damascus suburb.

She was 8 years old and wearing a purple salwar kameez when she disappeared on Jan. 10.

A week later, on Jan. 17, her mutilated and lifeless body was found in a forest near Kathua in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir. It was a mile away from Rasana, the village where her family was currently living.

The Justice Department on Friday detailed its reasons for recommending that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe be fired in March, just short of his scheduled retirement.

A report by the department's inspector general confirmed that investigators concluded McCabe had violated Justice Department policy by authorizing an aide to talk with the Wall Street Journal about the FBI's probe into the Clinton Foundation — and that McCabe had "lacked candor" in discussing the matter afterward inside the Justice Department.

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The White House sought to discredit James Comey ahead of the release of his memoir next week, lashing out at the former FBI director in deeply personal terms on Friday.

Calling Comey a "disgraced partisan hack," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters that the American people would be able to see through the "lies" in Comey's book, which offers a scathing assessment of President Trump.

"This is nothing more than a poorly executed PR stunt by Comey to desperately rehabilitate his tattered reputation," Sanders said at a briefing.

Three weeks after Colombian militants abducted a trio of Ecuadorean press workers, the president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, has confirmed what many in the country had feared: Reporter Javier Ortega, photographer Paúl Rivas and driver Efraín Segarra have been killed by a dissident faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC.

A large retrospective celebrating the photographer Nicholas Nixon has come down 10 days early, amid sexual harassment allegations against the artist.

Nixon, 70, is best known for "The Brown Sisters," a series of portraits of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters, taken every year for more than four decades. The sisters stand close together, always in the same order. They stare intently at the camera, not smiling.

Diana Crane remembers the first time she saw it, years ago at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She says she sat in front of it for over an hour.

President Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen was the subject of a months-long criminal investigation before the FBI raided his home and office this week, according to court documents.

Federal prosecutors made that disclosure on Friday in responding to a request by Cohen for a judge to restrict the government's ability to review the evidence the FBI collected in those raids.

Judge Kimba Wood shouldn't agree, contended the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to hold without bail a man accused of planning a mass shooting at a high school in February. The ruling may bolster renewed calls by the defense to dismiss the case.

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Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions - you already know the names of the key figures in James Comey's book but maybe not this name...

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Reinhold Niebuhr.

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You find all kinds of things in drawers when you're getting ready to move. Expired credit cards. Single socks. Concert tickets. Chargers from old phones. Two-foot-long dead squirrels.

Well, maybe not the squirrels - unless you're a scientist moving to a new lab. That's what happened in the Biology Department at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.

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The U.S. response to that suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria is just one of the many, many stories we are tracking as we near the end of yet another dizzying week here in Washington.

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Editor's note: This story contains a graphic description of alleged sexual assault.

Andrea Constand remembers thinking it was "absurd" for Bill Cosby, her friend and mentor, to have a romantic interest in her.

"Given that Mr. Cosby was just a little bit younger than my grandfather," she continued. "He was a married man."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

Updated at 6:28 p.m. ET

President Trump took the extraordinary step Friday of overruling the judgment of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and granting a pardon to I. Lewis Libby Jr., who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Libby, known as "Scooter," was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2007 in connection with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. Bush had commuted Libby's sentence but did not issue a full pardon.

Canada To Measure Marijuana Use By Testing Sewage

Apr 13, 2018

As a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana works its way through the Canadian Parliament, the government is gearing up to track cannabis consumption more closely than it has before. Statistics Canada has begun to do city-scale drug screening by monitoring what Canadians flush down the toilet.

China's military will hold live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait next week, putting new focus on raised tensions between the U.S. and China. The announcement follows Chinese President Xi Jinping's review of his country's largest-ever navy parade.

A Higher Loyalty, by far the most consequential book yet in the literature of the Trump presidency, is arriving as political conflict roils every aspect of that presidency. Former FBI Director James Comey's scathing review will not settle the arguments about President Trump, nor will it calm the controversy over its author. But it will furnish mountains of ammunition for combatants on all sides.

The Interior Department is abandoning a plan to more than double entrance fees to some of the country's most popular national parks, opting instead to apply a "modest" fee increase to 117 parks beginning this summer in an effort to raise funds for park maintenance.

The announcement Thursday comes after an outcry from the public and from lawmakers, who were concerned that certain large increases that were initially proposed would price people out of the nation's parks.

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