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Donald Trump isn't the only political outsider who's been having a good summer. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is gaining in several polls — especially in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, where evangelical voters play a big role.

Two days before its football season kicks off, Rutgers University has suspended five current players who are accused of a variety of crimes, from assault to home invasion. Local authorities arrested the players Thursday; two former Rutgers players also face charges.

Many of the allegations stem from robberies this spring, in which money and marijuana were stolen from students; others are related to an attack on a group of people that left a 19-year-old student with a broken jaw.

Some of the world's most ambitious climate change legislation is currently under consideration in America. But the lawmakers in question aren't in D.C. — they're in Sacramento.

California lawmakers are intensely debating far-reaching goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill contains three proposals: one to double energy efficiency in buildings, one to derive 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources and one head-turning proposal to cut petroleum use in vehicles by half — all in the next 15 years.

Here's What It's Like To Be A Syrian Refugee In Europe

Sep 3, 2015

Editor's Note: Back in February, NPR published this look at Syrian refugees entering Europe. The crisis has only intensified since then and we are republishing the original report.

Some of the figures have changed. For example, there are now more than 4 million Syrian refugees, up from 3.8 million in February.

Read the original story.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The white man accused of murdering nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in June will face the death penalty, according to court documents filed Thursday.

It was the closing ceremony of the Fifth Annual Slum Film Festival and Maxwell Odhiambo's film, the centerpiece of the night, wasn't there yet.

"Did you finish it?" his mentor, George Stanley Nsamba, asked nervously as Odhiambo burst through the door, two hours late.

"We finished it," he said with a grin.

A packed audience in downtown Nairobi, including a Kenyan actor who had flown in from Hollywood, waited for his film to begin. A blue screen stared back at them; the audience shifted nervously. There were technical difficulties.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. Coast Guard has shut down a section of the Mississippi River south of Paducah, Ky., after two tow boats collided, causing an oil spill of unknown size.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said that the collision occurred Wednesday at 8:22 p.m. at Mile Marker 937, just north of Columbus, Ky.

The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease at California's San Quentin prison is holding steady at six, one of three outbreaks of Legionnaires' around the country that have sickened dozens and killed 20.

Another 95 San Quentin inmates are under observation because of respiratory illness, state officials said, but they have not been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease. The inmates are being treated at San Quentin's medical unit.

Among the kangaroos and kookaburras, another creature trundled through the Australian bush.

Hooves barely visible, eyes mostly covered, the animal was the size of a refrigerator, the color of dirty snow.

A concerned hiker spotted the furry specimen days ago and raised the alarm. It was a matter of life and death — and this sheep needed a haircut.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Donald Trump is "totally pledging" his allegiance to the GOP and promising not to mount a potentially damaging third-party bid for president.

The billionaire businessman said Thursday he had signed the Republican National Committee's "Loyalty Pledge," which says he will support the eventual nominee and not run as an independent or on another party line.

"I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands," said Trump.

It was supposed to be a routine photo op.

Imagine a space shuttle speeding toward Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, the friction outside heating the vessel up to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it enters the atmosphere.

Editor's Note: The photos in this story may be distressing to some viewers. The original version has been updated to include additional details.

The numbers associated with today's migration crisis are huge: 4 million Syrians fleeing their country; 3 million Iraqis displaced. But it was the image of a solitary child — a toddler in a red T-shirt, blue shorts and Velcro sneakers, found face-down on a Turkish beach — that shocked and haunted the world this week.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Thousands of migrants flooded into a train station in the Hungarian capital Thursday after police lifted a two-day blockade, but some who boarded a train they thought was going to Germany ended up instead at a refugee camp just miles from Budapest.

Florida Cowboys Week: Part Two

The state of Florida has a rich and diverse tradition of cattle ranching. Recently we explored the black cowboys of Florida. There are other distinctive elements to the state's past as well.

"Indian cowboys," for instance.

A federal judge has thrown out Tom Brady's four-game suspension over his role in "deflategate."

The suspension was handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after attorney Ted Wells found that employees of the New England Patriots deflated footballs to make them easier to grip. Goodell said Brady likely knew about the scheme.

Brady appealed Goodell's decision in federal court, and today, he prevailed.

A former aide to Hillary Clinton said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and not answer questions from Congress.

The aide, Bryan Pagliano, helped set up Clinton's private email server. Clinton has faced months of scrutiny for using her home server and a private email address to conduct State Department business.

The Select Committee on Benghazi had asked Pagliano, a former State Department employee, to field questions next week. His lawyer has declined, sending a letter to Congress citing the negative political environment.

China today sent mixed signals about its military and strategic aims — at once parading tanks, missiles and precision-drilled soldiers through the streets of Beijing even as President Xi Jinping announced there would be 300,000 fewer troops by 2018.

Updated at 1:39 p.m. ET

A federal judge found a Kentucky clerk at the center of the national debate over same-sex marriage in contempt of court after she defied the Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses in protest of such marriages.

Kentucky Public Radio's Ryland Barton reports that District Judge David L. Bunning ordered Kim Davis taken into custody by federal marshals "until she complies" with a court order.

Only a tiny fraction of the growing number of people with health savings accounts invests the money in their accounts in the financial markets, a recent study finds. The vast majority leave their contributions in savings accounts instead where the money may earn lower returns.

Amid a corruption scandal that has been punctuated by daily protests in the country, Guatemala's President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and, hours later, was sent to jail to await the conclusion of a court hearing.

In a letter presented to Congress at 11:58 p.m. on Wednesday, Pérez Molina said he was resigning "in the interest of the country."

Now that 34 senators have committed to support President Obama on the Iran nuclear agreement, that deal looks certain to survive the opposition of Republicans in Congress.

But Congress still faces an ugly September and fall, as other crises await members returning from five weeks of vacation, namely:

  • A potential government shutdown
  • Once again hitting the debt ceiling
  • The highway fund running out of money
  • A lapse in authority for the Export-Import Bank

It's an increasingly popular move in higher education. Hundreds of schools no longer require student applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.

In July, George Washington University became the latest school to throw its considerable weight behind the test-optional movement. Its explanation:

For some time now, Donald Trump has been attacking Jeb Bush, mostly in media appearances or on Twitter. But, over the last few weeks, Trump has been using Instagram in his fight.

Trump has been posting campaign-style short videos to his Instagram feed, attacking Bush's record of support for the Iraq War and even posting a video of Jeb's mother, Barbara, urging him not to run for president.

White House budget director Shaun Donovan called for a "more aggressive strategy" to thwart improper government payments to doctors, hospitals and insurance companies in a previously undisclosed letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell earlier this year.

Government health care programs covering millions of Americans waste billions of tax dollars every year through these improper payments, Donovan said in the Feb. 26, 2015 letter.

In a series called Close Listening: Decoding Nature Through Sound, Morning Edition has been profiling scientists who explore the natural world by listening to it.

But sometimes listening isn't enough — scientists have to record animals and even talk back to them to figure out what they're saying.

Yellow Springs is a small college town in Ohio that has more than one head shop and a lot of tie-dye and hemp.

Many would consider it ground zero for likely supporters of the referendum on the ballot this November that could make Ohio the fifth state to legalize recreational and medical marijuana.

But the proposal is drawing some unusual opposition — and it's coming from residents who generally support legalizing marijuana.

Actor Dean Jones, who starred in The Love Bug, That Darn Cat! and other classic Walt Disney movies, has died at age 84. In addition to his film work, Jones played the role of Bobby in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim's Company in 1970.

Jones died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to his publicist, Richard Hoffman. The cause of death is reportedly related to Parkinson's disease.

Taylor Swift's video for her new song "Wildest Dreams" launched a storm of Internet criticism, including a searing review on this blog.

Here is a pop quiz: How many trees are on the planet?

Most people have no idea.

A new study says the answer is more than 3 trillion trees — that's trillion with a T, and that number is about eight times more than a previous estimate.

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