Colin Dwyer | WGLT

Colin Dwyer

It's time to find out what, if anything, our "mysterious interloper" has to say.

When the cargo ship El Faro set out from port in Jacksonville, Fla., en route to Puerto Rico, there was little indication of trouble. A gathering weather system named Joaquin was still just a tropical storm. But within days, Joaquin had swelled into a major hurricane — and a broken El Faro lay almost three miles below the surface of the sea, along with all 33 members of its crew.

Just what is Mikhail Saakashvili doing?

Georgian president, Ukrainian governor, stateless fugitive — in the past decade, he's played all these roles, among others. But now that he's perched in a tent community near the parliament building in Kiev, an opposition leader surrounded by a huge group of restive followers, the question of who this bombastic politician is and what his aims are has become more pressing than ever.

Trouble is, the answer to the question will vary wildly depending on whom you ask.

Michael Slager, the white former police officer who was filmed killing an unarmed black man in North Charleston, S.C., has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. In sentencing Slager, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal civil rights violation, the judge ruled Thursday that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

Just one month after announcing his resignation in Saudi Arabia, jolting the region and leaving onlookers bewildered, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has formally withdrawn that resignation. He declared his official decision after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday near Beirut, at which Lebanon's president and high-ranking ministers endorsed his call for the country to stay out of the affairs of other Arab countries.

Former Rep. Corrine Brown has been sentenced to five years in prison for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors who believed their money was going to charity. A federal judge on Monday sentenced the Florida Democrat, who was voted out of office last year, on 18 crimes ranging from conspiracy to fraud.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET Tuesday

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former Yemeni president who spent more than three decades in power before he stepped down in 2012, was killed after violence consumed the country's capital over the weekend. A member of Saleh's own party told NPR that Saleh had died, even as graphic video purporting to show his body circulated on social media Monday.

Houthi rebels, Saleh's erstwhile allies, ambushed and killed him during a rocket-propelled grenade attack on his vehicle as he tried to leave Sanaa.

The Aspen Institute has unveiled the nominees for its first-ever fiction prize, a potpourri of 20 works plucked from across the world. Novels, short story collections, English-language or in translation — whatever their differences, each of the nominees "illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture," in the estimation of Aspen Words Literary Prize judges.

Arkansas prosecutors have dropped their case against James Bates, whom they had charged with first-degree murder partly with the help of evidence collected by an Amazon Echo smart speaker. On Wednesday, a circuit court judge granted their request to have the charges of murder and tampering with evidence dismissed.

The prosecutors declared nolle prosequi, stating that the evidence could support more than one reasonable explanation.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

More than five years after militants stormed a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, killing four Americans including the ambassador, the Libyan man charged with orchestrating the siege has been convicted of terrorism charges. Yet in its verdict Tuesday, the jury acquitted Ahmed Abu Khatallah of the most serious charges against him, including murder.

Do you need computer skills to be a competent doctor?

That's one of the central questions surrounding a difficult case unfolding in New Hampshire this month: Anna Konopka, an octogenarian doctor who eschews computers and has been practicing medicine for the better part of six decades, surrendered her license under a September agreement with the state's board of medicine — partly because of multiple complaints related to her record keeping, Merrimack Superior Court Judge John Kissinger said.

Roughly three weeks into a blockade by a Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni ports of entry are beginning to see some desperately needed shipments of food and humanitarian aid.

A container ship stocked with 25,000 tons of wheat docked at the Red Sea port of Saleef on Monday — just one day after a ship carrying 5,500 tons of flour arrived at Hodeidah, another port held by the Houthi rebels whom the Saudis have been seeking to dislodge from Yemen.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has announced he is stepping down as ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers conveyed the news in a statement released Sunday by the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET

For a span of some four months earlier this year, demonstrators swarmed Venezuela's city streets in protest of ballooning inflation, diminishing food and President Nicolas Maduro's tightening grasp on power — until, that is, Maduro's efforts to derail the opposition bore fruit. By August the protests ebbed from view, as a new lawmaking body packed with Maduro's preferred politicians took the country's reins.

Still, while the protests have all but disappeared, the economic woes that helped inspire them remain as obstinate as ever.

On Saturday, a limousine driver plans to launch himself on a mile-long flight over the Mojave Desert in a rocket of his own making.

His name is "Mad" Mike Hughes, his steam-powered rocket is built of salvaged metals, his launch pad is repurposed from a used mobile home — and he is confident this will mark the first step toward proving the Earth is flat, after all.

Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has resigned from office, according to the speaker of the country's parliament. Midway through proceedings to impeach the president Tuesday, Speaker Jacob Mudenda read what he said was Mugabe's letter of resignation as the body of lawmakers erupted in jubilant applause.

Worshippers had filtered into a mosque in northeastern Nigeria on Tuesday, mingling as morning prayers were just getting underway, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the midst of the crowd. The blast in the town of Mubi was devastating, killing at least 50 people and leaving many others injured, according to local police.

The Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that has attracted significant protest from environmental groups, has cleared a major regulatory hurdle on its path to completion. On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission certified the pipeline to run through the state.

As an icon, the Georgia Dome stood commandingly on the Atlanta skyline. Host to the 1996 Summer Olympics, two Super Bowls and countless Atlanta Falcons home games, the imposing stadium was a fixture for roughly 2 1/2 decades, since its completion in 1992 at a cost of $214 million.

Now, it's little more than a massive heap of concrete, steel and fiberglass.

Jana Novotná, the Czech tennis star who took home 17 Grand Slam championship trophies across the span of her career, died Sunday at the age of 49. The Women's Tennis Association announced the news "with deep sadness" on Monday, saying Novotná died surrounded by family in the Czech Republic after waging "a long battle with cancer."

Charles Manson, the cult leader who drew lasting infamy for directing mass killings in 1969, has died at the age of 83.

Manson had been removed from prison in Corcoran, Calif., where he had been serving nine life sentences, and placed in a nearby hospital for a serious illness. It was the second time this year the mass murderer had been hospitalized.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

New Orleans made history last night. For the first time ever, the city has elected a woman as mayor - LaToya Cantrell. But Cantrell says that there are other big numbers that matter more. NPR's Colin Dwyer reports.

By nearly every measure offered by the United Nations, the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Yemen is staggering: More than 20 million people need urgent humanitarian aid. At least 14 million lack basic health care or access to clean water. And more than 900,000 suffer from suspected cases of cholera, a disease that — under almost all circumstances — should be preventable and treatable.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Authorities in Northern California say a fifth person was killed by a man who went on a shooting rampage Tuesday. Police have discovered the dead body of the gunman's wife hidden beneath the floor at their rural home 120 miles north of Sacramento.

This is the way World Cup hopes end — not with a bang, but with a whimper.

With their tournament dreams on the line against Sweden on Monday night, the Italian men's national team — the four-time World Cup champion Italian men's national team — simply could not get the win they needed. They didn't even demonstrate the knack for tragedy that might have made for a dramatic defeat, à la the U.S. men.

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