Merrit Kennedy

Palestinian prisoners and detainees are staging a mass open-ended hunger strike to protest their conditions in Israeli prisons.

Israeli authorities say approximately 1,100 of them are participating in the strike in eight prisons, NPR's Daniel Estrin in Tel Aviv reports, of the approximately 6,200 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Thousands of people are evacuating four besieged Syrian towns on Friday after rebels and the Syrian government reached a population swap agreement.

"In northern Syria, residents of Shia minority villages, long besieged by rebels, are leaving," NPR's Alison Meuse reports from Beirut. "Hundreds of miles away, two towns besieged by Syrian troops and their allies are also evacuating."

The Trump administration says it will not make public the names of those visiting the White House, reversing the Obama administration's policy.

White House communications director Michael Dubke said in a statement that the decision was due to the "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually," NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

A Michigan emergency room doctor has been charged with performing female genital mutilation on multiple girls of about the age of seven.

After a series of "mishaps," the Navy says it will no longer allow sailors to bring electronic cigarettes onto its ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.

"The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units," according to a statement obtained by NPR's Sarah McCammon, issued by the commanders of the U.S. Fleet Forces and the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Could there be life under the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus?

Scientists have found a promising sign.

NASA announced on Thursday that its Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn has gathered new evidence that there's a chemical reaction taking place under the moon's icy surface that could provide conditions for life. They described their findings in the journal Science.

Canada has taken a major step toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government introduced legislation that would allow adults to possess, share and purchase marijuana, while also strengthening penalties for those who give or sell the products to youth.

This law has been hotly anticipated, with pot producers and the medical community watching closely.

Boko Haram militants have used 27 children to carry out suicide bombing attacks in the first three months of this year in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, according to a new report from UNICEF.

This marks a major increase — 30 children were used in bombings for all of 2016 in those four countries, where Boko Haram is active.

UNICEF says 117 children have been used in suicide attacks since 2014. Eighty percent of them were girls.

Wondering how many kinds of trees there are? There's now a database that can answer that.

Scientists from the U.K.-based Botanic Gardens Conservation International say they have compiled the first-ever comprehensive list of all known tree species, totaling 60,065 different kinds.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

Three explosions went off near the bus of Germany's Borussia Dortmund soccer team on Tuesday evening in the city of Dortmund, local police say.

The team said on Twitter that one of its players, defender Marc Bartra, suffered a broken wrist and is being treated in a hospital. The injury required surgery.

Amnesty International says there were fewer executions worldwide last year than the year before — but the number of death sentences handed down is the highest it has ever recorded.

In its annual report, Amnesty estimates that China carried out more executions than all the other countries put together. The human rights group says China put thousands of people to death. The exact figure is classified as a state secret and is not included in Amnesty's worldwide total.

North Korea is threatening "tough counteraction" after a U.S. Navy strike group was routed toward the Korean Peninsula following the rogue nation's continued ballistic missile and nuclear testing.

"We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves," the official Korean Central News Agency reported in English, quoting a Foreign Ministry official.

Dylann Roof, who gunned down nine people in the basement of a historically black church in Charleston in 2015, pleaded guilty to murder charges at a South Carolina state court.

In exchange, a circuit judge is expected to hand down a life sentence Monday afternoon, as The Post and Courier reported.

For the second consecutive year, aerial surveys show severe coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

While severe bleaching events have occurred three other times in the past 20 years — in 1998, 2002 and 2016 — this year marks the first time it's known to have happened two years in a row. Scientists say the damage is caused by higher water temperatures due to global warming.

In an elaborate ceremony, Thailand's king has signed the country's military-backed constitution. The document paves the way for Thailand to hold elections in the coming months, but critics say it only solidifies the power of the military.

Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes says he is temporarily stepping aside from the committee's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as the House Ethics Committee opens an inquiry into whether he improperly disclosed classified information.

Nunes will continue to serve as the committee's chairman and remain involved in other matters before the panel. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will take the lead on the Russia investigation.

A dog is being credited with saving lives by intervening to stop a suicide bomber who was attempted to enter a wedding party near Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Army radio says that the dog grappled with the teen girl bomber until the explosives went off, killing them both, as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

"Most Belbelo villagers were reportedly at the wedding when the dog pounced on the would-be suicide bomber, who was reportedly hovering on the outskirts of the ceremony on Sunday morning," Ofeibea adds.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio routinely pointed to the notorious, outdoor Tent City Jail he opened in the 1990s as a symbol of his "tough on crime" stance. Inmates live in tents through the sweltering Arizona summer heat and are issued old-fashioned striped prison jumpsuits and pink underwear.

Now, it's shutting down.

This story starts with the mystery of a missing cow.

University of Utah researchers placed seven cow carcasses in Utah's Great Basin Desert, and set up cameras to learn about the behavior patterns of local scavengers.

But a week later, researcher Evan Buechley returned to one of the sites and found no sign of the cow.

A powerful South African union federation that had been a key ally of President Jacob Zuma has become the latest group to join the rising calls for him to resign.

"There has never been so much pressure on him to go, from allies and opponents," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, adding that Zuma's problems began with the widespread perception that he was mired in corruption scandals.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Russian investigators say an "explosive device" ignited and ripped through a train car as it was traveling in between metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday afternoon. A second, unexploded device was found at a different metro stop.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that despite the historic flub at this year's Oscars, PricewaterhouseCoopers will continue to be involved in the balloting and ceremony — with a few new safeguards.

In case you've somehow forgotten, the accounting firm handed presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for Best Picture winner.

Since the murder of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother in Malaysia last month, the two countries have been embroiled in a diplomatic spat over his body.

Malaysia's prime minister says his country is prepared to release the body of Kim Jong Nam and allow an unspecified number of North Koreans to depart, in exchange for the return of nine Malaysians who had been blocked from leaving North Korea. He said a plane carrying the Malaysians had already taken off from Pyongyang.

For years, a State Department employee allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from Chinese intelligence agents and failed to report the repeated contacts to U.S. officials.

Candace Claiborne pleaded not guilty at a federal court appearance Wednesday to charges of obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI, over her relationship with the Chinese agents.

As China prepares to impose a domestic ban on the ivory trade, a new report has found that the price of raw ivory there is plummeting.

It's good news for Africa's elephants, which have been poached by the thousands for their tusks. Many of those tusks are then smuggled to China, which has been one of the world's largest markets for the banned material.

Updated 6:45 p.m. ET

In Washington, D.C., U.S. Capitol Police have identified a suspect in Wednesday's incident in which a driver "nearly struck" police officers and shots were fired.

Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki identifies the suspect as Taleah Everett, 20, who appears to have no fixed address.

Malecki says the officers observed an "erratic and aggressive" driver near the Capitol on Independence Avenue at 9:22 a.m. ET and tried to carry out a traffic stop.

In a victory for Flint residents, the state of Michigan has agreed to spend up to $97 million for new water lines in the city of Flint, which has been struggling with a crisis over lead in its water for the past three years.

A federal judge at the U.S. District Court for Michigan's eastern district approved the agreement Tuesday. Within three years, authorities must examine water service lines for at least 18,000 households and replace those made of lead and galvanized steel.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Thursday

British authorities have made eight arrests in their investigation into Wednesday's attack in London, police said Thursday morning.

Mark Rowley, the national lead for counterterrorism policing, told reporters that there were four dead, including the attacker, and 29 people have been treated in hospitals. Seven people are in critical condition, he said.

Police had earlier said there were five dead including the attacker.

Before Dyann Roof shot dead nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, he told his friend Joey Meek about his murderous plans during an alcohol and cocaine-fueled night.

Meek, 22, was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in federal prison for concealing knowledge of a felony and then making false statements to the FBI.

A green sea turtle in Thailand that drew international sympathy when it emerged that she had consumed nearly 1,000 coins thrown into her pool has died.

The turtle nicknamed Omsin, the Thai word for "piggy bank," had an hours-long emergency surgery to remove the coins earlier this month. But she never woke up from a second emergency surgery.

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