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There's a reason Jose Luis Vilson's students learn in groups: He wants them to feel comfortable working with anyone in the classroom, something he's realized in his 11 years of teaching doesn't always come naturally.

"I don't really give students a chance to self-select until later on, when I feel like they can pretty much group with anybody," he says.

As we drive from the coastal Venezuelan city of Maracaibo toward Colombia, we see dozens of trucks, some of them escorted by Venezuelan National Guard soldiers.

They've come from Colombia — laden with illegal contraband — even though the border is officially closed.

Regular people or smugglers who don't have deals with the military have to brave what my driver calls la carretera sin ley, or the lawless road.

We stop at a crowded strip mall where a group of smugglers is sitting. One of them agrees to talk, but he also doesn't want his name used.

Copyright 2016 Colorado Public Radio. To see more, visit Colorado Public Radio.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest.

"There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. "Ninety percent of this lot is low-grade wood."

In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. But he'll make $80,000 to run the wood through a chipper and truck the chips to a nearby biomass plant.

"Everybody said that green power was supposed to be the wave of the future," Hemmerich says. "So I went full in."

Cleaning a freshly picked head of lettuce can be an act of mindfulness, your worries melting away as you wash and tear each leaf. And the payoff, along with the beautiful summer salad, is a feeling of virtuous accomplishment.

But if you're a busy working parent, the rip-and-release salad kit in a bag can take some hassle out of dinner prep.

Tim Duncan, the long-time star of the San Antonio Spurs, announced today that he is retiring. He helped the team win five NBA titles since he joined the franchise in 1997.

Duncan's reserved personality kept him largely out of the spotlight, despite his consistently stellar performances with the Spurs, who made the playoffs every year that Duncan played for the team. Duncan was voted most valuable player five times, two of them regular-season M.V.P. awards and three others for his performances in NBA finals.

In an epidemic, health professionals often struggle to answer two basic questions: Who is sick and where are they?

There are innovative digital strategies to help answer these questions.

Researchers have investigated how a spike in Google searches (for example, "What is flu?") can help them determine if a disease is spreading and how many people might be affected in a given area.

President Obama on Monday called on Congress to revisit the controversial idea of providing a government-run insurance plan as part of the offerings under the Affordable Care Act.

What's been described as the "public option" was jettisoned from the health law in 2009 by a handful of conservative Democrats in the Senate. Every Democrat's vote was needed to pass the bill in the face of unanimous Republican opposition.

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET with names of the victims and gunman

Two bailiffs were killed and a deputy sheriff was wounded in a shooting Monday afternoon at a courthouse in southwestern Michigan, according to Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey.

The gunman was shot and killed. The deputy sheriff was in stable condition, as was one civilian who was also wounded.

Bailey said the shooting took place on the third floor of the courthouse in St. Joseph, about 40 miles from the border with Indiana.

There are some big companies out there that you've probably never heard of, that know more about you than you can imagine.

They're called data brokers, and they collect all sorts of information — names, addresses, income, where you go on the Internet and who you connect with online. That information is then sold to other companies. There are few regulations governing these brokers.

At least 25 people have died in clashes between militants and the Indian Army in the Himalayan region of Kashmir since Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Most of those killed were protesters, who took to the streets after the death of Burhan Wani, the young and charismatic leader of the region's largest rebel militia, Hizbul Mujahideen. Wani was killed by Indian security forces in a shootout on Friday, according to the AP.

A majority of working adults say they still go to work when they have a cold or the flu. There are some jobs where doing that can have a big effect on health.

At least half of people who work in very public places, like hospitals and restaurants, report going to work when they have a cold or the flu. Those were among the findings of a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Pokemon Go Is Catching Us All — In Unexpected Ways

Jul 11, 2016

It's been an eventful weekend for Pokémon trainers — even without Team Rocket around.

After being released Wednesday, the mobile app Pokémon Go is currently the top-downloaded free app, and the top grossing app, in both the Apple and Android stores.

To judge from our media coverage, you'd think that Mexico isn't so much a country as a problem. But if you look beyond the endless talk of drug wars and The Wall, you discover that Mexico has a booming culture.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown held a wide-ranging press conference on Monday, where he touched on race, the investigation and the issue of guns.

In a dramatic moment, he urged legislators to do their jobs and propose new laws to combat gun violence.

"We're doing ours. We're putting our lives on the line," Brown said. "The other aspects of government need to step up and help us."

With that, here are five pieces of audio from that press conference you should listen to:

1. Brown addressed the issue of gun control head-on:

As of this morning, there were 7.3 billion-plus people living on Earth, according to the Census Bureau's World Population Clock. And the number goes up second by second because babies keep being born.

As fighting continues in South Sudan, tens of thousands of civilians have taken refuge inside a U.N. base, The Associated Press reports.

At least two U.N. peacekeepers have been killed, the AP writes, and aid workers are having difficulty supplying water to the approximately 30,000 people inside the camps.

How's this for British irony: The United Kingdom is about to get a new prime minister, Theresa May, who voted in favor of keeping the country in the European Union.

By voting to leave the EU in a June 23 referendum, U.K. voters turned the country's politics upside down and prompted the immediate resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, a strong backer of remaining in the European body.

Now Cameron's dominant Conservative Party has found a successor, May, the home secretary and a longtime member of Parliament — who also favors staying in the EU.

What gives?

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 6 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 13 days in Philadelphia.

The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.

Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher.

The campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders announced in coordinated statements that they will campaign together Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H.

"On Tuesday, July 12, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders will join Hillary Clinton for a campaign event at Portsmouth High School to discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top," said the statement released by both campaigns.

One of two candidates to become the U.K.'s next prime minister has withdrawn from the race, leaving Theresa May in line to be the country's next leader.

Andrea Leadsom announced Monday she is backing out of the contest, citing the strong support for her opponent May and saying it was in Britain's best interests for the next leader to be put in place quickly.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Most everyone knows someone adversely affected by student debt: More than 40 million Americans are shouldering a crippling $1.3 trillion in loans.

That burden is obstructing careers, families, dreams, employment and even retirement.

Uncle Sam and Wall Street have made lots of money off the crisis.

The food processor is, for me, hugely disappointing. Before owning one, I used to see them looking all shiny and powerful in the department store, and I'd fantasize about never chopping a vegetable by hand again. I failed to consider that cookbook authors have particular ideas about how each ingredient should be prepped. The food processor, no matter how many blades it may come with, often doesn't cut it.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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