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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As we've been reporting, Italy is reeling from a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. It struck before dawn this morning local time. At least 38 people are reported killed. More are still missing.

Computers have already beaten us at chess, Jeopardy and Go, the ancient board game from Asia. And now, in the raging war with machines, human beings have lost yet another battle — over typing.

On a Saturday morning, a group of adults gather in a circle in an elementary school classroom on the campus of Gallaudet University. Each wears a name tag — and on that name tag is a common sexual term: "Ejaculation." "Orgasm." "Condom."

One by one they introduce themselves by the name on their tag. Not in spoken words, but in American Sign Language (ASL).

These are parents and caregivers who have — or work with — children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The moms and dads are bashful at first, but after signing for a few minutes, they're laughing at themselves.

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

Smartphones To Blame For Limp Handshakes

Aug 24, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Updated at 12:50 a.m. ET on Thursday:

Officials in Italy say the death toll has risen to 247. The Associated Press quotes the country's civil protection agency, after it announced updated figures about 27 hours after the earthquake struck. Urgent search efforts continue.

Original Post:

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

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

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

Great Lakes Waters Can Take A Savage Toll On Swimmers

Aug 24, 2016

The Great Lakes have more coastline for beaches than the United States' East and West coasts combined. There are thousands of beaches — and hundreds of drownings each year, in part because of dangerous currents that are very different from those found in the ocean.

In the small flood-ravaged town of Springfield, La., Rachel Moriarity waited more than a week for a center where she could apply for emergency food stamps to finally open in the Am-Vets hall — but she's been turned away at the door.

This week they are processing only those with last names beginning with A through D.

"I don't have a vehicle to get here," she tells a staffer from the state, who replies that due to the volume of applicants in need, there isn't anything they can do.

When Donald Trump started a national conversation about his regrets the other day, he notably neglected to say just what he regretted.

"Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it — and I do regret it — particularly where it may have caused personal pain."

A series of medical images published Tuesday offer the most complete picture, so far, of how the Zika virus can damage the brain of a fetus.

"The images show the worst brain infections that doctors will ever see," says Dr. Deborah Levine, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who contributed to the study. "Zika is such a severe infection [in fetuses]. Most doctors will have never seen brains like this before."

Firefighters have reached full containment of a blaze east of Los Angeles that forced tens of thousands to evacuate their homes. At the same time, multiple wildfires continued to challenge crews throughout the state.

California's Department of Forestry and Fire Information declared the Blue Cut Fire 100 percent contained Tuesday — but not before the 36,000-acre fire destroyed nearly 100 homes and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people in San Bernardino County.

It started with a report and erupted into a controversy involving a mufti, a Russian Orthodox priest and a rabbi.

The subject: female genital mutilation.

Mike Pence sat down in Henry Jones' barbershop in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, during a campaign swing — and the media came along for the ride.

CNN streamed 20 minutes of silence and small talk on Facebook Live, as Pence got a trim. Watch it here:

Among the moments captured on camera:

Pence: You've been at this location since '92?

Jones: Yes

Pence: It's a good location

After looking in a mirror and proclaiming it a "great haircut — perfect," Pence applauded, then walked behind the chair to shake Jones' hand.

The Clinton Foundation is working now to "spin off" or "find partners" for many of its programs, including all international activities and programs funded by foreign and corporate donors, the head of the Clinton Foundation told NPR's Peter Overby. The "unraveling," which would be an attempt to prevent conflicts, would go into effect if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Back in 1972, John Lennon hired Leon Wildes, an immigration attorney who had no idea who he was.

Wildes' son, Michael, remembers his father coming home to tell his mother about their first meeting.

"And he said, 'A singer by the name of Jack Lemon and his wife Yoko Moto,' " Michael recalls. "My mom looked at him like he wasn't well. 'Are you talking about the Beatles and John Lennon?' My father said, 'Yeah!' "

It was a tragic turning point.

On July 11, South Sudanese soldiers invaded a hotel in the capital city of Juba and gang-raped foreign aid workers.

"The soldiers just came to the bathroom where all the girls were hiding and they just picked us out of the bathroom one by one," says one of the women who was in the hotel. She asked that her name not be used.

Despite calls for help to the U.N. compound a mile down the road, no one came.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 Tuesday that graduate students working as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees with the right to collective bargaining.

The decision comes in response to a petition filed by the Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC and the United Autoworkers Union, which has been seeking to represent grad student assistants at Columbia University.

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, is known for his outspoken personality and oversize public image, which he believes help build his brand name.

"Whether it's good press or bad press, it's getting your name out there," Washington Post investigative reporter Michael Kranish tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "Getting your name on the gossip pages and the front pages and even the sports pages, [is] all in the effort of building the name."

Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit yesterday. She claims that Roger Ailes and Fox News executives punished her for complaining about sexual harassment.

NPR’s David Folkenflik joins Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the latest media news, including the Tantaros lawsuit and coverage of the U.S. Olympic swimmers’ robbery allegations in Rio.

The National Parks Service has been making an effort to get more people, especially young people and minorities, to visit and to care about America’s parks.

Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson talks with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who oversees the National Park Service, about those efforts, as well as the challenges of climate change, funding, congestion and whether the Obama Administration will protect more public land before he leaves office.

When companies know about problems, they’re often reluctant to admit them publicly.

But it’s better when they do, because when the media exposes their problems, the negative publicity can do lasting damage. Recent examples include Volkswagen and Theranos.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti hears more from Curt Nickisch, senior editor at Harvard Business Review.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

As Stanford undergrads get ready for the fall semester, the university's administrators have issued a new mandate: Pack your books and calculators, but leave the fifths and handles at home.

On Monday, just over a month before classes resume, the university announced a set of changes to its alcohol policy.

Hard liquor will now be completely banned from on-campus parties — unless the party is hosted by groups exclusively for graduate students, and in that case, only mixed drinks are allowed. "Straight shots of hard alcohol are never allowed at any party," the school says.

Paleontologists at the University of New South Wales in Australia say they have identified a tiny new species of marsupial lion that lived around 18 million years ago.

The extinct, squirrel-size animal weighed about 1.3 pounds, very likely lived in trees and had teeth that suggest it was capable of ripping apart other small creatures with its molars.

The researchers named it Microleo attenboroughi in honor of Sir David Attenborough, the famed British naturalist who has hosted numerous documentaries on wildlife.

Early mornings are routine for 69-year-old Hiroyuko Yamamoto. He's typically at a busy intersection in the city of Matsudo, near Tokyo, where he volunteers as a school crossing guard. But one rainy morning a little over a year ago, an old woman caught his attention.

She was pushing a bicycle. She was kind of disheveled. Despite the rain, she didn't have an umbrella. When Yamamoto spoke to the woman, she said she was trying to get to the city of Kamisuwa. That's about four hours away by train.

A U.S. service member was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan's restive Helmand province Tuesday — the second U.S. combat death in Afghanistan since January.

The service member was conducting "train, advise, assist activities" with Afghan forces when the explosive device went off, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Another American service member and six Afghan soldiers were wounded in the attack near the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

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