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Merrit Kennedy

Scientists have discovered a well-preserved 305 million-year-old arachnid that is "almost a spider" in France. In a new journal article, they say the fossil sheds some light on the origins of "true" spiders.

The main point of distinction: This newly discovered arachnid very likely could produce silk but lacked the spinnerets used by true spiders to, well, spin it, the scientists say. The researchers say it belongs to a "sister group" to the real-deal spiders.

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with Newark, N.J., on changes to the city's police department.

NPR's Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast unit that this comes after "civil rights investigators had uncovered a pattern of unconstitutional stops and property thefts." She adds:

"The Justice Department team studied thousands of unjustified stops and searches by the Newark police that had a disparate impact on minorities.

French President Francois Hollande is abandoning a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed the government to strip convicted terrorists of their French citizenship.

"A compromise appears out of reach on the stripping of terrorists' nationality," Hollande told reporters, according to AFP. "I also note that a section of the opposition is hostile to any constitutional revision. I deeply regret this attitude."

Just over a year ago, a Saudi-led coalition started a major offensive in Yemen in support of the country's embattled President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The coalition airstrikes are aimed at pushing back the Shiite Houthi rebels, who swept down from northern Yemen in 2014 and took control of major portions of the country.

But it's not just two warring sides – southern separatists and powerful tribes also have a stake in the fight. And an al-Qaida branch and a burgeoning ISIS affiliate have benefited from the violence.

New York state has joined the cities of Seattle, San Francisco and New York in restricting non-essential public-employee travel to North Carolina. The moves are in response to a newly passed North Carolina law that critics say is discriminatory to the LGBT community.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order bans "all taxpayer-funded trips trip to North Carolina, unless they're essential to public health or law enforcement," NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast unit.

Cypriot authorities say they have arrested the hijacker of an EgyptAir plane after an hours-long standoff in Larnaca, Cyprus. All the passengers and crew had been released.

The man's motivations are still murky. Cypriot officials describe the suspected hijacker as "unstable" and tell NPR that he wanted to speak to his Cyprus-based ex-wife. He later requested political asylum, they say. Cyprus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs identified the man as Seif Eldin Mustafa. Earlier news reports had identified a different man.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and several other plaintiffs have filed a federal lawsuit over a North Carolina law they say discriminates against the state's LGBT community.

The law, passed last week in a special session by the state's Legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, blocks "local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to grant protections to gay and transgender people," as we reported.

After a suicide bombing ripped through a crowded park on Easter evening in the city of Lahore, Pakistan has declared an official three-day mourning period. Meanwhile, authorities are trying to track down those responsible for the attack that killed at least 70 people.

A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, has claimed responsibility for the attack. As we reported, a spokesman for the group said it was intended to target Christians.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, facing mounting pressure from corporations with interests in his state, said Monday that he will veto a controversial "religious liberties" bill.

Belgian federal prosecutors said Monday they have charged three more people with participating in a terrorist group, following Tuesday's deadly attacks at Brussels' airport and a metro station.

NPR's Melissa Block tells our Newscast unit that the new charges come after a series of raids around Brussels.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

The Nigerian army claims to have rescued more than 800 hostages from Boko Haram, the militant group that has held major swathes of territory in the country.

NPR's Gregory Warner tells our Newscast Unit that it "was not immediately clear whether the rescues included any of the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped nearly two years ago [who inspired] the #BringBackOurGirls movement." Here's more from Gregory:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed a bill that makes his state the second to ban abortion because of a fetal abnormality. The measure also criminalizes the procedure when motivated solely because of factors such as the fetus's sex or race.

An Islamic State leader who has been described as the militant group's finance minister has been killed, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday.

"We are systematically eliminating ISIL's cabinet," Carter said. "Indeed, the U.S. military killed several key ISIL terrorists this week, including, we believe, Hajji Iman, who was an ISIL leader — senior leader — serving as a finance minister and who was also responsible for some external affairs and plots."

A Canadian court has acquitted Jian Ghomeshi, the former CBC radio host who was fired in 2014 amid multiple allegations of sexual assault.

In this case, which involved complaints from three different women regarding incidents in 2002 and 2003, Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance to sexual assault by choking.

The Walt Disney Co. and its Marvel subsidiary threatened Wednesday to stop film production in Georgia if the governor signs a controversial "religious liberty" bill into law — which would be a major blow to the state's burgeoning film industry.

Since then, a range of other companies have joined in opposing the legislation.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted seven Iranians with intelligence links over a series of crippling cyberattacks against 46 U.S. financial institutions between 2011 and 2013.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, also accuses one of the Iranians of remotely accessing the control system of a small dam in Rye, N.Y, during the same period.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's deadly attacks in Belgium, the world is learning about people who died, including a mother of twin daughters, a university student mourned by classmates, and a public servant who was "a bit of a joker."

The attacks, which were claimed by ISIS, killed at least 31 people and wounded at least 270 others. Head here for the latest news on the manhunt for an accomplice to the attacks.

Malik I. Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg who was a founding member of the seminal group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday at the age of 45.

His family said in a statement that Phife died as a result of complications from diabetes.

"The Flint water crisis is a story of government failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, and environmental injustice."

That's how an independent task force opened its final report on the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint.

It concluded that primary responsibility for the crisis in Flint, Mich., lies with a state environmental agency called the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality — though it said others are also to blame.

A Russian court has found Ukranian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko guilty of murdering two Russian journalists in Ukraine. She's been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

NPR's Corey Flintoff in Moscow tells our Newscast unit that Savchenko "was accused of directing artillery fire that killed two members of a Russian TV crew in July 2014."

After Tuesday's deadly attacks in Brussels killed more than two dozen people, we're seeing an outpouring of grief and support from around the world.

Like we saw after the November attacks in Paris, many took to social media to express their condolences and solidarity with the people affected — and latched onto prominent symbols associated with the country.

After the violence in Paris, renditions of the Eiffel Tower and the French flag were widely shared.

Details are still trickling in from today's attacks in Brussels that have killed at least two-dozen people. We're keeping you updated on the latest here.

While the tragedy in Brussels is the focus of headlines around the world, we're reminded that there have been a number of other attacks recently that have seen less attention, some in places where access is difficult and reporting resources are limited.

NASA has released a new gravity map of Mars, providing a detailed look at the Red Planet's surface and revealing new information about what lies beneath it.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Samsung's appeal of a Federal Circuit Court ruling in the company's patent infringement dispute with Apple.

At issue in the case: What portion of the profits is a design-patent infringer liable to pay?

Apple accuses the South Korean tech giant of copying patented aspects of the iPhone's design, such as the round-cornered front face and the colorful icon grid.

North Korea fired five short-range missiles into the sea Monday, the South Korean military says.

NPR's Elise Hu in Seoul reports that these are the latest in a string of similar launches, despite repeated calls from the international community to halt them.

"The missiles were fired near the eastern coastal city of Hamhung, and analysts say the short-range projectiles traveled about 120 miles," Elise tells our Newscast unit.

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, one of Europe's most wanted men, has been taken alive during a police raid in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek.

Abdeslam, 26, had evaded capture for more than four months after the terrorist attacks that killed 130 people on Nov. 13.

The news was confirmed by Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel and France's President Francois Hollande during a joint press conference Friday evening.

In Brussels, the European Union and Turkey have reached a deal aimed at stemming the massive flow of people into Europe. It will likely impact tens of thousands of migrants and refugees.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that the sides unanimously agreed to terms.

Where is Queen Nefertiti buried? It's one of the biggest mysteries in Egyptology, and today, archaeologists might be one step closer to an answer.

Researchers have been radar-scanning the walls of King Tutankhamen's tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings in search of hidden chambers.

Now, NPR's Leila Fadel tells our Newscast unit that analysis of scans conducted in November shows there are two empty spaces behind the walls. And those spaces may contain organic or metallic material.

"Let me be blunt," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in his opening statement to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "This was a failure of government at all levels. Local, state and federal officials — we all failed the families of Flint."

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