World News

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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/.

The local radio broadcasts are in English, reporting British news. Traditional English pubs fly the Union Jack and serve pints of ale. If you're hungry, there are fish and chips shops, and full English breakfasts with heaps of baked beans. Supermarkets stock Yorkshire tea and Marmite. Feeling sporty? Head over to the cricket club, or go lawn bowling.

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Costa Rican officials say more than 800 people claiming to be from Africa have come to their country in just the last two months. Most are believed to be from the two neighboring Congo states in central Africa. But in a visit this week, NPR also found Eritreans, Angolans and Nigerians.

Authorities also suspect that some are from Haiti.

Central America has long been the route north for people fleeing violence or poverty in Latin America. Now it's also a route from Africa.

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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/.

When American Erik Bidenkap arrived in London from the U.S. six weeks ago, he thought he was leaving behind the toxic politics of the U.S. presidential race.

Bidenkap said he was hoping for a more intellectual, perhaps even philosophical, discussion of the question U.K. citizens will decide Thursday: whether to leave the European Union.

"I expected there would be more civility, politeness, I guess," Bidenkap said over pints at a pub near his apartment in London's Notting Hill section. "I expected the conversation to be of a higher level."

Updated at 6:30 a.m. ET

A small plane on a daring winter evacuation mission from the South Pole landed safely Wednesday night at Punta Arenas, Chile.

The moment my boyfriend — now husband — and I got serious about our future together, my father-in-law got serious about teaching me to cook Indian cuisine. My boyfriend was already skilled in the kitchen. But Dr. Jashwant Sharma wanted extra assurance that the dishes from his native country would always have a place in our home. Plus, as he told me recently, he thought I'd like it.

"We mix four, five, six different spices in a single dish. These create a taste and aroma that you don't get in any other food. People exposed to it usually like it," he said.

The latest polls on the United Kingdom's vote to stay in or leave the European Union show a slight rise for the Remain camp. Most, however, agree that Thursday's referendum is still too close to call. Such uncertainty has surrounded the entire Brexit debate – with one exception.

Britain's bookies say the smart money is on Remain.

"At the moment, Remain is the odds-on favorite at 1 to 4, so that equates to about a 76 percent chance of the U.K. voting to remain in the EU," says Jessica Bridge, spokeswoman for Ladbrokes, one of the U.K.'s larger betting firms.

At first it seems like a typical music video.

A big, calm-looking bearded man sits in a posh armchair and sings in an emotion-choked baritone, "I'm running, I'm running, I'm running."

He's Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter.

A little bit into the song, a rapper joins in: "I fight through the night just to find a stronger day."

Rio de Janeiro is gearing up to host the world's elite athletes in an Olympics that promises transcendent moments in sports — and potential controversies outside of the competition. Compelling stories are already emerging, and that means that it's time to relight The Torch, NPR's Olympics blog.

The Summer Games begin Aug. 5, and more than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries will participate in the first Olympics ever held in South America.

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Great Britain once ruled the largest empire in history, with colonies and dominions that spanned the globe, political and economic influence that wildly exceeded its modest size. Generations of schoolkids were raised on the mantra: "the empire on which the sun never sets."

World War II marked the beginning of the end, and the not-so-United Kingdom votes Thursday on whether to cut itself loose from the European Union, the latest in a long line of moves that would shrink its international presence.

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/.

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/.

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

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

The president of a regional bank in China has been suspended after a video was circulated in which an official at a special training session went down a row of eight employees to deliver a hard spanking as punishment for poor performance. A second executive has also reportedly been suspended.

Updated 5:45 p.m. ET: Plane lands at the pole

The U.S. government has launched a rescue mission to the South Pole after a worker at its Amundsen-Scott research station fell ill. The evacuation comes at the height of winter on the Antarctic continent — a time when there are usually no flights in or out of the pole.

On June 23, the United Kingdom will vote on whether or not to split from the European Union.

Those on the Remain Team, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, say Britain will be richer, safer and stronger if it stays with Europe. Those who want Britain to exit — Team Brexit — argue that the British should be able to control their own destiny. We haven't fought two world wars, they sniff, to be pushed around by the bosses in Brussels and told what sort of bananas to eat. Yes, you read that right: bananas.

Boeing says it has signed an agreement with Iran Air for the purchase of commercial passenger airplanes, making it the first major U.S. company to do business in Iran since sanctions were lifted earlier this year.

Boeing stopped selling planes to Iran following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

An umbrella meeting of some of the most powerful people in international sports has "unanimously agreed" to respect the decision by track and field's governing body to ban Russia's track and field athletes from the upcoming Summer Olympics — but it also left open the possibility that some of those athletes could be cleared to compete in Rio.

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