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Like hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing the long war back home, 25-year-old Firas Awad endured a dangerous sea journey and a long trek through much of Europe to reach Germany, where he's staked his future.

He and his 18-year-old wife, Tamam Aldrawsha, who are both from the city of Homs, now live in what used to be a country inn and restaurant, in a tiny, forested village north of Berlin called Klosterheide, population 280.

The Voynich Manuscript is a singular mystery. But thanks to a small publishing house in Spain, the one-of-a-kind text will soon be more like one-in-900.

The 15th-century document is written in an unknown, apparently encrypted language that has defied every code breaker's efforts. It's illustrated with unknown or imaginary plants and never-seen constellations. The only copy is locked away at Yale University to protect the book; scans online are the closest most mortals can get to viewing its pages.

NBC had decidedly mixed results when it comes to ratings for its 17 days of coverage from the Summer Olympics in Rio.

According to figures released Monday, NBC drew an average total audience of 25.4 million viewers on its broadcast network in prime time, or 198 million people overall on TV.

Combine figures from broadcast, cable and online and the tally jumps to 27.5 million; enough to boost viewership for NBC programs like the Today show and NBC Nightly News while also bringing victories over network and cable TV competitors.

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

This has been an Olympics of questions: Will everyone who goes to Rio get Zika? Can they survive the polluted water — or the polluted air? Will criminals ruin the games? Are Rio and its venues chaotic? And what is up with that green water?

Those are some of the questions I was asked by friends, colleagues and NPR's audience after I got to Rio. Several times, I gave a joking answer that was only half-joking: that the Rio Olympics are like a three-week Mentos commercial.

A former Malian rebel leader has pleaded guilty at the International Criminal Court to destroying priceless monuments in Timbuktu in 2012.

As the Two-Way has reported, the trial against Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is believed to be the first time desecration of cultural heritage has been prosecuted as a war crime by the tribunal in The Hague.

For our Newscast unit, Teri Schultz reports:

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he's running once again for the presidency — years after a failed re-election bid that was seen as a rebuke to his leadership.

The conservative politician announced his decision to run in 2017 elections by publishing on social media an excerpt from his soon-to-be-released book. Reuters has this quote from the announcement:

"I felt I had the strength to lead this battle at a troubled time in our history. ... The five years that come will be full of danger, but also of hope."

Editor's Note: The photos in this story may be distressing to some viewers.

Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of the Philippines, campaigned as a tough-on-crime candidate, threatening death for drug dealers.

And in the seven weeks since he took office, nearly 1,800 alleged criminals have died — at the hands of police or under mysterious circumstances. The wave of extrajudicial killings has prompted outcry from human rights watchdogs, the Catholic Church and the United Nations.

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

The U.S. and South Korea began annual military drills today amid heightened inter-Korean tensions and threats of a nuclear strike from the North.

In a statement, U.S. and South Korean forces described the 12-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian war games as "non-provocative in nature" and designed to enhance "readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula."

A devastating suicide attack on a wedding in Turkey appears to have been orchestrated by the Islamic State, Turkish officials say.

The bombing in Gaziantep killed at least 54 people, according to local officials, and injured at least 66 more. Fourteen of the wounded are said to be critically injured.

At least 22 of the victims were children.

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/.

Everybody eats, which is what makes food a perfect choice to resolve conflicts and foster connections among nations. The concept is called "gastrodiplomacy," and South Korea is one of its strongest champions.

The country is one of the world's best at branding itself through food, using its cuisine as a kind of "soft power" to help spread South Korea's influence. And even as the government supports its citizens in opening Korean restaurants around the world, it pays special attention to promoting that most ubiquitous of Korean foods: kimchi.

Rio 2016 organizers dropped the curtain on the Summer Games on Sunday after hosting the world's elite athletes who've competed for 306 medals over the past 19 days here in Rio de Janeiro.

The closing ceremony starts at 8 p.m. local time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Time. Because of NBC's time delay, it's airing at 8 p.m. ET and progressively later across the U.S.

After several close games along the way, the U.S. men's basketball team was all business on Sunday as they routed Serbia, 96-66, in the gold medal game that brought down the curtain on the competition in the Rio games.

Kevin Durant led the way, hitting three-point bombs, driving for dunks, handing out assists and making steals on defense. After a close first quarter, which ended with the U.S. up 19-15, the Americans blew the game open in the second frame.

Durant had 24 points by the half and the U.S. had a 23-point lead, 52-29.

Evan Mawarire, a Zimbabwean clergyman, rose to prominence in the spring, when he draped the national flag around his shoulders and took to YouTube to call for change in his country, which has been ruled for more than three decades by President Robert Mugabe and is beset by chronic economic problems.

On an ordinary day, you might miss this slip of a shop wedged between a veterinary clinic and a grocery store in Paris' popular Bastille neighborhood. But on an empty August afternoon, the Clinique du Rasoir Electrique — the Electric Razor Clinic — jumps right out at me.

Here, in a cluttered shop from a bygone era, 73-year-old Jacques Guillaume has been repairing electric razors since 1962. He says he's the last of a kind.

Iraq has executed 36 people accused of participating in the ISIS massacre of more than a thousand Iraqi troops in 2014.

As NPR's Alison Meuse told our Newscast unit, that massacre happened when ISIS, a Sunni extremist group, overran a former U.S. military base called Camp Speicher. Here's more from Alison:

Paul Chelimo's tale about becoming a U.S. Olympian is unusual, and the story behind his silver medal performance in the men's 5,000 meters is stranger still.

We'll work backwards, starting with his race in Rio on Saturday night.

Chelimo ran a personal best in the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) of 13:03:90, finishing second with a strong kick and trailing only the remarkable Mo Farah of Britain, who won the 5,000 and the 10,000, the same difficult double he pulled off in 2012.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge won the men's marathon on Sunday, surging ahead with about nine miles to go and leaving his closet rival more than a minute behind on the streets of Rio.

Kipchoge, who was considered the favorite, finished the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 44 seconds. The race began and ended in the Sambrodomo, the parade ground for the city's iconic Carnival.

Kipchoge, who won the London Marathon earlier this year in near world-record time, is just the second Kenyan man to win the gold medal in the Olympic marathon.

One of the great pleasures of the Olympics is the serendipity — you never know where the best performances or the worst behavior will come from.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Images of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, bloodied and stunned after he was pulled from the rubble in the Syrian city of Aleppo, have become a new symbol of Syria's suffering and resonated worldwide.

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/.

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