World News

ISIS fighters launched attacks on police Friday in the city of Kirkuk, as Iraqi security forces continued a massive military offensive to try to pry Mosul, one of Iraq's largest cities, from the militant group.

"The fighters struck [Kirkuk] before dawn, with suicide bombers hitting four police stations and gunmen killing police," NPR's Alice Fordham reports from Irbil, Iraq, though the number of casualties wasn't immediately clear. "A curfew is imposed in Kirkuk, but eyewitnesses say fighting continues."

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman could be brought to face trial in the U.S. by early next year, after a federal judge in Mexico City refused to stop his extradition process. El Chapo is now down to his last appeals.

South Africa has decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, after previously ignoring an ICC arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Reuters and The Associated Press both say they have seen a document, signed by South Africa's foreign minister, declaring the country's intent to withdraw. The AP reports that legislation to finalize the move has to pass South Africa's parliament, but notes that passage of such a bill is likely.

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Toxic

About Emily Penn's TED Talk

Ocean advocate Emily Penn has seen first hand how much plastic ends up in the oceans. She explains how the toxins from plastic makes their way into our food chain and how we might be able to stop it.

About Emily Penn

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with Halloween news. A Mississippi county temporarily banned clowns. Given a rash of clowns sitings, county supervisors fear trick or treating with a clown costume could end badly.

It's the land of pop-up protests.

Using hashtags and spur-of-the-moment public demonstrations, Zimbabweans are demanding reforms — and the departure of 92-year-old president Robert Mugabe, who has led the country since its independence from Britain in 1980.

To find Mosul's cops, you drive to a gray dot of a village in an endless desert. The village, Mahana, was retaken from the Islamic State a few months ago and for now it's the police base for cops who left Mosul when ISIS took over more than two years ago.

Iraq's army and its allies are now battling their way through rural areas toward the larger prize of retaking Mosul. Helicopters buzz back and forth from the frontlines. Every breath is bitter with smoke from oil wells set alight by ISIS.

Mexico City's Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera is handing out plastic whistles. A half-million of them. At three bucks a pop, he's hoping that women will use the whistles to scare off harassers on the packed public transportation system.

When the plan was announced this summer, it received a flurry of scathing criticism and mocking memes on social media. But city officials are moving forward and have been handing out the whistles by the thousands at subway and bus stops.

On Friday the United Nations is set to appoint Wonder Woman its honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. The cartoon character, turning 75 this year, will be the face of a social media campaign that the U.N., will launch at a star-studded ceremony in New York. The actress Gal Gadot — who plays Wonder Woman in the movies these days — is scheduled to be there. So is Lynda Carter, who portrayed the superhero in the 1970s television show.

Russia and Syria have temporarily halted airstrikes on the beleaguered eastern part of Aleppo, the part of the city controlled by the rebels. Instead, Aleppo has been showered with leaflets that urge rebel fighters and civilians to flee.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday his country's air force was extending for another day a "humanitarian pause" so civilians in need of medical care can get out of the city.

"We are appealing [to] countries that have influence on armed groups in eastern Aleppo to convince them to stop fighting and leave," Shoigu said.

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On a blistering 90-degree day, Nelly Carrillo stands over her stove, placing a chorizo and potato sope onto the oiled cast-iron skillet. The thick, fried tortilla sizzles, and she wipes sweat off her brow with the back of her softly wrinkled hands. You can hear a cacophony of honking cars and voices in the near distance.

Huang Xian'er came of age while watching Internet celebrities' streaming videos on her smartphone in western China's Yinchuan city.

"My mom knew I was watching Internet stars in school," she recalls. "She simplistically thought that all Internet stars sell clothes, get plastic surgery and all look the same."

Just 18 and still in high school, Camila Rodriguez did not feel prepared for motherhood when she learned she was unexpectedly pregnant. She began asking around her school, hoping to find someone selling Misoprostol, a pharmaceutical drug that treats stomach ulcers, but which has been banned in Chile since 2001 because it can also induce abortions.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


The Pentagon says two Americans were shot and killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and at least two others were wounded. One of those who died was a service member, the other was a civilian.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the assailant opened fire at the entrance to an ammunition depot near Camp Morehead, a training center for Afghan commandos. The camp is about an hour's drive south of Kabul.

As Tom reported for our Newscast unit:

Regulators in Malaysia are trying to make something clear to food consumers: Hot dogs do not have dog meat in them.

According to The Associated Press, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious regulatory authority, has asked the U.S. company to change the name of its popular "pretzel dog" frankfurter wrapped in pretzel bread in order to obtain official halal certification.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the U.S. government set out to evaluate the riskiness of mortgages — and left behind a stunning portrait of the racism and discrimination that has shaped American housing policy.

Now a new digital tool makes it easier than ever to see that history in high-resolution.

A powerful super typhoon pounded the coast of the Philippines late Wednesday, and aid groups say they are preparing for possible wide-scale damage.

Super Typhoon Haima unleashed maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, with gusts reaching up to 195 mph. It made landfall at about 11 p.m. local time on Wednesday in Peñablanca, in the northern tip of the country, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

A cease-fire brokered by the United Nations took hold in Yemen on Wednesday night. The U.N. hopes the break will allow humanitarian workers to deliver badly needed aid and pave the way for peace talks.

U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced the deal on Monday. A statement from the U.N. said Ahmed "has received assurances from all Yemeni parties" that they will abide by the Cessation of Hostilities that he negotiated in April.

Saudi Arabia has raised more than $17 billion in its first foray into the global bond markets, according to news reports, as the kingdom struggles to close a budget deficit caused by declining oil prices.

The sale is the largest-ever bond offering by an emerging-market country, topping Argentina's $16.5 billion offering in August.

"Saudi's multi-part debt offering drew heavy investor demand as the world's top oil exporter sought to borrow at historic low yields," Reuters reported.

If the old real estate adage holds true — it's all about location, location, location — then about 100 miles off the tip of Florida, it's boom time. The real estate market in Havana, Cuba, is roaring.

The communist country is seeing its colonial-style mansions and Art Deco apartments selling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add a Caribbean sea view or a prized spot in a pre-revolution, exclusive neighborhood, and the price can top a million bucks. The prices are soaring, along with speculation in this budding and risky all-cash real estate market.

Outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila, a protest against the U.S. military presence in the Philippines ended with a violent police crackdown, including a police van ramming into protesters.

Police also used tear gas against the crowds and arrested dozens of protesters, according to NPR's Anthony Kuhn.

The Associated Press reports that several demonstrators were taken to the hospital after they were struck by a police van — reportedly driven by a Philippine police officer — that rammed into the protest:

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