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In what will go down as one of the most significant legislative sessions in modern Chinese history, an eye-rolling millennial managed to steal the show from President Xi Jinping, a man who had just been given permission to rule 1.3 billion people for as long as he wants.

It took just about two weeks from the public announcement to Sunday's legislative vote that erased presidential term limits from the constitution, potentially allowing Xi Jinping to rule China indefinitely.

"After it was announced, the move sent tremors through the Communist Party's intelligentsia," observes Zhang Xixian, an expert on party politics at the Central Party School in Beijing. But thanks to heavy government censorship of media and the Internet, there was little visible debate or opposition to the move.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


The U.K. is expelling 23 Russian diplomats as punishment for a chemical weapons attack that took place in England. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia was likely behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy who, along with his daughter, was exposed to a lethal nerve agent that was developed in Russia.

German lawmakers have officially elected Chancellor Angela Merkel to continue leading the country for a fourth term after months of grueling coalition talks that left the country in limbo following elections in September.

Members of Germany's Bundestag voted 364 in favor, 315 opposed and nine abstentions.

"I accept the vote," Merkel told parliamentarians.

Her fourth term ends more than five months of political wrangling and uncertainty that weakened Merkel's governing coalition.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Shortly after announcing a major shake-up on Twitter on Tuesday, President Trump told reporters, "We're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want."

Trump wished outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson well but said he expects a more simpatico relationship with Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director whom the president has tapped to be the nation's top diplomat.

There aren't very many scientists who achieved rock star status. Stephen Hawking, who has died at the age of 76, family members told British media early Wednesday, was definitely a contender.

Seven weeks into Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, a mission to clear Kurdish fighters from Syrian regions along its southern border, the Turkish military says its troops and Syrian rebel allies have nearly surrounded Afrin. They announced Tuesday that the central section of the border city and other "critically important areas" have been seized from the principally Kurdish militia known as People's Protection Units, or YPG.

It seems like another example of television's gender pay gap: executive producers of Netflix's drama The Crown have admitted that star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth, was paid less than Matt Smith, the supporting actor who played her husband, Prince Philip.

But a look at the details of this deal also shows how well stardom pays off in show business, especially when an actor in a supporting role is more famous than the star of their new television series.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

President Trump is making his first visit to California since taking office, using the whirlwind trip to view prototypes for his signature border wall proposal and promote his defense policies to troops stationed in San Diego.

Two reports to the United Nations have found that Myanmar has carried out extreme human rights violations against the Rohingya people, abuses that are most likely crimes under international law.

The U.N. Human Rights Council heard both reports on Monday: one from the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and another from Yanghee Lee, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar.

Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile who was a close friend of a noted critic of President Vladimir Putin, has died from an "unexplained" cause in London, police say. The Metropolitan Police says that its counterterrorism unit is handling the case "because of associations that the man is believed to have had."

For more than a year now, journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn have been devoted to covering the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday that Russia has "until midnight tonight" to explain how a lethal Novichok nerve agent that was developed in Russia came to be used on U.K. soil. Johnson said Britain is preparing to take "commensurate but robust" action.

Mike Pompeo, whom President Trump tapped Tuesday to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, has an extraordinary résumé. He graduated at the top of his class at West Point. He served as a tank officer in Europe. He went to Harvard Law School.

He was a corporate lawyer who launched a successful aerospace business. He got elected to Congress as a Tea Party Republican from Kansas in 2010. For more than a year, he has run the CIA.

However, he has never been a diplomat, either by profession or temperament.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired on Tuesday morning in a tweet that followed a year of frequent tension between the two leaders.

Canada's $10 bill is getting a new look.

Viola Desmond, known as the Canadian Rosa Parks, has been named as the first black person and first non-royal woman to be featured on regular Canadian currency.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


The pilot on a US-Bangla Airlines flight that crashed at Nepal's main airport, killing 49 of the 71 people aboard, was apparently confused about which direction the plane should use to approach the runway.

The airline's CEO Imran Asif accused Kathmandu's air traffic controllers of giving the pilot the wrong instructions, according to Reuters.

If National Geographic's April issue was going to be entirely devoted to the subject of race, the magazine decided it had better take a good hard look at its own history.

Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg asked John Edwin Mason, a professor of African history and the history of photography at the University of Virginia, to dive into the magazine's nearly 130-year archive and report back.

The type of nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. was developed in a top-secret laboratory in Moscow and was once a closely held secret of the Russian government.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4. Experts quickly assessed that Skripal — a former Russian intelligence official accused of spying for the British — had been poisoned with a nerve agent.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May named the agent in a speech before Parliament.

Greece has suspended indefinitely its Super League after the team owner of PAOK walked onto the pitch apparently carrying a gun in a holster to protest a referee's call in a match against AEK.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


President Trump's decision to meet North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, by the end of May poses both risks and opportunities for China.

For the time being, U.S. plans to launch a military strike on North Korea are on the back burner and there is hope for an easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Every Sunday when he is at the Vatican, Francis ends his remarks to the crowd in St. Peter's Square with a typical Italian saying: "Have a good lunch and arrivederci."

It's that common touch that has so endeared the Argentine-born pope to millions of people across the world, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, since his election five years ago, on March 13, 2013. But in recent months, Francis has also become the target of criticism on various fronts, and the image of him as charismatic reformer has suffered some hits.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Updated at 3:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday

British Prime Minister Theresa May says it is "highly likely" that Russia is behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter earlier this month in southern England.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found collapsed on a bench on March 4 in the city of Salisbury. They remain in critical condition, according to The Associated Press.