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A Russian national living in the U.K. after his 2010 release by Moscow on charges of spying for Britain, is critically ill after being exposed to an "unknown substance" over the weekend, the BBC reports.

Sergei Skripal, 66, fell ill in a Salisbury, Wiltshire, shopping mall on Sunday.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Aid supplies are beginning to reach the besieged community of Eastern Ghouta for the first time in weeks. But air strikes continued even during the aid delivery, despite the ostensible "humanitarian corridor" put in place by the Russian government, and dozens of civilians were killed in the Damascus suburb on Monday.

The Italian political world has been struck by a populist tsunami — 50 percent of voters in Sunday's parliamentary elections chose candidates from anti-establishment, anti-immigrant and euroskeptic parties. However, no party amassed enough votes to form a government on its own, and this makes weeks of political instability likely while government negotiations are underway.

"Italy ungovernable," read a Monday headline in the daily La Stampa.

China on Monday announced the largest increase in three years to its defense budget, saying it would spend 8.1 percent more than the previous year as the country continues a push to modernize its military and expand its air and naval capabilities.

Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara's new book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat.

In Vietnam's capital Hanoi there are lots of museums about past wars the Vietnamese have fought, including against the French but especially against the Americans.

The B-52 Victory Museum is strewn with broken pieces of fuselages and tails from downed U.S. aircraft. What's missing are the visitors. Eighty-two-year-old Pham Hong Thuy — sitting alone watching after his grandson — explains why.

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


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


On a recent sunny afternoon at a solar farm outside Philadelphia, Pa., commercial drone pilots Tony Zimlich and Gunner Goldie are preparing for flight.

Dressed in hard hats and matching yellow vests, they run through a series of safety and equipment checks, and survey the surrounding terrain and airspace, before picking up what looks like a pair of oversized video game controllers. Then, with a streak of beeps and whirs, their drone — about the size of a milk crate — rises steadily into the sky above.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a dinner to welcome delegates from South Korea on Monday, in a visit Seoul hopes will pave the way for talks between North Korea and the United States.

The 10-member delegation includes a top national security adviser and spy chief — marking the first time South Korean officials are reported to have met the North Korean leader since he took power in 2011.

In 1954, at the age of 25, Roger Bannister made headlines around the world as the first person to run a mile under 4 minutes.

Bannister's 3:59:4 mile unlocked the door to what was possible in track — both physically and psychologically.

It had long been thought that a sub 4-minute mile was far from achievable and perhaps deadly for those who tried.

British Prime Minister Theresa May led the tributes to the former athlete, who later became one of Europe's leading neurologists and was made a knight.

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


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


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


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


You might have heard of "glamping" — luxury or glam camping. Now, there's "champing," or camping inside churches that are no longer used for services. It's one of the newest camping options in England and, last fall, I decided to take my family champing in an 18th century church outside of Oxford.

Our night at St. Katherine's began with a 90-minute drive from our home outside of London to the Coach and Horses Inn, a pub, where we picked up the front-door key from a bartender named Georgia Rose.

Members of Germany's center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have endorsed a deal to form a governing coalition with the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, paving the way for Merkel to lead Germany for four more years.

The deal ends more than five months of political uncertainty after September elections left Merkel's governing coalition weakened.

On Sunday, dozens of competitors will take to the slopes at Mount Snow in Vermont for the annual world championship of jack jumping.

Wait. What's a jack jump? Yeah, I wondered that too.

Even as a longtime skier — and Vermont reporter — I had no idea what the snow sport entailed — but I became determined to find out.

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


After suspected Boko Haram militants launched a brutal attack in the town of Rann in Nigeria's northeastern Borno State Thursday, killing several people including aid workers, Doctors Without Borders has pulled out of the town.

The departure is sure to be a blow to the tens of thousands of displaced people living in a nearby camp.

Foxtrot is Israel's most celebrated film of the year — and its most controversial.

It tells the story of one family grappling with the loss of their son at war. But it's also a searing critique of a society stuck in perpetual war.

These days you can add to the list of unexpectedly risky professions: being a popular singer in Egypt.

Sherine Abdel Wahab, known as Sherine, has been sentenced to six months in prison for "spreading false news" in a concert. She took a fan's request to sing her hit song, "Have You Drunk from the Nile."

There's and old belief in Egypt that someone who drinks from the Nile will always return home to Egypt.

But Sherine joked that if you drink from the Nile, you might get parasites. She told her audience, "Drink Evian instead."

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


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


Ziad Abdul Qader came back to his house in the Iraqi city of Mosul recently to find a pile of charred human bones in the courtyard. He'd seen the bodies of the two ISIS fighters when he came to check on the house months ago and hurriedly left. When he returned in mid-February, they had been set on fire.

"A group was going around burning bodies because they were worried about disease," he says.

The Himalayan village of Kalinchowk, sitting at an altitude of about 12,000 feet in eastern Nepal and known for its temple to the Hindu goddess Kali, gets snow every year. After a recent storm, the town's young people flock to wooden lodges and dance around campfires.

Utsav Pathak is determined to get some of them on skis.

"In Nepal, nobody skis, I think," says Pathak.

Updated at 3:22 a.m. ET Sunday

An extremist group affiliated with al-Qaida claimed responsibility on Saturday for two coordinated attacks in Burkina Faso.

At least eight people were killed and more than 80 people were injured in attacks in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou on Friday.

The government and United Nations called the two attacks incidents of terrorism. Gunmen targeted the French embassy while a "vehicle packed with explosives" and other gunmen targeted the headquarters of Burkina Faso's army.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana will continue to operate with minimal staff and will become what is known as an unaccompanied post, with an indefinite ban on family members of embassy employees residing there, the State Department says.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that this status typically applies only to war zones or other dangerous cities.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson temporarily pulled all nonessential State Department staff out of Cuba in September 2017 after numerous diplomats reported experiencing strange medical symptoms, ranging from dizziness to hearing loss.

After a two-hour flight from Manila, Philippines, the tailhook of the C-2 Greyhound cargo plane snagged a cable on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson and went from about 100 miles an hour to zero in a couple of seconds.

The Carl Vinson is the flagship of the first carrier strike group of the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet. It operates in tandem with the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan.

The Navy now has two fleets assigned to operate in the Western Pacific, as the United States shifts its priorities away from the Middle East to potential flashpoints in the Asia Pacific.

In Italy, polls ahead of Sunday's general elections suggest the maverick 5-Star Movement is more popular than any other party. Founded in 2009 on an anti-establishment platform by Beppe Grillo, a vitriolic comedian, it's setting its sights on heading Italy's next government.

5-Star claims to be an Internet-based direct democracy movement and has attracted many Italians disaffected with traditional parties. It's openly populist — with positions that are anti-immigration, anti-vaccination and anti-European Union.