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The devastation in floods, earthquakes or droughts is generally measured by how much stuff or assets people lose — say the number of wrecked houses and the dollar amount it would take to rebuild them. In the course of a year, that adds up to a lot of money: $300 billion by some accounts.

Among the many unknowns hanging over this presidential transition: the fate of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama has sworn to close it; President-elect Trump wants to fill it up again.

Obama has been promising the closure will happen since his second day in office in 2009. In February, he repeated that pledge one more time, saying, "I'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo."

That same day, at a campaign rally in Sparks, Nevada, Donald Trump was promising the opposite.

An experimental vaginal ring that continuously releases the anti-HIV drug dapivirine has the potential to save lives.

But what's it going to do to sex lives?

An elite Chinese fighter pilot died Saturday in a training accident, Chinese media reports.

The pilot, Yu Xu, was particularly well known because she was the first woman to fly the country's most advanced fighter jet, the J-10, and was a member of the elite aerobatic team known as the August 1st Air Demonstration Team, according to the state-run, English-language China Daily newspaper.

For decades Freedom House has been ranking the world on free speech, political and civil rights. In recent years, this nongovernmental organization has extended its research into the state of the Internet. And for the sixth consecutive year, it has found Internet freedom on a decline.

Last fall, I was an American college student in Paris, studying international security and terrorism. I knew when I chose Paris that it would be an excellent place to further my studies, but I did not expect to experience the subject first-hand.

Everyone I met in Paris felt safe there, whether they were other Americans or French. I had one friend who felt safer in Paris than she felt in Austin, Texas, where we attended the University of Texas. We all thought our discussions about terrorism were mostly theoretical and about events taking place somewhere else.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange began facing questions from prosecutors Monday in connection with sex-crime allegations dating back to 2010.

Swedish authorities have been trying for years to question Assange. They say they need to interview him before making a decision about whether to press charges in the case, which began when two women accused Assange of sexual misconduct, including rape, in Sweden.

After a powerful earthquake struck New Zealand on Sunday, several vital railroads and highways have been destroyed, stranding more than a thousand people in the affected region.

At least two people died in the Sunday night earthquake, which was magnitude 7.8 and triggered a small tsunami.

Since then, visitors and residents alike have also been grappling with a series of aftershocks — including several at magnitude 6.0 or higher.

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 NPR.


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


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


On November 14 at a ceremony in Los Angeles, Bono will be honored as one of Glamour's Women of the Year. He's the first man to make the list.

A strong earthquake hit along the east coast of New Zealand's South Island Sunday, with a 7.8 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake caused power outages, damaged buildings — and generated a tsunami. Emergency officials are urging people to get to high ground.

"The tsunami threat is for the east coast of all New Zealand (including Christchurch, Wellington and the Chatham islands)," the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said Sunday, urging residents to be wary of aftershocks and unpredictable high waves.

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


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


STING: (Singing) Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light.


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


What is Donald Trump's national security plan?

Some things are clear: Trump supports billions of dollars in new Pentagon spending for military hardware. He'd permit more veterans to seek care outside the federal system of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He'd keep open the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Much else, however, is not.

During Trump's campaign against Hillary Clinton, the candidates rarely talked about terrorism, Iraq, Syria or other issues, aside from using it as a way to condemn one another.

For the second time in just six weeks, it appears that Latin America's longest-running war may finally end in peace. The Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, announced an agreement Saturday night that would end their 52-year guerrilla war — another attempt at peace after Colombian voters narrowly rejected a previous deal in an October referendum.

Americans didn't choose Europe's favored candidate. And while the election answered one question, it also created a huge torrent of others for Europeans. European Union leaders hadn't fully contemplated the possibility they'd have to deal with the unknown quantity of a President Donald Trump.

Days after she was deported from Pakistan to her native Afghanistan, the woman whose piercing green-eyed stare landed a spot on the cover of National Geographic will next travel to India for medical care.

That's the news from Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan's ambassador to India, who said via Twitter that Sharbat Gula "will soon be in India for medical treatment free of cost."

The Karamlesh village meeting begins the traditional way, with Christian prayers led by a priest, murmured and sung, lingering in the evening air.

But the meeting's not in the actual village of Karamlesh. It's 40 miles away in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, on red plastic chairs under a dust-yellow sky, next to the corrugated trailers some of these people have been living in since 2014 when the Islamic State took their village.

The Taliban says one of its operatives caused a large explosion at NATO's largest military base in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the apparent suicide bomber killed four Americans — two service members and two contractors — and wounded 17 others.

The bombing comes two days after a German diplomatic mission in northern Afghanistan also suffered a deadly suicide attack.

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans from across the country crammed into the major thoroughfare of central Seoul on Saturday, in an organized and peaceful protest against the embattled president, Park Geun-hye.

The crowd of at least 500,000 people, according to Reuters, held candles and signs reading "Resign," sang pop songs and patriotic numbers, and marched together toward the Blue House, the presidential home and office complex.

"It's an explosion of their feelings," demonstrator Jinwon Kim says of the crowds. "People are very angry."

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


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


In his ultra-Orthodox enclave of Jerusalem, Yosef Eharman is juggling Bible study, family life — and his first job, at age 33.

Since childhood, Eharman had studied in a Jewish seminary, or yeshiva. He had never taken math or science; they weren't part of the curriculum.

"I realized I didn't have any education for the workforce," Eharman says. "I was looking for jobs, [but] I didn't get any interviews, anything!"

Donald Trump, a neophyte in foreign policy and national security issues, will take office in January facing a world of challenges. The president-elect's campaign trail pronouncements on international affairs were sometimes contradictory, often vague and seldom substantive, leaving many in the U.S. and abroad to speculate about what exactly his foreign and defense policies might look like.

NPR journalists in Washington and around the world weigh in on some of the thorniest and most pressing international issues a Trump administration will confront.

Can you find beauty in a life of hardship?

If the photos from the Siena International Photo Awards are any indication, the answer is yes. Last month, the winners and runners-up in 11 categories, including travel, nature, people and portraits, were announced.

Many of those top images were taken in the developing world, depicting lives affected by poverty and adversity — but not in the way you might expect.