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A patch of mold has fetched a pretty penny in London - over $14,000. Now, to be clear, this isn't the black stuff growing in damp corners of the bathroom. It's a dish of perhaps the most important mold in medical history.

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In its first cyber policy paper, the Chinese government is emphasizing its control over Internet access in China, and argued that each nation should govern the Internet as it sees fit.

"Countries should respect each other's right to choose their own path of cyber development," read an English translation of the paper published by the state-run news agency Xinhua.

Amid escalating anxieties over recent Russian activities, Sweden has approved a plan to reinstitute military conscription beginning next year. The draft, which will pull from both young men and women, will be Sweden's first since 2010, when the country discontinued compulsory service.

The country expects to call up at least 4,000 young people per year for military training, in a bid to erase its deficits in recruitment since the draft ended. The government says it has been recruiting about 2,500 people for military service annually, about 1,500 fewer than it says it needs.

In Latin America, Lent is full of elaborate Catholic rituals, from palm weavings and sawdust carpets to processions of robed penitents. But only in Ecuador will you find fanesca, the equally elaborate Lenten soup.

Nearly a week after Malaysia concluded that the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un died of poisoning from a powerful nerve agent, North Korea is claiming that he probably died of a heart attack.

Ri Tong Il, who once served as the North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters Thursday that the man "probably died of a heart attack because he suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure," according to The Associated Press.

A committee of the European Parliament has voted to strip French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of her immunity from prosecution, citing tweets she shared that contained graphic images of violence by the Islamic State.

Saying that the U.S. still requires citizens of five EU member nations to obtain an entry visa, the European Union's Parliament approved a measure on Thursday calling for the EU Commission to urge full visa reciprocity — and reinstate visa requirements for Americans who want to visit Europe.

On Puerto Rico's southwestern corner, the sleepy seaside town of Guanica is where, nearly 120 years ago, the U.S. relationship with the island began during the Spanish-American War. The town's museum director, Francisco Rodriguez, takes visitors to the town's waterfront where the invasion began. In Spanish he says, "This is Guanica Bay, where the American troops commanded by General Nelson Miles landed on July 25, 1898." At the site, a stone marker engraved by the 3rd Battalion of the U.S. Army commemorates the invasion.

A quickening flow of civilians is leaving the city of Mosul, fleeing fighting between Iraqi security forces and the ISIS militants who have held the city for more than two years.

A total of 28,400 people have run away since an offensive to retake the densely populated western half of the city began Feb. 19, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

If you consider thousands of dollars for a tiny patch of decades-old mold a tad too pricey, well, maybe you're just not cut out for the high-stakes world of mold auctions. Because not even that hefty bit of green wouldn't have brought home the other bit of green that just sold Wednesday at a London auction house.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Citizens of tourist hotspots, Denmark needs your help. Danes love traveling to sunny locales for vacation because Denmark doesn't get a lot of sun. Their top five destinations are Thailand, France, Greece, Spain and Italy.

Despite ordering an "influence campaign" to help Donald Trump in last year's election, the Kremlin is scrambling to respond to a win it didn't expect, New Yorker editor David Remnick and staff writer Evan Osnos tell Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Remnick, who lived and worked in Moscow from 1988 to 1992, and Osnos say Trump's victory has created unintended consequences for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A survivor of abuse has resigned from Pope Francis' panel on clerical sex abuse, citing "shameful" resistance within the Vatican to the group's efforts to protect children.

A month ago, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit the pause button on his controversial war on drugs. That war has left more than 7,500 people dead since Duterte took office last June, promising a "dirty" and "bloody" fight against drugs.

"Do your duty, and if in the process, you kill 1,000 persons, I will protect you," Duterte, nicknamed "The Punisher," told police days after his election.

And he did — standing by them fiercely in the months that followed, despite allegations of of extrajudicial killings that prompted international outrage.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

A former officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, Sabrina De Sousa, was released from custody Wednesday after Italy's president granted her partial clemency over a 2003 kidnapping that was part of the agency's extraordinary rendition program.

On a mild, sunny afternoon, hordes of tourists stroll down Barcelona's famous tree-lined pedestrian avenue, La Rambla. They love it — the weather, the tapas, the laid-back bohemian vibe. One tourist from Australia says he's visited Barcelona 12 times in 10 years.

But the city doesn't always love them back.

In January, thousands of Barcelona residents marched down La Rambla and "occupied" the entrance to a hotel there, to protest the volume of tourists and gentrification in the city.

Just How Much Pee Is In That Pool?

Mar 1, 2017

You know that sharp odor of chlorine from the swimming pool you can recall from earliest childhood? It turns out it's not just chlorine, but a potent brew of chemicals that form when chlorine meets sweat, body oils, and urine.

For 10 days every winter, nearly a million people show up to visit a Paris convention center that's been transformed into a piece of the French countryside.

Barely a month after the death of her husband in a much-criticized U.S. anti-terrorist raid in Yemen, Carryn Owens was one of President Trump's guests in the House gallery for his address to Congress.

Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens died in the first such operation approved by the new president.

She wept as Trump spoke directly to her:

Starbucks has come full circle.

More than three decades ago, during a trip to Milan, Howard Schultz was inspired to turn the coffeehouse chain into a space that served as a community gathering place. Now Schultz, the company's CEO, has announced Starbucks is opening its first location in Italy, in the heart of Milan's city center.

One might think Italian coffeehouses would be shaken by the looming arrival of this global java giant. But many are saying, bring it on.

Today is Pancake Day in the United Kingdom, or Shrove Tuesday, as it's known on the Christian calendar. It's a time for indulging before the beginning of Lent and, in Britain, racing around with a frying pan, flipping pancakes.

The acting head of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, has been charged with bribery and embezzlement in connection with the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korea's president.

NPR's Elise Hu reported from Seoul that prosecutors announced the indictment after a three-month investigation:

"Samsung acting head Lee Jae-Yong got ensnared after documents showed Samsung funneled some $36 million to the president's close confidant. Prosecutors say the money was paid to win government support of a controversial 2015 company merger.

A gunshot was heard near the spot where French President Francois Hollande was speaking Tuesday, momentarily disrupting his inauguration of a new line in France's high-speed train system. Local media are reporting that the shot was mistakenly fired by a police sniper. The shot left two people wounded.

Hollande was nearly 17 minutes into his roughly 20-minute speech when the loud crack of gunfire was heard. While there was no sign of panic, the leader was also plainly uncertain of what had just happened.

It started in late January. At my local grocery store in South London, salad seemed to be just a few pence pricier than usual. But I didn't think much of it.

Later that week, the same market had conspicuously run out of zucchini. I'm not particularly fond of it, but I lamented for the carb-conscious yuppies who depended — and subsisted — on spiralized zucchini spaghetti. How would they cope?

The body of Kim Jong Un's slain half-brother has become the subject of a diplomatic turf war between North Korea and Malaysia, where he was poisoned earlier this month with a powerful nerve agent.

A high-level delegation of North Koreans arrived in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday to try to claim the body of Kim Jong Nam, NPR's Elise Hu reports from Seoul.

The World Health Organization for the first time has issued a list of the top 12 "priority pathogens." They're disease-causing bacteria that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, says WHO. Yet the development of new antibiotics to treat them has slowed to a crawl.

"We are fast running out of treatment options," says Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO's assistant director-general for Health Systems, in a statement.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In 1890, Sir Thomas Lipton arrived on the island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to purchase a plot of land that would become the first tea estate in his global tea empire. These days, in the Ambadandegama Valley located just a few miles from Lipton's original estate, another experiment in tea production is unfolding.

In the southern French city of Toulon, 39-year-old presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is greeted by cheering crowds as he makes his way onstage at a rally. The former investment banker, who served briefly as President Francois Hollande's economy minister, has never been elected to political office. Yet he stands a good chance of becoming the next French president.

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