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With six years of Olympic preparation behind him, American Jason Pryor took to the fencing strip in Rio on Tuesday.

When I caught up with him a few days before his match, he told me, "I've never been more ready for anything in my entire life."

Pryor, 28, from South Euclid, Ohio, is the top men's epee fencer in the U.S., and ranked no. 24 in the world.

His opening opponent is Benjamin Steffen of Switzerland, ranked no. 13.

U.S. Rugby Team Defends Its Gold — From 1924

Aug 9, 2016

The United States took the field in Brazil on Tuesday as the reigning Olympic champion in rugby. However, none of the current U.S. players could recall that previous moment of glory — because rugby was last played at the Olympics was 1924.

The U.S. wasn't known a world power in rugby back then, and the victory in Paris, 92 years ago, stunned both the French – and the Americans themselves.

Here's how it happened.

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Irom Sharmila ate on Tuesday for the first time in nearly 16 years.

The Indian activist started a hunger strike in November 2000, to protest a law that gives broad powers to security forces in her home state of Manipur. She was arrested by authorities, forcibly hospitalized and force-fed through a tube in her nose.

"The Iron Lady of Manipur" continued to be force-fed until Tuesday afternoon, when a judge granted her release and — tube removed — she licked honey from her hand.

Israel indicted an employee of the United Nations Development Programme on Tuesday, alleging that he helped the militant group Hamas.

This news comes just days after Israel accused a World Vision employee of funneling millions to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Haaretz reports:

On a muggy morning on Kauai's south coast, ethnobotanist Diane Ragone inspects a dimpled bright green orb, the size of a cantaloupe. She deems the fruit mature, at its starchy peak. Perfect for frying or stewing.

At Rio's Summer Games, there's plenty of drama inside the arenas — but it's not all about sport.

As is traditional for the host country's head of state, interim President Michel Temer declared the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics open for business on Aug. 5. But instead of cheers, the crowd erupted into boos. Music quickly swelled to mask the sound, but Brazilians, in the midst of a national political crisis, loudly made their dislike of him known.

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World Vision is rebutting Israeli claims that the charity's Gaza Strip director diverted tens of millions of dollars in donations intended to help the people of Gaza, and gave it to the Hamas militant group.

High blood pressure, once considered a scourge of wealthy nations, is now even more common in low- and middle-income countries, according to an analysis in the journal Circulation.

Globally, more than 30 percent of the population suffered from high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, in 2010. That represents a notable increase over the span of a decade, driven by a dramatic rise of hypertension in less wealthy nations, according to the new study.

Chinese Tourist Wanted Vacation, Not Asylum

Aug 8, 2016

A Chinese tourist just wanted to travel Europe. But he got robbed in Germany, and because he couldn't communicate with officials, he signed the wrong paperwork, and ended up in a refugee facility.

The man, whose name has not been revealed by authorities, spent over a week in the facility in a small town in North Rhine-Westphalia because the German authorities just wanted to help.

Some details of the odyssey remain unclear, but Christoph Schluetermann, a Red Cross official at the refugee home in the city of Duelmen, tells NPR this is what seems to have happened.

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Beef cheeks sizzle in a frying pan. Oysters float in melon puree. And culinary students from all over the world huddle in silent rapture around a stove in central London.

Food gods are in their midst.

The Roca brothers — Joan, Josep and Jordi — are the chef-proprietors of El Celler de Can Roca, a restaurant in northeast Spain that's among the top-rated in the world. To international foodies, the Rocas are rock stars of haute cuisine.

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In Japan today, Emperor Akihito made an extraordinary televised address to the country's citizens.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AKIHITO: (Speaking Japanese).

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Olympics fans enjoyed some great weather on the opening weekend of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro — and they also saw some amazing results Sunday.

But what about the locals? Over the weekend, thousands of them visited a new park that's hosting a large party for the next two weeks. While the megacity of Rio is notoriously hard to sum up, on Sunday we saw many people who were happy to check out Rio's renovated waterfront and its Olympic flame.

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At first glance, it looks like an ordinary gym class at a public school in Yibin, a city of about a million people in southwest China's Sichuan province.

But then you notice that the students are wearing signs: "Nitrate," "Sulfate," "Phosphate." In their game of tag, they chase the classmates they need to start a chemical reaction.

This is how gym and chemistry classes are combined at the Cold Water Well Middle School. Upstairs, in a combined history and math class, students use statistics to find patterns in the rise and fall of nations.

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps added to his Olympic record, winning a 19th gold medal on Sunday night, while American Katie Ledecky smashed her own world mark in the 400-meter freestyle at the Summer Games.

In his first race in Rio, Phelps swam a powerful second leg in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay. His 47.12 split gave the Americans a clear lead, which they held for a narrow win over France.

Now in his fifth Olympics, Phelps has won 23 medals overall and still has a shot at more.

In 1962, a Syrian-born Hollywood filmmaker named Moustapha Akkad watched the epic film Lawrence of Arabia, directed by David Lean. Akkad was riveted as he watched a scene in which actor Omar Sharif emerges from the sands like a wraith on horseback — an Arab screen hero.

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Thai Voters Approve Military-Backed Constitution

Aug 7, 2016
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