Colin Dwyer

The Russian Embassy in London drew an uncommon scene Tuesday, gathering crowds of people, vans and diplomatic cars at its gate even as the building saw the departure of a number of far more familiar faces: the 23 Russian diplomats expelled by the British government. Russia's state-run news agency, TASS, reports that the diplomats and their families departed the compound to the strains of a Russian patriotic march.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma had avoided a host of corruption charges for roughly a decade, in the meantime winning and serving for years in his country's highest elected position — but on Friday, just over a month after Zuma resigned the presidency under significant political pressure, those criminal charges finally caught up with him.

DeAndre Harris, a black man brutally beaten after a white nationalist rally last August in Charlottesville, Va., has been found not guilty of misdemeanor assault for his role in the incident. The city's General District Court handed down the ruling Friday.

The Syrian war crossed a wretched threshold Thursday, marking seven years since the start of the protests against President Bashar Assad's regime. Within months Assad had sent troops to crush the uprising, sparking a civil war that has gathered antagonists at a rate only exceeded by its human costs — which, by many estimations, have left roughly 400,000 people dead and displaced half the population.

More than a year and a half after Omar Mateen opened fire at an Orlando nightclub, leaving 49 victims dead and ultimately dying himself in a shootout with police, attorneys delivered their opening statements on the sole person charged in the massacre: Mateen's widow, Noor Salman.

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.

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.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

Within a span of several hours Monday morning, two package bombs detonated in separate areas of Austin, Texas, killing one resident and seriously injuring another and calling to mind a similar blast that killed one person less than two weeks ago. Authorities say there are marked similarities in the three explosions.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

When President Trump pulled the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, spurning the massive free trade agreement in one of his first acts in the Oval Office, most analysts figured the deal was dead.

Late at night, in the gathered shadows of your bedroom, you may have heard it. Or, perhaps you heard it over breakfast with your family in the kitchen, the sound rising unbidden from over your shoulder in a corner of the room you had thought — and now, desperately wish — to be empty.

Laughter. Quick, inhuman laughter.

At least, that's what Amazon Echo owners say they've been hearing lately. In recent weeks, many of them have hit social media saying their smart speakers have been laughing spontaneously, unprompted by commands.

The first day back in the classroom went quickly. The half-day for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was their first at school in two weeks — but what the day lacked in length, it balanced with heartbreak and hope.

For the first time since a gunman claimed the lives of 17 of their classmates and teachers, wounded 14 others and took aim at many more, the survivors gathered again Wednesday to resume studies the killings put on pause.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods say they won't sell guns to customers under 21, and both are putting new restrictions on ammunition sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles and is requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores. Additionally, the company no longer will sell high-capacity magazines.

For the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and what authorities describe as a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, the prospect of returning to their home villages might be more than just daunting. As satellite photographs show, a return home might be simply impossible.

Russian police detained Alexei Navalny for less than an hour Thursday, the prominent opposition leader tweeted Thursday. Navalny said that during the brief arrest, which came just as he was leaving a dental appointment, officials warned him that he faces up to 30 days in prison for organizing illegal protests.

"They offered me a lift somewhere," he said, according to a translation by Reuters, "but I declined and have gone to work. I don't understand what happened, and why it took seven people to detain me."

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Court documents say the suspect in the shootings at a South Florida high school has confessed to investigators. Nikolas Cruz, 19, has been booked on 17 charges of premeditated murder at Broward County's Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Updated at 2:40 a.m. ET on Thursday

The Broward Sheriff's Office has identified the suspect in Wednesday's deadly school shooting as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. Law enforcement says Cruz carried out the attack that killed at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and left others hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

Cruz is now in police custody after briefly receiving treatment at a local hospital.

Updated Feb. 7 at 3:55 p.m. ET

Daniel Zwerdling, a longtime investigative correspondent with NPR, has retired after a tenure spanning nearly four decades. The network's announcement Tuesday coincided with published allegations of sexual harassment against the Peabody-winning journalist, including claims of unwanted kisses and inappropriate conversations.

Zwerdling, for his part, has publicly stated the allegations are false.

Is it an attempt to preserve the Polish name from wanton historical slander, or a reckless attempt to erase an uncomfortable part of Poland's past?

A bill passed by the country's Senate Thursday, less than a week after the lower chamber did the same, has been described in vastly varying terms — though the terms the bill itself bans are quite clear: It would be illegal — and punishable by up to three years in prison — to claim Poland was complicit in the Nazi atrocities committed on Polish soil during World War II.

Panera Bread has announced it is preemptively recalling all of the 2 ounce and 8 ounce cream cheese products sold at its 2,000 U.S. locations. The fast-casual chain said it had made its decision "out of an abundance of caution" after samples of one of its cream cheese varieties tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

The company notes that "no illnesses have been reported."

Across the country, U.S. residents have awakened to a new year, new resolutions — and a whole host of new rules to keep track of. Hundreds of new state laws took effect across the country Monday, and they're sure to reshape the political and legal landscape in the coming months.

They run a vast gamut — from recreational marijuana and paid leave time, to traveling barbers and exotic pets — so you'll have to forgive us if we pick just a few to focus on. Here is a glimpse of some notable new laws, in brief.

Michael Slager, the white former police officer who was filmed killing an unarmed black man in North Charleston, S.C., has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. In sentencing Slager, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal civil rights violation, the judge ruled Thursday that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

Slobodan Praljak died Wednesday, just hours after the convicted war criminal interrupted a courtroom hearing to declare his innocence — and then drank a small container of what he said was poison, according to Croatian state media.

Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has resigned from office, according to the speaker of the country's parliament. Midway through proceedings to impeach the president Tuesday, Speaker Jacob Mudenda read what he said was Mugabe's letter of resignation as the body of lawmakers erupted in jubilant applause.

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New Orleans made history last night. For the first time ever, the city has elected a woman as mayor - LaToya Cantrell. But Cantrell says that there are other big numbers that matter more. NPR's Colin Dwyer reports.

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We are turning back now to the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where officials say at least 26 people have died. As we heard earlier in the show, President Trump is in Asia, but he offered his condolences this evening.

Months after Mosul was reclaimed from the Islamic State, the brutal acts committed during the militant group's reign over the major Iraqi city are still coming into focus. That picture grew clearer Thursday, as two U.N. human rights agencies released a report on atrocities committed during ISIS' final months in power.

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At first, it just sounded like fireworks.

The Sunday headliner, Jason Aldean, had taken the stage not 30 minutes before, and it seemed natural that on the final night of Las Vegas' three-day Route 91 Harvest music festival there would be some pyrotechnics. Even Aldean stayed on stage as the first loud bursts rang out above the crowd of some 22,000 people.