News From NPR

A sniper with Canada's elite special forces is being credited with making a world record shot, after the military confirmed Thursday that he hit a target from nearly 2.2 miles away during a recent operation in Iraq.

Military sources tell Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper that the sniper killed an ISIS insurgent during an attack on Iraqi security forces.

One of nature's most efficient life-support systems is the egg. Eggs evolved over 300 million years ago as vertebrate animals adapted to living on land. And since then, they've taken on numerous shapes, especially among birds.

Biologists have long wondered why there are so many shapes, and what determines each one. Hummingbirds, for example, have eggs like Tic Tacs. Birds called murres produce eggs shaped like big teardrops. Some eggs are more like pingpong balls.

Now, an international team of scientists believes it has solved the mystery of the eggs.

A North Carolina man who fired an AR-15 rifle inside a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., last year as he was "investigating" a baseless conspiracy theory has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Edgar Maddison Welch pleaded guilty in March to federal charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and transporting a firearm over state lines. The case is seen as a clear example of the potential real-world consequences of fake news stories.

Updated at 1:59 p.m. ET

President Trump gave a straight answer on Thursday about whether he has recordings of his private conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey — No.

The question of the existence of tapes arose on May 12, when shortly after firing Comey, Trump tweeted that the former FBI director "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations."

In May 2015, then-President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that created a new kind of public emergency notification — the Blue Alert.

It's similar to the well-known Amber Alert for abducted children, but is meant to help catch people who credibly threaten or actually harm law enforcement officials.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

A naturalized U.S. citizen should not have been stripped of her citizenship for the sole reason that she lied to U.S. officials, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, vacating a lower court's decision. The plaintiff, an ethnic Serb who entered the U.S. as a refugee, had argued that false answers she gave to immigration officials were immaterial to procuring citizenship.

"We have never read a statute to strip citizenship from someone who met the legal criteria for acquiring it," Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the court's opinion. "We will not start now."

Mass shootings in Orlando, Fla., Alexandria, Va., and San Francisco during the first two weeks of June — two of them on the same day — have once again put America's complicate

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health care overhaul proposal on Thursday. The Senate bill, called the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The broad outlines of it look a lot like the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which was passed in May.

Thanks to Sigmund Freud, we all know what it means to dream about swords, sticks and umbrellas. Or maybe we don't.

"For 100 years, we got stuck into that Freudian perspective on dreams, which turned out to be not scientifically very accurate," says Robert Stickgold, a sleep researcher and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "So it's only been in the last 15 to 20 years that we've really started making progress."

When faced with allegations of sex abuse against one of its bishops, the Church of England "colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward," the church's leader acknowledged Thursday.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The humanitarian aid system is broken.

That's the message of a new paper by Paul Spiegel, a former senior official at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The piece was part of a special series on health and humanitarian crises published by the British medical journal The Lancet in early June.

One of China's most controversial celebrations, the annual dog meat festival in southwest China's Yulin City, is underway.

The event inflames passions among the celebrants and their critics to such a degree that the local government seems to be in a bind, unable to placate either side. Activists say that this year, the government issued a ban on the sale of dog meat, only to reverse following an outcry from locals.

"It's really confusing," says Zhang Xiaohai, secretary general of the AITA Foundation for Animal Protection in Beijing.

America's diversity remains on the rise, with all racial and ethnic minorities growing faster than whites from 2015 to 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau says in a new snapshot of the national population. The agency also found the U.S. median age has risen to nearly 38.

Asian and mixed-race people are the two fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, the U.S. Census Bureau says. Both groups grew by 3 percent from July 2015 to July 2016. In the same 12 months, the non-Hispanic white population grew by just 5,000 people.

Louisiana has become the first state to prohibit all public universities from asking applicants about their criminal history.

By some estimates, as many as 70 to 100 million Americans have some kind of criminal record.

Immigration authorities have rounded up nearly 200 Iraqis in recent weeks, and the Trump administration is now under heavy pressure to hold off moves to deport them.

Many of those currently detained are from the minority Chaldean Christian community, which faces severe persecution in Iraq.

U.S. immigration authorities say the detained Iraqis have criminal records, but their families and supporters say many have already served time or paid their fines and that they would face persecution if sent back.

One of the biggest threats to global agriculture these days is a tiny, bright red weevil.

These little crimson devils eviscerate coconut, date and oil palms, and are native to South Asia. But thanks to globalization, and the fact that these tenacious buggers can fly up to 30 miles a day — over the last three decades they've spread to more than 60 countries from the Caribbean to Southern Europe.

Some coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana are under a tropical storm warning and forecasters are warning of potential heavy flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico Thursday morning.

Severe weather and flooding have already been reported over the past two days along the Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall early Thursday morning near the Texas/Louisiana border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

For the hundreds of rural U.S. hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington, D.C., this summer could make survival a lot tougher.

Jeon Chung-won tends sheep on the hilly farm where he was born in PyeongChang, a rural county a few hours' drive east of South Korea's capital Seoul.

"It's a simple, peaceful place where the mountain air hugs you," says Jeon, 32. "I really love this place."

Only a handful of domestic tourists typically come to PyeongChang, to hike green hills dotted with Buddhist temples or visit a small ski station nearby. But that is about to change.

Social media companies are under pressure to block terrorist activity on their sites, and Facebook recently detailed new measures, including using artificial intelligence, to tackle the problem.

The measures are designed to identify terrorist content like recruitment and propaganda as early as possible in an effort to keep people safe, says Monika Bickert, the company's director of global policy management.

Iraq's military said ISIS destroyed the 12th century al-Nuri mosque in Mosul's Old City, where ISIS fighters remain, on Wednesday.

The Great Mosque of al-Nuri, a medieval mosque with the tall, leaning al-Hadba minaret, was the site where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made a rare public appearance and, in July 2014, declared the group's "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.

Seventeen-year-old Nabra Hassanen was buried Wednesday after a funeral service packed with mourners. The service was held in the Northern Virginia community where she'd lived. An evening vigil organized by her high school's Muslim Student Association also drew throngs of people.

Hassanen was beaten and killed early Sunday morning as she walked back to her mosque after a pre-dawn meal with friends. Such meals are common during the month of Ramadan, when many Muslims fast from dawn to sundown.

Eye-popping. That's the word that comes to mind when you hear how many viruses are likely hiding out around the world in animals.

"We expect there are hundreds of thousands of mammalian viruses out there," says Kevin Olival, a disease ecologist at EcoHealth Alliance, who led the study.

Really? Hundreds of thousands?

"Yes, it's likely," Olival says. "Any given mammal species is likely to have 20, 30 or even 100 viruses. When you add that up around the planet, you get a big number."

A week after he was shot in the hip during a Republican baseball team practice, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is now in fair condition, according to MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

He "is beginning an extended period of healing and rehabilitation," the hospital said in a statement Wednesday.

Democratic finger-pointing has begun after the party's loss in Tuesday's closely watched special election in Georgia, and for some members, the blame partly belongs to their House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The FBI is investigating Wednesday's stabbing of a police officer at the Flint, Mich., international airport as a possible act of terrorism, the agency says.

The assailant has been identified as Amor M. Ftouhi of Quebec. He allegedly stabbed a uniformed police officer in the neck Wednesday morning at Bishop International Airport, prompting an evacuation and shutdown of the airport.

Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the United States, is not known for surprises. But in a sudden shift in power, the 31-year-old son of the 81-year-old Saudi king moved one step closer to the throne on Wednesday.

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud promoted Mohammed bin Salman, his youngest son, to crown prince. At the same time, the king ended the career of his nephew, 57-year-old Mohammed bin Nayef, the previous crown prince, who had served as interior minister since 2015.

Pages