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Summer officially began at 12:24 a.m. ET Wednesday, but as the Southwestern United States bakes in a heat wave, the season may already feel like a long and sweltering slog there.

The mercury hit 119 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix on Tuesday, 117 in Las Vegas and 121 degrees in Palm Springs, Calif.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to see White House records on the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, his security clearance and his access to classified information.

In a letter to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the oversight panel's 18 Democrats question why Kushner's security clearance hasn't been revoked.

This story includes content some readers may find disturbing.

Who killed Sister Cathy Cesnik? The Baltimore nun and school teacher was murdered in 1969, and in the Netflix documentary series The Keepers, her students tell a troubling story of abuse by priests, alleged police complicity and a possible cover-up by the Catholic Church.

Firefighters in Portugal have gained control over a wildfire that swept through central Portugal over the weekend and killed at least 64 people, authorities said Wednesday. But the investigation into what ignited the wildfires, and why they proved so deadly, is just beginning.

The fire near the town of Pedrogao Grande "is no longer progressing," Civil Protection Agency spokesman Vitor Vaz Pinto told reporters, according to The Associated Press. The blaze, one of dozens that erupted Saturday, quickly swept through the hilly area about 120 miles northeast of Lisbon.

If you think of a company as a sports team — let's say, basketball — then Uber is at a point where the players are still on the court, but the coaches and general manager are gone, the arena is filled with jeers and the owner's hair is on fire.

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Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

A jury has found a former Milwaukee police officer not guilty of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting death of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old black man, last August.

"Cries of outrage" erupted in the courtroom after the verdict was announced, member station WUWM reported.

When Pakistan clobbered India in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday — pulling off an upset so shocking, ESPN called it "some diamond-studded, galactic-scale nonsense" — flabbergasted fans took to the streets in several countries to celebrate the national cricket team's big win.

In India, those celebrations got some fans in deep legal trouble.

The Department of Defense procured uniforms for the Afghan Army in a camouflage pattern that is both far more expensive than other options and likely inappropriate for the landscape there, a U.S. government watchdog says.

The pattern choice cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $28.2 million extra since 2008, according to a report out Wednesday, and if changed could save up to $72.21 million over the next 10 years.

Inside The College Meme Craze

Jun 21, 2017

Memes made headlines after Harvard University rescinded acceptances from 10 potential students for discovering offensive images circulated in a private chat. But the college meme craze is much bigger than that.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market closed up more than 5 percent on Wednesday after King Salman announced the person next in line to the throne: his 31-year-old son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Middle East analyst F. Gregory Gause of the Bush School at Texas A&M University about the significance of the announcement.

There are dual hearings in Washington on Wednesday related to the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young gets the latest on the House and Senate hearings from NPR’s Greg Myre (@gregmyre1).

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

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Several years ago, when Garrett Graff was working at Washingtonian magazine, a coworker brought him a lost ID badge that he'd found on the floor of a parking garage.

"It was a government ID for someone from the intelligence community, and he gave it to me since I write about that subject, and he's like, "I figure you can get this back to this guy,' " Graff recalls.

Spirits company Diageo is buying Casamigos, the tequila company co-founded by George Clooney, in a deal that values the company at up to $1 billion. The actor founded the company in 2013 with longtime friend Rande Gerber.

Diageo will make an upfront payment of $700 million for Casamigos, with another $300 million to follow if it hits sales targets.

Casamigos "has delivered impressive growth," Diageo says in a news release, "reaching 120,000 cases in 2016, primarily in the U.S." The company says the tequila brand is expected to top 170,000 cases by the end of this year.

Intel says it will bring virtual reality, drones and 360-degree to future Olympics, after signing a deal to become a worldwide Olympic partner through 2024. The company says it will bring its technical prowess to the upcoming Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Intel "will accelerate the adoption of technology for the future of sports on the world's largest athletic stage," CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement about the company's plan.

127 degrees in California's Death Valley. 124 degrees in Ocotillo Wells in San Diego County. 119 in Phoenix.

Parts of the Southwest and West are suffering through a heat wave, which is bringing problems beyond sweat and bad hair. Here's what's happening:

1. Airplanes can't take off

Nearly 50 flights were cancelled in Phoenix on Tuesday, as NPR's two-way blog reported. In Las Vegas, some airlines changed flights to take off in the morning when it's cooler.

The Senate vote on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is, according to conventional wisdom, one week away.

And we still don't know what's in the bill.

Not having concrete information is deeply uncomfortable for a journalist like me.

A top FBI official says that the man who opened fire at a Republican baseball practice a week ago didn't appear to be targeting a specific individual and that the attack appears to have been spontaneous.

James T. Hodgkinson was killed by police after he fired more than 60 shots at GOP congressmen, staffers and police at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., last Wednesday. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was hit by gunfire in the attack, along with three other victims.

Defeat is an orphan.

Summing up the left's response to its deflating loss in a special congressional election in the Atlanta suburbs were two reactions:

1. Jim Dean, chairman of the progressive activist group Democracy For America, in a statement:

The video is mesmerizing, if a bit noisy: Moving in a figure-eight pattern, elementary school students hop over a jump rope with perfect timing, setting a new Guinness World Record with an incredible 225 skips in one minute.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET

If two nearly simultaneous hearings Wednesday by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election revealed anything, it's that U.S. officials saw what was going on but were all but powerless to stop it.

In his prepared remarks, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the Russian government, "at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our Nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple."

Running the Justice Department presents a challenge in any administration. But the Trump era is different.

In just five months, Justice leaders have been under heavy pressure, on everything from the travel ban to the Russia investigation. And one man, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is bearing the weight.

Here's something you need to know about Rosenstein: He's worked at the Justice Department for his entire career, nearly 27 years.

Last year, Rosenstein told NPR the advice he gives younger lawyers.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has changed his pick for a successor, naming his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and deposing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the post. At 31, the country's new successor to the throne is 50 years younger than the current monarch.

How Do You Become The Best Cheesemonger In The World?

Jun 21, 2017

When you walk into a cheese shop to buy a wedge for your next party, your go-to person behind the counter is the cheesemonger. In France, where cheese is king, this role is crystal clear. In the U.S., it's a bit hazy.

In case you are wondering, a monger is a bit of a cheese therapist. It's someone who helps you navigate your tastes and desires. Don't want anything too barny? A good cheesemonger will steer you clear of washed-rind cheeses.

Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET Wednesday

Newly released dashcam video footage shows the brief interaction that ended with police officer Jeronimo Yanez shooting and killing motorist Philando Castile in July 2016.

Minnesota Public Radio has posted the video of the stop that turned into tragedy in just eight seconds. A warning: the video includes graphic content and language some viewers may find disturbing.

Nearly three years after their son's death sparked nationwide protests, the parents of Michael Brown have settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Mo.

Brown, who was African-American, was shot and killed by a white police officer in August 2014.

Rachael Goldring was born with congenital heart disease. Had she been born a few decades earlier, she probably would have died as a baby. Goldring is now 24 and among a population of patients who present new challenges to a health care system unaccustomed to dealing with survivors of once-fatal conditions.

Today there are more adults than kids living with some of these diseases, and medical training is lagging. Young adults who can't find suitable doctors may drop out of care, and their conditions may worsen.

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