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In the U.S., you might expect a passenger rail operator to apologize for being late. However, in Japan — where sleek, high-speed trains are famous for arrivals and departures that you could set your watch by — leaving a station just 25 seconds early is nothing short of a disgrace.

That is what happened earlier this month at Notogawa Station in the central Shiga Prefecture, when a train mistakenly pulled away from the platform almost a half-minute ahead of schedule – at 7:11:35 a.m. instead of 7:12.

Joshua Holt — a Mormon missionary from Utah jailed in Venezuela's most notorious prison — has uploaded an emotional video plea for his freedom, saying that his life is under threat amid an ongoing riot by fellow inmates.

Holt, 26, who traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to marry Thamara Candelo, a woman he met online, has spent the past two years in the El Helicoide prison without charge after police said they found weapons in the couple's Caracas apartment.

Even as Pittsburgh undergoes a tremendous economic and cultural shift, its political landscape has often resisted change. Only one of its nearly two-dozen state House representatives is a woman, and even many of the area's Democratic legislators skew conservative on social issues.

Then this week's primary happened and two candidates, endorsed and backed by the Democratic Socialists of America, toppled two members of a prominent Democratic political family.

A Washington state court of appeals has rejected a conspiracy theorist's attempt to acquire photos of the death scene of Kurt Cobain, the beloved Nirvana frontman who killed himself in 1994.

Richard Lee, who has spent years trying to prove that Cobain was murdered, has repeatedly asked the city of Seattle for access to the photos.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Wednesday it has launched an investigation into a rear-end collision involving a Tesla in South Jordan, Utah, the Associated Press reported. It marks at least the third investigation into crashes involving the company's cars since March.

North Korea has been secretly selling facial recognition technology, fingerprint scanning and other products overseas. That's what researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies found by investigating the country's information technology networks.

Wednesday was the first day of Georgia state Sen. Michael Williams's "deportation bus" tour. The Republican candidate for governor is a long-shot in next week's primary election.

Williams began his bus tour in a few metro Atlanta cities that have a reputation for being more sympathetic to immigrants than others in the state.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. Thursday.

When an NBA team interviews potential head coaches, it's a big deal on sports sites and the fan blogs. It gets a write-up in the hometown paper.

It's not usually headline news at the New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue and Salon.

Preparing for a controversial referendum, the central African country of Burundi is on edge.

The Thursday referendum would not only extend the rule of President Pierre Nkurunziza until 2034, but it would also roll back some key aspects of the Arusha Agreement, which paved the way for ending the country's long and bloody civil war in 2005. The fear is that the referendum could spark more violence in the country.

Trade negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico are running out of time to complete an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement, making it likely the effort won't be completed this year.

The failure to complete the deal would be a political setback for President Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to scrap NAFTA and replace it with something better.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that under timetables imposed by a 2015 law, the three countries need to complete a deal by Thursday if Congress is to pass a new treaty before the November midterm elections.

The Securities and Exchange Commission launched a spoof cryptocurrency website on Wednesday to warn investors about the risks of participating in "initial coin offerings," or ICOs.

The website — called "HoweyCoins.com" — mirrors marketing materials published by actual cryptocurrency promoters. It includes a countdown timer, promises of outsized investment returns, and even a "Meet the Team" section with SEC employees posing as cryptocurrency developers.

Sometimes less may be better when it comes to treatment for breast cancer. A new study finds that women who have been diagnosed with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer did just as well with six months of treatment with the drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) as did women who received a 12-month course of this treatment.

And the women with the shorter treatment had fewer side-effects, most notably less damage to their hearts.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

If you are reading this, you are likely one of the more than 14 million people who vehemently believe that this audio clip is saying either the word "yanny" or the word "laurel."

If you haven't heard it yet, take a listen:

The months-long wave of teacher protests, which has rolled through roughly half a dozen states already, swelled and crashed on the front stoop of North Carolina's Capitol building Wednesday. Demonstrators donned red and gathered in the capital, Raleigh, to demand better pay and better school funding.

A rural Estonian municipality has taken the final step in adopting the cannabis leaf as its new civic symbol, adding it to the official regional logo, flag and coat of arms, news outlets reported Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unleashed a new tranche of records on Wednesday that offered the most detail yet about one of the most important subplots in the Russia imbroglio.

The more than 2,500 pages in the trove add the most context yet about the meeting that took place on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower between top Trump campaign aides and a delegation of Russians after an offer of help in the contest against Hillary Clinton.

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In North Carolina today, thousands of teachers descended upon the state capitol.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Remember, remember, we vote in November.

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We're going to now bring in the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. He was skeptical of Gina Haspel's stance on torture during her confirmation hearing for the top CIA job.

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It's a frigid spring day in the outskirts of Catania, Sicily, in Italy. On a narrow highway winding through a landscape of light industry and slumbering vineyards, trucks and Lycra-bound cyclists whiz past a dozen or so sex workers waiting for clients on the side of the road.

Many of the women are from Nigeria. One pair, dressed in matching short, curly wigs, red turtlenecks and fishnets, sit on plastic chairs, listening to a tinny rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" on a cell phone. Another woman stands alone, hovering close to a fire she's made to keep warm.

So Which Is It, Yanny Or Laurel?

May 16, 2018

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We all know that America is a divided country. Well, this week, it became a little more divided thanks to this word.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: Laurel.

SHAPIRO: Obviously Yanny.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's Laurel.

Two days after the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem, Guatemala has moved its own embassy to the contested city.

Images of the Guatemalan, Israeli and U.S. flags were projected on walls of the Old City Tuesday night, in anticipation of Wednesday's inauguration.

Last week, Spotify announced it was implementing a new policy in which it would stop promoting "hate content" and artists who engage in "hateful conduct" within its very powerful playlists and through its equally powerful suggestion algorithm. In the week since, the move has been greeted with celebration, derision and skepticism.

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