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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Cameron Smith was a fifth-grader with straight A's when her school, Fickett Elementary, was caught up in a national cheating scandal.

The story started in 2001, when scores on statewide tests across Atlanta began improving greatly. The superintendent, Beverly Hall, was hailed as a highly effective reformer, winning National Superintendent of the Year in 2009.

Our cars and trucks are being made with more safety features. New technologies such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, vehicle stabilizers and anti-lock brakes can, and do, save lives.

Yet more people are dying on the nation's roadways — nearly 18,000 in the first six months of this year. That's a huge jump of 10.4 percent over the same time period in 2015, and it's part of a disturbing trend, according to federal officials, because traffic fatalities rose significantly last year, too.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had one job in his third and final debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: break out.

He needed to break out from the narrative that is fast enveloping his campaign — the way evening overtakes the late afternoon.

He needed a breakout performance showing himself to be disciplined and knowledgeable enough to be president.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Emergency Room Use Stays High In Oregon Medicaid Study

20 hours ago

Will Medicaid expansion save the country money as people stop using expensive emergency rooms for primary care?

Not yet, suggest the latest findings from a landmark study published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study of Medicaid patients in Oregon who got Medicaid in 2008 found their ER use stayed high two years after they gained the health insurance coverage — even as they also increased their visits to doctors' offices.

As Donald Trump warns about the prospect of a "rigged" presidential election, he's getting some help from a conservative activist group.

Project Veritas, which has carried out several damaging video sting operations, has posted several videos in recent days purporting to show Democratic operatives bragging about inciting violence at Trump's campaign events, and appearing to detail how they could bus out-of-state supporters in to commit voter fraud.

Phil Chess, co-founder of the iconic Chicago blues and rock 'n' roll label Chess Records, died Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz. He was 95.

Phil and his brother, Leonard Chess, emigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1928. Chess Records biographer Nadine Cohodas told their story to NPR in 2000.

"It was a scrappy kind of existence," Cohodas said of the Chess brothers' early years in Chicago. "Their father was very determined and he opened a junk shop, as did many other immigrants from Eastern Europe."

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The Pentagon says two Americans were shot and killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and at least two others were wounded. One of those who died was a service member, the other was a civilian.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the assailant opened fire at the entrance to an ammunition depot near Camp Morehead, a training center for Afghan commandos. The camp is about an hour's drive south of Kabul.

As Tom reported for our Newscast unit:

Regulators in Malaysia are trying to make something clear to food consumers: Hot dogs do not have dog meat in them.

According to The Associated Press, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department, a religious regulatory authority, has asked the U.S. company to change the name of its popular "pretzel dog" frankfurter wrapped in pretzel bread in order to obtain official halal certification.

Faculty members at more than a dozen Pennsylvania public universities went on strike on Wednesday. The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties represents educators at 14 public universities. The strike comes after negotiations broke down between the union and Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

This year's presidential election will be the first in a half-century without the significant presence of federal observers at polling places. That's because in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and when the court wiped out that section, the statute that provided for election observers went, too.