Merrit Kennedy

U.S.-backed fighters have launched an operation to try to seize control of ISIS' so-called capital, the city of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Raqqa is the most important stronghold for the militant group in Syria and fell under its control in 2014. Together with the ongoing fight for Mosul in Iraq, seizing control of the city is seen as a crucial goal in the fight against ISIS.

The Trump administration is taking steps to allow five energy companies to use seismic air guns for oil and gas exploration off the U.S. Atlantic coast even though they would incidentally harass marine mammals. Environmental groups and some coastal communities object.

"The testing would take place over a huge area ranging from the Delaware Bay, south to Cape Canaveral in Florida," NPR's Jeff Brady reports. "Ships would crisscross the ocean shooting loud bursts of sound underwater to map the geology."

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

London Metropolitan Police have identified two of the three attackers involved in Saturday's violent rampage on and around London Bridge, releasing photos of Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane and asking the public for help in tracing their movements.

Police shot and killed the three attackers within eight minutes of the initial emergency call about the attack that killed at least seven people. Detectives are still working to identify the third attacker.

Crude oil is now flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite months of protests against it by Native American tribes and environmental groups.

The pipeline spans more than 1,000 miles from North Dakota to Illinois and cost some $3.8 billion to construct. It is expected to transport approximately 520,000 barrels of oil daily.

A Canadian former nurse has pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of eight elderly nursing home patients in Ontario, making her one of the deadliest serial killers in the country's history.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer also pleaded guilty to four separate counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault, according to Canadian media reports.

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET Friday

Local media report at least 34 people have been found dead by suffocation in a luxury resort complex in the Philippines on Friday. Police have said they believe the man was robbing a casino when he fired a gun at Resorts World Manila, then used gasoline to burn gambling tables before stealing chips and escaping.

A court in Bahrain has ordered the country's last major opposition group to dissolve, amid a wider crackdown on freedom of expression.

Wednesday's ruling from the High Civil Court targeted the secular National Democratic Action Society, also known as Waad, and ordered the liquidation of its assets, according to the state media. The ruling is subject to appeal, Reuters reported.

A New Jersey town must pay $3.25 million to a local Islamic society and allow it to build a mosque, ending a years-long dispute.

This is the result of settlements finalized on Tuesday stemming from two separate federal lawsuits against Bernards Township, in central New Jersey.

The $3.25 million settles the lawsuit filed by the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge. And the ISBR will be allowed to move forward with its plans to build a mosque as a result of a lawsuit filed Justice Department.

The company that owns the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, site of the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history, announced that it plans to shutter the facility in 2019 unless the state of Pennsylvania steps in to keep it open.

The plant near Harrisburg, Pa., hasn't been profitable for the past five years, according to owner Exelon Corp. The company announced last week that it failed to auction off future energy production from Three Mile Island for the third year in a row.

A sheriff's deputy and seven other people were killed in an overnight shooting spree in Lincoln County, Miss., and the suspect is in custody.

The rampage happened at three separate locations in the county, according to a statement from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation carried by The Associated Press and Reuters.

The suspect, identified as 35-year-old Willie Corey Godbolt, was apprehended and moved to a hospital to receive treatment for a gunshot wound. Authorities did not explain how he sustained it.

Most anyone who has encountered a flamingo has probably been impressed by its signature ability to balance on a single long, spindly leg for remarkably long periods of time.

But actually, scientists have now shown that what appears to be a feat requires almost no muscle activity from the bird.

The NBA has announced that Charlotte, N.C., will host the 2019 All-Star Game, after the state partially repealed its controversial law that limited civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The professional basketball league moved last year's All-Star game from Charlotte, where it was originally scheduled, to protest the state's HB2 law.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. ET Thursday:

A day after reports surfaced from Mount Everest that four climbers had been found dead, Nepalese officials are casting doubt on the grim news.

Officials with the country's Tourism Department and the Nepal Mountaineering Association say other climbers would have seen the bodies and that no group of four has been reported missing.

Nepalese Sherpas reportedly discovered the bodies in tents at Camp IV, the camp closest to the summit of the world's tallest mountain.

A remarkably complete fossil of a young child suggests that key elements of the human spinal structure were already in place in an ancient human relative 3.3 million years ago.

The child, about three years old, likely died suddenly and quickly drifted into a body of water, where she was covered in sediment that eventually hardened to sandstone, Zeray Alemseged of the University of Chicago tells The Two-Way.

"Peace is a choice we must make each day," President Trump said during a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where he reiterated his resolve to help mediate a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians and sounded upbeat about its prospects.

"The United States is here to help make that dream possible for young Jewish, Christian and Muslim children across the region," Trump said Tuesday as he stood alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Public support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has generally improved in the U.S., Europe and Canada, according to a newly released poll from the Pew Research Center.

The uptick in support comes in the wake of the turbulent U.S. presidential race where then-candidate Donald Trump called NATO "obsolete," prompting European leaders to express alarm.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down two North Carolina congressional districts, saying the state relied too heavily on race in drawing them.

The fight against terrorism is a "battle between good and evil," not a fight between "different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," President Trump said Sunday in a widely-anticipated speech in Saudi Arabia.

This is Trump's first foreign trip as president, and he delivered the address to leaders of dozens of Arab and Muslim-majority nations. The Saudis said at least 37 leaders are present, NPR's Jane Arraf reported from Riyadh.

The five richest men in Nigeria could bring nearly all Nigerians out of extreme poverty for one year, according to a new Oxfam report on inequality in the country.

The Trump administration has set into motion the process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, following through on the president's earlier promise.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified congressional leaders in a letter Thursday that the president intends to launch negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable."

It had been a timeless love story. A garden snail with a rare genetic condition can't mate with normal snails; scientists launch an international search for a mate; the snail becomes a media sensation; and miraculously not one but two possible mates are found.

That's where we left the tale of Jeremy, the rare left-coiling snail, last November.

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it will continue to waive some sanctions against Iran, a key aspect of the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five other world powers.

Under the terms of the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. But those sanctions waivers need to be periodically renewed, and today was the first deadline to fall during President Trump's term.

One of President Obama's last acts in office was to grant clemency to dozens of people, including Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera.

On Wednesday, López Rivera was released from house arrest in Puerto Rico. The 74-year-old had been in custody for seditious conspiracy since 1981.

The clemency decision was controversial. "To his supporters, he is a freedom fighter for the cause of Puerto Rican independence. To others, he's a terrorist," NPR's Kelly McEvers noted at the time.

Play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins is set to become the first-ever female broadcaster to call an NFL game televised nationally.

A commentator for ESPN since 1994, she'll call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game in ESPN's opening Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 11. Former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will join her.

She was the alpha female of a wolf pack in Yellowstone National Park, sought after for photographs because of her unusual white coat.

Hikers found her suffering from severe wounds last month. The animal was euthanized by park staff shortly after.

The park now says the recognizable wolf suffered a gunshot wound, based on preliminary results of a necropsy by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The animal likely was shot sometime between April 10 at 1 a.m. and April 11 at 2 p.m. on the north side of the park, near Gardiner, Mont.

Rival Chicago newspapers are poised to come under the same ownership, after the parent company of the Chicago Tribune announced its intent to purchase the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Both newspapers have stressed that Chicago will remain a two-newspaper city, with the Sun-Times maintaining a separate newsroom that would operate independently.

The glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park are rapidly disappearing.

Some have been reduced by as much as 85 percent over the past 50 years, while the average loss is 39 percent, according to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

The researchers looked at historic trends for 39 glaciers, 37 of which are found in the park. The other two are on U.S. Forest Service land.

The city of Milwaukee and the family of a black man with schizophrenia who was shot dead by a police officer have reached a tentative $2.3 million settlement agreement, three years after his death.

"Officer Christopher Manney never faced criminal charges, but was fired from the police department for failing to follow protocol," LaToya Dennis of member station WUWM tells our Newscast unit. She adds that the settlement still requires the approval of the Milwaukee Common Council.

In a rare victory for environmentalists under President Trump, the Senate rejected efforts to roll back an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from energy production sites on federal land.

The vote over the greenhouse gas was close — 49-51 — with Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins coming down against the resolution, which would have repealed the Bureau of Land Management's Methane Waste and Prevention Rule.

The bones of a humanlike creature have puzzled scientists ever since they were found in a South African cave in 2013.

Homo naledi is primitive in some ways, with a small brain and other physical features reminiscent of our early ancestors. But it also walked upright, and had hands that may have been capable of making tools.

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