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In a new sign that Iran might consider freeing Jason Rezaian, a powerful Iranian politician tells NPR that there are "practical" ways to liberate the Washington Post reporter and other American prisoners. He then sketched the outline of a trade.

"That's one way," Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran's Parliament, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

The Justice Department says it will beef up legal requirements for using cell-site simulators, an increasingly controversial form of surveillance technology that secretly gathers data about mobile devices.

Under the new policy, federal investigators will be required to get a warrant from a judge demonstrating probable cause, in most domestic criminal probes. Agents will need to explain to judges how the technology is being used. And they'll be directed to destroy volumes of bystanders' data "no less than once daily."

Ben Carson, The Other Republican Outsider On The Rise

8 hours ago

Donald Trump isn't the only political outsider who's been having a good summer. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is gaining in several polls — especially in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, where evangelical voters play a big role.

In the annals of ill-conceived public relations campaigns, the egg industry's war on Just Mayo deserves at least a mention.

Just Mayo is a product that looks like mayonnaise, tastes like mayonnaise and yet contains no eggs. The company behind it, Hampton Creek, has been getting lots of attention.

Josh Tetrick, the company's founder, has big ambitions. "If we're successful, there are a lot of [food] industries out there that are going to have to adjust," says Tetrick.

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When President Obama spoke to the Democratic National Convention in Colorado seven years ago, he tried to call a truce in one of the nation's long-running social debates.

"We may not agree on abortion. But surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country," he said to applause.

Not long after that, Colorado launched an experiment aimed at doing just that. The results have been dramatic — but efforts to expand the program using taxpayer money have hit a political roadblock.

Farmers Stage Massive Tractor Protest In Paris

8 hours ago

Over 1,500 tractors driven by angry farmers snarled Paris traffic this morning, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports. In an ongoing protest movement, farmers across the country have been up in arms about high taxes and low prices on their goods.

The Associated Press reports:

"They're facing increasingly slim margins they blame on cheap imports and high payroll charges, which they say make them unable to compete against producers in Germany and Eastern Europe. The farmers are seeking tax breaks from the French government and EU action."

U.S. federal prosecutors are seeking the extradition of London-based day trader Navinder Singh Sarao on charges of market manipulation that they say triggered the May 6, 2010, "flash crash" in which the Dow lost 10 percent of its value in a matter of minutes.

It was made public Thursday that Sarao, 36, who was arrested in the U.K. in April with bail set at $7.5 million, was being formally charged in the United States.

Football giant FC Bayern Munich today pledged to help refugees in Germany. In a statement it announced plans to donate 1 million euros from a friendly match to support refugee projects and to establish a "training camp" for refugee youth in which participants will train at FC Bayern, take German language classes and be provided with meals and football jerseys.

The statement read in part:

Two days before its football season kicks off, Rutgers University has suspended five current players who are accused of a variety of crimes, from assault to home invasion. Local authorities arrested the players Thursday; two former Rutgers players also face charges.

Many of the allegations stem from robberies this spring, in which money and marijuana were stolen from students; others are related to an attack on a group of people that left a 19-year-old student with a broken jaw.

Some of the world's most ambitious climate change legislation is currently under consideration in America. But the lawmakers in question aren't in D.C. — they're in Sacramento.

California lawmakers are intensely debating far-reaching goals to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill contains three proposals: one to double energy efficiency in buildings, one to derive 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources and one head-turning proposal to cut petroleum use in vehicles by half — all in the next 15 years.

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The man who transformed L.L.Bean from a single country store into an international company died today. Leon Gorman, a grandson of L.L. Bean was 80 years old. Maine Public Radio's Patty Wight has this remembrance.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Here's What It's Like To Be A Syrian Refugee In Europe

10 hours ago

Editor's Note: Back in February, NPR published this look at Syrian refugees entering Europe. The crisis has only intensified since then and we are republishing the original report.

Some of the figures have changed. For example, there are now more than 4 million Syrian refugees, up from 3.8 million in February.

Read the original story.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The white man accused of murdering nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in June will face the death penalty, according to court documents filed Thursday.

It was the closing ceremony of the Fifth Annual Slum Film Festival and Maxwell Odhiambo's film, the centerpiece of the night, wasn't there yet.

"Did you finish it?" his mentor George Stanley Nsamba asked nervously as Odhiambo burst through the door, two hours late.

"We finished it," he said with a grin.

A packed audience in downtown Nairobi, including a Kenyan actor who had flown in from Hollywood, waited for his film to begin. A blue screen stared back at them; the audience shifted nervously. There were technical difficulties.

To listen to the media tell it, "so" is busting out all over — or at least at the beginning of a sentence. New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas calls "so" the new "um" and "like"; others call it a plague and a fad.

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Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. Coast Guard has shut down a section of the Mississippi River south of Paducah, Ky., after two tow boats collided, causing an oil spill of unknown size.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said that the collision occurred Wednesday at 8:22 p.m. at Mile Marker 937, just north of Columbus, Ky.

The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease at California's San Quentin prison is holding steady at six, one of three outbreaks of Legionnaires' around the country that have sickened dozens and killed 20.

Another 95 San Quentin inmates are under observation because of respiratory illness, state officials said, but they have not been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease. The inmates are being treated at San Quentin's medical unit.

Among the kangaroos and kookaburras, another creature trundled through the Australian bush.

Hooves barely visible, eyes mostly covered, the animal was the size of a refrigerator, the color of dirty snow.

A concerned hiker spotted the furry specimen days ago and raised the alarm. It was a matter of life and death — and this sheep needed a haircut.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Donald Trump is "totally pledging" his allegiance to the GOP and promising not to mount a potentially damaging third-party bid for president.

The billionaire businessman said Thursday he had signed the Republican National Committee's "Loyalty Pledge," which says he will support the eventual nominee and not run as an independent or on another party line.

"I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands," said Trump.

It was supposed to be a routine photo op.

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