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Merrit Kennedy

The owner of the Pulse Nightclub, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, has announced plans to turn it into a memorial and museum to commemorate the tragic event.

"This must and will be a healing initiative, one that I believe will inspire supporters who share our vision and understand the sacred responsibility to which we have been entrusted," Barbara Poma told reporters on Thursday at the Pulse nightclub site.

A court in Ontario, Canada, has cleared an animal rights activist charged with criminal mischief for giving water to pigs en route to the slaughterhouse.

The case against Anita Krajnc, who founded the animal rights group Toronto Pig Save, has garnered international attention. She faced the possibility of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.

President Trump emphasized his commitment to end the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there's a "very good chance" for a peace deal and vowing to do "whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement."

Trump's remarks came in a joint statement following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday.

"We'll start a process which hopefully will lead to peace," Trump said, standing alongside the Palestinian leader.

Nigeria's president hasn't been seen in public for more than a week and he's missed his third straight cabinet meeting. That's got Nigerians wondering what's going on with his health.

Muhammadu Buhari is under increasing pressure to "disclose the nature of his illness to the nation," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports. She says some prominent Nigerians are demanding that he take medical leave amid questions about his fitness to govern.

This car race involved years of training, feats of engineering, high-profile sponsorships, competitors from around the world and a racetrack made of gold.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City says it is severing its years-long relationship with Girl Scouts in nearly two dozen Kansas counties because the organization promotes materials "reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture."

"The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one," Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said in a statement released Monday. He asked pastors to "begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops."

As the U.S. considers sending more troops to Afghanistan and reviews its current strategy there, a new report from a U.S. government watchdog paints a bleak picture of the country's security and corruption issues.

Congress has appropriated more than $117 billion total to Afghanistan reconstruction efforts, and 60 percent of that has gone to the support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). At the same time, Taliban militants have gained territory during this past year, and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says the conflict is at a "stalemate."

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

People are taking stock of the damage after severe weather over the weekend killed at least 14 people in five Southern states.

Flooding, lightning and tornadoes caused at least five deaths in Arkansas, four in Texas, two each in Mississippi and Missouri and one in Tennessee. The American Red Cross is calling it the deadliest start to tornado season in nine years.

To legally justify its military actions against the Islamic State, the U.S. has relied on a piece of 2001 legislation, written years before the extremist group came into existence.

Now 46 representatives from both parties say in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan that it's time for Congress to "immediately begin a serious debate" on authorization for the use military force against the Islamic State.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Competing demonstrations in support of and against conservative commentator Ann Coulter's controversial speech, which had been planned for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, were held amid a heavy police presence. Despite some shouting and harsh words, both groups were peaceful.

Coulter's planned appearance had been canceled Wednesday after school officials said they wouldn't be able to adequately secure the site and sponsors pulled out.

Arkansas is scheduled to execute convicted murderer Kenneth William tonight, who has been on death row since 2000.

Williams is set to be the fourth and final inmate executed there this month, after the state initially scheduled eight condemned inmates to die over 11 days — the fastest pace of executions in decades.

After a lengthy back-and-forth, conservative commentator Ann Coulter's speech scheduled for tomorrow at University of California, Berkeley appears to be off – apparently for multiple reasons.

And there is some dispute about who actually did the canceling.

Mexico has long argued that U.S. labeling rules for dolphin-safe tuna unfairly restrict its access to the U.S. market. And in a decision Tuesday, the World Trade Organization agreed, saying Mexico may seek $163 million annually from the U.S. in retaliatory measures.

The controversial labeling rules, aimed at protecting dolphins from getting ensnared in fishing nets and killed, date back to 1990.

People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They're made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But the humble wax worm may hold the key to biodegrading them.

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the caterpillar larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm.

North Korea marked Tuesday's anniversary of the founding of its military with artillery drills, celebrations that took place as a U.S. guided missile submarine docked in South Korea and U.S. Navy ships conducted exercises with South Korea and Japan.

Meanwhile, envoys from the U.S., South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo to discuss the rising tensions with the rogue nation and "map out further punishment if the North goes ahead with more nuclear or missile tests," NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

After years of legal wrangling and intimidation, New Orleans has begun the process of dismantling four monuments of the Confederate and Jim Crow eras.

The first monument, which honors members of a white supremacist paramilitary group who fought against the city's racially integrated, Reconstruction-era police force in 1874, was dismantled and removed before the sun rose Monday.

Following death threats, the contractors wore flak jackets and helmets as they broke down the Battle of Liberty Place monument, as WWNO's Tegan Wendland reports.

Afghanistan's defense minister and its army chief of staff stepped down in the wake of a Taliban-claimed attack Friday in which at least 100 Afghan soldiers died. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan since 2001.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the high-level resignations Monday, on the same day that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in the country on an unannounced visit, as the Trump administration reviews its Afghanistan policy.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state's rapidly eroding coastline.

It's an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects.

"Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising sea levels have made the Louisiana coast the nation's most rapidly deteriorating shoreline," WWNO's Travis Lux tells our Newscast unit. "It loses the equivalent of one football field of land every hour."

Updated at 2 a.m. ET

Arkansas has carried out its first execution since 2005, just minutes before the expiration of the inmate's death warrant.

Ledell Lee was executed by lethal injection minutes before midnight Friday Central time in Grady, Ark. at the Cummins Unit facility, shortly before the warrant was set to expire.

Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. Thursday, NPR member station KUAR Public Radio reports.

It was one of the most incendiary episodes in India's modern history.

Now, the country's Supreme Court has decided to revive criminal conspiracy charges against four veteran ruling party politicians over the destruction of a mosque 25 years ago.

"The destruction of the Babri Masjid by a Hindu mob in 1992 ignited the worst communal rioting across India in decades," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from New Delhi. "More than 2,000 people were killed."

Three years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar with 239 people on board, Malaysia's national carrier says it will begin using satellites to track its planes at all times. The airline says it will be the first to do so.

In general, planes are tracked using radar and a ground-based system called ADS-B, with gaps in coverage over some ocean areas and other remote places.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his prison cell early Wednesday.

"Mr. Hernandez hanged himself utilizing a bed sheet that he attached to his cell window," Christopher M. Fallon of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections said in a statement obtained by NPR member station WBUR. "Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items."

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

A nationwide manhunt for a suspect who allegedly shot an elderly man dead in Cleveland and then uploaded it to Facebook has ended with the man shooting and killing himself in Pennsylvania's Erie County.

"Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by [Pennsylvania State Police] members in Erie County," the state police said on its Twitter account. "After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself."

British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she is calling for an early election on June 8, describing it as the "only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead" as the U.K. prepares to negotiate its exit from the European Union.

The decision was immediately welcomed by the head of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. He called it a "chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first."

A day after he declared a narrow victory in a referendum vote that radically expands presidential powers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is criticizing elections observers and their concerns about the fairness of the vote.

Decrying a "crusader mentality," Erdogan told a crowd of his supporters that the international monitors should "know their place," according to Reuters. Erdogan added that Turkey did not "see, hear or acknowledge" the reports of irregularities from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

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