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Two weeks after parliamentary elections delivered a surprise win for Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Iraq's divided political leaders are scrambling to put together the pieces of a coalition government.

Sadr's Sa'iroun political bloc won 54 seats in Iraq's 329-member parliament – more than any other political grouping, but far from the majority needed to govern. Under Iraqi rules, the biggest coalition of any kind registered in parliament will form the government.

This week in the Russia investigations: After Trump's "SPYGATE" gambit, what just happened? Good news for Kushner. Mueller to hacks: Get lost.

What just happened?

President Trump or his supporters make an explosive allegation. Washington, D.C., responds with an uproar. An "investigation" ensues. Turns out, the allegations weren't what they appeared.

Why It's So Hard To Wipe Out Polio In Pakistan

32 minutes ago

Two young women burst through the door of a health center in a Pakistani slum. One woman sobs. The other tries to explain what just happened.

Nida, 21, and Sahar, 19, are front-line vaccinators — a small but essential role in Pakistan's enormous effort to eradicate the virus. They were going down alleys knocking door-to-door, administering polio vaccine drops to children, when a man pulled out a gun, slammed Nida over the head, snatched her bag and ran away. (Nida and Sahar asked that their last names not be used to protect their safety.)

Newark, New Jersey's largest city, is taking the concept of a neighborhood watch to a whole new level.

The city is installing hundreds of surveillance cameras around the city to create a virtual block watch.

Some residents are concerned about the technology's implications for people's privacy.

If you've already tried to get away for the long holiday weekend or are planning on leaving soon, you probably know this: the highways, airports and train stations are packed with like-minded folks trying to get out of town for the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

Planes, trains and automobiles are overrun with Memorial Day weekend travelers and those who study traffic analytics say even people who slipped out on Thursday to beat the traffic were greeted by gridlock in many cities.

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fielded questions about school safety, civil rights, and for-profit colleges, among other topics, during a congressional hearing about her department's priorities.

The president of the University of Southern California, C.L. Max Nikias, is stepping down, according to an announcement by the university's Board of Trustees. The resignation comes as USC is embroiled in a series of scandals that have tarnished the public image of the prestigious private institution in Los Angeles.

Now more than ever, cars are just rolling computers

12 hours ago

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because of the risk that drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The recall includes 15 Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler and Ram models from six model years. Fiat Chrysler says it can fix the issue with a software update. Earlier this week Tesla said it could fix a braking performance issue highlighted by Consumer Reports via a software update. These cases highlight the extent to which software controls critical safety systems in cars. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

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The White House had an unexpected visitor this week, actor Sylvester Stallone. He stood by President Trump as the president announced a posthumous pardon for legendary boxer Jack Johnson.


Instagram entrepreneurs are searching vintage racks for you

13 hours ago

We've been shopping online for more than two decades. Now social media is a burgeoning new venue for shoppers who would rather scroll and comment than hunt for treasures themselves at brick-and-mortar stores. But how does it work for both the consumers and "shop" owners? Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked about it with Alexandra Stratton, who wrote about the trend for Bloomberg. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Not white? Ancestry services don't work so well. Companies are looking for fixes.

13 hours ago

Ever wondered where you come from? Like, every wanted to look far back? Really, really far back?

Beyond calling up your oldest relative and combing through there family tree, there's a whole industry that wants to help: Direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry products ranging from to 23andMe. They say they provide a way to dive into your heritage, possibly unearth some skeletons in your genetic closet and really narrow down what percentage of what ethnicity lives in your genes.

The Swedish parliament has passed a bill that the government said, "states the obvious: if sex is not voluntary it is illegal."

The new legislation rules that sex without explicit mutual consent is rape. Previously, the law stated rape was committed only in instances where a victim was violently coerced or threatened into a sexual act.

What's the return on investment for bias trainings?

13 hours ago

Starbucks plans to close 8,000 stores for a single day to conduct racial bias training for over 175,000 members of their workforce. It follows public outrage after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks while waiting for a friend. In recent years, companies have embraced bias training as a way to get ahead of — or get out from under — similar incidents. So, how do businesses know whether these training sessions really work and how do you measure their effectiveness?

More than a decade ago, author Neil Gaiman wrote a short story that captures some of the strangeness of being a teenager discovering the world. It's called "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," and it's really only one scene: Two boys stumble upon a party where the girls seem rather alien. As it turns out, the girls are actual aliens.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


The White House had an unexpected visitor this week, actor Sylvester Stallone. He stood by President Trump as the president announced a posthumous pardon for legendary boxer Jack Johnson.