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The new movie "Ad Astra" stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut traveling to Neptune in search of his missing father, who is played by Tommy Lee Jones.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AD ASTRA")

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On Sept. 14, a major Saudi oil processing plant was rocked by a series of explosions. The facility, and another oil field to the south, had been attacked from the air. Here's what we know — at this time — about the attacks based on physical evidence.

The strike was large and sophisticated

Emergency sirens wailed on Hawaii's Oahu and Maui islands Wednesday evening, warning of a tsunami, but the alert turned out to be a mistake. The error sparked anger from residents who recalled a similar false warning last year of an imminent ballistic missile attack.

Within minutes of the alarm going off shortly after 5 p.m. local time (11 p.m. ET), authorities were trying to calm the public by getting out word of the mistake.

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How do you think a pirate would ask you to grab a drink?

MARK SUMMERS: Yo-ho. I be Captain Slappy, and I'm here to slice the main brace with ye.

America's best-known obelisk reopens to the public on Thursday after more than three years of construction on a new security facility and renovations to its elevator system.

The Washington Monument will again welcome visitors up to its observation deck, where, from more than 500 feet in the air, visitors can see national landmarks including the U.S. Capitol, Washington National Cathedral, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.

But first, you have to go through security.

One of America's most recent espionage cases started with a friendly hello over the Internet.

It ended with a jury in Virginia finding former CIA officer Kevin Mallory guilty of spying for China. The Mallory case — a rare counterintelligence investigation to go to trial — provides a lesson in how Chinese spies use social media to try to recruit or co-opt Americans.

For the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, John Demers, it also highlights a broader point.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., unveiled her long-anticipated plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs on Thursday. It is a priority shared by President Trump, fueling a glimmer of hope that there is a deal to be had on the issue ahead of the 2020 elections.

"It is transformative," Pelosi said of her plan."We do hope to have White House buy-in."

After 25 years of running Ellen's Bed and Breakfast in Longmont, Colo., Ellen Ranson got tired of cooking breakfast.

"So we decided to change the name to Ellen's Bed, Bath & Begone," she says.

That left her more time for sleeping in or reading the paper. But that prospect wasn't too exciting, because the local paper had been thinning out for a while, though Ranson says it used to be relevant.

"And now there's news about Frederick or Erie or Fort Collins or something," she says. All are cities she lives near, but not Longmont.

Three former Japanese utility executives responsible for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant when it was smashed by a tsunami in 2011 were acquitted Thursday of negligence in connection with multiple reactor meltdowns at the station.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is apologizing for having worn brownface makeup at a 2001 costume party.

"I should have known better then, but I didn't and I did it and I'm deeply sorry," he said to reporters in his campaign plane in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping new labor law Wednesday extending wage and benefit protections to about a million workers and aimed primarily at drivers contracted by ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

Newsom had argued that when workers are misclassified as independent contractors rather than as employees, they lose basic benefits such as minimum wage, paid sick days, and health insurance.

Former wives and partners of servicemen who survived domestic abuse told their harrowing stories before the House Armed Services military preparedness subcommittee as they pressed for more attention to and resources for the growing problem within the armed forces.

"We are here today because domestic violence has become a forgotten crisis in our military," chairwoman Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said in her opening remarks before the military preparedness subcommittee.

American military and intelligence officials say they are accumulating a growing mound of evidence that Iran launched the airstrikes that idled about half of Saudi Arabia's oil production capacity over the weekend. But the Trump administration has been slow to respond to those attacks.

New Mexico has announced a plan to make public college and university free for all residents in the state, a proposal considered one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.

Updated at 6:16 p.m. ET

President Trump's brand-new national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, will inherit a National Security Council struggling to attract talent, current and former U.S. officials tell NPR.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Thursday

The New York City Council is considering a repeal of a 2017 law that banned conversion therapy, the strongly-condemned practice of attempting to change a person's sexual orientation or gender.

Saudi Arabia's military displayed pieces of missiles and drones Wednesday, saying the wreckage is proof that the recent attack that crippled Saudi oil production was "unquestionably" sponsored by Iran.

At a news conference in Riyadh, the capital, a Saudi military spokesman, Col. Turki al-Malki, said Saturday's strike came from the north — not from Yemen, where Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack. Both Iran and Iraq are to the north of Saudi Arabia.

India Announces Widespread Ban Of E-Cigarettes

Sep 18, 2019

The Indian government announced Wednesday a sweeping ban on electronic cigarette products. The decision was made with the intention of protecting young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.

The Cabinet approved the ordinance, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, storage and advertisement of all e-cigarette products.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, called the ban a "quantum jump towards healthy living."

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AUDIE CORNISH: Survivors of domestic violence in the military told their personal stories today to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The bottom line, they say there's no accountability from those in command. NPR's Claudia Grisales was at the Capitol. She joins us now.

Welcome, Claudia.

Gabby Rivera writes strong Latina characters, from the queer Marvel superhero America Chavez to the Puerto Rican protagonist in her new novel, Juliet Takes a Breath. It's the coming-of-age story of a college kid from the Bronx trying to figure out who she is — a feminist, a lesbian, dying to get out of the Bronx, "messy, emotional, book nerd weirdo, chubby brown human, a jumble of awkward bits and glory."

Rivera borrowed the story from her own life — like she once did, Juliet heads to Portland, Ore., to intern for a white feminist writer. And the learning curve is steep.

Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation's only aquaculture pen in federal waters.

Duke Energy says it wants to cut its carbon emissions from electricity generation in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Our newsroom is in tears. My phone and email are bursting with more tears. The country has lost a great journalist. But I and so many thousands of others have lost a great friend. Yes, thousands of others.

Cokie Roberts was the embodiment of our better angels — whether it was her work for Save the Children or the millions of kindnesses large and small that she dispensed daily, without ever thinking that what she was doing was unusual or remarkable.

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This is FRESH AIR. "Heaven, My Home" is the latest crime novel by Attica Locke, a prize-winning novelist also known for her television work, which includes writing for the hit series "Empire" and the recent Netflix mini series "When They See Us." This new book is the second in a series about an African American Texas ranger. And our critic-at-large John Powers says that Locke knows how to write a mystery novel that stings.

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