In Southeast Asia's only landlocked country, the Mekong River is a lifeline. From a slow boat heading up the river in Laos, you'll see fishermen working in their boats, riverside farms where bananas grow, and domesticated buffalo lazing. Occasionally a ferry chugs by. From time to time, steps leading to a riverside village become visible on the banks through the foliage. The wind is swift, and the brown fresh water laps up onto the side of the boat.
Just over 9 miles north of Luang Prabang, a startling aberration appears: five giant concrete pylons rising out of the water.
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According to Amnesty International, the U.S.-led coalition's offensive against ISIS in Raqqa killed nearly 10 times more civilians than the U.S. military has acknowledged.
Amnesty produced names of more than 1,000 people reported killed from June to October 2017 in the northern Syrian city. The group says it has directly verified 641 of those and thatVINTAGE VERSACE JEANS COUTURE MEN'S LEANS 34" X.33" ZIPPER FLY MADE IN ITALYhave "credible" reports of an additional 600. Amnesty adds that its conservative estimate of the number of civilians killed is at least 1,600.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 presidential candidacy is barely a day old, but it is already ensnared in questions about how the Democratic candidate handled the 1991 sexual harassment accusations by law professor Anita Hill against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
Biden appeared on ABC's The View Friday morning and told the show's five female co-hosts: "I'm sorry for the way she got treated." But then he added that people should go back and look at what he said during those hearings, asserting, "I don't think I treated her badly."
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Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET
President Trump effectively "unsigned" an international arms sales agreement Friday, moving to withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty. The agreement sets global standards for regulating transfers of conventional arms, from rifles to tanks and airplanes.
The treaty, known as the ATT, has been in effect since late 2014. The U.S. signed on to the agreement in 2013 but has not ratified the treaty.
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Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET
Days after the coordinated Easter Sunday bombings at churches and hotels that left at least 250 people dead and hundreds more wounded, the U.S. State Department urged Americans to reconsider travel to Sri Lanka.
It also said children of U.S. government employees must leave, and it authorized the departure of nonemergency government employees and their families.
DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. Over the past 40 years, Sir David Attenborough has become internationally known and respected for his groundbreaking documentary shows about the natural world. His new eight-part series "Our Planet" is currently streaming on Netflix. Our critic at large John Powers says this one is different.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR YOU MY LOVE")
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
A federal judge has ordered Maria Butina to serve 18 months in prison. You might remember Butina is the Russian agent who ran an operation to influence conservative Americans through her connections to the NRA and other groups. NPR's Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department and is in the studio with me now.
RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hi, there.
MARTIN: So Butina pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to act as a foreign agent. What did that conspiracy look like?
The landmark ruling now stands as the law of the land in Kansas with no path for an appeal. Because it turns on the state's Constitution, abortion would remain legal in Kansas even if the Roe v. Wade case that established a national right to abortion is ever reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
For most of his career, Dr. Stephen Trzeciak was not a big believer in the "touchy-feely" side of medicine. As a specialist in intensive care and chief of medicine at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, N.J., Trzeciak felt most at home in the hard sciences.