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The bomb specialists suspected that an Oregon home was booby-trapped. As they entered the front door, they noticed what appeared to be a tripwire. Seconds later, a shot rang out, apparently from a booby-trapped wheelchair. And an FBI bomb special agent was hit in the leg.

The State Department has reversed course on its visa requirements for same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and the staff of U.S.-based international organizations. On Monday, it implemented a policy denying visas to such partners if they're not legally married.

Updated at 9:49 p.m. ET

President Trump continued his defense Tuesday of his Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, mocking one of Kavanaugh's accusers at a Mississippi campaign rally.

The latest move by Trump came just hours after he had highlighted the possibility of false accusations against young men in the midst of a cultural moment brought on in the past year by the #MeToo movement.

From a hill overlooking Canberra, Australia's landlocked capital, Clive Hamilton points to the National Carillon, a bell tower that happens to be striking noon, then to a massive glass and concrete monolith.

"That's where ASIO lives," he says, using the common shorthand for Australia's intelligence agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

He then points out Australia's federal police building and to a compound in the middle, where China built its embassy.

Donna Strickland seemed genuinely surprised to learn that she was only the third woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in physics.

"Is that all, really?" a flummoxed Strickland asked during a press conference announcing the prize. "I thought there might have been more."

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke took the stand Tuesday to give his teary — and sometimes defensive — testimony about the night he fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in the middle of a busy street on Chicago's Southwest Side.

Van Dyke, 40, faces first-degree murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct charges in the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting death. McDonald's death gained national attention in November 2015 when a judge ordered the city to release a police dashcam video of the white officer shooting the black teen.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday

A massive relief effort is underway in Indonesia, where more than a thousand people are dead and tens of thousands more are displaced on the island of Sulawesi, after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed houses and other buildings last week.

It has taken days for the scale of the devastation to emerge, because the twin disasters crippled communications and damaged roads and airports. Those problems are also complicating efforts to bring aid to the city of Palu and other affected areas.

Astronomers have found — way beyond the orbit of Pluto — an intriguing distant object orbiting the sun.

It's just a dwarf planet, about 200 miles across, but some researchers think finding it increases the likelihood that there is a heretofore undiscovered giant planet lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. That would bring the number of true planets in our solar system back to nine, replacing Pluto which was demoted in 2006.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Everything seemed okay when Elizabeth Coleman went to bed on Sunday, September 16. After evacuating three days prior to escape Hurricane Florence, her family of four and parents-in-law had just returned to their one-level, two-bedroom ranch home on Crusoe Island Road in Whiteville, N.C. It was, thankfully, undamaged.

The family had gone home after evacuating because they believed that the storm had passed and they had heard that the floodwater was receding. They thought it would be safe to return.

By 5 a.m., something was wrong.

As the fight over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination continues to reverberate throughout the country, the shorthanded Supreme Court began its new term Monday. Republicans had hoped to seat nominee Brett Kavanaugh in time for the start of the term, but that, of course, did not happen.

On Nov. 11, 1861, the Qing dynasty opened a new agency to deal with foreigners. A target for the West's "gunboat diplomacy," the last imperial Chinese government had been forced to recognize a wider world and, with little leverage, it entered into a series of unequal treaties that crippled its economy and left it only more vulnerable. Still, Chinese officials believed the crisis would pass. It was for this reason that this new body, a quasi-ministry of foreign affairs, was housed in a small, shabby building that had previously served as the Department of Iron Coins.

First lady Melania Trump stood at the top of the airplane stairs in Accra, Ghana, smiled broadly and waving. Thus began the first stop of a multiday trip through the African continent that will take Trump to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt, "four beautiful and very different countries in Africa," she said in recent remarks. It is her first solo foreign trip as first lady.

The thought that Donald Trump may have been totally unprepared to become president in November 2016 is one that's not new to those who have been following the day-to-day crises and dramas of the Trump White House closely.

But a case for this argument is revealingly and startlingly made by Michael Lewis in his fascinating — and at times harrowing — new book The Fifth Risk.

Donald Trump "personally directed" efforts to silence Stormy Daniels, The Wall Street Journal reported for the first time Tuesday morning.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, will be unsurprised.

It's Saturday afternoon in the Dutch city of The Hague. Lonneke de Leeuw and Danny Dubbeldam just ordered a steak tartare sandwich and a chicken burger at The Vegetarian Butcher's new restaurant, De Vleesch Lobby, one of the few vegetarian eateries with plant-based meat and fish as its central theme.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been "split" — with one half going to Arthur Ashkin, an American who won for his work with optical tweezers, while Gérard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada share the other half for work in generating high-intensity ultrashort optical pulses.

Together, their achievements mark groundbreaking achievements in the field of laser physics.

"This year's prize is about tools made from light," said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in its announcement on Tuesday.

A dean at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has been suspended for a tweet that, according to university officials, "demonstrated a lack of sensitivity" to sexual assault survivors.

William Rainford, dean of the university's National Catholic School of Social Service, posted the tweet on his official university account last week, one day before Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh made back-to-back appearances before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Criminal justice reformers have long called the U.S. courts system's reliance on money bail unjust: The wealthy, they argue, can simply buy their pretrial freedom, while the poor are stuck behind bars or get pressured into taking a plea deal.

This summer California became the largest state to abolish money bail. The historic move goes into effect next fall. But many of those who've pushed hardest for bail reform say this new system may be worse than the old one.

Marilyn Bartlett took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full 5 feet and a smidge, and told the assembled handful of Montana officials that she had a radical strategy to bail out the state's foundering benefit plan for its 30,000 employees and their families.

The officials were listening. Their health plan was going broke, with losses that could top $50 million in just a few years. It needed a savior, but none of the applicants to be its new administrator had wowed them.

Now here was a self-described pushy 64-year-old grandmother interviewing for the job.

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Christine Garcia, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom, doesn't consider herself a particularly political person. But like a lot of women, she has strong opinions about President Trump.

"Maybe on the business side ... the money is better as far as I understand," Garcia said. "But a lot of the other things are very worrisome," she added with a laugh, as she pushed her daughter on a swing in a park in Birmingham, Mich., an affluent suburb of Detroit.

Garcia considers herself a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.

Drinking beer became such a theme in last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that Saturday Night Live spoofed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's many references to drinking beer with his friends.

But there are serious questions underlying all the focus on beer: whether Kavanaugh was fully forthcoming in his testimony and what his behavior was like when drunk.

Updated at 5:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday

There have been a lot of books written about chaos and dysfunction in the Trump White House. The latest book by Michael Lewis looks at parts of the federal government that don't get as much attention, like the Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy.

The stories begin during the transition between administrations — and read nearly the same across each government agency.

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