Merrit Kennedy

Joni Sledge of the group Sister Sledge, best known for the iconic disco 1979 anthem We Are Family, has died at 60.

The group's publicist, Biff Warren, said Sledge was found at home in Arizona and they have yet to determine a cause of death. She had not been ill, he said.

A top U.S. military official told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that he accepts "full responsibility" for the widely criticized U.S. ground raid into Yemen in late January.

At the same time, Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, said he was "satisfied" after a review found that the tragic outcome of the raid was not a result of "incompetence or poor decision-making or poor judgment."

The Pentagon is sending about 400 Marines to Syria to help local fighters wrest control of Raqqa, which ISIS considers its capital.

The Pentagon says the new troops will fire artillery rounds at ISIS fighters in support of the local forces, as well as provide security for the Marine artillerymen, as NPR's Phil Ewing reports.

These 400 troops will bring the number of U.S. forces on the ground in Syria to about 900, Phil says.

An iconic Maltese natural rock arch collapsed into the sea Wednesday during a powerful storm.

The "Azure Window" jutting off Malta's Gozo Island is printed on innumerable Instagram posts and travel brochures. It was also featured in movies and TV shows, including HBO's Game of Thrones.

Lynne Stewart, a leftist lawyer who defended radicals and was eventually convicted in a terrorism case herself, has died at 77.

Her son Geoffrey Stewart told NPR that Stewart died Tuesday. She was released from prison in 2014 because she suffered from terminal cancer.

Stewart, who defended Black Panthers and Weather Underground members over the course of her career and considered herself a "people's lawyer," is perhaps best known for representing Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman in his trial over plotting to attack New York City landmarks.

Brazil's recession was already of historic proportions. Today, government figures confirm that it has grown even worse.

The economy last year actually dipped more sharply than expected. The national gross domestic product contracted by 3.6 percent in 2016, statistics agency IBGE said Tuesday.

Israel has passed a new law that allows it to bar entry to foreign activists who support a boycott of the country.

The law takes aim at the BDS movement, which emerged more than a decade ago and is an acronym for "boycott, divest and sanction." The BDS movement aims to put economic pressure on Israel in support of Palestinian independence.

Would-be visitors "who support a boycott of Israel or who represent an organization that publicly calls for a boycott" may be banned, as NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem. Here's more from Daniel:

Poachers forced their way into a French zoo and killed a southern white rhinoceros named Vince, sawing off one of his horns before fleeing into the night.

The Thoiry Zoo said police are investigating the killing of the 4-year-old animal. The poachers remain at large.

Tossing a coin into a pool is believed to be good luck. But it proved to be terrible luck for a green sea turtle who consumed nearly 1,000 coins thrown into her pool.

The female green sea turtle is now recovering from an hours-long surgery on Monday. Veterinarians removed some 11 pounds of metal that she couldn't digest, according to The Associated Press.

After Germany canceled a political rally featuring a Turkish minister, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened the German government to the Nazis.

The comments mark a "new low in German-Turkish relations," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Berlin. German officials condemned the inflammatory remarks but "stopped short of punitive actions against Ankara over the matter," Soraya says. "That's because Germany desperately needs Turkey's help to keep asylum seekers from flooding into Europe."

Haiti's two-term President Rene Preval, who presided over the aftermath of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, has died at the age of 74.

Preval was the country's president from 1996 to 2001 and then for a second term from 2006 to 2011. "He is the only president in Haitian history to have served two full presidential terms and not be jailed, exiled or killed," the Miami Herald reports.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

Federal authorities have arrested and charged a man in St. Louis who they say is responsible for making at least eight threats against Jewish schools and organizations across the U.S.

The threats were allegedly part of the suspect's larger cyberstalking campaign against a woman with whom he once had a romantic relationship, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said.

It was once called the "trial of the century" in Egyptian media.

And now, the final ruling has come down from Egypt's top appeals court: Longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak has been acquitted of ordering police to kill anti-government protesters during the uprising that ousted him in 2011.

This marks the end of a six-year court battle, during which the political landscape in Egypt has shifted dramatically. Many of the protesters who led the 2011 uprising sit in prison, while many figures associated with the Mubarak regime have re-entered political life.

Nearly a week after Malaysia concluded that the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un died of poisoning from a powerful nerve agent, North Korea is claiming that he probably died of a heart attack.

Ri Tong Il, who once served as the North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters Thursday that the man "probably died of a heart attack because he suffered from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure," according to The Associated Press.

Five storied female NASA pioneers will soon grace toy-store shelves, in Lego form.

The Danish company announced on Tuesday that it would produce the Women of NASA set, submitted by science writer Maia Weinstock.

Starting today, the people of Flint, Mich., will have to bear the full cost of the water flowing through their pipes.

It's a frustrating prospect for Flint residents, who have been struggling with a crisis over lead-laced water that started nearly three years ago.

"We have seniors that are already making decisions between buying medication or paying their water bill," as one Flint resident told Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody.

President Trump signed a measure into law Tuesday that rescinds an Obama-era rule aimed at blocking gun sales to certain mentally ill people.

The GOP-majority Senate passed the bill by a 57-43 margin earlier this month, following a House vote to overturn the rule.

Updated 5:35 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is moving to roll back an environmental rule intended to define which small bodies of water are subject to federal authority under the Clean Water Act.

The body of Kim Jong Un's slain half-brother has become the subject of a diplomatic turf war between North Korea and Malaysia, where he was poisoned earlier this month with a powerful nerve agent.

A high-level delegation of North Koreans arrived in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday to try to claim the body of Kim Jong Nam, NPR's Elise Hu reports from Seoul.

The private company SpaceX has announced that it plans to send two passengers on a mission beyond the moon in late 2018.

If the mission goes forward, it would be the "first time humans have traveled beyond low Earth orbit since the days of Apollo," as NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce told our Newscast unit.

The two private citizens approached the company about the idea and have already paid a sizable deposit, CEO Elon Musk told reporters in a conference call. These private individuals will also bear the cost of the mission.

Millions of people in Chile are scrambling to find alternative sources of drinking water after authorities cut off service to the capital, Santiago, following torrential rains that contaminated the water supply.

An ISIS-claimed car bomb exploded near the Syrian town of al-Bab, killing at least 51 people in an area that Turkish-backed rebels recently seized from Islamic State militants.

At least 34 of those killed were civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group. Witnesses told Reuters that the bomb went off in the village of Sousian, five miles north of al-Bab, at a rebel checkpoint crowded with people who had fled the fighting and were preparing to return to their homes.

In baseball, if a pitcher wants to intentionally walk a batter, he has to actually lob the four pitches outside the strike zone. It's a technique often used to bypass a particularly strong batter, or to set up a double play.

But that rule now appears poised to change.

The Major League Baseball commissioner's office has proposed a rule change to have the pitcher forgo actually throwing four balls — instead, the bench would simply signal to the umpire that the batter will be intentionally walked.

Four newly discovered frog species are so tiny that they can sit comfortably on a fingernail, making them some of the smallest-known frogs in the world.

Scientists said in a video that they were "surprised to find that the miniature forms are in fact locally abundant and fairly common." The frogs likely escaped notice until now because of their tiny size and secretive habitats, hidden under damp soil or dense vegetation.

A South African court has ruled that the country's bid to withdraw from the International Criminal Court is "unconstitutional and invalid," in a stark rebuke to the government of President Jacob Zuma.

The so-called Islamic State's financial fortunes are bound to the amount of territory it controls.

And the group's dramatic loss of ground in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq is putting pressure on its finances, according to a new report from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.

She's done it again.

Wisdom, a Laysan albatross thought to be at least 66 years old, has hatched yet another chick at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial in Hawaii.

Five people were killed, including four U.S. citizens, when a plane crashed into a shopping complex in suburban Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday morning, according to police.

The Direct Factory Outlets mall was closed when it was hit by the twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air, according to media reports. Police say nobody inside the mall at the time was injured.

The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un died under suspicious circumstances on Monday in Kuala Lumpur — and every day since then, the story of Kim Jong Nam's death has gotten stranger and more mysterious.

The body remains in Malaysia, despite demands by North Korea to release it. Malaysian authorities have performed an autopsy on the body but have not made the results public.

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET

In the dead of night last weekend in North Carolina's Alexander County, a massive concrete statue of a rooster disappeared from its perch in front of a poultry farm.

The white rooster stands about 4 feet tall and has a bright red wattle, Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman tells The Two-Way. It is valued at more than $1,000. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the lawn ornament is its considerable weight — approximately 3,000 pounds, according to Bowman.

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