And when we think about the future of Iraq, one big concern is al-Qaida's growing strength there. This week, al-Qaida's arm in Iraq launched coordinated attacks on two prisons near Baghdad. One was the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison. To break through the prison walls there, the group used a dozen suicide bombers, and they attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Al-Qaida has staged spectacular prison breaks in the past. It's a tried-and-true method of reinforcing their ranks. Here's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston.
At least 78 people have died and more than 140 others have been injured after a train derailment in Spain. The high-speed train, carrying 218 passengers plus its crew, left the tracks as it went around a curve near the city of Santiago de Compostela. David Greene talks to Lisa Abend, who reports for Time magazine, for the latest.
You could say another blockbuster battle is shaping up on Capitol Hill - over nominations. This one does not concern President Obama's executive branch appointments. That fight got settled at the 11th hour last week. This dispute is over judicial nominations, specifically over Obama's bid to fill three vacancies on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. It's widely considered the nation's second most important court.
Yesterday, Republicans argued the court has enough judges already. NPR's David Welna reports.
DAVID GREENE. HOST: Hollywood movies are full of bombs this summer, and I mean both literally and figuratively. There have been a lot of big expensive movies, often action movies, that have not done very well at the box office. NPR's Elizabeth Blair says think "After Earth," "The Lone Ranger," and "White House Down."
ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: First, there have been some hits this summer, mostly sequels like "Iron Man 3."
(SOUNDBITE FROM FILM, "IRON MAN 3")
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.: (as Tony Stark) We can do this, Heather.
Renee Montagne talks to The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel about a shift in the Obama administration's approach to higher education, which the president alluded to in his economic speech on Wednesday.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene, good morning.
When president is in a second term, we often say that he's had his last campaign, at least as a candidate. For President Obama, this week is feeling in many ways like a campaign. He's trying to rally support for his ideas on the economy. The road trip began yesterday at Knox College in Illinois. Today he visits Jacksonville, Florida.
A former executive at Goldman Sachs will take the stand again in his civil fraud trial this morning. Fabrice Tourre is accused of misleading investors about a security he marketed and sold in the months leading up to the subprime mortgage collapse.
Tourre began testifying yesterday afternoon, and NPR's Jim Zarroli was there. Jim, good morning.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.
GREENE: So give us the background, here, if you can. What is Fabrice Tourre accused of, exactly?
"You very quickly forget whether it's a male voice or a female voice. ... Because he's such a terrific musician, and so expressive, the fact that it's a man singing in a woman's range becomes irrelevant, and what we hear is the music."
A bicyclist who struck and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco last year has pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors announced Wednesday. The conviction is said to be the first of its kind in the nation.
The accident happened when 37-year-old Chris Bucchere rode through several red lights and struck 71-year-old Sutchi Hui and his wife, who were crossing the intersection.
Finally this hour, the news that some of you at least have been anxiously awaiting. The royal baby has a name, several of them, in fact. George Alexander Louis. We'll break down that monitor for you now.
The Associated Press reports that 77 people were killed when a train derailed in northwestern Spain, according to Maria Pardo Rios, spokeswoman for the Galicia region's main court. Four died at hospitals, while 73 were found dead at the scene, she said.
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The Spanish newspaper El País paints a bloody picture of the scene of a train derailment in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Wednesday.
In Russia today, there was speculation that Edward Snowden might leave the transit area of a Moscow airport. He's been stuck there for the past month.
Earlier today, Russian media were reporting that Snowden would be receiving travel documents that would allow him to officially set foot on Russian soil. As NPR's Corey Flintoff reports, those stories were premature, but they revealed that the fugitive situation is more complicated than it might seem.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. The U.S. has delayed plans to deliver F-16 fighter planes to Egypt. The move is intended to send a message of concern about the Egyptian military's management of the country after ousting the elected president. The news came on the same day that Egypt's military chief, General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, called for mass demonstrations.
Lawyers for the biological father of a Native American child are expected to make a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, hoping to prevent the return of the child to her adoptive parents.
But the four-year legal saga is likely near an end.
If you want to protect rare species, first you have to find them. In the past few years, biologists have developed a powerful new tool to do that. They've discovered that they can often find traces of animal DNA in streams, ponds — even oceans.
The idea took root just five years ago, when biologists in France found they could detect invasive American bullfrogs simply by sampling pond water and looking for an exact genetic match to the frogs' DNA.