U.N. monitors in Syria leave their Damascus hotel on Wednesday on a mission. A day earlier, their U.N. colleagues were at the scene of a major clash in northern Syria that left more than 30 Syrians dead.
There was a deadly clash in northern Syria on Tuesday, but it was different than many other such episodes over the past 14 months of the Syrian uprising.
This time, United Nations monitors were watching. The monitors are in Syria to keep an eye on the government forces and the opposition, who are supposed to be observing a cease-fire and opening a dialogue.
But the trouble Tuesday began with a funeral the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.
Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., crosses the finish line of the 3-mile Capital Challenge charity race with Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi. It was Lugar's 31st race, and his last as a senator after he lost a primary challenge this month.
Credit Javaun Moradi / NPR
Sen. Dick Lugar, 80, runs in the Capital Challenge charity race. He has participated every year since the race started in 1981.
Credit Javaun Moradi / NPR
Sen. Lugar signs an autograph at the Capital Challenge race.
The partisan divisions on Capitol Hill are numerous — but Wednesday morning, about two-dozen members of Congress did something entirely nonpartisan. They ran in a 3-mile race for charity, along with their staffs and teams from the executive and judicial branches and the media (including NPR).
The ACLI Capital Challenge is an annual tradition that dates back to 1981, and one senator has run the race every time: Dick Lugar, R-Ind. But Wednesday's race was also his last.
Since a small contingent of Marines landed in the northern port town of Darwin last month, the U.S. has shown greater interest in using Australian military facilities as part of a larger effort to refocus its military capabilities in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.
"We have no better ally or friend in the world than Australia, and we have no area in the world which is as important or dynamic over the next 50 years as the Asia Pacific," says Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia.
The Shaolin Warriors, from Shaolin Monastery in central China, put on a demonstration of traditional kung fu fighting techniques, with some crowd-pleasing stunts thrown in. They had never performed with a circus before this year.
Credit Courtesy of UniverSoul Circus
Zanda "Zeke" Charles began as UniverSoul's ringmaster sidekick 18 years ago. Today, he co-hosts the show, and, when not in the ring, he roams the audience signing autographs and giving out hugs.
For almost 20 years, the UniverSoul Circus has been pitching its tent in urban plazas across the country. The circus was founded by a Baltimore native as a showcase for black talent, one that he hoped would inspire black audiences.
In more recent times, the circus has evolved into an eclectic mix of acts from around the world. Now, it's pushing to diversify its audience, with a show called "Us."
Strength, Precision And Crowd-Pleasing Nerve
In the beginning, all of the talent was black. They came from Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S.
Looking to get more popular on Facebook? Alex Melen will sell you 1,000 "likes" for about $75.
Melen runs an Internet marketing company. About six months ago, companies he worked with started coming to him more and more with a simple problem: They had created pages on Facebook, but nobody had clicked the "like" button.
"You would go there, and there would be two likes," Melen says. "And one of them would be the owner. And people right away lost interest in the brand."