NPR News

The nation's colleges and universities have been on pins and needles waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether race can be a factor in their admissions policies.

And so today's 4-3 ruling upholding the affirmative-action program at the University of Texas at Austin brought a sigh of relief to much of the higher education world.

When you think of the sound of Houston, you might think of country and western music. Maybe you've heard of bluesmen like Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins or gospel stars like Yolanda Adams. Or, you know, Beyoncé?

There's a hot pink suitcase on the floor of Shariah Vroman-Nagy's bedroom. The 18-year-old is packing for a trip to Disneyland, one of several she takes with her family every year.

"Let's see, I need a hairbrush," she says, moving past the collection of Mickey Mouse ears on her dresser and glancing at the inspirational quotes from Marilyn Monroe on the wall.

The lyrics to a song called "Smile" hang in a frame over her bed.

An ancient variety of squash that was all but lost to history is now being rediscovered. Native Americans in the Great Lakes region have cultivated this squash for centuries, and now tribes are sharing the seeds with each other and with small farmers to bring the plant back.

Eighth Day Farm in Holland, Mich., is among those that acquired seeds from this mystery squash. And the farm's Sarah Hofman-Graham says they didn't know what to expect when they planted it last year.

A powerful tornado, hailstorms and heavy rain hit eastern China's Jiangsu province Thursday, killing at least 78 people, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The news service adds that "nearly 500 people were injured, 200 critically."

A California jury has ruled that the members of Led Zeppelin did not plagiarize the opening bars of their hit "Stairway to Heaven," a seminal song in rock history.

The estate of Randy Wolfe, the deceased guitarist of the band Spirit, had filed the federal copyright infringement lawsuit in 2014. It argued that guitar intro was stolen from the opening notes of Spirit's song "Taurus," – which came out before Stairway. At the time, Wolfe was performing under the pseudonym Randy California.

In the United States, if a hospital didn't have running water even for one day, it'd be a crisis.

But in some parts of the world, that's business as usual.

Navigating airport security lines is a hassle, for most. Among the exceptions: passengers with TSA PreCheck stamped on their boarding pass.

They don't take off their shoes, they don't take out their laptops and they often clear security in just a few minutes. And now, there are a lot more of them.

In the past three months the number of applications for TSA PreCheck has more than doubled. Almost 16,000 people a day are now applying for PreCheck. That's a huge increase from less than 7,000 a day in March.

During his daily bus commute in the bustling Indian city of Hyderabad, there was something that really bothered Narayana Peesapaty.

"Everybody was eating something on their way to work," says Peesapaty, who was working as a sustainable farming researcher for a nonprofit organization at the time. But it wasn't his fellow bus riders' snacking habits that troubled him. It was their plastic cutlery.

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