Kat Lonsdorf

Iraqi security forces launched a major crackdown on anti-government protesters Saturday from Baghdad to cities across the south after an influential Shiite cleric instrumental in the demonstrations withdrew his support.

New Zealand's months-long gun amnesty and buyback program ended Friday, with questionable success. The amnesty gave gun owners a chance to surrender certain firearms before facing legal recourse for having them after the country outlawed most semi-automatic and military-style firearms earlier this year.

A large portion of Australia is on fire after weeks of extreme heat, strong winds and drought that have created ideal conditions for hundreds of bushfires to thrive across the country. Several fires have been burning since November, particularly in the eastern state of New South Wales.

Imagine people three drinks deep, trying to catch the bartender's attention for a beer or something stronger. The people behind the bar are shaking, stirring, pouring and finally, it's time.

Last call. The lights come up, the music goes down and people head out the door. It's a time of ritual for bar staff that patrons rarely get to see.

It's that ritual that intrigued author Brad Thomas Parsons and took him on a journey for his latest book. Parsons traveled around the United States to more than 80 bars, asking bartenders for their take on last call.

Violence erupted this weekend around a besieged Hong Kong university, as protesters threw petrol bombs and fired arrows at police in an attempt to keep control of the campus.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense secretary and intelligence officer accused of committing human rights violations, has won Sri Lanka's closely fought presidential elections. His main opponent, Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United National Party (UNP), conceded defeat on Sunday, saying he will "honor the decision of the people."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The World Of Bob Ross

Oct 3, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

And now to a totally different world - a much more soothing world.

(SOUNDBITE OF LARRY MUHOBERAC'S "THE JOY OF PAINTING THEME")

KELLY: The world of Bob Ross.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE JOY OF PAINTING")

It's a story fit for Hollywood.

An unidentified woman, her hair pulled up in pigtails and arms loaded with bags, sings a hauntingly beautiful rendition of a Puccini aria seemingly spontaneously on the platform of a Los Angeles Metro stop.

A video of the woman was posted to Twitter by the Los Angeles Police Department late Thursday evening.

Updated at 3:03 p.m. ET

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's effort to expand fast-track deportation regulations for undocumented immigrants without the use of immigration courts.

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