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The official death toll from flooding in the Indian state of Kerala spiked to at least 324 people on Friday, and the office of Kerala's chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said "the rains continue to remain strong."

More than 223,000 people are now being housed in some 1,500 relief camps, Vijayan's office says. Nearly the entire state in southern India is under a red alert.

"Torrential rains have been battering Kerala for the past nine days, causing the worst floods to hit the coastal state in a century," Sushmita Pathak reports from Mumbai for NPR's Newscast unit.

Banned Books on the Run

Aug 17, 2018

The lyrics of the Wings song "Band on the Run" are changed to be about books that were once banned, censored or challenged in the United States. It's trivia turned up to 451 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heard on Awkwafina And Sasha Velour: New York City Queens.

Sasha Velour is a winner. In June of 2017, the drag queen took home the crown on season nine of RuPaul's Drag Race. More than a year later, she's still using her queendom to spread the word about drag, and challenge perceptions about the art form.

On stage at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York, Velour was dressed in yards of shiny silver fabric adorned with hundreds of huge, multicolored gems. She described the look to NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg as "a crown as a dress," or "what Queen Nosferatu wears to her daughter's lesbian summer wedding."

Emojis Louise

Aug 17, 2018

In this final round, every answer is also an emoji, according to the Unicode Consortium. *sunglasses emoji*

Heard on Awkwafina And Sasha Velour: New York City Queens.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Nov. 1, 2016, and has been updated.

Crazy Rich Asians is, of course, not a movie about global development. But as it happens, the topic gets a cameo in the rom-com.

Main character Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu) is a professor of economics. And on a trip to Singapore to meet the family of her "crazy rich" boyfriend Nick, she goes to a big wedding and runs into a Malay princess, who has written an article about ... microloans.

For almost 40 years, Pilar Navarro thought her daughter was dead.

She gave birth at a private Catholic hospital in Madrid in 1973, anxious to start a family. But less than 24 hours after delivery, Navarro's nurse — who was a nun — told her and her husband that the baby had died from respiratory issues. The young couple could not see the body because the hospital had already baptized and buried the child, according to the nurse.

"We never thought a doctor or a nun would do something like that," says Navarro, who is now 68. "We couldn't understand it."

The idea that the ocean can run out of fish might seem implausible. Yet if you ask Jesús Enrique León Lara, that’s exactly what has been happening over the last decade in his tiny patch of paradise, a village called Agua Verde in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

“We lived off what we caught, from what the ocean gave us,” León said. “There was so much fish, so many types of fish. But now it’s not like that. There’s a lot less fish.”

Zaid Nagi, vice president of the Yemeni Americans Merchants Association in New York City, is mad.

“There is real pain here,” he said, “there is real suffering. I’m in direct contact with people whose lives have been destroyed.”

A Medicaid committee in Texas is requiring those who comment at its meetings to disclose more details about their ties to pharmaceutical companies after a Center for Public Integrity and NPR investigation into the drug industry's influence on such boards.

The state is one of the latest to respond to the findings of the Medicaid, Under the Influence project. Officials in Arizona, Colorado and New York have already taken action.

The Oregon Transportation Commission unanimously agreed to ask the federal government for permission to impose tolls on sections of interstates 5 and 205 in the Portland area.

The commission also called for a broader study of tolling throughout the area’s freeway network, saying that it could be a powerful tool for attacking growing traffic congestion.

“It is a problem all over, and we need to address it all over,” said Commissioner Sean O’Hollaren, who is also a Nike executive.

Eleven months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said that the island's emergency is over. And because of that, the agency has begun scaling back its financial assistance to the island.

The U.S. is threatening further sanctions against Turkey if it does not quickly release American pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been detained by the Turkish government for nearly two years. The diplomatic spat is also taking a toll on Turkey's currency, the lira.

Michael Green: What Does GDP Not Tell Us?

Aug 17, 2018

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Story Behind The Numbers.

About Michael Green's TED Talk

To fully understand progress, economist Michael Green says we must weigh social well-being and wealth. But by using this new measurement, he noticed something striking — the U.S. falls far behind.

About Michael Green

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Story Behind The Numbers.

About Paul Gilding's TED Talk

Environmental activist Paul Gilding says the world has been growing too fast for too long. And now...the Earth is full. The only solution, he says, is to radically change the way we consume.

About Paul Gilding

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Story Behind The Numbers.

About Steven Pinker's TED Talk

It might seem like the world is getting worse and worse. But psychologist Steven Pinker says that across the board, data suggests we've made a lot of progress. The question is — will it continue?

About Steven Pinker

Carolyn Beans is a freelance science journalist living in Washington, D.C. She specializes in ecology, evolution and health.

In Washington, D.C., Peter Rabbit regularly challenges me to stop wasting food. On a billboard hovering beyond my local grocery store and on posters on bus stop shelters, he casually chomps on a carrot while leaning on big bold letters: "Better Ate Than Never."

The World Health Organization said Friday that security concerns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu region were preventing aid workers from reaching certain areas — and leaving open the possibility of the Ebola virus spreading.

At least 1,500 people could be exposed to the virus, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva, according to Reuters.

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