Laurel Wamsley

A National Transportation Safety Board report on the 2016 hot air balloon crash that killed all 16 people aboard finds that the pilot's "pattern of poor decision-making" was to blame. But the safety board also reserves some culpability for an FAA policy that exempts commercial balloon operators from needing medical certification.

When Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida last month, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency. On Monday, he did the same thing in Alachua County, ahead of a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

It sounds like a joke, but, well — keep reading.

In December 2015, 64-year-old Daniel Rushing had just dropped off a friend at chemotherapy and was driving home an older woman from his church who worked at the 7-Eleven and would otherwise walk the 2 miles home.

The fall of Harvey Weinstein has been rapid in the week since The New York Times reported that he had been settling sexual harassment claims for decades. And as more women tell their stories of upsetting encounters with the powerful film executive, Weinstein's problems are moving beyond his now-tattered reputation to legal and financial troubles.

A Washington, D.C., judge has significantly narrowed the Justice Department's warrant related to a website used to plan anti-Trump protests during the Inauguration.

Editor's note: This story includes explicit language describing alleged sexual assaults.

New allegations against the film executive Harvey Weinstein emerged Tuesday, including multiple instances of sexual assault and a recording by New York City police in which he admits to groping a woman.

A Texas Tech student has been charged with the murder of a university police officer. Lubbock police say the suspect confessed to the crime, saying "he was the one that shot their friend."

A university spokesman tells NPR that campus police were dispatched to the room of Hollis Daniels III, 19, to check on him, after his suitemates contacted the university with concerns about his welfare. While police were en route, Daniels' mother called a university hotline and said that her son had expressed suicidal thoughts.

A week after the shooting that took 58 lives and changed many more, Las Vegas is picking up the pieces.

For the first time since the barrage of gunfire tore through the Route 91 Harvest Festival last Sunday night, some of those who attended the event can pick up belongings that were left behind as they fled for safety.

Six days after the shooting along the Strip, Vice President Mike Pence visited Las Vegas, and told residents that America is united with their city in grief.

"We do mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope," he said. "Because heroes give us hope."

After the horrible massacre at a Las Vegas music festival on Sunday night that killed 58 and injured hundreds more, concerns emerged immediately about other sites that could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

New evidence now raises the prospect that the shooter who terrorized the Route 91 Harvest Festival may have considered other targets, including the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago's Grant Park and the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas.

Hugh Hefner died this week at age 91. And the Playboy founder managed, even in preparing for his death, to cultivate his celebrity and stoke controversy.

Over the years, Hefner mentioned to reporters where he planned to be buried: right next to Marilyn Monroe, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery.

Before our current era of creepy clowns (and the problems they cause for professional clowns), there was a killer clown who frustrated Florida detectives for nearly three decades.

The Guggenheim Museum in New York has announced it is pulling three works from an upcoming exhibit of contemporary Chinese art owing to "explicit and repeated threats of violence."

Well before this year's series of historically powerful hurricanes, Puerto Rico already had a notoriously fickle power supply and crushing debt — the power authority effectively declared bankruptcy in July. Power outages were routine, even in cities.

Compounding Puerto Rico's devastation in the wake of Hurricane Maria is the fact that so much is still unknown. Because most of the island's cellphone sites are out of service and the power grid is down, it has been difficult or impossible to connect with the people who live there — whether from the mainland or from another part of the island.

Atlanta resident Silkia Babilonia, who lives in Atlanta, says that since the storm, she hasn't been able to reach friends and family on the island's west side.

Ah, to be a chef with three Michelin stars: The envy of your peers. Reservation lists months long. The satisfaction of reaching the highest level of culinary art.

The crippling pressure to stay on top.

Sébastien Bras runs Le Suquet, a restaurant in the southern French town of Laguiole that first won its three stars in 1999, when it was run by his father Michel.

Amazon made the sort of announcement Thursday morning that mayors dream about.

The tech juggernaut said it was looking for the right city in which to build its "HQ2": a second headquarters in North America, equal to its campus in Seattle. And it's going to make that selection process a public one, akin to how cities bid to host an Olympic Games.

Hurricane Irma — still swirling with Category 5 winds — could make a direct hit on Florida within days. And residents are preparing for a whopper of a storm, whether or not they plan on evacuating their homes.

Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday morning that Miami-Dade County should prepare for "deadly storm surge and life-threatening winds."

"If you're in an evacuation area, do not wait to get out," Scott warned. "This thing is bigger than our entire state right now, so take this seriously."

The European Court of Justice has dismissed a legal action by Hungary and Slovakia that challenged a European Union policy requiring them to accept refugees.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the ruling was "outrageous and irresponsible," the Associated Press reports, and vowed Hungary would fight any attempts to resettle migrants there without government approval.

Editor's note: This story contains language that some might find offensive.

Seattle Seahawks star defensive end Michael Bennett says he is considering filing a civil rights lawsuit against Las Vegas police after a harrowing encounter last month.

A descendant of a nephew of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee announced yesterday that he had resigned as pastor of his church in Winston-Salem, N.C. Robert Wright Lee IV, who came to national attention denouncing his relative's legacy on NPR and elsewhere, said he made the decision after Bethany United Church of Christ moved to vote on his tenure there.

Wildfires burning in the Western U.S. are threatening some of America's most treasured national parks – and in some areas, the damage has already been done.

Last week in Montana, a 20-square-mile blaze burned the historic Sperry Chalet, a hotel and dining room built in 1914 and only reachable by trail.

It can be hard to grasp the full impact of what Harvey unleashed on the Gulf Coast of Texas. After all, the story has been told mostly at ground level: Texans wading across interstate highways, scores of people trapped in their homes, others piloting small boats to rescue them.

At 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, Fox News went off the air in the U.K. But why its parent company decided to pull the network from Britain's airwaves is the question.

The channel's parent company, 21st Century Fox, said it was a matter of poor ratings.

Uber says it has ended its tracking of users after they complete their rides — a practice that caused immediate concern when the company added it in November.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

When disaster strikes, stories often emerge about people who go above and beyond to serve others. People like Mattress Mack, the Houston business owner who invited Hurricane Harvey evacuees into his two giant furniture stores, even sending out trucks to pick up people who couldn't get there.

A German police investigation has found evidence that a former nurse murdered at least 86 people in his care.

"The realization of what we were able to learn is horrifying," Johan Kühme, chief of police in the northern German city of Oldenburg told news outlets, including the The New York Times. "It defies any scope of the imagination."

Updated Friday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m. ET

After Hurricane Harvey made landfall and dropped more than 2 feet of rain, thousands of people in Houston and along the Gulf Coast have been displaced. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard.

The Justice Department is dropping the most controversial part of its demand for records relating to a website used to coordinate protests during the presidential inauguration.

In court filings submitted yesterday, ahead of a hearing Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, the government suggests modifications to the warrant it attained for files from web hosting company DreamHost, which hosted the website DisruptJ20.org.

The city of Charlottesville has shrouded two of its Confederate monuments in a show of mourning for the woman killed in the violent white nationalist protest there earlier this month.

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