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Oshun Afrique is getting her 35th tattoo.

She has come to the Pinz-N-Needlez tattoo shop in Washington, D.C., where practically every inch of wall space is covered in artwork. While Afrique lounges on the sofa at the front of the small, quaint shop, owner Christopher Mensah sits at his desk and sketches her tattoo design.

Afrique came to the store after seeing Mensah's work in her Facebook news feed. She and Mensah both agree that anyone looking to get tattooed should scour online portfolios to find the right artist.

Any number of Syrian refugees may be too many for Trump

8 hours ago

In early 2015, Gasem al-Hamad and his wife, Wajed al-Khlifa, along with their four young children, arrived in Turlock, a small rural city about two hours from San Francisco. It marked the end of a three-year journey, after fleeing war in Syria, seeking safety in Jordan and waiting to find out where they would next call home.

Citing Belgian beer's integral role in social and culinary life, UNESCO is putting the country's rich brewing scene (with nearly 1,500 styles) on its list representing the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Belgium's beer culture is one of 16 new additions that were announced Thursday.

Other honorees include the making of flatbread in Iran, Turkey, and elsewhere; Cuba's Rumba music, Egypt's Tahteeb stick game, and long-observed festivals in Japan, France, Spain and Greece.

What Do Birds Hear When They Sing Beautiful Songs?

8 hours ago

Birdsong is music to human ears.

It has inspired famous composers. For the rest of us, it may uplift the spirit and improve attention or simply be a source of delight, fun and learning.

But have you ever wondered what birds themselves hear when they sing?

Calamari is a favorite on American dinner tables. But while the U.S. has a thriving squid industry, chances are the calamari you are eating made a 12,000-mile round trip before ending up on your dinner plate. That, or it wasn't caught in the U.S. at all.

More than 80 percent of U.S. squid landings are exported — most of it to China. The rare percentage of that catch that stays domestically goes to Asian fresh fish markets or is used as bait.

Ironically, the lion's share of the squid consumed in the United States is imported.

Inside the walls of a geriatric hospital in France, time stands still. Light falls across two stockinged feet on a bed. The fading floral pattern on a swath of wallpaper is interrupted by an unused corkboard. And between these scenes of stillness, residents approach a pair of locked doors with modest curiosity, expectation and even anger.

Swedish photographer Maja Daniels says those doors, which were locked to prevent the residents from wandering, were crucial early in the project.

Shortly before a charter jet carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashed in the mountains of Colombia, the pilot told air traffic control he was "out of fuel" and experiencing "total electrical failure," according to leaked audio and accounts from a survivor and another pilot.

Buzz Aldrin Is Medically Evacuated From Antarctica

9 hours ago

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Buzz Aldrin, who walked on the surface of the moon with Neil Armstrong in 1969, has been medically evacuated from the South Pole, the National Science Foundation said.

Lab-Grown Diamonds Come Into Their Own

9 hours ago

Around the corner from the famous Diamond District in New York City, David Weinstein sorts through some envelopes on his cluttered desk. All of them are full of diamonds.

"I deal with diamonds all day long, for three decades," says Weinstein, executive director of the International Gemological Institute, a nonprofit research institute. "To me, diamonds aren't anything spectacular. It's hard to get me to say, 'Wow!' "

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Zlota Kurka, or Golden Hen, sits in a central Warsaw neighborhood surrounded by telecom offices and wine bars. Inside, there's a window-sized menu offering Polish-style soups, eggs, dumplings, cabbage and potatoes, all cooked by women in flowered aprons and schoolteacher glasses.

Indian moviegoers are set to get a hefty dose of patriotism with their big-screen previews.

According to an interim order handed down Wednesday by two justices on India's Supreme Court, movie theaters nationwide must play the country's national anthem before each feature film begins. What's more, the audience members must stand in observance, while an Indian flag is depicted on the big screen and the doors of the theater are temporarily closed to prevent distractions.

Returning To Damascus, A City Changed By War

15 hours ago

When I last visited Damascus in 2008, the historic Old City district was full of Western students learning Arabic. Before bloody conflicts engulfed them, both Damascus and the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, were favorites with foreigners seeking to learn Arabic.

Eight years ago, U.S. student Kara Francis told me that while she did have to field some questions about then-President George W. Bush, she never felt looked down on for being American.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., is a stately old building with turrets, arches and a clock tower soaring 300 feet into the air. Inside, the lobby is equally impressive with massive chandeliers, a grand staircase and a glass ceiling 10 floors up.

The 263-room hotel is without doubt luxurious. But it could also represent a massive conflict of interest for President-elect Donald Trump once he takes office.

Boston's Christmas Tree Tradition Rooted In A Canadian Thank You

15 hours ago

Boston's official 2016 Christmas tree, like others that have come before it, is a thank you gift for events a century ago in the Nova Scotia's Canadian province's coastal capital of Halifax.

On Dec. 6, 1917, a French ship, the Mont Blanc, was preparing to head overseas to fight in World War I, when it ran into trouble.

"In Halifax Harbor, the Mont Blanc collides with another ship and catches on fire," says Peter Drummey, librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An Army review concludes that commanders did nothing wrong when they kicked out more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan – even though all of those troops had been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries.

The Army's report, ordered by Secretary Eric Fanning, seeks to reassure members of Congress that it's treating wounded soldiers fairly. But senators and military specialists say the report troubles them.

In 2011, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died, the state news agency reported that Mount Paektu took on a supernatural glow, and that at its summit, Heaven Lake shook with cracking ice.

Those reports were pretty unscientific. But several years earlier, between 2002 and 2005, Mount Paektu had experienced a swarm of little earthquakes.

On a hillside overlooking the steppes of northeastern Mongolia, an entire family shovels jet-black chunks of coal into a truck. Every half-hour or so, they fire up a machine that steadily pulls a steel cable attached to what looks like a roller-coaster car emerging from a hole in the ground. It takes five minutes before it arrives at the surface, full of more coal, extracted by cousins working half-a-mile beneath the earth.

For some rural Mongolians, risking their lives in crude, makeshift mines is the only way to survive.

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