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The U.S. State Department has renewed its global terror alert, following the attack in Nairobi, Kenya, by a group claiming to be part of the Somalia-based al-Shabab.

Because of the "continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence" toward Americans, the State Department said, U.S. citizens should "maintain a high level of vigilance."

The department adds:

When she left the Obama administration, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she just wanted to sleep late and walk her dog. But that hasn't happened.

OK, so it wasn't a real filibuster, as no Senate action was actually blocked or delayed. But Texas Republican Ted Cruz's talk-fest did succeed in one key measure: duration.

At 21 hours and 19 minutes, Cruz held the Senate floor 8 hours and 27 minutes longer than Kentucky Republican Rand Paul did in March when he staged an actual filibuster over the country's drone policy.

Kenya has begun three days of national mourning today, after the siege of a Nairobi shopping mall ended on Tuesday.

Now, the stories of what happened inside the mall are emerging, and people affected by the siege are still coming to terms with what’s happened.

The BBC’s Will Ross is in Nairobi and has been meeting those who were there, and the people trying to help them.

Study: Dams Help The NW Cope With Climate Change

Sep 25, 2013

A new study suggests Columbia River Basin dams are helping the Northwest cope with climate change.

Scientists say one result of rising average temperatures is that water from snowmelt is flowing earlier into rivers. That could mean lower flows during summer and fall when the water is needed for fish and crop irrigation.

But the new study says Columbia River Basin dams are helping offset these shifts.

Oracle Team USA has successfully defended the America's Cup, leaving challenger New Zealand in its wake off San Francisco after clawing back from a seven-race deficit in one of the most spectacular comebacks in yachting history.

A week ago, it looked to be all over for the U.S., with the Kiwis having built a seemingly unassailable lead and poised at one race away from taking the Auld Mug back to New Zealand.

SEE: Baby Veronica Reunited With Adoptive Parents

Sep 25, 2013

We're a day late to this, but it's a story this blog has followed for a while and this latest development represents some closure.

On Tuesday, the 4-year-old known as "Baby Veronica" was reunited with her adoptive parents. As we reported, that was the same day the Oklahoma Supreme Court opened the door to that possibility.

As faces go, Entelognathus primordialis isn't much to look at, even for a fish.

But consider that the 419 million-year-old, armor-plated fish is the earliest known creature to have what humans might recognize as a face, according to research published Wednesday in Nature. That's mostly due to its bony, modern jaw.

As USA Today reports:

In Denmark, pigs outnumber people 2 to 1. No traditional Danish meal would be complete without something wrapped in, wrapped around, or topped with pork.

In 2012, the country exported close to $6 billion in pig meat, a figure that includes "carcasses" — which leads to the question: What does one do with a pig carcass?

All this is by way of explaining the hubbub that erupted following a recent headline: "Day Cares Ban Pork."

First-year college student Stephanie Ulan, from Queens, N.Y., had her sights set on New York University, in the heart of Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

She got her wish — sort of.

At first, the school offered her a generous scholarship but told her and her father they'd still have to take out big loans.

"My father is 62 years old," says Ulan, who plans to major in international relations. "There was a big scene and he flipped out and he was, like, 'I can't do that.' "

The FBI on Wednesday released some preliminary findings in its investigation of the Washington Navy Yard shootings that left 13 people dead including the shooter.

Is Iran's Leader Sincere?

Sep 25, 2013

In keeping with his image as a moderate, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani brought his charm offensive to the United Nations this week and held out the possibility of improved relations with the U.S. after more than three decades of hostility.

"Prudent moderation will ensure a bright future for the world," Rouhani told world leaders Tuesday in New York.

So how is the world responding?

Senate Takes Next Step Toward Shutdown Showdown

Sep 25, 2013

After a dramatic 21-plus hours in which Republican Sen. Ted Cruz stood to express his opposition to President Obama's health care programs, the Senate early Wednesday afternoon voted 100-0 to move ahead and take up legislation that would avert a government shutdown next Tuesday.

As expected, the move by the Democratic-led Senate sets up what promises to be another showdown with the Republican-controlled House.

Loud music can lead to hearing loss. But it's not just rock musicians and their fans who are at risk.

In classical orchestras, horn players are particularly vulnerable to hearing damage from the tunes they and their colleagues play.

Some studies have found that horn players are blasted with some of the loudest sounds in the orchestra. The levels are so high that many countries' occupational health regulations would limit exposure like that to a half-hour a day, some studies have found.

Kenya's president says the siege of a mall in Kenya is now over. Host Michel Martin speaks to The Associated Press's Jason Straziuso in Nairobi for an update on the terror attack.

Sometimes we at Parallels see a story that's so compelling, we make an extra effort to chase down the facts. So it's in that spirit, this story from Reuters caught our attention:

Many women have heard that they should be concerned about bone health as they age because there's a risk for crippling fractures.

But repeated bone scans that are supposed to help assess the risk do a crummy job of predicting who's actually going to break a bone.

That's the gist of a study of 802 women and men who are part of the ongoing Framingham Heart Study. They were screened for osteoporosis in 1987 and again in 1999. Most were in their 70s.

After Ohio death row inmate Harry Mitts Jr. is executed on Wednesday, the state will have officially run out of pentobarbital — the lethal injection drug.

That's because the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck LLC, which manufactures the drug, has cut off its supply in deference to the European Union's opposition to capital punishment.

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

Kenyan Mall Attack: The Latest News

Sep 25, 2013

Here's a quick look at where things stand in Nairobi, Kenya, where terrorists claiming to be part of the Somalia-based al-Shabab organization attacked a shopping mall on Saturday and then kept security forces at bay until late in the day on Tuesday:

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