A polar bear makes its way across the ice in Canada's Northwest Passage. Melting ice in the Arctic will make survival increasingly difficult for wildlife in the region.
Credit Jackie Northam / NPR
The Arctic is heating up faster than anyplace on Earth. And as it heats, the ice is growing thinner and melting faster. Scientists say that sometime this century, the Arctic Ocean could be free of ice during the summers. And that transition is likely to be chaotic.
Arctic sea ice has always seen dramatic swings. Every winter, the ocean is completely covered with ice. It starts to melt in the late spring, and by September about half that ice has melted away.
NCAA President Mark Emmert says he's willing to back up his tough talk on punishing rule-breakers — even using the "death penalty" as a deterrent.
With salacious allegations swirling around Miami's football program, and one week after Emmert joined with university presidents to discuss toughening sanctions against cheating schools, the NCAA's leader said he believed the infractions committee should make the harshest penalty an option.
US President Barack Obama listens to questions as he speaks at a town hall style meeting in Decorah, Iowa, August 15, 2011, during his three-day bus tour in the Midwest centering on ways to grow the economy.
Credit JIM WATSON / AFP/Getty Images
President Obama's bus tour across the Midwest this week could probably be summed up this way: jobs vs. deficits. Americans are clamoring for action on both, but action on jobs might mean more spending, which is a toxic word in Washington, as well as for many small-business owners.
A Small-Business Owner's Struggle
Terry Frank and her husband own a shop that sells everything from sandwiches to desserts on the Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Children run toward workers distributing hot meals in Mogadishu Thursday. Some 12 million people in parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia are at risk of starvation in the wake of the region's worst drought in decades.
Credit Roberto Schmidt / AFP/Getty Images
More than 300,000 children in the Horn of Africa are severely malnourished "and in imminent risk of dying" because of drought and famine, the head of the U.N. children's agency said Friday.
The United Nations says that tens of thousands of people have died in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti — and the organization warns that the famine hasn't peaked. More than 12 million people in the region need food aid, according to the U.N.
"The crisis in the Horn of Africa is a human disaster becoming a human catastrophe," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake told reporters.
Two Libyan rebel fighters battle with snipers holed up in a hotel at the main square of Zawiya, a city 30 miles west of Tripoli, on Aug. 18. The rebels entered the key coastal city this week.
Credit Marc Hofer / AFP/Getty Images
The Libyan rebels have been on the move this week.
In Gheryan, an important city south of the capital Tripoli, it seemed everyone was celebrating Friday. Women, children, young men, older men and even white-haired grandfathers.
They jumped into trucks and cars and flashed the victory sign to each other in an impromptu parade. The city, which straddles the main road south from Tripoli, was a garrison for Moammar Gadhafi's forces for the past six months. From Gheryan, the military would resupply forces for the frequent battles in the country's Western Mountains.
Libyan rebels say a close Moammar Gadhafi associate who was once the No. 2 top regime official has defected in another blow to the increasingly isolated Libyan leader.
Abdel Salam Jalloud helped Gadhafi stage the 1969 coup that propelled him to power and transformed Libya from a monarchy to a republic. He was Gadhafi's most trusted deputy for two decades but began to clash with the leader starting in the 1990s.
Amy LaVere's new album is called <em>Stranger Me.</em>
Credit Courtesy of the artist
In 2009, it was a difficult year for singer-songwriter Amy LaVere: Her producer died, her guitarist quit, and she split up with longtime boyfriend Paul Tyler, who had also been her drummer. LaVere poured her emotion into her writing, and the album that resulted was this year's Stranger Me.
"I went into this [album] probably with more insecurity than I have ever had," LaVere tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. "Just even the title of the record, Stranger Me, is me saying I don't really know who I am in this."
A couple dances at the Polish Club in San Francisco, which hosts a night of blues dancing every Monday.
Credit Alexis Estrada
Blues was once called the devil's music, but for many, it has transformative, healing power. Every Monday night in San Francisco's Mission District, devout blues followers descend upon the Polish Club for a night of dancing in an unconventional style.
Blues dancing, which requires participants to appear to be in love with their dancing partners — including strangers — has helped some at the Polish Club to turn their lives around. Click the link at the top of the page to hear the story of three dancers who say they've felt changed by power of the blues.
In a photo taken during a guided government tour, Syrian soldiers raise their weapons while holding a picture of President Bashar Assad as they leave the eastern city of Deir al-Zour on Aug. 16, following a 10-day military operation.
Credit - / AFP/Getty Images
Over the past five months, the Syrian military has repeatedly used tanks and heavy weaponry on cities and towns that are centers of protest.
As has been the case most every Friday since March, demonstrators turned out in huge numbers after the midday prayers, and there was more violence. Activists said that Syrian security forces fired at protesters across the country, reportedly killing at least 20.
Assessing whether this Syrian strategy is working depends on who you ask — and what version of the military crackdown in Syria you accept.