Laurel Wamsley | WYPR

Laurel Wamsley

The European Union's top court has ruled that psychological tests cannot be used to assess asylum applications from those facing persecution in their home countries due to their sexuality.

Such tests amount to "a disproportionate interference in the private life of the asylum seeker," the European Court of Justice announced on Thursday.

The new acting director of the National Park Service is a former parks official who was reprimanded 12 years ago for pressuring employees to allow the owner of Washington's NFL team to cut down trees for a better view of the Potomac River.

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the promotion of Paul Daniel Smith on Wednesday.

From 2004 to 2015, Smith was superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park.

Updated at 9 p.m. ET

Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor who has admitted to abusing girls and women who were receiving treatment from him, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison on Wednesday.

"I just signed your death warrant," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said, in her Lansing, Mich., courtroom as she read Nassar's sentence.

Some pageant contestants hit a hump in the road this week. That is, a camel beauty contest in Saudi Arabia disqualified a dozen camels for receiving Botox injections to make them more attractive.

Mount Mayon, the Philippines' most active volcano, erupted for eight minutes on Monday afternoon, spewing a 3-mile-tall column of debris and volcanic gas. It exploded at least five more times Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Activist Erica Garner has died, after suffering brain damage following a heart attack. She was 27 years old.

Sue Grafton, the author of A Is For Alibi and 24 other mysteries featuring detective Kinsey Millhone, died Thursday at age 77. Her daughter Jamie wrote on Facebook that her mother had been battling cancer for the past two years but had been doing well until recent days.

A tree known as the Jackson Magnolia has stood on the grounds of the White House for nearly 200 years and stood witness to 39 presidencies.

But Wednesday, it got a significant cutback.

Former international soccer star George Weah has won Liberia's presidential runoff, the country's election commission announced Thursday.

Weah won 61.5 percent of the vote, with more than 98 percent of ballots counted. He defeated the current vice president, Joseph Boakai.

The South Carolina lottery game is called Holiday Cash Add-A-Play, and the rules are pretty simple: Get three Christmas tree symbols in any vertical, horizontal or diagonal line, and you win a prize.

Monday was Christmas, and some folks in the Palmetto State were feeling jolly.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says an explosion at a St. Petersburg supermarket on Wednesday was a terrorist act, and that another attack in the city had been foiled by the country's security service.

A bomb went off in a branch of the Perekrestok supermarket, wounding at least 13 shoppers in Putin's hometown, Reuters reports:

The U.K.'s Prince Harry took over editing duties for Wednesday at BBC Radio 4's Today program. And he managed to snag a rather high-profile guest: Barack Obama.

The full audio of the interview is available here for the next six days. The interview was taped in September during the Invictus Games in Toronto, an event created by Harry for wounded, injured or ill servicemen and veterans.

Since 2010, Library of Congress has been archiving every single public tweet: Yours, ours, the president's.

But today, the institution announced it will no longer archive every one of our status updates, opinion threads, and "big if true"s. As of Jan. 1, the library will only acquire tweets "on a very selective basis."

A white Christmas came to parts of the United States. But in northwest Pennsylvania, the skies really packed a wallop.

NPR education reporter Elissa Nadworny went home to Erie for the weekend and found herself in the middle of an epic snowstorm when the lake effect parked a band of snow over the city of 100,000.

The storm dumped more than 4 feet of snow in 30 hours – and it's still going.

The Trump administration said Sunday that the United Nations budget has been reduced for the coming year, and it framed any cuts as the product of U.S. negotiation.

All 58 of the people killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 died of gunshot wounds, the Clark County County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined.

Nearly all of the fatalities were caused by a single gunshot wound, though six victims died from multiple wounds. Most had been shot in the head, chest or back. The deaths were all ruled homicides.

The International Olympic Committee says it is banning 11 of Russian athletes for life as part of its investigation into doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Ruling on the last 11 of the 46 cases it has been investigating, the IOC said all were now disqualified from the Sochi Games. The IOC has now banned 43 Russian athletes and stripped 13 medals from the country, according to NBC Sports. Three of the 46 were cleared.

Sheriff's deputies in York County, Neb., stopped a pickup truck on Tuesday when they noticed it driving over the center line and the driver failing to signal.

During the traffic stop, deputies noticed a strong smell of raw marijuana, the sheriff's department says.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83, said they were from northern California and were en route to Boston and Vermont.

Deputies asked the driver, Patrick Jiron, about the odor, and he admitted to having contraband in the truck and consented to a search of the vehicle.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

Employees at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport's restaurants, bars and coffee shops went on strike at noon Thursday. HMSHost tells the Chicago Sun-Times that the restaurants are open and "operating smoothly."

It was a long time in the making, but when the statues of Confederate figures finally came down in Memphis, Tenn., it was quick work.

On Wednesday, the city sold two of its city parks – one with a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the other featuring a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on horseback — for $1,000 each.

The crash of a small plane in Indiana killed three people on Saturday night – and one was an official at the National Transportation Safety Board.

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and head of the armed forces Gen. Aung Min Hlaing could potentially face genocide charges in the future, said the United Nations human rights chief.

The U.S. blocked a United Nations Security Council vote Monday on a resolution that called on all states to refrain from building diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

U.S. Delegate to the U.N. Nikki Haley voted against the resolution, using the United States' veto power as a permanent member for the first time in more than six years. The Council's other 14 members, including France and Britain, all voted in favor.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

The day after the suicide of Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, his widow announced that she plans to run for his seat.

"Dan is gone but the story of his life is far from over," Rebecca Johnson said in a statement Thursday to multiple news outlets. "These high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can't be allowed to win the day. I've been fighting behind my husband for 30 years and his fight will go on."

Authorities say a woman on Long Island, N.Y., stole and transferred more than $85,000 to support the Islamic State, using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, is charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. She pleaded not guilty on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, N.Y.

France's education chief says that when students go back to school next fall, all mobile phone use will be banned in schools for students roughly 15 and younger.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is stepping aside from directing his restaurants and taking leave from his TV cooking show following reports of sexual misconduct over a 20-year period.

The move was apparently spurred by a report published Monday morning on the dining and food website Eater, in which four women allege that Batali touched them inappropriately:

The nominees for the 2018 Golden Globe Awards were announced early Monday morning in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Hope Solo, the goalkeeper who was a key part of winning U.S. teams at the Olympics and World Cup, has announced her candidacy to be the next president of U.S. Soccer.

"What we have lost in America is belief in our system, in our coaches, in our talent pool, and in the governance of US Soccer," Solo wrote in an extensive Facebook post on Thursday. "We now must refocus our goals and come together as a soccer community to bring about the changes we desire."

Pope Francis isn't pleased with the words to the Lord's Prayer — specifically, the part about temptation.

In an interview with an Italian TV network, the pontiff said that the current language of the Our Father prayer "is not a good translation."

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