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For only the third time ever, the government released today a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music.

And in many ways, the numbers aren't great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders.

As a hurry-up execution schedule plays out in Arkansas this week, the U.S. Supreme Court and Arkansas Supreme Court have stepped in to block two of the eight executions initially scheduled for an 11-day period.

In the 1950s, television producer Albert Freedman captivated audiences with his carefully crafted game show Twenty-One, which had been foundering before he helped turn it into the most popular program in the country.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

Critics complained that resources were being used to tout the for-profit club, which Trump refers to as the Winter White House. The club, in Palm Beach, Fla., is held in Trump's trust, of which he is the sole beneficiary.

Robert M. Pirsig, who inspired generations to road trip across America with his "novelistic autobigraphy," Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at the age of 88.

His publisher William Morrow & Company said in a statement that Pirsig died at his home in South Berwick, Maine, "after a period of failing health."

A Jewish advocacy organization expects a staggering increase in anti-Semitic incidents by the end of 2017. That projection comes after the Anti-Defamation League counted an 86 percent spike in attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions so far this year, according to a report released Monday.

Lillian Hellman's 1939 melodrama The Little Foxes has two great roles for actresses over the age of 40. Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon fill those roles in a new revival on Broadway ... but with one big twist: Linney and Nixon play both roles and switch off at different performances.

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Malaria transmission in the United States was eliminated in the early 1950s through the use of insecticides, drainage ditches and the incredible power of window screens.

But the mosquito-borne disease has staged a comeback in American hospitals as travelers return from parts of the world where malaria runs rampant. In the early 1970s there only a couple hundred malaria cases reported in the entire U.S. but that number has steadily increased in recent years.

After years of legal wrangling and intimidation, New Orleans has begun the process of dismantling four monuments of the Confederate and Jim Crow eras.

The first monument, which honors members of a white supremacist paramilitary group who fought against the city's racially integrated, Reconstruction-era police force in 1874, was dismantled and removed before the sun rose Monday.

Following death threats, the contractors wore flak jackets and helmets as they broke down the Battle of Liberty Place monument, as WWNO's Tegan Wendland reports.

Editor's note: This post is about chefs and they can be quite coarse when they talk. Don't be surprised by a little foul language.

In these acrimonious times, many restaurants are treading the fine line between hospitality and politics. Anxiety-inducing though it might be, restaurants have found themselves in this awkward position before.

Just ask Jeremiah Tower, one of America's most influential chefs, who faced a similarly sticky situation four decades ago.

The U.S. Treasury Department has announced sanctions on 271 individuals it says are scientists working on weapons development for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The new sanctions are a response to the deadly April 4 chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, an attack the U.S. government accuses Assad of carrying out against civilians.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

A new lawsuit filed Monday by a suspended Fox News host accuses the network and senior executives of arranging to have her private communications spied on as part of a campaign of intimidation.

The Warfare May Be Remote But The Trauma Is Real

Apr 24, 2017

After high school, Staff Sgt. Kimi wanted to go to art school, but she didn't have the money. So she joined the military.

Intelligence analysts like Kimi work with drone pilots and others in the Air Force to guide decisions about where to deploy weapons in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaida. (The U.S. Air Force won't release her last name because of the high-security work she does).

When I ask friends how they're doing, "tired" is often part of the response. A 2015 YouGov.com poll found 38 percent of Americans were poorly rested at least four days of the week. Research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from a few years earlier found that 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men said they were "very tired or exhausted" most days or every day of the week.

Former President Barack Obama on Monday gave his first public address since leaving office, moderating a panel with young people on community engagement while dancing around the turmoil surrounding his White House successor.

"So, uh, what's been going on while I've been gone?" Obama deadpanned at the beginning of his opening remarks at the University of Chicago.

Afghanistan's defense minister and its army chief of staff stepped down in the wake of a Taliban-claimed attack Friday in which at least 100 Afghan soldiers died. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan since 2001.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the high-level resignations Monday, on the same day that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in the country on an unannounced visit, as the Trump administration reviews its Afghanistan policy.

Updated 11:40 p.m. ET

Arkansas executed two inmates on Monday night, the first double execution in the U.S. since 2000.

The second inmate put to death was Marcel Williams. He and the prisoner executed just before him, Jack Jones Jr. — both convicted murderers — had filed last-minute appeals that were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The road trip might be a rite of passage. But, as a rule, it requires a driver's license.

In Australia, home of the apocalyptic Mad Max franchise, a 12-year-old boy was on a coast-to-coast trip, from his home in Kendall in New South Wales all the way to Perth on the continent's western side. He managed about 800 miles, or about a third of the way, of the 2,500-mile trip before police caught him.

He was pulled over and arrested near the remote town of Broken Hill on Saturday because the car's bumper was dragging on the ground.

Nearly 15 years after her first space launch, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson has now spent more time off-planet than any other American, at more than 534 days. Whitson, 57, is a biochemist who has twice commanded the International Space Station.

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And now let's turn to NPR's Scott Detrow, who's covering this and many other stories.

Hi, Scott.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Morning, Steve.

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North Korea could reduce a U.S. strike force to a sea wreck if it's provoked, the country's propaganda outlets said Monday, adding to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. With the threat of a nuclear test in North Korea looming and another U.S. citizen reportedly detained there, China's President Xi Jinping is urging President Trump to avoid escalating the situation.

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Congress returns Tuesday from its spring recess, facing yet another down-to-the-wire spate of deal-making — and a White House anxious to claim its first major legislative win.

On Friday night, the funding measure lawmakers approved last year to keep the federal government running will expire. The timing leaves members of the House and Senate just four days to reach a new agreement to fund the government, or risk a partial shutdown of federal agencies on Saturday — the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency.

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Photographers Name New Night Sky Lights

Apr 24, 2017

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Good morning. I'm Rachel Martin. Some Canadian photographers have discovered a new kind of northern light. They describe it as a ribbon of purple light in the night sky. And what did they choose to name this marvel of the natural world? Steve.

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