NPR News

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday, amid a controversial bombing campaign in Syria, a weakening economy and tensions with the U.S. and its Western allies. The Russian leader made a point of taking it all in stride — including adulation from his fans.

He occupied an even more prominent place than usual on Russian state television on Wednesday. Putin was shown receiving a briefing on the Russian military operation in Syria, including the news that Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired more than two dozen rockets at targets in Syria.

Daniel Estrin

A wave of violence has erupted between Israelis and Palestinians, and there are concerns that the unrest could escalate further.

There was a series of Palestinian stabbing attacks on Israelis Wednesday, but no serious injuries. Over the past few days, four Israelis have been killed in stabbings and a roadside shooting, and five Palestinians have been killed, including three attackers.

Akiko Fujita

Backward? Naive? Terrorists?

Puteri Hasannah Karunia says the West has an image of women who wear the hijab — a stereotype that the popular Indonesian fashion blogger is trying to change.

Through fashion.

Updated 3:57 p.m. ET

The turmoil surrounding beleaguered FIFA President Sepp Blatter continues to churn.

On Wednesday, Blatter reportedy was told he is facing a provisional 90-day suspension, with a final decision from the FIFA ethics committee expected later this week.

The BBC quotes Blatter's adviser Klauss Stohlker as saying, "The news was communicated to the president this afternoon. He is calm. Remember he is the father of the ethics committee."

Republican presidential candidates have remained firmly opposed to more gun control measures in the wake of last week's tragic shooting at an Oregon community college.

Instead, most are urging a renewed focus on mental health with a caution not to react too quickly before all the facts are known — but some of them have reacted inartfully at best.

National Weather Service/Advanced Hydrologic Predictive Service

Twenty seven inches of rain over five days. More than 15 inches in just 10 hours.

Those are just a couple of the unfathomable amounts of rain that fell in parts of South and North Carolina last weekend in the storm that killed at least 17 people and caused in the neighborhood of $1 billion in damage.

During the past half-century, 59 million immigrants have moved to the United States, making it the No. 1 immigrant destination on the planet.

Paper or plastic? If you're at a restaurant in the coastal city of Fort Bragg, Calif., that's what your food is likely to be served on these days.

The drought-stricken city, located about 170 miles north of San Francisco, recently declared a "stage 3" water emergency, which makes it mandatory for businesses and residents to reduce water usage.

Erin Kunkel

Samantha Seneviratne was born and raised in Connecticut, and grew up with all the American classics: brownies, sticky buns, and the rest. But, she says, being a baker isn’t quite as easy these days.

The reason? Worries about sugar.

"You hear about it in the news everyday — it's the next thing that's going to kill is. Which is really disheartening for a baker because it's your main ingredient, it's what you base your recipes on," says Seneviratne, the author of a new cookbook, "The New Sugar and Spice."

Florida Medicaid Kids Miss Out On Dentist

Oct 7, 2015

Children who get health insurance through Medicaid go to the dentist about half as often as children in Florida who have private insurance, according to a new study out from the American Dental Association and the Health Policy Institute.