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Chinese officials are under fire after a local government tried to repair a section of the Great Wall by apparently just paving it over. Now, a centuries-old stretch of the wall looks more like a gray sidewalk than a global treasure.

"The five-mile stretch of wall in northeast Liaoning province is known as a particularly scenic part of the 'wild wall,' " NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing. "Its towers and parapets are partially crumbled by seven centuries of wind and rain."

Take a look at this video:

If a word is spelled correctly, the pigeon has been taught to peck at the word. If it's spelled incorrectly, the pigeon is supposed to peck at the star. When it gets it right, the machine hands it some food.

A group of researchers from New Zealand were able to train four pigeons to consistently — with 70 percent accuracy — recognize dozens of words. The smartest pigeon learned about 60 words that it could distinguish from about 1,000 nonwords.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed the U.S. for the collapse of a fragile cease-fire earlier this week and denied carrying out well-documented human rights abuses, such as besieging civilians or using chemical weapons against them.

If there were a hall of fame for criminals, it would have to include notorious Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

Providing details on a large hacking case, Yahoo says it believes "information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen." The company says its investigation suggests the stolen data doesn't include payment and bank account information, which it says are stored in a different system.

Yahoo suspects that a "state-sponsored actor" performed the hack, stealing users' account information from the company network late in 2014.

Many of the signs say "Black lives matter," some read "No justice, no peace." And some have a simple directive:

"Release the tapes."

As demonstrators in Charlotte, N.C., take to the streets to protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, one of their demands is for law enforcement to show the public video footage of the encounter that led to Scott's death.

Ruling on a lawsuit filed by a state's Democratic attorney general against its Republican governor, the Kentucky Supreme Court says Gov. Matt Bevin doesn't have the authority to unilaterally slice money out of a state university's budget.

From member station WUKY in Lexington:

Until Sept. 19, if diners had wanted to see Yelp reviews for Elizabeth, N.J., restaurant First American Fried Chicken, they would have found just two of them, praising the food, wide selection and late hours. Now, the majority of reviews give the restaurant one star, refer to the owners as "terrorists," talk about "72 virgin bucket specials" and mention — repeatedly — that their chicken is "the bomb."

The breathtaking sadness of seeing a boy suffering amid Syria's civil war has prompted a breathtaking offer of hospitality and kindness.

The sight of shell-shocked 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was wounded in an airstrike in Aleppo, left many people speechless last month. It also prompted a New York boy named Alex to write to President Obama with a simple request: "Can you please go get him" so Omran can become part of Alex's family?

Less than a year after China suspended its one-child policy, officials in the central Chinese city of Yichang are asking public servants to have two children.

The request came in a public memo from municipal officials posted to the city government website. After more than 35 years, China relaxed one-child restrictions in January, allowing couples nationwide to have a second child if they want to.

When the phone rang, Rebecca Richards-Kortum thought it was a telemarketer. Instead, it was the MacArthur Foundation calling her at home to tell her she'd just won a grant totaling $625,000. And she hadn't even been aware that she'd been nominated for the prestigious award.

(This post was updated at 2:11 p.m. ET.)

Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro García Padilla, has declared a state of emergency over a power outage that at its peak affected 1.5 million customers.

By morning that number had been cut by a couple hundred thousand, but more than a million customers on the island remained without electricity.

Say one thing for certain: The lists don't lack for leading lights.

When President Obama doled out the 2015 National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals on Thursday, plenty of the artists and arts patrons he draped with awards had familiar names — including Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Terry Gross and nearly two dozen others.

In a new episode of Web comedy show Between Two Ferns, Hillary Clinton jokes about what she should wear at next Monday's debate, attending Donald Trump's wedding and Chelsea Clinton's friendship with Ivanka Trump.

Comedian host Zach Galifianakis asked the candidate a variety of (not surprisingly) irreverent questions — like what would happen if Clinton got pregnant in office and whether she ever thinks to herself, "Oh, maybe I should be more racist."

Signs, rocks, tear gas, fireworks, broken glass, blood: The streets of Charlotte, N.C., have borne witness to days of unrest after a fatal police shooting on Tuesday.

Two nights of protests have included peaceful calls for unity as well as violence and destruction. On Wednesday night, a civilian was shot at a protest and now, city officials say, is on life support.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Editor's Note: Names of sexual assault victims have been changed in this story, to protect their privacy.

Haley woke up early one morning in June 2014. She had been out with a few friends at a bar in Ashland, Ore., the night before, and she felt safest going home with them rather than walking home alone.

"It turns out," she said, "the creeper that I had to be afraid of was in my circle of friends."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law and order have been a major theme this year on the campaign trail. But that means very different things to the two major party presidential candidates.

With just under two months to go before the November election, we're taking a closer look at where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on issues of crime and policing.

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