Texas has executed its fifth prisoner this year by lethal injection after failed appeals, including one at the last-minute to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawyers representing the inmate, 46-year-old TaiChin Preyor of Texas who was convicted of killing a San Antonio woman in 2004, argued his execution should be stayed on the grounds that his previous legal team gave him insufficient and fraudulent representation when he began his appeals process, unfairly hindering his case.

A police officer attempting to help at the scene of a car accident was fatally shot, apparently by an occupant of the vehicle, near Indianapolis on Thursday.

Lt. Aaron Allan, a six-year veteran of the Southport Police Department with almost 20 years in law enforcement, was pronounced dead at Eskenazi Hospital, said Sgt. Kendale Adams of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at a press conference, according to the Associated Press.

President Trump is now faced with a decision on whether to sign into law new sanctions meant to punish Russia for interfering in last year's presidential election, after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure Thursday.

The bill, the first major foreign policy legislation to emerge from Congress since the president took office, also includes sanctions on North Korea and Iran. It easily passed the Senate in a 76-1 vote after sailing through the House by a similarly veto-proof 419-3 margin.

For an entire generation of writers, Michiko Kakutani acted at times as intrepid champion, hated villain or helping hand. But from her perch as chief book critic at The New York Times, the Pulizer Prize winner rarely left one thing in doubt: her vast influence over the literary world she assessed.

On Thursday, after 38 years, Kakutani announced she is stepping down.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The Republican's seven year quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act descended into chaos Thursday night as the Senate prepared for an unwieldy, all-night session.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, speaking on Fox & Friends Thursday, said the Trump administration's hiring efforts are being hindered by the "hoops you have to jump through" to comply with Office of Government Ethics rules.

"There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this administration and their country who have been completely demoralized and completely disinclined to do so based on the paperwork we have to put forward, divesting assets," Conway said.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos became an even richer man on Thursday morning, when a sudden surge in Amazon stock made him $1.5 billion overnight. His fortune grew to over $90 billion.

For several hours, Bezos was the richest person on earth — surpassing Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The top billionaire title has previously been claimed by Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim, Spanish fast-fashion giant Amancio Ortega and investor Warren Buffett — though most of the time, it's firmly in Gates' possession.

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South Carolina News

Many businesses in Nichols remain closed, nine months after Hurricane Matthew caused massive flooding in the area.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

When rising river waters inundated the small town of Nichols, donated funds from all over the country also came flooding in. With the help of a recovery steering committee, the town is using the funds to help its residents recovery through two programs: the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Grant Program and the Unmet Needs Assistance Program.

The two programs were created by Rita Pratte, SBP Disaster Recovery Advisor to the town. “I am working with the steering committee, helping them make decisions on how to spend their funds."

Columbia Rock-n-Roll Camp Puts Girls in the Spotlight

Jul 25, 2017
Girls Rock Columbia Founder and Executive Director, Mollie Williamson
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

With participants across the country and world, the Girls Rock Camp Alliance is made up of organizations that hold annual camps to empower girls through rock music. In each week-long day camp, kids are assigned a musical instrument: bass, electric guitar, drums, key board, or vocals. Many campers have never picked up a musical instrument before. Mollie Williamson is the founder and executive director of Girls Rock Columbia. This will be Williamson's last camp as she steps down as executive director to pursue her Master's degree out of state.

SCDRO Moves Forward with Aid for Flood Recovery Program

Jul 24, 2017
The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office logo.
SCDRO

Nearly two years after the historic October 2015 storm, many low-income homeowners are finally receiving assistance to repair their flood-damaged homes with the help of The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office, or SCDRO. SCDRO announced in a press release last week that it closed its application intake period for the October 2015 Severe Storm Program at the end of April—capping off at 3,755 completed applications—and has moved forward with home repairs and replacements for eligible applicants. 

Derek W. Black on the Tavis Smiley Show in 2016.
Courtesy PBS/Tavis Smiley Show

In many schools across the nation in the last few decades, concerns over discipline have led to so-called “zero tolerance” policies.  USC law Professor Derek Black says suspension and expulsion rates have doubled under zero tolerance policies in the past 30 years.  Texas educator Dr. Nesa Sasser Hartford believes that the policies are justified in three specific areas – drugs, guns and sexual improprieties.

Inspecting the new troops at Fort Jackson.  They learn the rules quickly- or they'll hear about it.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Fort Jackson has just celebrated its centennial and, as the nation’s largest army training base, new recruits pour in regularly for basic training.  Though they’re met their first day by a pack of screaming drill sergeants, privates Jose Solis and Wallace Castillo don’t mind.  They’ve come for a purpose: to be trained and to learn to be professionals.   They view the sergeants’ yelling as part of the system, and don’t take it personally.  That’s good, says Drill Sergeant Queshawnia Franklin, because that’s how the system is designed, and after the first few weeks have provided the recruits

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From books to barbecue, from current events to colonial history, Walter Edgar's Journal delves into the arts, culture, history of South Carolina and the American South.

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