Colin Dwyer

On Saturday, a limousine driver plans to launch himself on a mile-long flight over the Mojave Desert in a rocket of his own making.

His name is "Mad" Mike Hughes, his steam-powered rocket is built of salvaged metals, his launchpad is repurposed from a used mobile home — and he is confident this will mark the first step toward proving the Earth is flat, after all.

Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has resigned from office, according to the speaker of the country's parliament. Midway through proceedings to impeach the president Tuesday, Speaker Jacob Mudenda read what he said was Mugabe's letter of resignation as the body of lawmakers erupted in jubilant applause.

Worshippers had filtered into a mosque in northeastern Nigeria on Tuesday, mingling as morning prayers were just getting underway, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the midst of the crowd. The blast in the town of Mubi was devastating, killing at least 50 people and leaving many others injured, according to local police.

The Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that has attracted significant protest from environmental groups, has cleared a major regulatory hurdle on its path to completion. On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission certified the pipeline to run through the state.

As an icon, the Georgia Dome stood commandingly on the Atlanta skyline. Host to the 1996 Summer Olympics, two Super Bowls and countless Atlanta Falcons home games, the imposing stadium was a fixture for roughly 2 1/2 decades, since its completion in 1992 at a cost of $214 million.

Now, it's little more than a massive heap of concrete, steel and fiberglass.

Jana Novotná, the Czech tennis star who took home 17 Grand Slam championship trophies across the span of her career, died Sunday at the age of 49. The Women's Tennis Association announced the news "with deep sadness" on Monday, saying Novotná died surrounded by family in the Czech Republic after waging "a long battle with cancer."

Charles Manson, the cult leader who drew lasting infamy for directing mass killings in 1969, has died at the age of 83.

Manson had been removed from prison in Corcoran, Calif., where he had been serving nine life sentences, and placed in a nearby hospital for a serious illness. It was the second time this year the mass murderer had been hospitalized.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

New Orleans made history last night. For the first time ever, the city has elected a woman as mayor - LaToya Cantrell. But Cantrell says that there are other big numbers that matter more. NPR's Colin Dwyer reports.

By nearly every measure offered by the United Nations, the scale of the tragedy unfolding in Yemen is staggering: More than 20 million people need urgent humanitarian aid. At least 14 million lack basic health care or access to clean water. And more than 900,000 suffer from suspected cases of cholera, a disease that — under almost all circumstances — should be preventable and treatable.

Updated at 11:05 p.m. ET

At a glitzy gala in New York City on Wednesday night, four writers emerged with one of the world's most illustrious literary prizes, the National Book Award: Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, won for fiction; Masha Gessen's The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, for nonfiction; Frank Bidart's Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, for poetry; and Robin Benway's Far from the Tree, for young people's literature.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Authorities in Northern California say a fifth person was killed by a man who went on a shooting rampage Tuesday. Police have discovered the dead body of the gunman's wife hidden beneath the floor at their rural home 120 miles north of Sacramento.

He has won the Scrabble national championship in the United Kingdom. Self-described as "the world's only scrabble consultant," he has penned or co-written a number of books on the game, including several authoritative reference works. And despite decades of high-level play, he showed few signs of slowing — maintaining a No.

This is the way World Cup hopes end — not with a bang, but with a whimper.

With their tournament dreams on the line against Sweden on Monday night, the Italian men's national team — the four-time World Cup champion Italian men's national team — simply could not get the win they needed. They didn't even demonstrate the knack for tragedy that might have made for a dramatic defeat, à la the U.S. men.

The three UCLA men's basketball players who were detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting are now on their way home, according to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. The young men — LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley — spent roughly a week in police-ordered detention at their hotel in Hangzhou, China, before they boarded a flight back to Los Angeles.

Prosecutors have filed new charges against members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State, alleging that newly recovered video shows them serving pledge Timothy Piazza excessive quantities of alcohol. The charges filed Monday — which range from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated assault and hazing — rely on surveillance footage taken during the pledge event connected with the 19-year-old's death.

In July 2003, Elmas Ozmico died of blood poisoning in the U.K., where she had been seeking asylum after fleeing Turkey in the back of a semi-trailer truck. Fatim Jawara, a 19-year-old who played on the Gambian national soccer team and dreamed of playing in Europe, drowned off the coast of Libya before she could make it to Italy.

It has been nearly two months since Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, but for many residents, the devastation it left behind remains a daily fact of life. Roughly 3,000 people are still living in hundreds of shelters across the island.

The sudden, steep escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon only got steeper Thursday, when the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised the country's citizens to leave Lebanon. The advisory comes just days after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a televised address from Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

Look at Vincent Van Gogh's Olive Trees closely enough, and you'll find the subtle intricacies of his play with color, his brushstrokes, perhaps even his precise layers of paint atop the canvas.

You'll also find a grasshopper. Well, parts of one, anyway.

Demonstrators clogged plazas and blocked roadways across Catalonia on Wednesday, calling on Spain's central government to sanction the region's bid for independence and release the eight politicians who were arrested for pursuing it. The one-day, general strike ground traffic to a halt and caused train cancellations in Barcelona and other Catalan cities.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has accused Iran of committing an act of "direct military aggression" by supplying Houthi fighters in Yemen with ballistic missiles. Mohammed bin Salman's claim, stated in a phone call with the British foreign minister, comes just days after the Saudi military shot down a missile aimed at an international airport near Riyadh — and subsequently shut down land, air and sea routes into Yemen in retaliation.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

A "domestic situation" might lie behind the massacre that unfolded at a small South Texas church during Sunday services, authorities say. At a news conference Monday, law enforcement officials explained that the gunman — identified by police as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley — had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who is has attended the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Currently, officials say they do not believe the attack was racially or religiously motivated.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

We are turning back now to the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where officials say at least 26 people have died. As we heard earlier in the show, President Trump is in Asia, but he offered his condolences this evening.

Updated Monday at 5:10 a.m. ET

Federal authorities are investigating a shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small community southeast of San Antonio.

In a news conference Sunday night, an official from the Texas Department of Public Safety described the scene: Around 11:20 a.m., a man dressed in black tactical gear approached the church and began firing an assault rifle. He then entered the church and continued firing.

Months after Mosul was reclaimed from the Islamic State, the brutal acts committed during the militant group's reign over the major Iraqi city are still coming into focus. That picture grew clearer Thursday, as two U.N. human rights agencies released a report on atrocities committed during ISIS' final months in power.

British Defense Minister Michael Fallon has announced he is stepping down from his post, citing allegations "about my previous misconduct." Fallon, one of the most visible politicians in Prime Minister Theresa May's government, declared his intent to resign in a statement released Wednesday.

"Many of these [allegations] have been false but I accept that in the past I have fallen below the high standards that we require of the Armed Forces that I have the honour to represent," Fallon said.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET

The U.S. Navy has completed its investigations into the deadly collisions that damaged two of its warships just months apart this summer, describing what went wrong in a report published Wednesday. The report is dozens of pages long, but if those errors could be described in a word, it would be "avoidable."

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