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On Aug. 21, a 70-mile-wide ribbon from Oregon to South Carolina called the "path of totality" will experience a total solar eclipse. Large swaths of farmland in the Great Plains and Midwest will be plunged into darkness for 2 1/2 minutes, and temperatures will drop about 10 degrees in the middle of the day.

But as millions of people look up at the sky, many Midwest scientists will turn their eyes and cameras toward the plants and animals on the ground. And they're not sure what will happen.

Qatar has been isolated by neighboring countries in a heated diplomatic standoff. But on Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced that it plans to open its border to allow pilgrims from the tiny Gulf country to make the annual hajj to Islam's holiest sites.

The announcement comes after a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a member of the Qatari royal family, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani.

In the aftermath of the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., many civil rights activists took to Twitter and shared photos of people who allegedly were at the march. The idea was to identify who they were and shame them. But identifying someone from a photo can be tricky — and the activists managed to make at least one mistake.

Updated at 6:41 a.m. ET Friday

Hours after a van drove into a crowd of people in Barcelona, Spain, Spanish police say they stopped a second terrorist attack.

Authorities say the two attacks are linked.

Police say five suspects wearing explosives — later determined to be fake — were killed after a shootout with security forces in the Catalan coastal town of Cambrils located about 70 miles southwest of Barcelona. Six civilians and a police officer were injured, police said early Friday.

Sierra Leone, a country that has been battered by Ebola, civil war and massive floods, suffered yet another tragedy this week. Government and international aid workers are racing the clock to find survivors after a mudslide struck capital city Freetown early Monday morning.

Some 600 people are still missing, and there are reports that some people are still alive, trapped in their homes underneath the mud.

President Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, unloads on white nationalists, China and some of his administration colleagues in an interview with the liberal magazine The American Prospect.

Bannon — who successfully harnessed the so-called alt-right, a term used to describe white nationalists, as executive chairman of Breitbart News and later as an architect of Trump's unlikely election victory — dismissed white nationalist ideology as a "fringe element" that appeals to "losers" and a "collection of clowns."

Found: 1-Carrot Diamond Ring

Aug 17, 2017

Thirteen years ago, Mary Grams of Alberta, Canada, was weeding on the family farm when she lost her diamond engagement ring — dating back to 1951.

Grams searched "high and low" but couldn't find it, she told the CBC. She gave up on ever finding the treasured jewelry. And she never told her husband, "because I thought for sure he'd give me heck or something."

This week, the ring reappeared — pinched tight around a malformed carrot.

On National Women's Day in Tunisia, celebrated last Sunday, President Beji Caid Essebsi announced the review of a law that demands that a man receive twice the share of an inheritance as a woman.

Changing this would put Tunisia at the forefront of a progressive revolution on an issue that affects many Muslim-majority countries. But Essebsi's announcement has been met with consternation — not least from many Tunisian women.

Trump Defends 'Beauty' Of Confederate Memorials

Aug 17, 2017

Updated at 4:59 p.m. ET

President Trump stood by his heavily criticized defense of monuments commemorating the Confederacy in a series of tweets Thursday morning. Trump said removing the statues of Confederate generals meant removing "beauty" — that would "never able to be comparably replaced" — from American cities. As he did in a Tuesday press conference, he also attempted to equate some Confederate generals with some of the Founding Fathers.

Strung together, the tweets read:

When Anna Neuman was applying to college, there weren't a lot of people around to help her. Students from her high school in Maryland rarely went on to competitive colleges, the school counselor worked at several schools and was hard to pin down for meetings and neither of her parents had been through the application process before.

The only thing her parents told her was that she would have to pay for it herself.

The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought

Aug 17, 2017

Jared Taylor was not in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. But Taylor, one of the leading voices for white rights in the country, says it was clear what really happened at that rally.

Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET

It's a common refrain among whiskey enthusiasts: Add a few drops of water to a glass to open up the flavors and aroma of the drink.

For example, hard-liquor expert Alice Lascelles said in a demonstration for The Sunday Times that "if you're tasting with a master blender, they will always add some water at some stage."

Shortly after President Trump posted a link for tickets to a rally in Phoenix, the city's mayor issued a statement asking the president not to come, saying, "our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville."

Mayor Greg Stanton continued, "If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation."

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A federal grand jury has indicted James Matthew Bradley, Jr., on five counts related to the discovery of dozens of immigrants who were crammed into a semi's trailer in a Walmart parking lot during hot weather in San Antonio last month.

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Where Will You Be Watching The Eclipse?

Aug 17, 2017

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Joint Chiefs Denounce Racism After Trump's Comments

Aug 17, 2017

Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — high-ranking military officials who advise the president — appeared to distance themselves from President Trump by publicly condemning racism in the aftermath of Trump's comments about the attack in Charlottesville.

Trump has blamed "both sides" for the violence.

I spent two years dreaming of sun-warmed tomatoes, towering sunflowers and home-grown salad greens before a spot opened in my community garden in Washington, D.C.

When I first met plot 56 in September of 2015, it was a mound of grasses, vines, and cilantro gone to seed.

I had no experience with a vegetable garden of my own, but I knew I was just the person to tame this 4-by-8 foot raised bed. I grew up watching my dad grow veggies. I worked on a flower farm in high school. And I trained as a plant biologist. So I know something about encouraging a seed to grow.

Make Your Own Eclipse Viewer

Aug 17, 2017

Hundreds of years before solar viewing glasses were readily available, scientists and casual spectators could still enjoy these rare celestial events without frying their eyeballs. They'd use a combination of pinholes and mirrors to redirect the sun's rays onto a screen.

Spanish authorities say they've rescued 593 migrants at sea in just one day.

The Spanish Maritime Safety & Rescue Agency, also called Salvamento Marítimo, said it recovered the people on 15 boats Wednesday in the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea, the western part of the Mediterranean Sea.

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A member of the White House goes off in a candid interview that was maybe sort of on the record, which sounds all too familiar.

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President Trump did not single out any groups by name on Tuesday when he was criticizing "alt-left" counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

But in a tweet responding to Trump's comments, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke called out "BLM," or Black Lives Matter.

"For us, it never really moves us when folks try to point out that BLM is violent," says April Goggans, an organizer with Black Lives Matter D.C.

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In recent months, mothers who nearly died in the hours and days after giving birth have repeatedly told ProPublica and NPR that their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren't healing properly.

Brandon Martinez, 16, was one of nearly 40 undocumented immigrants found on a blistering summer day inside an unventilated trailer parked at a San Antonio Wal-Mart. Ten died, and Brandon barely survived.

Federal officials who interviewed some of the survivors say that the human cargo was assembled and loaded into the truck in the border city of Laredo.

Some had paid smugglers to take them across the Rio Grande in rafts. One immigrant said there were as many as 200 people in the back of the truck.

President Trump's calculation about Afghanistan boils down to a familiar question in U.S. national security: Of all the bad options, what's the least worst?

Trump, Vice President Pence and other national security team members are scheduled to convene at Camp David on Friday to review the next phase of the nearly 16-year war.

Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon this week that all options remain in play as the White House weighs a long-awaited new strategy.

A lot of people are counting on special counsel Robert Mueller.

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