The drought gripping much of the nation is "exceptional" — the most severe classification — in an area covering 6.26 percent of the lower 48 states, according to the latest data from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

That's up from 4.21 percent the week before.

The center's latest map shows increases in size of the areas in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri that are experiencing exceptional drought conditions.

The government of Bahrain, today, handed down a three-year jail sentence for prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center For Human Rights.

Rajab, reports The Guardian, was already serving a three month sentence for posting for his anti-government comments on Twitter. The government said the three-year sentence is a result of his participation in an "illegal demonstration."

Spreading Their Wings In Columbus, Ohio

Aug 16, 2012

For the past year Yahaira Perez has led a group called Proyecto Mariposa, or Project Butterfly, that helps provide life skills to Latina girls and their mothers while ensuring they do not forget their Latin roots.

Proyecto Mariposa is made up of 16 mothers and their daughters, ages 2 to 13. They meet weekly at a church in Columbus to make crafts, read in Spanish and receive guidance on issues such as personal health and proper nutrition.

Yahaira, who moved from Puerto Rico to attend The Ohio State University, has gotten many people involved — including her family.

Three days after the shooting death of a constable in College Station, Texas, there's word that two sheriff's deputies in Louisiana's St. John the Baptist Parish were killed this morning and another two were wounded in what appear to be connected shootings.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is struggling to deal with rebels operating in the eastern part of the country. It's alleged that some rebels are being backed by the Rwandan government. Guest host Jacki Lyden speaks to Reuter's Kinshasa correspondent, Jonny Hogg, about tensions that can threaten regional stability and renew an old rivalry.

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we go to the Democratic Republic of Congo where a rebellion has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Could it lead to a wider regional war? We'll ask.

Provided

Cincinnati's new downtown casino is expected to open next spring, and it will begin recruiting for its first positions next week.

Counselors have long cautioned about the downsides of genetic testing for Alzheimer's disease.

For one thing, the current genetic tests for late-onset Alzheimer's — the type that develops after age 60 and is responsible for more than 90 percent of cases — only indicate a probability of getting the disease. It's not definitive. And consumers' ability to buy life insurance or long-term care coverage could be jeopardized by the results.

If lately you've noticed the farmers' market flooded with signs that say "donut," "cling," "whiteflesh" and "freestone," you won't be surprised to learn that August is National Peach Month. Though the juicy fruits pack the produce aisles now, in a few short months a good peach might be hard to find.

Many fruits, though harvested in other parts of the world, are available in the United States all year long. So why are peaches so seasonal, and in the winter, either difficult to find or hard as a rock?

According to a study conducted last year, children who don’t read well by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than children who are proficient readers by third grade.

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