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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

I'm Ari Shapiro on Capitol Hill, where Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, started the day trying to make a strong statement about the Senate's position on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A small explosion and fire in the paint area of a production facility at a Pennsylvania Army depot injured four workers — three seriously — on Wednesday morning, according to the depot commander.

"We do not suspect any type of terrorist activity," Col. Stephen Ledbetter said at a news conference, adding that the investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing.

One in five working coal miners in central Appalachia who have worked at least 25 years now suffer from the coal miners' disease black lung. That's the finding from the latest study tracking an epidemic of the incurable and fatal sickness.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

The White House withdrew the nomination Ryan Bounds to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Thursday afternoon amid allegations of racist writings.

The Senate, on a party-line vote Wednesday, ended debate on the controversial nomination, with a confirmation vote expected Thursday. But instead, the nomination was pulled.

California will be staying in one piece, at least for now, after the state's supreme court ruled that a proposal to divide California into three cannot be placed on the ballot in November.

Updated at 3:19 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve got a rare piece of advice from the president Thursday. The central bank is an independent agency and presidents usually don't comment directly on Fed policy.

It's a rusty old bucket of a plot contrivance: throw a bunch of strangers together on a boat and roil the waters with a big storm or a white whale. But, in her latest novel, The Last Cruise, Kate Christensen demonstrates there's life yet to be found in what may appear to be the creakiest of fictional premises.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Their words helped ensure Larry Nassar will spend his life behind bars, and on Wednesday, the "sister survivors" of the disgraced sports doctor's abuse accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPYS in Los Angeles.

Dressed in glittering gowns and with hands gripped, more than 140 women gathered onstage to share the prize awarded to athletes whose bravery "transcends sports," as the audience rose in a standing ovation.

Sarah Klein, a former gymnast who said she was among Nassar's earliest victims three decades ago, was the first to address the audience.

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