Nation/World

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A tragic incident this week in Yemen is intensifying scrutiny of a Saudi-led military campaign there, as well as the U.S. role in backing that Saudi offensive.

The Saudis are fighting rebels called Houthis who ousted the government. And while all sides are accused of abuses, increasing blame is turning toward the Saudis and their allies.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Russia joined the combat in Syria without coordinating its approach with the United States. Now planes from both nations are bombing targets in Syria.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A giant clothing retailer has broadened its notion of what a model looks like. H&M produced an ad with an unusually wide variety of people.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Look fake. Look chic. Look sheikh. Take a stand.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday.

The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain. About 100 parks are planning an entrance fee hike.

A federal inspection station on Interstate 10 in the West Texas desert earned the nickname "checkpoint of the stars" for all the entertainers who kept getting busted there. In the past six years, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Nelly and Fiona Apple were all arrested for possession of marijuana.

These days, though, after a decision by a local lawman, everyone from personal pot smokers to medium-size marijuana traffickers can avoid jail.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Whole Foods Market has announced that by April of next year it will stop sourcing foods that are produced using prison labor.

The move comes on the heels of a demonstration in Houston where the company was chastised for employing inmates through prison-work programs.

Michael Allen, founder of End Mass Incarceration Houston, organized the protest. He says Whole Foods was engaging in exploitation since inmates are typically paid very low wages.

Ben Carson, notably the only black man running for president, made a joke Wednesday afternoon about running away from the cops as a kid.

"Throwing rocks at cars, I really liked that," he said, describing his childhood. "Sometimes, the police would come, always in unmarked cars. And, they'd be chasing us across the field."

Carson said he would hop over 10-foot-tall fences, to run away from the police.

"Now, that was back in the days before they would shoot you," he said, laughing. The crowd joined in laughter.

It's been exactly one year since the CDC confirmed that Thomas Eric Duncan had Ebola. He had flown from Liberia to Dallas to visit his fiancé, and became the first person diagnosed with the deadly virus on American soil.

During his stay at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, two nurses also fell ill with Ebola. Duncan died, but the nurses survived, as did a handful of Americans who fell ill in West Africa but were transported back to the United States for care.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Joaquin, the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic Season, is forecast to churn off the coast of Florida for the next couple of days before potentially heading north and posing a threat to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

With maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, Joaquin became a hurricane today. The storm's long-term path is still uncertain, but forecasters predict the tropical cyclone could pose a threat to the Mid-Atlantic or New England states.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul could be on the chopping block and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham may not even make the undercard debate under criteria released Wednesday by CNBC ahead of its Oct. 28 GOP presidential debate.

The rules would limit the prime-time debate to any candidates polling above 3 percent. That's of an average of national polls released between Sept. 17 and Oct. 21. Surveys from NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, CNN and Bloomberg will be used to make the determination.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Alto saxophonist Phil Woods has died. You might recognize his playing on this Billy Joel song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST THE WAY YOU ARE")

BILLY JOEL: (Singing) I want you just the way you are.

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Michael Isikoff and Charles Francis about their documentary Uniquely Nasty, which explores the government's campaign against gay workers starting in the 1950s.

Writer Margaret Atwood says she'll try anything once. That spirit of adventure — coupled with her curiosity about the intersection of storytelling and new technology — led her to write a serialized book for the digital publisher Byliner. That book, The Heart Goes Last, is out now in a physical edition.

If you watch the film The Martian, you'll see Hollywood explosions and special effects galore, but you'll also see some serious science.

Actor Matt Damon, who plays stranded astronaut Mark Watney, must calculate his way through food shortages, Martian road trips and other misadventures as he fights to find a way off the Red Planet.

Numbers are a matter of life and death for Damon's astronaut, and in this movie they're not pulled from thin air.

The benefits of talk therapy for depression have been overstated in the scientific literature, according to a study in the journal PLOS ONE.

The finding comes several years after a similar study reached the same conclusion about antidepressant drugs.

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