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In flood-ravaged Colorado, much of the recovery has focused on rebuilding roads and bridges to mountain towns cut off by last month's floods. But take a drive east to the state's rolling plains, and a whole new set of staggering problems unfolds in farm country.

Living In Limbo

A woman named Claudia, who doesn't want to use her last name because of her immigration status, is sitting on a couch in the lobby of a shabby hotel in Greeley, about an hour's drive northeast of Denver.

It opened in the late 19th century as the Bluefield Colored Institute, created to educate the children of black coal miners in segregated West Virginia. Although it still receives the federal funding that comes with its designation as a historically black institution, today Bluefield State College is 90 percent white. The road that separates those realities is as rocky as any story of racial transition in post-World War II America.

We went to the campus of Bluefield State to see what campus life was like at this unusual college.

In an extensive interview with The New York Times, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden says by the time he got to Russia, he had given all his classified files to journalists.

Snowden did that to prevent the Russians from gaining access to secret American documents and "because it wouldn't serve the public interest," he said.

President Obama said Thursday that the government shutdown and threat of default did unnecessary damage to both the U.S. economy and the country's reputation abroad.

Standard & Poor's concluded that the disruption subtracted about $24 billion from the economy and is likely to trim more than half a percentage point off growth in the final three months of the year.

Nearly two years after allegations of a sexual assault rocked a small Missouri town, the case may be reopened.

A county prosecutor in Maryville, Mo., has requested that an independent attorney look at accusations of rape and other charges against two former high school athletes — despite his earlier decision to drop the case.

The Internet activist group Anonymous, which crusaded for another high-profile rape case, is taking credit for this turnaround.

The Events

Fossils of human ancestors are rare. You could pile all the ones that scientists have found in the back of a pickup truck.

But a remarkable site in Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, has produced a rich group of bones dating back almost 2 million years — and the discovery is shaking the family tree of human evolution.

The fossil hunters found the cache of bones more than a decade ago in a place called Dmanisi, but kept most of the find under wraps.

Now, they've lifted the veil, revealing the fossilized remains of five creatures who lived 1.8 million years ago.

The Justice Department is wrestling with how to disclose to criminal defendants that some evidence against them may have come from a secret electronic surveillance program.

A senior government official told NPR that prosecutors have identified a criminal case in which they will soon tell defense lawyers that they used secret intercepts to help build the prosecution.

The decision to share the fruits of electronic monitoring under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act has been the source of an internal debate within the department for weeks.

The NFL season is in high gear — a fact that pleases the roughly 64 percent of Americans who watch football. The season rolls on despite the now constant news about concussions in the sport.

The recent TV documentary League of Denial and the book by the same name claim that for years the NFL had denied and covered up evidence linking football and brain damage. Is the concussion conversation challenging this country's deep love for the game?

Following the economy can be confusing.

But at least one thing has long been certain: the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs report at exactly 8:30 a.m. on a Friday.

Next week, Tuesday will feel like a Friday.

That's because late Thursday afternoon, the BLS updated its post-shutdown schedule for data releases. The new schedule shows that the long-delayed and much-anticipated September employment report will come out on Tuesday.

If you tear open a packet of M&M's, what's the first thing you notice?

The colors: bright blue, vibrant orange, bold yellow. Kids love this visual stimulation.

But the sponsors of a new petition on Change.org — which is urging M&M-maker Mars to replace the artificial colorings used to create these distinctive hues — say these dyes can make some kids hyperactive.

"In this petition, I'm asking Mars to change to natural colorings," mom Renee Shutters told me by phone. "It's very doable."

While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, researchers say.

During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours, a study of mice found.

President Obama will nominate attorney Jeh Johnson to be the next Homeland Security secretary.

Johnson recently served as the Pentagon's top lawyer.

Obama will announce his pick at 2 p.m. Friday, NPR's Scott Horsley tells us.

The Department of Homeland Security is currently without a leader. Former Secretary Janet Napolitano ended her stint six weeks ago. She left to become the president of the University of California system.

Talk to economists about the government shutdown's impact on their forecasts and you'll hear this phrase again and again:

Flying blind.

For economists and investors, "at this moment, we are flying blind," said Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and now president of Greenspan Associates LLC, a consulting firm.

Greenspan is not alone in feeling a little lost without the compass of government reports.

Cory Booker's victory Wednesday in New Jersey's special Senate election didn't surprise anyone.

From the moment he captured the Democratic nomination in the reliably blue state, the Newark mayor was the heavy favorite to defeat Republican Steve Lonegan.

Remember how that fight over the budget was all about Obamacare?

Seems like ancient history now, but House Republicans ostensibly shut down the government 17 days ago, demanding first a defunding, and, when that failed, a year's delay in the health law.

Basing its reporting on documents obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, The Washington Post moved a story last night that details a close collaboration between the spy agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, when it conducts drone attacks against suspected terrorists.

Nearly 30 million people live in slavery worldwide, with most of them in Asia and Africa, according to a report released Thursday.

The Walk Free Foundation's ranking incorporates factors that include the traditional definition of slavery — owning another person — as well as things such as child marriage and human trafficking.

Here are the highlights of the report:

If the ugliness in Washington left a bad taste in your mouth, we have the perfect palate cleanser.

The panda cam at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, which was shutdown along with the federal government, is back online. It means you can once again ogle the now eight-week-old cub and her mother, Mei Xiang.

The zoo writes:

Houston, We Have Dengue Fever

Oct 17, 2013

Dengue fever is in Houston. And it turns out the mosquito-borne illness isn't exactly a stranger there.

Dengue has been roaming around the city since 2003, according to a study published Wednesday. "There was dengue circulating, and we had no idea that it was here because we just weren't looking," says the study's lead author Dr. Kristy Murray of the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital.

A Look Back At The Shutdown, In Photos

Oct 17, 2013

The budget fight that led to a partial federal government shutdown finally came to an end late Wednesday.

For 16 days, beginning at midnight on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were told not to come to work. Museums, monuments, libraries and parks were closed across the country.

Natural gas production in the U.S. is going through the roof. The U.S. now produces more natural gas than any country on Earth, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Pucker Up, America: Beers Are Going Sour

Oct 17, 2013

Move over, bitter IPAs and chocolaty stouts. There's a new kid on the craft brewing block, and it's going to knock your salivary glands into action.

It's called "sour beer." When you take a sip, it's like biting into a Granny Smith apple that's soaked in a French red wine: crisp, refreshing and a bit odd.

Federal Employees Return To Work

Oct 17, 2013

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll talk about just what it takes to get the federal government up and running again with the Washington Post's Joe Davidson. He writes the Federal Diary.

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