National & World News

President Trump, who is fond of dining at his Trump International Hotel near the White House, will have some company Wednesday — a roomful of people who paid as much as $35,000 or $100,000 each to be there.

The money will go to two joint fundraising operations — Trump Victory, which will take in large donations and Trump Make America Great Again Committee for smaller-dollar donors.

When Trump Victory started sending out invitations four weeks ago, it announced the price points, but kept the venue secret until a prospect had RSVP'd.

For a first time visitor, Anderson Street in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood looks pretty gritty and industrial: old brick workshops, small factories, and a steady rumble of delivery trucks driving by.

But step inside some of the old, soot-stained buildings and you're in a world of high-end art, with paintings worth thousands of dollars on the walls.

The White House announced Monday night that it sees signs that the Syrian government is preparing to launch another chemical weapons attack in its war against insurgents. The White House press office released this statement:

"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

Turn on the TV, and you'll find no shortage of people who claim to know what's going to happen: who's going to get picked for the NBA draft, who will win the next election, which stocks will go up or down.

These pundits and prognosticators all have an air of certainty. And why shouldn't they? We, as the audience, like to hear the world's complexity distilled into simple, pithy accounts. It doesn't help that these commentators rarely pay a serious price when their predictions don't pan out.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center has found that Donald Trump's presidency is strongly and negatively impacting how the rest of the world views the United States.

At the end of Barack Obama's term, 64 percent of global respondents said they were confident in the U.S. president, compared to 22 percent now. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said they have no confidence in Trump.

Compared to the final years of Obama's presidency, Trump received higher ratings in just two of the 37 countries surveyed – Russia and Israel.

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London's Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here's the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

Transportation Security Administration agents at Logan Airport's Terminal C in Boston snapped to attention Sunday, when they came across a live 20-pound lobster lurking in a cooler among the checked luggage.

"The lobster was screened and allowed to continue on its way," TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy tells NPR in an email.

He tweeted about it Monday saying, "@TSA officers are skilled at screening all sorts of items in checked baggage...including this 20+ pound lobster at @BostonLogan."

Google will no longer scan emails in Gmail accounts in order sell targeted advertising, the company said Friday.

Updated at 8:10 pm ET

Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.

That's only slightly fewer uninsured than a version passed by the House in May.

Advances in technology have made it much easier, faster and less expensive to do whole genome sequencing — to spell out all three billion letters in a person's genetic code. Falling costs have given rise to speculation that it could soon become a routine part of medical care, perhaps as routine as checking your blood pressure.

But will such tests, which can be done for as little as $1,000, prove useful, or needlessly scary?

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