Merrit Kennedy | KERA News

Merrit Kennedy

Eighty million years ago, tyrannosaurs were the top predators in Asia and North America.

And scientists say a newly discovered dinosaur from Uzbekistan helps to explain their rise.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers said they have found a specimen from a 20 million-year gap in fossil records — between the small-bodied "marginal hunters" and the "apex predators" the tyrannosaurid group would become. This group includes Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus and Tarbosaurus.

Turkish warplanes are conducting airstrikes against Kurdish targets in Northern Iraq, following a deadly car bomb that killed at least 37 people in Turkey's capital, Ankara.

The Turkish military said "11 warplanes carried out airstrikes on 18 targets in northern Iraq early on Monday, including ammunition depots and shelters," Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, mourners held funerals for the victims of Sunday's attack.

This week, several Balkan countries slammed their borders shut on migrants, effectively cutting off their main route leading to Northern Europe.

It's causing growing humanitarian concerns as tens of thousands of people who hoped to move north remain stuck in camps in Greece. Meanwhile, EU nations are still struggling to come up with a solution to the crisis.

The Cleveland Clinic says it has removed a transplanted uterus — the first-ever in the U.S. — after the patient suffered from a "sudden complication."

The clinic conducted the landmark operation in late February. As we reported, the procedure is intended to "open up another possible path to parenthood besides surrogacy or adoption for U.S. women who do not have a uterus, or who have a uterus that does not function."

Iran's military tested two ballistic missiles Wednesday, and an Iranian officer says the missiles are designed to reach Israel, according to an Iranian news agency. Iran has conducted a number of other ballistic missile tests this week.

The tests, which come after Iran won sanctions relief in January by curbing its nuclear program, seem to be "aimed at demonstrating that Iran will push forward with its ballistic program," The Associated Press reports.

Ending a Democratic filibuster lasting more than 36 hours, the Missouri Senate has given preliminary approval to a controversial bill that shields religious groups and individuals who have religious objections to same-sex weddings.

Former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan testified in his invasion of privacy suit in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the media organization Gawker, which published a portion of a sex tape.

The case raises major questions about freedom of expression, privacy and celebrity. That being said — "it really couldn't be seedier in terms of the topic that provoked this suit," as NPR's David Folkenflik told Here and Now.

The Dutch dentist was initially welcomed to the rural French town of Chateau-Chinon, which had been without a dental care provider for two years.

Then the horror stories started.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova has lost several major sponsors after admitting that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.

The U.S. military has hit an al-Shabab training camp in Somalia using both drones and manned aircraft, killing at least 150 of the al-Qaida fighters, the Pentagon says.

The weekend strikes hit an al-Shabab training camp about 120 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu, NPR's Tom Bowman reports. Here's more from Tom:

"A Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, [who provided the casualty figure] says U.S. intelligence indicated that al-Shabab was preparing for what he called a 'large scale attack' on American and Somali troops.

...

The Marshall Islands is on an unlikely mission — trying to press India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom to curb their nuclear programs.

The Pacific archipelago, which was the site of dozens of U.S. nuclear tests in the '40s and '50s, is suing the three countries in the U.N.'s International Court of Justice. The Marshall Islands says the three countries haven't carried out in good faith their obligations to pursue negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.

European Union leaders and Turkey's prime minister have ended talks aimed at resolving the flood of migrants into Europe, signaling their leaders are closer to an agreement.

The Associated Press reports, "Luxembourg's prime minister says that European Union and Turkish leaders have ended talks ... but that more work is needed to finalize an agreement. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said in a tweet early Tuesday that EU Council President Donald Tusk 'will take forward the proposals and work out the details with the Turkish side' before the next EU summit on March 17."

A Turkish court has sentenced two Syrian nationals to four years in prison each in a case tied to the drowning death of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi and four others.

Photos of 3-year-old Alan's body lying facedown on a Turkish beach in September 2015 produced a groundswell of global sympathy for people fleeing violence in the Middle East and North Africa, and laid bare the human cost of their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.

When astronaut Scott Kelly's space capsule touched down in Kazakhstan, it was a familiar scene to Mark Kelly, who is a retired astronaut and Scott's identical twin.

NASA is conducting a "twin study" on the brothers to explore what spaceflight does to the body. Multiple universities are involved in the research.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will march in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade, ending his two-year boycott over a ban on LGBT groups.

NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast unit that the mayor's decision comes after organizers allowed a new group to march in the upcoming parade. New York's is the largest and oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country.

A team of refugees will compete alongside athletes representing their home countries at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the International Olympic Committee has announced.

Previously, athletes who did not represent a country were not allowed to compete.

The team will likely number between five and 10 athletes, the committee said in a statement, and "will be treated at the Olympic Games like all the other teams."

The crumpled brown paper bag looked like trash.

But luckily for baseball card enthusiasts, a family in a rural Southern town that was sifting through its great-grandparent's possessions took a closer look.

The family, who wishes to remain anonymous, found seven identical baseball cards of famed Detroit Tigers outfielder Ty Cobb dating from a printing in 1909-1911. Previously, only 15 of this particular card were known to exist.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it is expanding its Head Start program in Flint, Mich., with $3.6 million in one-time funding.

It's an effort to combat the developmental effects on kids from the city's lead-laced water.

The effects of lead exposure are lifelong and can cause "learning disabilities, behavioral problems and mental retardation," according to the World Health Organization.

Removing any doubt about whether you're allowed to puff away on an electronic cigarette while airborne, the Department of Transportation has explicitly banned vaping on commercial flights.

At first glance, the front-page headlines in China's Southern Metropolis Daily on Feb. 20 looked like normal fare: coverage of a speech by President Xi Jinping and a politician's funeral.

But read vertically, and there's a message that seems to criticize a government crackdown on the media.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Beijing reports that an editor at the major tabloid has been fired for allegedly sneaking in the subversive message, and walks us through what it says.

Havana will meet the Rolling Stones later this month.

The band has announced they'll play a free open-air concert in the Cuban capital on March 25.

That will make them "the most famous act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution," the Associated Press reports.

Less than four months after it started accepting Syrian refugees, Canada says it has reached its goal of bringing in 25,000 people who have fled the raging civil war.

As thousands of migrants wait to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia, the U.N. warns that Europe is "on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis."

Macedonian authorities closed the Idomeni border crossing Monday, sparking clashes with the frustrated migrants who want to continue their journey north. Guards fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd, the BBC reports.

Syria's cessation of hostilities is largely holding on its third day, even as the main opposition umbrella group accuses the Syrian regime of violations.

Riad Hijab, the opposition's general coordinator, wrote a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General detailing the alleged breaches of the truce, which was brokered by the U.S. and Russia. The letter reads, in part:

Final results are beginning to trickle in from Iran's parliamentary elections, and these returns show major gains for the country's moderate camp.

It's a stunning blow to Iran's hardliners in the first election since last year's historic nuclear deal with world powers.

NPR's Peter Kenyon says reformist parliamentary candidates swept the seats in Iran's capital, Tehran. "All hardline incumbents in the capital lost their seats," Peter reports, though he says conservatives fared better in other provinces.

The Cleveland Clinic says it has performed the first uterus transplant in the United States.

This opens up another possible path to parenthood besides surrogacy or adoption for U.S. women who do not have a uterus, or who have a uterus that does not function.

A "cessation of hostilities" has come into effect in Syria at midnight local time (5 p.m. EST).

The temporary pause in fighting was brokered by the U.S. and Russia, and is meant to be a confidence-building measure to jump-start peace talks between the warring parties. It includes the Syrian government and the main opposition bloc.

A major global assessment of pollinators is raising concerns about the future of the planet's food supply.

A U.N.-sponsored report drawing on about 3,000 scientific papers concludes that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) are facing extinction. Vertebrate pollinators (such as bats and birds) are somewhat better off by comparison — 16 percent are threatened with extinction, "with a trend towards more extinctions," the researchers say.

Death Valley, Calif., one of the hottest places in the world, is in bloom with more than 20 species of colorful desert wildflowers.

Texas' top appeals court has dismissed the remaining felony abuse-of-power charge against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Court of Criminal Appeals also upheld a lower court's ruling dismissing the other charge against Perry.

This all started when a grand jury indicted Perry in August 2014, as Perry was ramping up his campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. His bid came to an end in September 2015. Perry was the first in the crowded Republican field to suspend his campaign.

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