Rebecca Hersher | KERA News

Rebecca Hersher

In California, construction crews are trying to lower the level of Lake Oroville and repair emergency spillways at the Oroville Dam, about 75 miles north of Sacramento, to prevent catastrophic flooding downstream.

A secondary spillway was opened Monday after the main spillway, which is supposed to safely release water when the lake level is too high, had developed a huge hole, as we reported.

Health insurance companies Aetna and Humana have called off their planned merger, citing a federal court ruling last month that blocked the deal.

"While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for health care consumers through improved affordability and quality, the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction," Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement.

One of the sons of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces child sexual abuse charges in Centre County, Pa.

NPR's Jeff Brady reported that the charges against 41-year-old Jeffrey Sandusky come more than four years after his father was convicted of child sexual abuse.

"Jeffrey Sandusky was charged with 14 counts that include child sexual abuse and child pornography. His adoptive father, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 boys," Jeff reported.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl appeared before a military judge for a hearing on Monday at Fort Bragg, N.C. He is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for leaving his base in Afghanistan in 2009.

The defense is arguing that Bergdahl cannot get a fair trial because Donald Trump has personally commented on the case, including referring to Bergdahl as a traitor and insinuating that he should be thrown out of a plane without a parachute.

Gov. John Kasich has put Ohio executions on hold until May, citing a legal challenge to the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol.

The governor's office released a statement saying it had postponed the execution dates for the next eight prisoners on death row, including the next prisoner to die, Ronald Phillips, who had his date moved from next Wednesday to May 10.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling that upheld a lower federal court's decision to temporarily block a Jan. 27 executive order on immigration.

The order suspends new-refugee admissions for 120 days, bans Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocks travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — for 90 days.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in and around Paris to protest the alleged beating and rape of a black man by French police.

The unrest has gone on nearly a week, and "rioters have clashed with police and have set fire to trash cans, cars and a nursery school," reported Jake Cigainero for NPR's Newscast unit.

Archaeologists from the U.S. and Israel say they have found evidence that a 12th cave was used to store Dead Sea Scrolls, the ancient manuscripts dating back to the time of Jesus.

"This exciting excavation is the closest we've come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years," Oren Gutfeld of The Hebrew University said in a statement about the discovery. "Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave."

Researchers have identified the first known example of one animal, a boxer crab, stimulating another animal, a sea anemone, to reproduce asexually.

From the outside, it's a bit of an abusive situation.

The crabs and anemones have a symbiotic relationship. The anemones live on the delicate front claws of the crabs, protecting the claws and helping the crab mop up bits of food. The benefit to the anemone is less clear — the crab controls how much food its sea anemones get, maintaining them as small "bonsai" versions.

It was a familiar scene for many in New Orleans East, part of the city's Ninth Ward.

"As helicopters hovered overhead and emergency response vehicles streamed into neighborhoods, it reminded them of [Hurricane] Katrina," reported Tegan Wendland of member station WWNO in New Orleans. "The area was hit hard by that storm, and now many families will have to rebuild again."

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted an easement allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, paving the way for construction of the final 1.5 miles of the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline.

In doing so, the Army cut short its environmental impact assessment and the public comment period associated with it.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was sued Monday over his state's public defender system, which plaintiffs say violates the U.S. and Louisiana Constitutions by denying effective representation to poor people accused of crimes.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

A wall of dangerous storms is moving across the South, threatening communities in their path with high winds, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

A French judge has ordered former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial over allegations that he violated France's campaign finance laws during his failed 2012 bid for re-election.

Sarkozy was eliminated from this year's presidential election in November when Francois Fillon defeated him in the first round of the primary for France's conservative party, as The Guardian reported.

Track and field's world governing body decided Monday to maintain Russia's suspension from international competition.

During a meeting of the International Association of Athletics Federations, or IAAF, the governing body's president, Sebastian Coe, told the AFP that Russia "could not be reintegrated into the sport before November."

In Afghanistan, the number of civilian casualties reached an all-time high in 2016, the United Nations reported Monday.

Nearly 11,500 civilians were killed and wounded in the country last year — including more than 3,500 children. It is an overall increase of 3 percent compared with 2015, which was the previous record-high since the U.N. began systematic documentation in 2009.

Among children, the latest numbers represent a staggering 24 percent increase in injuries and deaths.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says wildfires that killed at least 11 people and caused more than $300 million in damage are mostly under control.

"[These are] the worst wildfires that Chile has suffered in its history ... [but] are now mostly under control," Bachelet said over the weekend, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. "That doesn't mean, however, that we are letting down our guard."

Afghan officials say more than 100 people died in avalanches over the weekend, after nearly 10 feet of snow buried some parts of the country around Kabul and east to the Pakistan border.

Dozens of houses were destroyed and "people were reported to have frozen to death, trapped in cars," according to the BBC.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Saturday

A federal judge in Seattle has issued a nationwide temporary stay against President Trump's executive order that prevented citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Judge James Robart acted to stop implementation of the order while a case brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota is heard.

The White House issued a statement Friday night, saying the Justice Department will appeal the Seattle judge's action:

One of the problems with bats, if you're a robotics expert, is that they have so many joints.

That's what robotics researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Caltech quickly learned when they set out to build a robot version of the flying mammal.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The U.S. Treasury Department announced additional sanctions on Iran on Friday, less than a week after a ballistic missile test prompted the Trump administration to accuse Iran of violating an international a weapons agreement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he would be in favor of additional sanctions on Iran, one day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn admonished Iran for a ballistic missile test it conducted on Sunday.

"I'd like to put as much toothpaste back in the tube as possible. I think the last administration appeased Iran far too much," Ryan said at a news conference.

On Wednesday, Flynn said "we are officially putting Iran on notice," but declined to elaborate.

The U.S. Treasury Department has modified sanctions against Russia, allowing U.S. companies to interact with Russia's domestic intelligence agency, the FSB.

The sanctions were imposed by the Obama administration on Dec. 29 in the wake of Russia's meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign, and were meant to deprive the FSB of access to some technologies.

More than 70 people were arrested on Wednesday afternoon near the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, as Western lawmakers expressed opposing views on the future of the $3.8 billion project.

The remains of the world's most destructive stone marten are now on display at a museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

On Nov. 20, 2016, the animal hopped over a fence at the $7 billion Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, touched a transformer and was electrocuted by 18,000 volts.

The marten died instantly. The collider, which accelerates particles to near the speed of light to study the fiery origins of the universe, lost power and shut down.

The U.S. Embassy in Chile says it is sending an additional $740,000 for protective equipment and firefighting tools, as the country continues to battle more than 70 active wildfires that have killed at least 11 people in the past two weeks.

French authorities are investigating allegations that conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon hired his wife for what was essentially a sham position.

He is accused of putting his wife, Penelope, on his parliamentary office payroll and paying her about $900,000 of taxpayer money over a 15-year period, according to the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine. Fillon also reportedly hired two of his children.

Hiring one's spouse is not illegal, reports NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, but "there's little evidence she actually worked."

An archaeologist has launched a citizen science project that invites anyone with an Internet connection to help look for evidence of archaeological site looting.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

U.S. officials say Iran test-fired a ballistic missile on Sunday, the first known test since President Trump took office — which could provide an early assessment of how the new administration will interpret and enforce the terms of the international deal to curb Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities.

For years, the satellites of America's Global Positioning System have been carrying sensors that measure the weather in space.

The information has been kept by the military, which manages the satellites, because solar storms and other space weather can damage satellites.

Today, as the result of an executive order signed last October, the government released 16 years of that space weather data to the public for the first time.

Pages