Palestinian performer Mohammad Assaf is a finalist on <em>Arab Idol</em>, which is filmed in the Lebanese city of Jounieh north of the capital Beirut.
Credit Anwar Amro / AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians have rallied around Mohammad Assaf's success. Supporters say his victory would be a win for art, which has been long neglected in Gaza.
Credit Anwar Amro / AFP/Getty Images
Posters of Arab Idol competitor Mohammad Assaf decorate his family's home. Both Mohammad's father, Jabar Assaf (right), and his best friend, Mohammad Abu Jabar, say a victory for the young singer from the Gaza Strip would be a win for all Palestinians.
In Palestinian territory, Mohammad Assaf's face is easy to find. Big posters of the dark-haired 23-year-old dreamboat smile at you along boulevards in Ramallah. And in Gaza, a giant banner of Assaf billows outside his family home.
Assaf's dad, Jabar Assaf, is bursting with pride.
"I'm very, very, very proud of my son. Besides singing so well, he is very polite, and he is studying at the university," Jabar Assaf says. "He's no street kid. I'm very proud."
So are many other Palestinians — including 16-year-old Abeer Ali.
Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the High Park fire northwest of Fort Collins, Colo. The blaze consumed 259 homes in the rural area, but so far only 10 households have finished rebuilding a year later.
As Gary and Martha Lemert sort through photographs from the High Park fire, it takes just one before and after shot to convey the complete devastation of their 10-acre property.
All they had left after the fire was a green roof that looked like it had been melted on top of gray rubble. All told, the Lemerts lost eight buildings, including a garage and a guest house.
Most aquarium visitors are there to see sharks, sea turtles, fish and other marine life. But at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, there's another star attraction: Coral.
The Aquarium's Blacktip Reef exhibit will open later this summer, and give visitors a look at an Indo-Pacific coral reef. But curators can't just carve a chunk out of a wild reef to put in the vast tank, that would destroy the very ecosystem for which they hope to raise conservation awareness. And corals take hundreds of years to develop into a reef, so the aquarium can't grow its own in-house.
Revelations this week that the National Security Agency has been running an extensive domestic surveillance program involving companies like Google, Facebook and Apple has caused many Americans to ask what's left of their privacy. Guest host Tess Vigeland speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic.
Authorities are still searching for a motive in yesterday's shooting rampage in Santa Monica, California. Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said the alleged shooter had weapons with the capacity to fire 1,300 rounds of ammunition.
Meanwhile, north of Los Angeles, fire officials say the so-called powerhouse fire in the Angeles National Forest is 90 percent contained. Twenty-four homes were destroyed, and state officials say the blaze cost some $16 million to knock down.
Sarah Murnaghan's spirit can be summed up by her personalized Monopoly character: a three-legged silver pig that can stand on its own.
"Everybody sort of expects her to decline here, and she does, but she fights back every time," says her mother, Janet.
Sarah, who has cystic fibrosis, has a reason to keep fighting: She's another step closer to getting a lung transplant. Sarah has been waiting for a year and a half, and doctors say she could die soon without a transplant.
NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt of one of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. He reads Beyond the Fence by Matthew Campbell of Salem, Mass. You can read the full story below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.