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For more than two decades, NPR's "Morning Edition" has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports. With nearly 13 million listeners, "Morning Edition" draws public radio's largest audience.

When you have visitors you can't get rid, sometimes you just have to embrace them. That's the idea behind a festival on this week in the remote Siberian town of Berezniki, which is celebrating mosquitoes.

Revelers dress in mosquito costumes, vie to catch the most mosquitoes — and, perhaps oddest of all, hold a "most delicious girl" competition.

A panel of judges inspect contestants for who can get the most bites. The winner two years back had over 100.

Lightning strikes have killed at least 20 people in the U.S. so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. That's higher than the average for recent years, the service says.

Most people who are injured or killed by lightning, it turns out, are not struck directly — instead, the bolt lands nearby.

That's what happened to Steve Marshburn in 1969. He was working inside a bank and says lightning somehow made its way through an ungrounded speaker at the drive-through window to the stool where he was sitting.

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On Thursday, President Obama became the first sitting president in U.S. history to visit a federal prison, taking a tour of the El Reno Federal Correction Institution in Oklahoma. Earlier in the week, he addressed the NAACP in Philadelphia, calling for reforms in the criminal justice system — with the hopes of helping people who have served time turn their lives around.

Oshea Israel, whom listeners first met through StoryCorps in 2011, has done just that.

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As you know, here at The Salt we've been a little obsessed with yogurt lately.

But there's a flip side to the story of the yogurt boom. What about that other product made from fermented milk that had its boom from 1950 to 1975, and has been sliding into obscurity ever since?

Cottage cheese took off as a diet and health food in the 1950s.

Syria's civil war has created the worst refugee crisis in the world, with more than 4 million people fleeing the country. Millions more have been displaced inside Syria, though we rarely hear from them.

Over the past year, NPR's Morning Edition has spoken three times with Saeed al-Batal, a photographer and filmmaker who doesn't use his real name for security reasons.

Researchers in Switzerland say they've solved a nearly 100-year-old astronomical mystery by discovering what's in the wispy cloud of gas that floats in the space between the stars.

Seagulls don't get a lot of respect; they seem to be all screeching and scavenging for food. But at least one sea gull showed the guts of a hero recently.

Photographer David Canales caught what he called this "epic aerial battle" while kayaking in Alaska: A bald eagle, one seagull trapped in its talons, under ferocious assault from another gull.

Unfortunately, for all its fellow seagull's daring, the eagle's snack did not appear to escape.

It's happy hour in Illinois. Well, not right this instant, but many are happy that happy hour is back.

Alcoholic drink specials were banned in the state more than 25 years ago, but Gov. Bruce Rauner overturned that yesterday.

There are still some restrictions: So-called volume specials — like two-for-one, or all-you-can-drink — are not allowed.

Happy hour also has to end by 10 p.m. That's fine with your hard-working, overnight-hours Morning Edition staff, so long as happy hour can start at noon.

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And for more now on the Iran nuclear deal, we're joined by Karim Sadjadpour, who's senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment.

Welcome.

KARIM SADJADPOUR: Great to be with you.

Maj po.

That was "good morning" in Klingon, the fictional language from "Star Trek."

You'd have to be able to speak the language in order to understand a recent statement from a government spokesperson in Wales.

When Darren Miller, an opposition politician, asked about possible UFO sightings at an airport, the spokesperson responded — in Klingon — that her boss would reply in due course.

Millar told the BBC this confirmed his suspicion — that members of government were from another planet.

It's mid-July, and winter has finally ended in Boston — at least symbolically. On Tuesday, Boston's mayor announced that the giant pile of dirty snow left over from the city's record-breaking snowfall had finally melted.

The seven-story snow tower took so long to thaw out that there was a citywide contest to guess when it would go away. In response to the news, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker tweeted: "Our nightmare is finally over!"

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You've Heard Of Hot Dogs, Here's A Hot Cat

Jul 14, 2015

It's like The Incredible Journey, except if the pets had to cross the Sahara.

A cat stowed away under the hood of a pickup truck, and survived a 28-mile ride with the hot engine as the vehicle was driven from Pennsylvania to the parking lot of Mars Chocolate headquarters in New Jersey.

People walking by heard purring from the engine — even after it was switched off.

The kitty was quickly dubbed "Mars" — after the chocolate, or perhaps more appropriately, the fiery-red planet.

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Facebook has been cracking down on fake names, and recently went after Jemma Rogers, who set up an account as "Jemmaroid Von Laalaa" in 2008.

Facebook demanded she prove it's her name, so she tried to Photoshop "Jemmaroid" onto her bank cards.

Facebook didn't buy it, so she legally changed her name to "Jemmaroid Von Laalaa."

Facebook still wouldn't budge, but say they're "looking into the matter."

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Saroj is a cook at a public school in her village, Dujana, in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Like most people in this state, she doesn't have a last name.

She walks to work down narrow streets of concrete homes with cows and buffaloes outside. She is short, only about 5 feet 2, but she walks tall and confident in her traditional mustard-colored tunic and pants. Her tanned face is framed by big, dark eyes and a square jaw.

As Saroj passes an old man sitting outside a house, she leans in close to me and starts whispering.

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