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Cubans are bracing for a tough end of the year, after what has already been a rough summer. The island's economy is in trouble. Venezuela, Cuba's main patron and supplier of cheap oil, has slashed its generous subsidies, while Cuba's other top cash commodities are facing worldwide price plunges.

Since the U.S. and Cuba improved relations and President Obama made his historic trip to the island in March, expectations had been running high among Cubans that better economic times were coming.

Riccardo Fregoso, executive creative director of McCann Paris, discusses the firm's Clio Award-winning ad called "The Girls of Paradise," which draws potential johns in for a rude surprise.

The campaign starts with a website that looks like many your could find on the Internet, a page that promised a gallery of potential escorts for one to choose from. But it's a fake: As soon as the visitor clicks through enough times, the website tells the visitor about the fate of the woman he has chosen — death, usually by violence.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres died on Wednesday, some two weeks after suffering a major stroke, triggering an outpouring of grief for the historic figure and beloved statesman.

Peres, who was 93, held nearly every major office in the country, serving twice as prime minister and also as president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.

In the past two days, Typhoon Megi has pounded Taiwan and the coast of southeast China and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate amid rising floodwaters.

At least four people died in Taiwan, as the storm blasted across the island en route to China, NPR's Anthony Kuhn tells our Newscast unit. In mainland China, at least one person was killed when several buildings collapsed in Quanzhou, in Fujian province.

“This one just got here in March. She wasn’t enrolled,” says Carlnis Jerry, lifting an eyebrow and nodding her head toward a third-grader who is speaking in Marshallese.

It’s a Wednesday, and Viona Koniske is sitting with her classmate during a “lunch bunch” gathering in a converted supply closet at Parson Hills Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas.

A Dutch-led team of international investigators has concluded that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed in July 2014, was shot down by a Russian Buk missile that had been transferred into rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

After the shooting, the surface-to-air missile launcher was transferred back to Russia.

The last surviving leader of Israel's founding generation, Shimon Peres was a three-time prime minister, the architect of the country's secretive nuclear program and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.

In Elizabethan England, words counted. Particularly the most insulting, offensive and hurtful words. Words like ninnycock, rotten hornibus, jackanapes and (whisper it) ninnyhammer.

A painstakingly detailed new study of the records of English slander trials from the 16th and 17th centuries has uncovered an incredibly rich vocabulary of lost British insults. Todd Gray of the University of Exeter studied more than 40,000 ancient court documents to rediscover the abusive language used by real people.

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

For the millions of Spanish-speaking Americans who caught the presidential debate on Univision Monday night, there was a familiar voice: Vicente de la Vega.

De la Vega was the simultaneous interpreter for Donald Trump during the debate broadcast — a role he's played at various times during the campaign. He's also the president and CEO of Precision Translating Services.

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Brian Snyder/Reuters

Monday night's Trump-Clinton showdown remains a hot topic of conversation in Nigeria — where the election has captured their interest for a while.

And not just for the country's intelligensia. 

Nigerian security guards and secretaries alike are up-to-date on the US presidential hopefuls' latest jabs and barbs, says Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

For many, the US election is primarily a source of entertainment, Nwaubani says, because the issues are often far from Nigerians' reality. 

In the US, televised debates can change the direction of a campaign.

That’s been the case since the first-ever presidential debate in US history, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, exactly 56 years to the day before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump squared off in New York Monday night.

But in Britain, political debates have a different history. In fact, the first televised debate between party leaders in Britain was only in 2010.

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Adeline Sire

The hills in this part of Burgundy are postcard-perfect. Around the villages of Chablis and Irancy, you see beautifully combed, lush green vineyards.

As winemaker Christophe Ferrari drives up his estate, he remarks that all the fine qualities of a wine are made in the vineyard itself. “If you can’t produce good grapes,” he says, “you can’t create good wine.”

There’s a stunning 360-degree view at the top, and plenty of healthy-looking leaves around. But underneath this greenery is a painful truth. It's something Ferrari hasn't seen in his 30 years of winemaking.

Families are divided over Colombia's peace vote

Sep 27, 2016
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Felipe Caicedo/Reuters

Colombia is on the threshold of a new era: a peaceful one.

For 52 years, there's been violence between the government and rebels who see themselves as defenders of the poor.

The main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC, formally signed a peace deal with the government Monday in a solemn ceremony in the coastal city of Cartagena.

But there's a hitch. Colombians have to approve the deal in a referendum this weekend. And there is a powerful "no" campaign.

The vote is dividing families.

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