NPR News

Afghan officials say 16 members of the Afghan National Security Forces died in a U.S. airstrike Friday, during operations against Taliban fighters in southern Helmand province. The U.S. says it is investigating the circumstances that led to the mistake.

Afghan media report that 16 members of the security force died, citing local government officials. Although a U.S. statement acknowledging the strike did not specify the number of casualties, a Pentagon spokesman later put the figure at from 12-15 deaths.

Members of the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are heading into their annual meeting with no national leader and no speaker from the White House. The meeting starts Saturday in Baltimore.

Aaron Albaugh peers out from under the brim of his cowboy hat, surveying the acres of hay fields in front of him. The fourth-generation rancher is raising about 450 cattle this year, in this remote corner of Lassen County, California.

His closest neighbor lives a half mile away. "And that's my brother," Albaugh says.

"If I want to go see a movie, it's 70 miles, round-trip," he adds. "If I want to go bowling, that's 100 miles, round-trip."

This week a highly-anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries ended the way it began — with controversy.

On Wednesday, the team from the violence-torn east African country of Burundi went missing. Well before the competition even began, the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan made headlines after the U.S. State Department denied them visas. Eventually, they were allowed to compete.

The drama marred an otherwise upbeat event focused on kids and robots.

Walk up the white steps of the front porch where Mary Jo and Mike Picklo live, and you'll see three rocking chairs and a pair of binoculars.

The couple bought their home on five acres in 2003 and planned to spend their golden years overlooking a vista of green farmland and thick trees in western Pennsylvania.

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