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Toys R Us is rising from the ashes. Now Americans may not have to go another Christmas without its once beloved toy store.

The retailer is making a comeback in time for the 2019 holiday season with a new approach. Instead of providing mile-long aisles filled with a plethora of toys, the company is switching its focus to smaller stores that will feature interactive toy demonstrations, spaces for special events like birthday parties, new activities every day and open play areas.

A half century ago, America's dreams were realized in space. The power of U.S. innovation and spirit brought the Apollo 11 crew to the moon and back.

That mission was possible due to a diverse team of engineers, astronauts and mathematicians. It was also possible thanks to the help of one 10-year-old boy who was in the right place at the right time.

So your doctor has told you some of the scariest words you can possibly hear: You need surgery. What do you do next?

If you need an emergency surgery, like an appendectomy or a procedure after an accident, you usually don't have much choice in the matter. You'll likely get it done in the hospital where you went to the emergency room, unless the hospital isn't equipped to do it. If that's the case, you'll get transferred.

In the pre-dawn hours of June 21, explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia shook houses, sent fireballs into the air and woke up nearby residents.

"Three loud explosions, one after the other, boom, boom boom!" says David Masur, who lives about two miles from the plant and has two young kids. "It's a little nerve-wracking."

If a fire was reported while you were on an upper floor of a high-rise, what would you do?

For one West Philadelphia man, the answer was: get to the outside of the building and scale down more than a dozen floors.

The breathtaking feat was captured in detail by multiple local television stations, bringing us several views of the man scaling at least 14 floors of the tall building with apparent ease.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the freshman Democratic congresswoman facing attacks from President Trump and his supporters, received a hero's welcome back at her home district in Minnesota on Thursday.

A cheering crown at the airport in the Twin Cities held banners with slogans such as "Stop Racism Now" and chanted "Welcome Home Ilhan" as the congresswoman emerged from her flight.

"We are going to continue to be a nightmare to this president," she said into a megaphone, "because his policies are a nightmare to us. We are not deterred, we are not frightened, we are ready."

The lineup is now set for the second series of Democratic presidential primary debates, at the end of the month.

On the first night, progressive favorites Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be on stage together for the first time, while upstart South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg will be trying to continue his improbable rise.

Customs and Border Protection officials are denying that a Border Patrol agent asked a 3-year-old girl to choose which of her parents would be sent back to Mexico.

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

President Trump will nominate Eugene Scalia, son of late Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the next labor secretary, the president announced via Twitter Thursday evening.

A source close to Scalia earlier Thursday confirmed to NPR that the president had offered Scalia the job and that he accepted.

Scalia, 55, is a partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., where he handles cases related to labor and employment.

Mark Morgan, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, said Thursday that the Trump administration's new asylum rule, unveiled earlier this week, is being rolled out as a small "pilot" and that officials expect it to be blocked in court.

The rule is a major change in U.S. asylum law. It denies asylum protection to most migrants arriving at the Southern border unless they first apply in a country they passed through on the way.

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A recent graduation at Cook County Jail in Chicago featured no caps, no gowns, not even balloons. But NPR's Cheryl Corley was there, and as she reports, it was a doggone good celebration - for shelter dogs. Get it? Dogs that are now trained and no longer at risk of being euthanized.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOGS BARKING)

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Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET on Friday

A U.S. Navy warship called the USS Boxer took down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said, adding, "The drone was immediately destroyed." A senior Iranian official has denied that the country lost a drone.

"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone," Trump said, giving details about the encounter at the start of a flag presentation ceremony at the White House. He said the drone had closed to about 1,000 yards from the U.S. ship, "ignoring multiple calls to stand down."

Most days, 25-year-old Chavonne can push her student loan debt to the back of her mind.

Between short-term office jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, she drives for Uber. But once in awhile, a debt collector will get hold of her cellphone number — the one she keeps changing to avoid them — and it all comes back fresh. "I'll be like, 'Oh no!' " she says. "It's a sad reminder that I owe somebody money!"

In April, she got another reminder when the government seized her tax return.

All this for a degree she never finished.

Researchers are prescribing exercise as if it were a drug in a study that aims to see if it can prevent Alzheimer's disease.

"We are testing if exercise is medicine for people with a mild memory problem," says Laura Baker, principal investigator of the nationwide EXERT study and associate director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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One of the rarest birds in New Zealand is having its best breeding season in decades, potentially doubling the population.

The orange-fronted parakeet, known locally as the kākāriki karaka, is in the midst of a prolonged mating season due to a beech seed bonanza, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said in a statement on Wednesday.

Updated at 3:14 p.m. ET

Donald Trump took part in phone calls with his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen as the attorney and other aides scrambled to arrange hush payments to a woman in 2016 to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump.

Those details come from hundreds of pages of court papers — warrant applications, affidavits and other related materials — made public on Thursday.

Martin Shkreli — the former pharmaceutical CEO widely known as "Pharma Bro" — lost his bid to overturn a seven-year prison sentence for fraud Thursday. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit affirmed Shkreli's 2017 conviction.

The appeals court judges ruled against Shkreli by a 3-0 vote. In addition to ordering him to stay in prison, the judges affirmed that he must forfeit more than $7.3 million, pay restitution of $388,336 and pay a $75,000 fine.

The best scene in Disney's incredibly photo-realistic remake of The Lion King features a computer-generated beetle rolling a ball of computer-generated dung across a computer-generated African landscape. It might sound mundane, but this particular ball of dung is carrying a tuft of fur from the runaway lion Simba, and its eventual discovery will renew hope that the rightful king of the savanna is alive and well. It's a funny, touching reminder that in the circle of life, every little creature and every lump of waste has an important role to play.

The band Earth, Wind & Fire, actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt, television program Sesame Street and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas are the next recipients of one of the most prestigious U.S. awards for lifetime artistic achievement: the Kennedy Center Honors. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts made the announcement today.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Behind the migrant center horrors on the southern border lies an agency plagued by years of dysfunction. And Trump is only its latest problem. My guest, Garrett Graff, writes that in his new article, "The Border Patrol Hits A Breaking Point," published this week in Politico Magazine. The Border Patrol is part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Graff writes about the long-standing problems within the agency, including a culture of violence and corruption.

Updated at 5:59 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered that multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein remain confined while he awaits trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman announced his decision that the 66-year-old financier be held without bail on Thursday, following a hearing Monday in which Epstein's lawyer asked that his client be placed on house arrest with round-the-clock private security guards paid for by Epstein.

The brother of the suicide bomber who killed nearly two dozen people after an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 appeared in a London court on Thursday to face charges that he helped carry out the attack in Manchester, England.

Hashem Abedi, who was extradited from Libya this week, said through his lawyer that he was not involved in the attack. The 22-year-old wore glasses and a gray shirt and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and British nationality, according to media reports.

Iran says that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy has seized a foreign-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, alleging that the ship was smuggling 1 million liters (264,000 gallons) of fuel. Iranian state news outlets report that the ship had a crew of 12 aboard.

The vessel was seized south of Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. The island sits less than 20 miles off the Iranian mainland, south of the city of Bandar Abbas.

Miranda Lambert really knows how to announce a new single. For "It All Comes Out in the Wash" — a cute-as-hell country bop that reminds us that "hard times do eventually pass," as she put it in a press release — Lambert filmed her shirtless husband doing laundry. You know, as one does.

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