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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union are poised to win Germany's national elections Sept. 24. But for the first time since the Second World War, Germany's Parliament, the Bundestag, also looks set to include an extreme right-wing party — the Alternative fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) or AfD.

Since its founding in 2013, the party, led by economist Alice Weidel and former CDU politician Alexander Gauland, has been shaking up the German political landscape. It is currently represented in 13 of Germany's 16 state legislative bodies.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

"Free Speech Week," a four-day, right-wing rally at the University of California, Berkeley, has been called off, student organizers of the event tell member station KQED.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders plan to hold a controversial independence referendum on Monday. Kurds are expected to overwhelmingly vote in favor of separating from Iraq. The United States and other allies have warned them not to go ahead.

Here's what to know:

Who and where are the Kurds?

An estimated 30 million Kurds live in territory overlapping northern Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. They are the fourth-biggest ethnic group in the region after Arabs, Persians and Turks.

Uber's license to operate in London expires in eight days — and London's transportation agency says it won't be renewed, citing a range of problems that make the company "not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence."

The issues raised by Transport for London include Uber's "approach to reporting serious criminal offences" and how it handles background checks.

Uber says it will appeal the decision. Transport for London had been considering granting Uber a five-year license. The company was first licensed in London in 2012.

Cattle pass a lot of gas, and the methane from their flatulence and especially, their belches, is an expanding burden on the planet. The greenhouse gas has a warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide.

For more than nine months, Twitter and Facebook have tried to dodge the intense public scrutiny involved with the investigation into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.

Now they're in the spotlight.

Congressional investigators are digging in on Russia's use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to try to influence the 2016 campaign.

It's still technically summer — the autumnal equinox doesn't arrive until 4:02 p.m. ET Friday.

It was a tad unusual then to see it snowing Thursday in the Sierra Nevada, the mountain range that is shared by California and Nevada. It usually doesn't snow there for about another month.

Some areas got a dusting, but others got several inches of snow and the plows were called out to clear roads.

Snow and hail contributed to a 16-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near Cisco Grove, Calif. One man was killed and others were treated for minor injuries.

Many older Americans who have Affordable Care Act insurance policies are going to miss a Sept. 30 deadline to enroll in Medicare, and they need more time to make the change, advocates say.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. with additional details — Hundreds of “white allies” marched in the streets downtown on Thursday. Their aim was to demonstrate broad support for the protest movement sparked by a judge’s decision to acquit a former police officer of murder.

For more about 90 minutes, a crowd of predominantly white demonstrators expressed solidarity with African-Americans. For the past week, many have protested St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson’s decision to find Jason Stockley, who is white, not guilty of murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man.

As the St. Louis region manages the ongoing unrest sparked by a judge’s decision to acquit a white former police officer in the death of a black man, civil rights activists say it’s past time for the city to address the policies that have long kept black people behind.

St. Louis must put an end to systemic racism if conditions are to improve for African-Americans, community leaders said Thursday during a panel discussion at Harris-Stowe University.

“Education is freedom; it allows you choices,” state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said. “It allows you to go to the next level.”

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is urging people in the St. Louis region to make sure protests do not disintegrate into violence.

During a stop Thursday in East St. Louis, Carson said he hoped the protests would generate a broader understanding of the challenges facing the St. Louis region.

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When President Trump announced a ban on travel for citizens from several predominantly Muslim countries in January, a coalition of officials from various blue states quickly rallied to fight it.

"We just started talking to each other Friday afternoon," recalls New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "By Sunday morning, we had 17 states signed on to say, 'This is unconstitutional. We're going into court to stop it.' And we went into courts all over the country and eventually got it struck down."

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Puerto Rico is in full-on disaster-response mode after powerful Hurricane Maria hit yesterday. There is no power on the entire island and almost no running water. There have been landslides, flooding and widespread structural damage.

With guest host Jane Clayson.

What it’s like to be a dog. We talk with animal neuroscientist Gregory Berns.

As the sun set Wednesday night, Jews around the world began observing Rosh Hashana.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Rabbi Jeremy Fine of the Temple of Aaron in St. Paul, Minnesota, about the Jewish New Year’s meaning and rituals.

President Trump issued disaster declarations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the passage of Hurricane Maria.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp (@govhouseusvi) about the recovery effort there.

Interview Highlights

On the situation after Maria

Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics dynasty, has died at the age of 94.

In March, Forbes ranked Bettencourt the world's richest woman, putting her net worth at $39.5 billion.

Bettencourt's daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, confirmed the death in a statement to French media, saying her mother died "peacefully" at her home in France overnight Wednesday.

Senate Republicans' latest plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system ends with a massive shift of federal money from states that expanded Medicaid — and are largely dominated by Democrats — to those that refused to expand.

On Thursday's St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by St. Louis Public Radio editor Erica Hunzinger to discuss protests and response to the not-guilty verdict of Jason Stockley in the St. Louis region. 

Some of the latest stories our newsroom has produced are:

Sherman Alexie, acclaimed novelist, memoirist, poet and filmmaker, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday. The author is keynoting the inaugural BookFest St. Louis, which will take place in the Central West End this weekend.

Alexie is also in the midst of promoting his recent memoir, “You Don't Have to Say You Love Me,” which was published earlier this year.

Bedecked in fondant and flowers, modern wedding cakes are the centerpiece of the marriage feast — an edible form of art. But are they also an expression of free speech?

That is the question the Supreme Court will consider this fall when it hears the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.

"You'd think cake would be apolitical, and yet here we are," muses baker Catherine George of Catherine George Cakes.

What do Bolivia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam all have in common?

The pervasive idea is that girls are vulnerable and that boys are strong and independent.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Barcelona, protesting the Spanish government and expressing support for a planned Oct. 1 vote on Catalan independence.

Spain considers the referendum to be illegal. On Wednesday, Spanish police with court-ordered search warrants seized millions of ballots and detained more than a dozen Catalan politicians. A top treasury official is being held on sedition charges, the BBC reports.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

A strong earthquake that hit Mexico City and other central areas has killed at least 273 people, officials say. Search teams are working feverishly to find any survivors who were trapped.

Back-to-back natural disasters in Mexico and across the Caribbean have left millions of people reeling.

On Chess: Can chess prevent memory loss?

Sep 21, 2017

Dr. Lauren Schwarz and colleagues at Saint Louis University School of Medicine are conducting a research study examining the effect learning and playing chess has on memory loss. The researchers are using neuroimaging to measure whether or not a specified program of playing chess results in functional changes within the brain. This study is being conducted with funding provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center in Saint Louis.

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