Attorney General Eric Holder participates in a closed door meeting Wednesday with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Mo. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press hide caption

itoggle caption Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press

Around the Nation

Holder Seeks To Soothe Nerves During Visit To Ferguson

The attorney general hugged community leaders, a highway patrol captain and the mother of Michael Brown during his visit, and got an update on the federal investigation into the teen's shooting.

Palestinian emergency personnel dig through the rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli military strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Thursday. Hamas announced that three of its senior military commanders were killed in a predawn Israeli air strike. Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images

The Two-Way - News Blog

Hamas Says Airstrike Killed Three Senior Commanders

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanks the Shin Bet, the country's domestic security service, for intelligence that set up Thursday's attack.

Author Junot Diaz says the publishing industry must have uncomfortable conversations about diversity. The alternative, he believes, is "utter, agonizing silence." Rick Reinhard/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Rick Reinhard/Flickr

Code Switch

To Achieve Diversity In Publishing, A Difficult Dialogue Beats Silence

The American publishing industry has long been the realm of the privileged few. Lately, though, some writers of color are making their voices heard — and starting some uncomfortable conversations.

Tom Hiddleston takes the Ice Bucket Challenge. The actor is one of many stars taking part in the campaign to raise money for ALS. via YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption via YouTube

Goats and Soda

The Ice Bucket Challenge And Other Good Causes: Do Stars Really Help?

When actor Tom Hiddleston and singer Lady Gaga take the Ice Bucket Challenge, it makes a big splash. But do stars really make a difference in fund-raising and public awareness when they endorse a charity?

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad carry their weapons as they walk along a street in Mleiha, near the Damascus airport, during a tour organized by the Syrian government on Aug. 15. Omar Sanadiki/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Omar Sanadiki/Reuters/Landov

Parallels - World News

In Syria, The U.S. Weighs A Range Of Unpalatable Options

The U.S. could aid moderate rebels. It could bomb militants of the Islamic State. Or it could sit on the sidelines as the war plays out. There are many choices, but none appears promising.

Elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores. And the fermentation happening in their gut as they break down cellulose helps remove the bitterness in the coffee beans. Michael Sullivan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Sullivan/NPR

The Salt

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant's No. 2

A coffee entrepreneur claims his brew is different — and better — than the trendy civet poop coffee. It starts with the idea that elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores.

Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off 2013 winners (with placards, left to right): Scott Rob (92.10 pounds), Keevan Dinkel (92.30 pounds) and Brian Shunskis (77.40 pounds). The growers are joined by the cabbage fairies, a group of women who for 15 years have volunteered at the cabbage competition. Clark James Mishler/Courtesy of Alaska State Fair hide caption

itoggle caption Clark James Mishler/Courtesy of Alaska State Fair

The Salt

Why Vegetables Get Freakish In The Land Of The Midnight Sun

Long summer days in Alaska help cabbages, turnips and other vegetables grow to gargantuan sizes. These "giants" are celebrated at the annual state fair, which kicks off on Thursday.

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