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Videos and other images of beheadings have appeared with increasing frequency in recent weeks. Dawn Perlmutter, director of the Symbol Intelligence Group, discusses the symbolism of this grim ritual.

Robert Siegel talks with ESPN sportswriter Jane McManus about the NFL's new domestic violence initiative under its personal conduct policy. The plan comes the league leveled what some called a lenient penalty for running back Ray Rice's alleged domestic abuse.

In Ukraine, civilian volunteers are digging trenches outside the port city of Mariupol in an effort to defend their city from assault by separatist forces.

In 1976, scientist Peter Piot was part of the team that discovered the Ebola virus. The epidemic today in West Africa, he says, is "absolutely unexpected and unprecedented."

NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate an intensely emotional community conversation around race, police tactics and leadership.

Experts say the well-funded militant group is focused on gaining power in the Middle East, not attacking America. The bigger risk is of an opportunistic attack, locally or in Europe.

Health officials want to reduce the rat population, so they're hiring extra exterminators, sealing up holes and teaching regular New Yorkers how to make homes and gardens less rat-friendly.

President Obama announced that he has authorized a humanitarian mission to aid religious minorities stranded on Mount Sinjar in Iraq. Airstrikes will be a component of that mission.

Diane Foley tells NPR that her son, slain journalist James Foley, "could have done so many other things. But he, I think, was drawn to some of the drama, some of the rawness of the conflict zones."

The protests following Michael Brown's death have rekindled long-standing complaints about racist policing in the St. Louis area. Cops there are now becoming more outspoken in their own defense.

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