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Fake news. Record-low voting turnout. Frequent and false claims from elected officials. Vitriol in many corners of political debate.

These are symptoms we hear of all the time that our democracy is not so healthy.

And those factors might be why many states are turning to the traditional — and obvious — place where people learn how government is supposed to work: schools. More than half of the states in their last legislative sessions — 27 to be exact — have considered bills or other proposals to expand the teaching of civics.

If you've been to a beach this summer, anywhere from Texas to the Carolinas, you've likely seen it. Masses of brown seaweed, sometimes a few clumps, often big mounds, line the shore. It's sargassum, a floating weed that's clogging bays and piling up on beaches in the Gulf and Caribbean.

On Miami Beach recently, Mike Berrier was enjoying the sun and the water, despite the sargassum weed.

A South Korean court on Friday tacked on another eight years to former President Park Geun-hye's sentence for illegally receiving funds from a state agency and breaking election laws.

More than 100 former student athletes have reported "firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct" committed by Ohio State University physician Richard Strauss nearly two decades ago, the school announced on Friday.

Officials said the allegations date from 1979 to 1997. They include students who, at the time, were varsity players in 14 sports and patients of Student Health Services.

Amy Powell's five-year run as head of Paramount Studios' television division came to a halt on Thursday.

She was suddenly ousted after an internal investigation of her alleged use of racially charged language, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos announced Powell's dismissal in a memo to staff.

Music and politics have always been intertwined, from "Yankee Doodle" to "A Change is Gonna Come." And that's true in Zimbabwe, too — a country that is now facing a historic political transition.

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In May, Lourdes walked across the bridge from Mexico to El Paso, Texas, and requested asylum. The first step is an interview with an asylum officer.

"I told him that I have the evidence on me," Lourdes said, through an interpreter. She told the asylum officer about the scar on her arm, and the four missing fingers on her left hand — all evidence, she says, of a brutal attack by a gang in her native Honduras.

But the asylum officer rejected her claim.

"I don't know what happened," Lourdes said. "I don't know how I failed."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

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