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Spectators around the country are gearing up, eclipse glasses at the ready, for the solar eclipse on Monday. But another group — perhaps more anxious than eager — is preparing as well: the people who run California's electric grid.

California is home to almost half of all the solar power in the country. So even a partial loss of the sun will mean a major dip in the energy supply.

From the thirteenth floor of a glass tower at the Oregon Health & Science University, you get a panoramic view of downtown Portland and the majestic mountains in the distance. But it's what's happening inside the building that's brought me here.

"Should we go do this thing?" lab manager Amy Koski asks.

A member of Congress who's one of the staunchest defenders of Russia in American politics met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London on Wednesday.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., spent around three hours with Assange talking at the Ecuadorean Embassy there, where Assange sought refuge in 2012 in the face of sexual assault charges in Sweden.

A 20-year old South African model accusing Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe of beating her with an extension cord has rejected a proposed cash settlement, according to her legal team.

Mugabe's whereabouts are unknown, and South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told reporters that the country implemented a "red alert" for her at its borders. "She is not somebody who has been running away," Mbalula said, according to South Africa's News24.

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As we struggled this week to make sense of what happened in Charlottesville, Va., some big questions bubbled up:

What lessons does history teach about white resentment in the United States? How is the experience of other countries and other times — like Germany — relevant? How are those in power reacting to President Trump's shifting response?

At least 58 people were killed by police in the Philippines this week in two raids — the first and deadliest of which was celebrated by President Rodrigo Duterte as a successful part of his brutal war on drugs.

On Tuesday, a raid in the province of Bulacon left 32 people dead, The Associated Press reports. It was the highest single-day death toll of Duterte's crackdown on the drug trade. More than 100 accused drug offenders were arrested in the province, the news service says.

On Wednesday and into Thursday, operations in the capital city of Manila killed 26 more people.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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We begin the hour with the terrorist attack in Barcelona. Local officials say 13 people have died. More than a hundred were injured when a van drove into a walkway crowded with tourists. Andrew Roby of Washington, D.C., was near the attack when it happened.

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We talked earlier today with Fiona Govan. She's a journalist in Barcelona. And we asked her what the local authorities were saying about who did this.

Three of the most visible leaders of Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement have been sentenced to jail time for their roles in the series of massive pro-democracy protests in 2014. The sentences announced Thursday, which range from six months to eight months, revise previous, lighter penalties handed down last year and effectively bar the men from holding office for the next five years.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

A leading Republican senator told reporters on Thursday that President Trump "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful."

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker was at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga and spoke to local reporters there. In video posted by Chloe Morrison of Nooga.com, Corker added, "And we need for him to be successful. Our nation needs for him to be successful."

John Cho sometimes has a hard time taking life in Hollywood seriously. The actor was born in South Korea but grew up in the United States, and he says his experiences are vastly different from the deprivation his father saw as a child in what is now North Korea.

"My dad tried to eat [tree] bark, he was so hungry," Cho says. "Whenever I'm on my way to a premiere or something, I always have a good laugh in the car ... because it's all so absurd — I'm one generation removed from starvation."

When comic and cabaret performer Bridget Everett takes the stage, she really takes over. Everett, who is 6 feet tall and plus size, has been known to sit in audience members' laps and even coddle their heads between her breasts during her raunchy live act. "Somebody used to call me a cabaret hurricane," she says.

SeaWorld and animal welfare advocates are mourning the passing of one of the park's oldest killer whales. Kasatka was euthanized at SeaWorld San Diego on Tuesday evening after suffering from a respiratory infection.

Kasatka was a matriarch of the orca pod in San Diego. She had been captured in the wild off the coast of Iceland in 1978. SeaWorld says she had four calves, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Two psychologists who were paid more than $80 million by the CIA to develop "enhanced interrogation" techniques — which have been called torture — have settled a lawsuit brought by men who were detained.

The list of brutal methods devised by Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell for use by the U.S. included waterboarding. The tactics were meant to condition detainees into a state of helplessness. Mitchell has said he was told by U.S. officials that the idea was to "walk right up to the edge of the law."

On Aug. 21, a 70-mile-wide ribbon from Oregon to South Carolina called the "path of totality" will experience a total solar eclipse. Large swaths of farmland in the Great Plains and Midwest will be plunged into darkness for 2 1/2 minutes, and temperatures will drop about 10 degrees in the middle of the day.

But as millions of people look up at the sky, many Midwest scientists will turn their eyes and cameras toward the plants and animals on the ground. And they're not sure what will happen.

Qatar has been isolated by neighboring countries in a heated diplomatic standoff. But on Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced that it plans to open its border to allow pilgrims from the tiny Gulf country to make the annual hajj to Islam's holiest sites.

The announcement comes after a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and a member of the Qatari royal family, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani.

Updated at 6:41 a.m. ET Friday

Hours after a van drove into a crowd of people in Barcelona, Spain, Spanish police say they stopped a second terrorist attack.

Authorities say the two attacks are linked.

Police say five suspects wearing explosives — later determined to be fake — were killed after a shootout with security forces in the Catalan coastal town of Cambrils located about 70 miles southwest of Barcelona. Six civilians and a police officer were injured, police said early Friday.

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