Emily Sullivan

The mottled spots giraffes are known for aren't random, according to a new study that suggests that the patterns are inherited maternally — and that they may impact the chances of a calf surviving its first few months of life.

The roundness and smoothness of a giraffe's spots are inherited through its mother, wildlife biology researchers reported in the academic journal PeerJ last week.

A Missouri judge ruled on Tuesday that state election officials can no longer tell voters they must show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The ruling blocks part of Missouri's voter identification law.

Cole County's Judge Richard Callahan said the state cannot advertise that a photo identification is required to cast a ballot. "No compelling state interest is served by misleading local election authorities and voters into believing a photo ID card is a requirement for voting," he wrote in his ruling.

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia.

On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 130 mph, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The stretch limousine involved in a deadly crash in upstate New York on Saturday had recently failed a state safety inspection and its driver did not have the proper license to drive the vehicle, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The crash killed all 18 occupants of the modified limo and two pedestrians. Federal officials said it is the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. since a 2009 plane crash.

Updated 6:45 a.m. ET

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecologist, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor of rape and captivity by ISIS, for their contributions toward combating wartime sexual assault.

The prize was announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway, on Friday morning. The committee praised the winners for being symbols in the fight to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Peru's Supreme Court overturned a medical pardon for the polarizing former President Alberto Fujimori, saying the 80-year-old must return to jail to serve his sentence for crimes against humanity, which cannot be pardoned under Peruvian and international law.

The pardon late last year was described at the time by a group of U.N. human rights experts as "a slap in the face to victims of human rights abuse."

On June 5, 1968, hotel busboy Juan Romero raced to congratulate Sen. Robert Kennedy moments after his victory in the California presidential primary. He had met the candidate the day before, bringing him room service at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

As Kennedy briefly paused to shake the hand of the 17-year-old, a man named Sirhan Sirhan gunned down Kennedy in front of Romero. A remarkable photograph captured the scene: young Romero, an immigrant from Mexico, cradling the glassy-eyed Kennedy, member of an American political dynasty.

Capitol Police have arrested a man accused of publishing to the Internet restricted personal information about South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The FBI has arrested a man in Utah who authorities believe mailed letters to the Pentagon containing castor seeds — a key ingredient in the highly toxic substance ricin.

William Clyde Allen III of Logan, Utah, was arrested by agents with the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI.

Two envelopes mailed to the Pentagon earlier this week tested positive in a screening center for a hazardous substance. After conducting further tests, the FBI determined the envelopes contained castor seeds.

Updated 9:25 a.m. ET

American Frances H. Arnold has won half of the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry for her work in changing how chemists produce new enzymes, sharing the prize with another American, George Smith, and Sir Gregory Winter of the U.K. for research that has led to new pharmaceuticals and cancer treatments.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Chocolate cupcake, creme, mango, tutti frutti, "blue" — sugary-sounding flavors familiar to teenage e-cigarette users are facing more crackdowns from the Food and Drug Administration.

Updated at 6:55 a.m. ET

This year's Nobel Prize in Physics has been "split" — with one half going to Arthur Ashkin, an American who won for his work with optical tweezers, while Gérard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada share the other half for work in generating high-intensity ultrashort optical pulses.

Together, their achievements mark groundbreaking achievements in the field of laser physics.

"This year's prize is about tools made from light," said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in its announcement on Tuesday.

A dean at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has been suspended for a tweet that, according to university officials, "demonstrated a lack of sensitivity" to sexual assault survivors.

William Rainford, dean of the university's National Catholic School of Social Service, posted the tweet on his official university account last week, one day before Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh made back-to-back appearances before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Updated at 5:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday

A swimmer has died after being bitten by a shark in the waters off Wellfleet, Mass., in what appears to be the state's first fatal shark attack in more than 80 years.

The attack occurred on Saturday near Newcomb Hollow Beach on Cape Cod. Wellfleet Police Lt. Michael Hurley told The Associated Press that the victim was a man in his mid-20s, but his identity has not been disclosed.

Updated 6:24 a.m. ET Sunday

Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in southern China's Guangdong province Sunday evening, after ripping through the Philippines and Hong Kong earlier.

Wind speeds hit 100 mph as the storm reached the city of Taishan in Guangdong at 5 p.m. local time, The Associated Press reported.

The storm passed by Hong Kong earlier, which "dodged a direct hit," according to the BBC, yet at least 111 people were reportedly injured in the territory.

An Indian law that was used as a tool by police to harass and blackmail LGBTQ people was overturned by the country's highest court on Thursday.

The law, Section 377 of the Indian penal code and in effect since the country's British colonial era, outlawed any sex "against the order of nature." Breaking the law was punishable by jail time.

The carcasses of 87 elephants have been discovered near a Botswana protected sanctuary, killed and stripped for their tusks.

The elephants were discovered by Elephants Without Borders, a conservation nonprofit. The organization said they "discovered the alarming rate while flying the Botswana government aerial [elephant] census."

Racist robocalls targeting Andrew Gillum, a black Democrat gubernatorial nominee in Florida, went to residents throughout the state recently in an apparent attempt to influence voting.

The 39-year-old Tallahassee mayor and upset candidate is the first black nominee from a major party for Florida governor.

In the latest blow to already fragile ties between the United States and Pakistan, the Defense Department said on Saturday it has suspended $300 million in funding to Islamabad over what it calls the government's failure to take action against terrorists.

A judge is facing death threats after granting bail to five adults in an abuse case involving nearly a dozen allegedly malnourished and dehydrated children found at a remote compound in New Mexico.

In an hours-long bail hearing on Monday, Judge Sarah Backus acknowledged "troubling facts" presented by prosecutors against Siraj Wahhaj, Jany Leveille, Lucas Morten, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj, who were arrested and charged with child abuse. However, Backus said prosecutors failed to identify any specific threats.

Puerto Rico's sole provider of electricity for 1.5 million residents says power has been returned to all homes that lost electricity from Hurricane Maria last September.

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority identified a family near the mountainous, rural barrios of Real and Anón, in Ponce, a city and municipality in the island's south, as their final customers to receive returned power. PREPA tweeted their image.

The Syrian army said via state media Sunday that it had captured four villages from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces near Syria's border with Iraq on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River, where Kurdish-led forces are in control.

In a statement to NPR, the SDF confirmed the offensive and said the regime and its allies began to target an SDF base Saturday night, beginning at the city of Deir Ezzor and ending at the Euphrates in an attempt to progress toward Kurdish-controlled areas.

Teachers' union leaders in Oklahoma have ended a nine-day, statewide strike after winning salary raises but seeing a lack of legislative action otherwise.

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