Robert Siegel

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The U.S. has begun airlifting humanitarian aid and conducting limited airstrikes in the attempt to protect Iraq's refugee populations of religious minorities. NPR's Tom Bowman talks with Robert Siegel about the possible policy options for the U.S. in Iraq.

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How well do we understand and act on probabilities that something will happen? A 30 percent chance of this or an 80 percent chance of that?

As it turns out, making decisions based on the odds can be an extremely difficult thing to do, even for people who study the science of how we make decisions.

The first Dutch investigators have reached the crash site of the Malaysian airliner shot down in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, fighting broke out in the outskirts of Donetsk between separatists and armed groups supporting the government in Kiev.

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According to a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Defense Force has been instructed to begin a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. The move comes 10 days after violence renewed between Hamas and Israel.

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A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying nearly 300 people has crashed in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. In the immediate aftermath, it is not clear whether the plane was shot down, but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is calling for a swift investigation.

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Israel stepped up its air assault on the Gaza Strip, following the killings of Israeli and Palestinian teens. Unlike air strikes in the past, Israel has tempered its initial show of force for several reasons, but the situation appears to be steadily intensifying.

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House Republicans voted Thursday on leadership positions in the party's caucus. While House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy stepped up to the role of majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise overcame a more crowded competition to replace McCarthy.

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At an unveiling in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon announced its entry into the smartphone market with a new device called "Fire." NPR's Martin Kaste was at the unveiling in Seattle, and he offers his take on the event.

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MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.

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