A Capitol Fourth: 35th Anniverary

Celebrating 35 spectacular years on air and kicking off the country’s 239th birthday with an all-star musical extravaganza that puts viewers front and center for the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation. Premieres Saturday, July 4 at 8:00 pm A Capitol Fourth
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I finally reached the outskirts of my community after a 5-mile, uphill bike ride from the town where I go to buy groceries.

Hot, exhausted and loaded down with rice, bananas and mangoes, I didn't have the energy to go the final few hundred yards to reach the compound where I live.

Luckily, I didn't have to.

From the distance I heard cries of "n be Wumpini lo lo ni." That means "Welcome home my sister Wumpini." (That's my local name; it means God's gift.)

Independence Day is typically filled with revelry — many people drink American beer, shoot explosives into the sky and rock red, white and blue apparel that may not be appropriate for everyday wear. It's also a day full of interesting, quirky history that people usually don't talk about between filling their mouths with hot dogs and singing The Star Spangled Banner off-key.

But if you're destined to spend your holiday at, say, a company cookout, here are five things you may not have known about Independence Day that you can use as conversation starters:

As they rapidly run out of cash, Greece's banks could hardly be in a more precarious position.

For months, as this crisis has intensified people have been slowly withdrawing their money. The banks have been able to do business only because of emergency loans from the European Central Bank.

But when Greece missed a payment to the International Monetary Fund this week, the ECB decided not to lend any more money.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you five reads.

From Ina Jaffe, NPR's Los Angeles-based correspondent:

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

In Florida, the official state animal triggers mixed feelings. The Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for nearly 50 years. From a low point in the 1970s when there were only about 20 panthers in the wild, the species has rebounded.

Now, nearly 200 range throughout southwest Florida. And some officials, ranchers and hunters in the state say that may be about enough.

Florida panthers are a subspecies of the cougar or mountain lion. They're slightly smaller than their cousins, but like them, the panthers need lots of room to roam.

A sun-powered airplane has landed in Hawaii after a five-day journey from Japan that smashed the previous record of 76 hours for the longest duration nonstop solo flight.

Pilot André Borschberg set the Solar Impulse 2 down on the tarmac at Kalaeloa Airport outside Honolulu after flying for 120 hours from Nagoya, his team reports.

Iceland's minority Pirate Party has its first major legislative victory — repealing a 75-year-old blasphemy law that made it a crime to "ridicule or insult" the teachings of a legally recognized religious community.

An Internet insurrection is taking place on Reddit, where moderators have shut down many of the social sharing site's most popular sections in an apparent protest over the dismissal of Victoria Taylor.

In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

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