Merrit Kennedy

Old rocks found in the Australian Outback have some weighty implications, scientists say: They hint at the environment in which life on Earth originated and suggest a location to search for life on Mars.

Scientists in Australia say they have found biological signatures of life in rocks that also show the presence of a hot spring, lending weight to a theory that the earliest life on Earth might have originated in freshwater hot springs on land rather than in deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Luxury brand Coach says it has reached a deal to acquire smaller rival Kate Spade in a cash deal worth $2.4 billion.

The announcement confirms months of rumors that the two New York-based brands were in talks to join forces and comes as Coach is trying to attract millennial customers. Both boards unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Syria's foreign minister said Monday that the government supports a new Russian-backed deal to create "de-escalation zones," though it does not support the presence of international forces to enforce them.

But it remains to be seen whether this latest international effort will be any different than numerous other attempts that have thus far failed to end the six-year conflict.

The sister of President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, highlighted her powerful brother as she pitched financing the family firm's real estate project in New Jersey to Chinese investors.

North Korean state media reports the country has detained a U.S. citizen — the fourth U.S. citizen being held there amid rising tensions between the two countries.

The official Korean Central News Agency identifies the man detained Saturday as Kim Hak Song, an employee of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).

The owner of the Pulse Nightclub, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, has announced plans to turn it into a memorial and museum to commemorate the tragic event.

"This must and will be a healing initiative, one that I believe will inspire supporters who share our vision and understand the sacred responsibility to which we have been entrusted," Barbara Poma told reporters on Thursday at the Pulse nightclub site.

A court in Ontario, Canada, has cleared an animal rights activist charged with criminal mischief for giving water to pigs en route to the slaughterhouse.

The case against Anita Krajnc, who founded the animal rights group Toronto Pig Save, has garnered international attention. She faced the possibility of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.

President Trump emphasized his commitment to end the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there's a "very good chance" for a peace deal and vowing to do "whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement."

Trump's remarks came in a joint statement following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday.

"We'll start a process which hopefully will lead to peace," Trump said, standing alongside the Palestinian leader.

Nigeria's president hasn't been seen in public for more than a week and he's missed his third straight cabinet meeting. That's got Nigerians wondering what's going on with his health.

Muhammadu Buhari is under increasing pressure to "disclose the nature of his illness to the nation," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports. She says some prominent Nigerians are demanding that he take medical leave amid questions about his fitness to govern.

This car race involved years of training, feats of engineering, high-profile sponsorships, competitors from around the world and a racetrack made of gold.

The Archdiocese of Kansas City says it is severing its years-long relationship with Girl Scouts in nearly two dozen Kansas counties because the organization promotes materials "reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture."

"The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one," Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said in a statement released Monday. He asked pastors to "begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops."

As the U.S. considers sending more troops to Afghanistan and reviews its current strategy there, a new report from a U.S. government watchdog paints a bleak picture of the country's security and corruption issues.

Congress has appropriated more than $117 billion total to Afghanistan reconstruction efforts, and 60 percent of that has gone to the support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). At the same time, Taliban militants have gained territory during this past year, and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says the conflict is at a "stalemate."

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

People are taking stock of the damage after severe weather over the weekend killed at least 14 people in five Southern states.

Flooding, lightning and tornadoes caused at least five deaths in Arkansas, four in Texas, two each in Mississippi and Missouri and one in Tennessee. The American Red Cross is calling it the deadliest start to tornado season in nine years.

To legally justify its military actions against the Islamic State, the U.S. has relied on a piece of 2001 legislation, written years before the extremist group came into existence.

Now 46 representatives from both parties say in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan that it's time for Congress to "immediately begin a serious debate" on authorization for the use military force against the Islamic State.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Competing demonstrations in support of and against conservative commentator Ann Coulter's controversial speech, which had been planned for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, were held amid a heavy police presence. Despite some shouting and harsh words, both groups were peaceful.

Coulter's planned appearance had been canceled Wednesday after school officials said they wouldn't be able to adequately secure the site and sponsors pulled out.

Arkansas is scheduled to execute convicted murderer Kenneth William tonight, who has been on death row since 2000.

Williams is set to be the fourth and final inmate executed there this month, after the state initially scheduled eight condemned inmates to die over 11 days — the fastest pace of executions in decades.

After a lengthy back-and-forth, conservative commentator Ann Coulter's speech scheduled for tomorrow at University of California, Berkeley appears to be off – apparently for multiple reasons.

And there is some dispute about who actually did the canceling.

Mexico has long argued that U.S. labeling rules for dolphin-safe tuna unfairly restrict its access to the U.S. market. And in a decision Tuesday, the World Trade Organization agreed, saying Mexico may seek $163 million annually from the U.S. in retaliatory measures.

The controversial labeling rules, aimed at protecting dolphins from getting ensnared in fishing nets and killed, date back to 1990.

People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They're made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But the humble wax worm may hold the key to biodegrading them.

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the caterpillar larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm.

North Korea marked Tuesday's anniversary of the founding of its military with artillery drills, celebrations that took place as a U.S. guided missile submarine docked in South Korea and U.S. Navy ships conducted exercises with South Korea and Japan.

Meanwhile, envoys from the U.S., South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo to discuss the rising tensions with the rogue nation and "map out further punishment if the North goes ahead with more nuclear or missile tests," NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

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