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Ebrahim Pourfaraj wants to build the biggest hotel in all of Iran.

He's already started his project in the far north Tehran, a wealthy zone where the city climbs up the slopes of the snow-capped Alborz Mountains.

You get out of the car, carefully stepping over the little mountain stream that flows in a channel beside the curb. After stepping through a construction trailer, you emerge on a steel-mesh platform looking over the edge of an enormous hole.

Sunday's Super Bowl 50 — Carolina Panthers versus the Denver Broncos — could mark the end of an era.

Peyton Manning's last game.

The veteran Broncos quarterback turns 40 next month. After a season plagued by injury and poor play, many suggested it was time to retire. Manning fueled speculation about his future after Denver won the AFC Championship game and microphones heard him tell New England head coach Bill Belichick, "This may be my last rodeo."

Florida is one of several U.S. states now reporting a few isolated cases of people infected with the Zika virus. In response, Florida's Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency in five counties in hopes of getting ahead of the virus's spread.

So far, just 12 cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported to health authorities in Florida, all of them among travelers who contracted the disease outside the U.S. But Scott figures it's only a matter of time before the virus starts showing up among mosquitoes in some regions of the state, too.

For Republicans who aren't named Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, the goal in New Hampshire's upcoming primary is to finish second — at best.

That's the best outcome the establishment Republican contenders can hope for following this week's Iowa caucuses, where Cruz and Trump topped the field in a tight three-way race with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, the band known for hits like "Shining Star and "Boogie Wonderland," died in his sleep overnight. He was 74.

Verdine White posted the following message on the group's Facebook page:

New advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at preventing fetal alcohol syndrome has created quite a stir.

The CDC estimates that about 3 million women "are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy."

Members of Congress at a Thursday hearing wrestled with questions about why the prices of some old drugs are rising so fast.

Much of the session held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was dominated by Martin Shkreli, the bad-boy former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who earned notoriety by raising the price 5,000 percent for the drug Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis.

More than a year ago, 18-year-old Michael Brown's death in a police shooting roiled the small town of Ferguson, Mo., and sparked nationwide protests. Recovery and negotiations have been going on since then, but residents have different ideas about how the city should move forward.

Next week, a negotiated settlement between the city and the Justice Department overhauling the department's practices will come up for a city council vote.

For the first few minutes of his appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, pharma bad boy Martin Shkreli was the soul of decorum.

He sat placidly, hands clasped, a polite smile fixed upon his face, as members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee fired questions at him.

And to every question he gave the same answer:

For the past two years, Joseph Richardson has been trying to figure out how to keep young black men with knife and gunshot wounds from turning up again with similar injuries at Prince George's Hospital Trauma Center outside Washington, D.C.

For Carnival in Brazil, lots of women don giant feather headdresses and skimpy bikinis.

But for a pre-Carnival event, Elaine Cuoto is dressed as a mosquito — complete with a long proboscis and gossamer wings.

She is part of a group of health workers dancing by a metro station in a working-class neighborhood of Rio's north zone. A few others are wearing mosquito costumes as well. And they're singing a catchy tune:

"If Zika attacks, use this number to report it, 7-4-6. Pay attention!"

On the fifth floor of South Korea's sprawling National Library is a place far more fascinating than its name suggests: The North Korea Information Center.

Here you can read every edition of North Korea's national newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, dating to its first publication in the 1970s. Or peruse a collection of 100,000 North Korean books and videos — fiction, nonfiction and the complete teachings of the autocratic dynasty that runs the country.

The federal indictment of Ammon Bundy and 15 other militants accuses them of conspiracy and using threats and intimidation to maintain their occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as well as trying to coerce the local population.

The British car show Top Gear will have a fresh central cast when its 23rd season airs in May – but many TV fans will see a familiar face on the show, which announced Thursday that it has hired Matt LeBlanc, the former Friends star, as a new co-host.

Employers are pushing workers to get in shape and become more fit through workplace wellness programs. But if employers use body mass index as a yardstick for health, then that could unfairly penalize millions of Americans, a study finds.

Doctors contend that BMI's usefulness ends at a rough indication that a patient should be checked for things like high blood pressure or cholesterol.

So, you know that presidential election you've been hearing so much about?

Well, you're not alone.

A new survey conducted last month found there's a lot of interest in the presidential campaign; nine in 10 American adults had learned something about the election in the past week.

If you're a fan of trivia, you might want to remember the name Dree Hemingway. She's the first Playboy Playmate to be featured in the magazine's new life without full-frontal nudity.

Hemingway — Miss March 2016 — is the great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. According to her bio sheet on Playboy's website, she's 28, drinks only tequila and is a fan of the band alt-J. Her mother, Mariel Hemingway, was on the cover of Playboy in 1982.

Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive who inspired wrath when he raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday for a hearing on prescription drug prices.

But his testimony was far from fruitful.

"Squat! Squat! Squat! Higher! Faster!"

In the basement of the Duane Physics and Astrophysics building at the University of Colorado Boulder, a science demonstration is going on, but it looks more like a vaudeville act.

One by one, students balance precariously on a rotating platform. Then they are handed what looks like a spinning bicycle wheel, holding it by two handles that stick out from either side of what would be the hub of the wheel. When you flip the wheel over, like a pizza, your body starts rotating in the opposite direction.

For the past 40 years, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status has been vigorously defended by one man: Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

He is the nation's longest-serving secretary of state, taking office in 1976, one year before New Hampshire lawmakers mandated that the Granite State go first in primary voting.

At a one-day donor meeting in London, leaders and diplomats from 20 countries around the world have gathered to pledge funds to help victims of the ongoing crisis in Syria.

They hoped to raise $9 billion; they pledged a total of nearly $11 billion.

You can see some of the pledges, and hear about the conference from NPR's Greg Myre, over at Here & Now.

Among the noteworthy pledges: The U.S. has committed about $900 million, and Britain has offered $1.75 billion between now and 2020.

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In my house growing up, the walls of every room — including the bathroom — were decorated with several calendars. (Is this a Chinese-American thing? An immigrant family thing? I've always wondered.)

Sole Air Traveler 'Felt Like A Rock Star'

Feb 4, 2016
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and submit to arrest on Friday if a U.N. panel rules against him. Assange had taken refuge at the embassy in 2012, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over an allegation of rape.

In a statement posted on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed, Assange writes:

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Smokers In Italy Face Steep New Fines

Feb 4, 2016
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Unpaid Water Bills In Flint Could Hinder Repairs

Feb 4, 2016

High levels of lead in their drinking water have Flint, Mich., residents relying on cases of bottled water for just about everything. So it may come as no surprise that thousands of them have stopped paying their water bills.

Lynna Kaucheck of the not-for-profit group Food and Water Watch delivered 21,000 signatures to the Flint mayor's office last week calling for a moratorium on drinking water bills.

"All of this is a lot for people to handle, and enough is enough," she said. "Flint residents need relief."

Oregon's New Site To Explore: Valhalla

Feb 4, 2016
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The world of haute cuisine lost one of its brightest stars over the weekend.

Benoit Violier, a French Swiss chef who many said was the best in the world, died in his home in Switzerland in what appears to have been a suicide. He was 44.

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