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As birds flitted on and off of colorful feeders in a flicker of flapping feathers, and chattered in chirps — punctuated by the occasional trill — a band of birdwatchers offered a cacophony of their own.

"I heard a red-winged blackbird!"

"There's a blue jay!"

"Is that a downy woodpecker?"

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The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is cutting its payouts in half for some and by as much as 70 percent for others, as the fund faces a surge in claims ahead of its expiration date in December 2020.

The fund, which was opened in 2011, compensates for deaths and illnesses due to exposure to toxins at the sites of the Sept. 11 attacks. The $7.3 billion fund has already paid out about $5 billion to 21,000 claimants. But it still has about 19,000 additional unpaid claims to address.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And, finally, today, even as we've learned of yet another deadly mass shooting in our country, this time in Illinois, we are still remembering the tragedy in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen students and staff members were killed and another 17 were wounded one year ago. Annabel Claprood was a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School then. She survived the events of last February 14 but struggles to overcome the trauma. Jessica Bakeman of member station WLRN spent time with Annabel over the last year and brings us her journey through the seasons.

Remembering Mars Rover, 'Opportunity'

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And, finally, today, even as we've learned of yet another deadly mass shooting in our country, this time in Illinois, we are still remembering the tragedy in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen students and staff members were killed and another 17 were wounded one year ago. Annabel Claprood was a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School then. She survived the events of last February 14 but struggles to overcome the trauma. Jessica Bakeman of member station WLRN spent time with Annabel over the last year and brings us her journey through the seasons.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And, finally, today, even as we've learned of yet another deadly mass shooting in our country, this time in Illinois, we are still remembering the tragedy in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen students and staff members were killed and another 17 were wounded one year ago. Annabel Claprood was a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School then. She survived the events of last February 14 but struggles to overcome the trauma. Jessica Bakeman of member station WLRN spent time with Annabel over the last year and brings us her journey through the seasons.

Actor Bruno Ganz, whose long career and signature roles as an angel in the film Wings of Desire and Adolf Hitler in Downfall made him one of the most recognized actors of German-language cinema, died on Friday. He was 77.

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The gunman who killed five people in Aurora, Ill., and wounded five police officers started shooting after learning he was being fired, police said on Saturday.

The U.S.-led liberal world order is falling apart, according to the organizers of a gathering of world leaders and defense chiefs in Germany that has met annually since the Cold War.

The Munich Security Conference report said the Trump administration displays an "irritating enthusiasm for strongmen across the globe" and "disdain for international institutions and agreements."

Updated at 10:14 a.m. ET

The Vatican has defrocked former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, it said Saturday, making him the highest-ranking church official to date to be expelled from the priesthood for sex abuse.

The U.S. effort to distribute tons of food and medicine to needy Venezuelans is more than just a humanitarian mission. The operation is also designed to foment regime change in Venezuela — which is why much of the international aid community wants nothing to do with it.

Humanitarian operations are supposed to be neutral. That's why the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations agencies and other relief organizations have refused to collaborate with the U.S. and its allies in the Venezuelan opposition who are trying to force President Nicolás Maduro from power.

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