Merrit Kennedy

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.

After years of legal wrangling and intimidation, New Orleans has begun the process of dismantling four monuments of the Confederate and Jim Crow eras.

The first monument, which honors members of a white supremacist paramilitary group who fought against the city's racially integrated, Reconstruction-era police force in 1874, was dismantled and removed before the sun rose Monday.

Following death threats, the contractors wore flak jackets and helmets as they broke down the Battle of Liberty Place monument, as WWNO's Tegan Wendland reports.

Afghanistan's defense minister and its army chief of staff stepped down in the wake of a Taliban-claimed attack Friday in which at least 100 Afghan soldiers died. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan since 2001.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the high-level resignations Monday, on the same day that U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in the country on an unannounced visit, as the Trump administration reviews its Afghanistan policy.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state's rapidly eroding coastline.

It's an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects.

"Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising sea levels have made the Louisiana coast the nation's most rapidly deteriorating shoreline," WWNO's Travis Lux tells our Newscast unit. "It loses the equivalent of one football field of land every hour."

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