Back to school in Joplin – Wednesday is the start of the school year for students in Joplin, Missouri, a bittersweet time for a town still rebuilding from a May tornado that killed more than 150 people.
For Joplin's 2,200 high school students, reopening the schools means separating grades that usually study in the same building. Ninth- and 10th-graders will go to an existing middle school, while upperclassmen will attend classes at a mall.
Officials say the mall was the only place big enough to house the students. The school district spent $5.5 million to convert a 95,000-square-foot retail facility.
"Every time I drive by it, it's still really sad," said senior Lydia McAllister, looking at the ruins of Joplin High School, one of 10 school buildings damaged or destroyed by the storm.
Syria unrest – Syrian troops left the embattled eastern city of Deir Ezzor after "completing their mission of ridding the city of the armed terrorist groups," government-run media reported Wednesday. Anti-government protesters have for months been rallying to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Deaths at Yosemite – Sixteen people have died at Yosemite National Park in 2011 – about twice the usual amount, rangers say. They don't have a reason why the deaths are so high this year.
Five visitors have died this year from natural causes, but the others were accidental and often entirely preventable.
Rangers say some visitors take part in dangerous practices such as hiking treacherous trials in flip-flops, or climbing over safety rails to get better pictures or swimming in waters that are perilously close to waterfalls.
After climbing over a safety rail, three hikers were swept over the powerful 317-foot Vernal Fall in July, witnesses said.