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June 3, 2011

Residents of Newport Beach, Calif., are up in arms over the news that many city lifeguards make more than $100,000 a year, with two making $200,000. Lifeguard union president Brent Jacobson says the salaries reflect the extra challenges of patrolling a surfing mecca. "Lifeguarding here is different than any other place in the entire world," said Jacobson. The Week Staff

12:54 a.m. ET

A Russian orchestra held a surprise concert Thursday in the Syrian city of Palmyra, just weeks after the Islamic State's retreat.

The Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra performed in an ancient Roman amphitheater, conducted by Valery Gergiev, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin; another Putin associate, cellist Sergei Roldugin, played in the orchestra. Gergiev told the audience the concert was a protest against ISIS militants who destroyed swaths of the city and used the amphitheater for executions, Reuters reports, and Putin appeared via video. "Today's action involved major inconvenience and dangers for everyone, being in a country at war close to where hostilities are still ongoing," he said. "That has demanded great strength and personal courage from you all. Thank you very much."

Word spread about the concert just a few hours before it began, and the crowd was made up of area residents and Russian and Syrian military members. After Russian airstrikes bombarded the city in March, the Syrian government was able to regain control of Palmyra. When it was secured, Russian engineers visited the city to assess the damage done by ISIS, and the Russian government has already pledged to send experts to help with the restoration process. Catherine Garcia

12:45 a.m. ET
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The FBI has quietly interviewed some of Hillary Clinton's top aides over the past few weeks as they pursue their investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, U.S. officials told CNN and several other news outlets on Thursday. Those interviewed reportedly include Huma Abedin, Clinton's longtime adviser, and investigators from the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia hope to interview Clinton herself in coming weeks. The inquiry is focused on the security of Clinton's server and her handling of classified information, and such interviews are reportedly routine in such an investigation.

Federal investigators "have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules," The Washington Post reports, and "the involvement of the U.S. Attorney's Office is not indicative that charges are imminent or even likely. One official said prosecutors are wrestling with the question of whether Clinton intended to violate the rules, and so far, the evidence seemed to indicate she did not." The investigation is not over, however, and there is no deadline for its completion.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed the leaks. "From the start, Hillary Clinton has offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its review, and we hope and expect that anyone else who is asked would do the same," he said in a statement. "We are confident the review will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place." Peter Weber

May 5, 2016
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For the first time since 1980, North Korea is holding a ruling party congress, and leader Kim Jong Un is expected to declare his "Byongjin" policy, a push toward economic and nuclear development.

Thousands of delegates are attending the seventh party congress in Pyongyang, and a new central committee will be elected; experts say Kim loyalists will receive the most high-profile positions. On Friday morning, Kim's personal guard surrounded the hall where the congress is being held, proving that he is inside, the BBC reports. Foreign journalists have been granted permission to cover the event, but they have handlers and are not allowed to speak with citizens. Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2016
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On Thursday, entertainer Arsenio Hall filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against singer Sinead O'Connor for saying he gave drugs to Prince before his death.

On May 2, O'Connor wrote on her Facebook page that Prince was a "long time hard drug user," The Associated Press reports, adding, "Two words for the DEA investigating where Prince got his drugs over the decades... Arsenio Hall." She also wrote that she reported Hall to the Carver County Sheriff's Office, and they are "aware you spiked me years ago at Eddie Murphy's house."

The suit, filed in Los Angeles, calls O'Connor's claims "despicable, fabricated lies" and says O'Connor is "now known perhaps as much for her bizarre, unhinged Internet rants as for her music." It states that Hall has not seen O'Connor in 25 years, and even then he had "minimal contact" with her. In his suit, Hall also denies ever giving Prince illegal drugs or spiking O'Connor with any substance, and says O'Connor only met Prince a handful of times and "detested" him. Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2016

The out-of-control wildfire in Alberta, Canada, that's threatening thousands of homes and caused 88,000 residents to evacuate is so intense it has created its own weather system.

Brian Proctor, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada, told CBC News that firestorms alter weather patterns, funnel smoke and particulates into the stratosphere, and produce lightning. "They tend to promote their own kind of conditions," he said. "That's why you'll see the winds nears fires... that are significantly stronger than the surrounding atmosphere." The smoke and heat from a fire can cause storm clouds to form that are typically larger and darker than regular thunderstorm clouds. Proctor says that when there is turbulence in the atmosphere, lightning strikes can occur, but no rain. This can then lead to more fires, and because these storm clouds don't move on like regular weather systems, the firestorm remains stagnant. "It's almost a self-perpetuating situation," he said.

The fire in Fort McMurray now covers 85,000 hectares, about 10 times the size of Manhattan. The plume is visible from space, and there is concern that the flames will reach oil sands nearby. More than 350 firefighters are on the scene, and they are beginning to make some progress. Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2016
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A Los Angeles jury found Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a former LAPD garage attendant and garbage truck driver, guilty on Thursday of murdering nine women and one girl over the course of 30 years.

Dubbed the Grim Sleeper, he is believed to be one of the most prolific serial killers in California history. In addition to being found guilty of murdering 10 women between the ages of 15 and 35, Franklin, 63, was also found guilty on one charge of attempted murder. The first murder took place in the 1980s, and the last in 2007, authorities said, and the women's bodies were found discarded in trash bins and alleys around South Los Angeles, within a few miles of Franklin's house, CNN reports.

Police arrested Franklin in 2010 after conducting DNA testing, and prosecutors built their case on DNA and ballistic evidence and the testimony of a woman who survived an attack. It took less than two days to convict Franklin, and the penalty phase of the trial will start May 11. Prosecutors said a woman Franklin was convicted of raping in the 1970s, while he was in the Army stationed in Germany, may testify. He is eligible for the death penalty. Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2016
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Ben Carson is not interested in being Donald Trump's running mate, telling The Wall Street Journal on Thursday he would be "a distraction" and it's "too important a time in our life."

Carson is helping Trump in his quest to pick a vice presidential candiate, and he said Democrats may be vetted. "We would consider people who are Americans and who put America first," he said. In an interview with CNBC, Trump said there is "probably a 40 percent chance" he would choose one of the 16 Republican candidates who ran against him. "I've gotten to be friends with a lot of those people, and I guess perhaps enemies with a couple," he said. Catherine Garcia

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