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International headlines

The latest news from around the world from NPR and its team of reporters

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Listen closely to what U.S. officials like to say about America's long security alliance with South Korea, where 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in bases around the country. Something in the language perpetually pops up:

"America's commitment to defending our allies ... remain[s] ironclad," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Seoul in February.

Three years ago, the Islamic State overran large swaths of Iraq and Syria, and soon declared a caliphate that straddled the border between the two countries. Today, the group's physical caliphate is declining — and the group is preparing its base of fighters for a future under siege.

One of the ways it is doing that is through its musical propaganda.

A traditional drink is giving a boost to the economy of one of the poorest states in Mexico. It's called mezcal, a pungent booze made from the agave plant — the same plant used to make Mexico's biggest spirit export, tequila. Investors north of the border are taking notice of Mezcal's newfound popularity and are flocking to the southern state of Oaxaca, its main production hub.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET

Police in the Australian state of Victoria say they have charged Roman Catholic Cardinal George Pell with "historical sexual offenses." The Archdiocese of Sydney says Pell will return from Vatican City, where he is the top financial adviser to Pope Francis, to fight the charges.

Boaty McBoatface is back.

And according to the British Antarctic Survey, the world's most famous unmanned submersible returned from its inaugural voyage last week with a trove of "unprecedented data about some of the coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The next Summer Olympics are still three years off, and already the competition has begun for stand-up paddleboarding.

KRISTIN THOMAS: What is stand-up paddling? Well, it's a hybrid sport. It's the most versatile watercraft that's ever been.

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