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Nasty, brutish and short.

Until about the last decade or so, that is how many of us were accustomed to thinking about Neanderthal life.

But a lot has changed since then, not least of which is the emergence of smoking gun DNA evidence that Neanderthals are, in fact, family.

Now a new study runs counter to earlier thinking by suggesting that Neanderthals reached maturity at about the same rate as modern humans.

Updated 10:10 p.m. ET Fri

Though the brunt of Hurricane Maria has left Puerto Rico, the island's water worries continue. On Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported that the Guajataca Dam in the northwest is "failing," causing flash flooding. Buses were trying to evacuate people from the area "as quickly as they can," the service said.

Compounding Puerto Rico's devastation in the wake of Hurricane Maria is the fact that so much is still unknown. Because most of the island's cellphone sites are out of service and the power grid is down, it has been difficult or impossible to connect with the people who live there — whether from the mainland or from another part of the island.

Atlanta resident Silkia Babilonia, who lives in Atlanta, says that since the storm, she hasn't been able to reach friends and family on the island's west side.

Iran unveiled a new ballistic missile Friday, showing off the weapon during a military parade in Tehran. "When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission," President Hassan Rouhani said.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain may, once again, be the savior of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The Arizona Republican announced in a statement on Friday that he opposes the latest GOP legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Protesters were forcibly ejected from a speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York City on Thursday, in the latest U.S. confrontation involving protests against Turkey's leader.

Erdogan was speaking to an audience at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square when, as the AP reports, someone shouted "Terrorist!"

Sometimes it's hard to get people to pay attention to the biggest problems of the world — poverty, hunger, disease. But what if they were printed on M&M's?

North Korea has suggested that it could test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, the latest in an escalating tit-for-tat between leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump.

If Pyongyang makes good on the threat, it would mean marrying the two most powerful weapons known to man: a fusion-type nuclear weapon and a ballistic missile.

"This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean," North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York on Thursday in response to a question about what action the regime might take against the U.S.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders plan to hold a controversial independence referendum on Monday. Kurds are expected to overwhelmingly vote in favor of separating from Iraq. The United States and other allies have warned them not to go ahead.

Here's what to know:

Who and where are the Kurds?

An estimated 30 million Kurds live in territory overlapping northern Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. They are the fourth-biggest ethnic group in the region after Arabs, Persians and Turks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union are poised to win Germany's national elections Sept. 24. But for the first time since the Second World War, Germany's Parliament, the Bundestag, also looks set to include an extreme right-wing party — the Alternative fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) or AfD.

Since its founding in 2013, the party, led by economist Alice Weidel and former CDU politician Alexander Gauland, has been shaking up the German political landscape. It is currently represented in 13 of Germany's 16 state legislative bodies.

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