Rick Fienberg / TravelQuest International / Wilderness Travel

What did indigenous peoples think of eclipses?  How did they interpret and react to them?  Those are just a few of the topics that will be covered in a class at UNC-Asheville this fall inspired by Monday's total solar eclipse that will pass through Western North Carolina.  BPR's Matt Bush spoke with the two professors that will lead the class - Juan Sanchez-Martinez (modern languages & indigenous studies) and Britt Lundgren (physics).    

At least 58 people were killed by police in the Philippines this week in two raids — the first and deadliest of which was celebrated by President Rodrigo Duterte as a successful part of his brutal war on drugs.

On Tuesday, a raid in the province of Bulacon left 32 people dead, The Associated Press reports. It was the highest single-day death toll of Duterte's crackdown on the drug trade. More than 100 accused drug offenders were arrested in the province, the news service says.

On Wednesday and into Thursday, operations in the capital city of Manila killed 26 more people.

Michael Zeiler / GreatAmericanEclipse.com

Unless you're walking to your spot to watch Monday's total solar eclipse in Western North Carolina, you will be sitting in some kind of traffic.  Authorities are expecting heavy traffic just about everywhere in the region, compounded by the fact many of the rural roads in the path of totality are only two lanes.  Karen Chavez of the Asheville Citizen-Times has been reporting on all parts of the solar eclipse.  She joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss the advisories that will be in effect, and what authorities are urging motorists to do on Monday.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

A leading Republican senator told reporters on Thursday that President Trump "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful."

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker was at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga and spoke to local reporters there. In video posted by Chloe Morrison of Nooga.com, Corker added, "And we need for him to be successful. Our nation needs for him to be successful."

Vice News Tonight correspondent Elle Reeve (@elspethreevespent last weekend embedded with the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally. The 22-minute documentary she aired takes viewers inside the movement, and features the voices of the event’s leaders, including white supremacist Christopher Cantwell.

This morning President Trump once again commented on the effort to remove Confederate statues around the country, tweeting, “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.”

Updated at 6:41 a.m. ET Friday

Hours after a van drove into a crowd of people in Barcelona, Spain, Spanish police say they stopped a second terrorist attack.

Authorities say the two attacks are linked.

Police say five suspects wearing explosives — later determined to be fake — were killed after a shootout with security forces in the Catalan coastal town of Cambrils located about 70 miles southwest of Barcelona. Six civilians and a police officer were injured, police said early Friday.

On Monday, Aug. 21 millions of Americans will experience a cosmic event of a lifetime: a total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 99 years that people from coast to coast can witness the moon completely covering the sun.

President Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, unloads on white nationalists, China and some of his administration colleagues in an interview with the liberal magazine The American Prospect.

Bannon — who successfully harnessed the so-called alt-right, a term used to describe white nationalists, as executive chairman of Breitbart News and later as an architect of Trump's unlikely election victory — dismissed white nationalist ideology as a "fringe element" that appeals to "losers" and a "collection of clowns."

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Arts & Performance

Blue Ridge Public Radio continues to invest in the development of local programming and content with the hiring of Matt Peiken as the NPR station’s first Arts Producer.

Peiken, whose entire journalism career has concentrated in covering arts and culture, will produce segments for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and will develop a range of digital elements for BPR’s web and mobile platforms. He’ll also lay the groundwork for a new, weekly arts and performance showcase for BPR.

WCQS

It's a bittersweet day here at Blue Ridge Public Radio.  Thirty one years ago this month, music director Dick Kowal hit the airwaves.   Today, he hosted his last show.   While it's  impossible to capture all of the amazing accomplishments of his talented career, we do have some highlights, and a few good stories.  BPR's Helen Chickering reports.

(Dick Kowal on the air)

“It’s about 6 minutes after 9, good morning.”

If you live in Western North Carolina, chances are, you know this voice.

(Dick Kowal on the air)