Lucy Perkins

Our series, "Take A Number," is exploring problems around the world — and the people who are trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

158,000. That's roughly how many refugees are stuck in limbo in Europe right now.

In December, it's all but impossible to avoid brushing shoulders with holiday cheer. Tinsel, garlands, wreaths and twinkling lights — it can often seem the decorations are everywhere.

Among the most famous of these many attractions are the window displays at Lord and Taylor, on the busy Fifth Avenue sidewalk in New York City. They're far more complicated than a few mannequins in Santa suits; they're more like festive pieces of art.

It wasn't all in your head — last month was hotter than ever before.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that July had the highest average temperatures in records since 1880.

And it's not just in the U.S. Average July temperatures around the world set heat records too, NPR's Kat Chow reports.

She tells our Newscast unit that:

"This confirms what NASA and a Japanese agency found using separate data.

The movie theater chain Regal Cinemas, which is run by Regal Entertainment Group, has announced that it is checking the bags of theatergoers.

In its admittance procedures online, Regal says that any bag or backpack is subject to inspection:

You may see new customer service technology at the airport soon. It's part of an effort by federal agencies to make it easier for people to give the government feedback, according to the Washington Post.

The equipment has a simple design, and it looks more like it belongs in a playroom than in an airport.

Thai police say they have video of a man who may be responsible for Monday's bombing in Bangkok. As we previously reported, the explosion killed at least 20 people.

As Michael Sullivan tells our Newscast unit from Bangkok, a sketch of the suspect was released Wednesday, and is based on images from surveillance cameras. The sketch shows a man apparently leaving a backpack at the Erawan shrine, minutes before the explosion took place.

Two police officers responded to a 911 call in March 2014 that ended in the killing of James Boyd, 38, a homeless man camping in the foothills outside Albuquerque, N.M.

Now a judge says there is probable cause to try officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy for murder, The Associated Press reports.

The AP notes that during a hearing:

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of racketeering conspiracy, bribery and mail fraud, writes The Associated Press.

As we previously reported, the government alleged last month that Fattah was involved in a widespread conspiracy that involved the theft of charitable funds, the illegal use of campaign contributions and bribery.

NPR's Eyder Peralta explained:

The Army is deploying 200 soldiers to help fight wildfires that are burning through about 1.1 million acres across the Western United States. That's according to a press release from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

"It's been nine years since wildfire was so widespread all at once that active military troops joined firefighters battling blazes," NPR's Howard Berkes reports. "Four military C-130 cargo planes are also in use as air tankers."

United States Steel Corp. says it is shutting down its blast furnace and steelmaking operations at its plant near Birmingham, Ala., this fall.

More than 1,000 U.S. Steel employees at Fairfield Works in the town of Fairfield will lose their jobs, NPR's Debbie Elliott reports. She adds:

"The nearly century-old plant once rolled steel used to build ships during World War I and was long the center of Birmingham's steel industry. It's located in the suburb of Fairfield, established by U.S. Steel as a planned company mill town in the early 1900s."

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