Colin Dwyer

It's a fantasy that goes back centuries: a message in a bottle, carried ashore from far-off lands. Authors, artists and children alike have dreamed of such a gift from the sea.

This time, though, it's not a bottle that washes ashore. It's eggs — thousands of little toy eggs.

That's what happened on the German island of Langeoog this week. Perched just off the North Sea coast, it found itself buffeted by an invasion of multicolored plastic eggs — much to the delight of local children, because the eggs contained toys.

At least 33 inmates have been killed in an uprising at the largest prison in the northernmost state of Brazil, according to news reports citing local officials. The violence, which occurred overnight in Roraima state, comes just five days after Brazil's deadliest prison massacre in nearly 25 years.

That violence last weekend left at least 56 prisoners dead in a penitentiary in Manaus, just south of Roraima in the massive state of Amazonas.

Just before dawn Thursday, at Tokyo's historic Tsukiji market, a familiar face walked away with the biggest fish in town. Kiyoshi Kimura won the first auction of the year at the market, just as he has for six years running.

And to the winner go the spoils: a 466-pound Pacific bluefin tuna, which ultimately cost Kimura 74.2 million yen — or about $632,000. That comes out to more than $1,300 a pound for Kimura, whose Kimura Corp. owns a restaurant chain called Sushi Zanmai.

Dylann Roof delivered his opening statement in a South Carolina courtroom Wednesday, as the penalty phase of his federal trial got underway. Roof, who was convicted last month of murdering nine black churchgoers, will be representing himself as jurors weigh whether to give him the death penalty or life in prison.

His remarks were brief, focused only on defending his decision to dismiss his lawyers for this phase of the trial.

He said it's "absolutely true" that he chose to represent himself so that his lawyers would not present evidence of mental illness.

Here's a timely reminder for all you would-be revelers out there: Be careful with your countdowns this New Year's Eve. There will be a little extra time to bask in the glow of a retreating 2016 — or curse its name, as the case may be.

Whatever your inclination may be, one thing is certain: Before the year is out, the world's foremost authority on time will be adding one more second to the clock.

The plan began with an idle thought.

Glancing at a map earlier this month, Owen Delaney realized something funny: Seen from above, the Diana Fountain in London's Bushy Park bears a striking resemblance to the bulbous nose of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — at least, it would if that famous nose of his were blue. At any rate, that fountain-nose would look better if seen in the context of a full face.

So, Delaney decided to do it himself.

Finally, after more than 120 years, Paul Smith has recovered something he never knew was missing in the first place.

The headmaster at Hereford Cathedral School, near the boundary between Wales and England, had been looking at his mail earlier this month when he noticed a package wrapped in brown paper addressed to him. Smith guessed immediately that the package contained a thick book — but it wasn't until he read the note that came with it that he realized just how long that very book had been around.

The United Kingdom's fertility regulator has put its seal of approval on the "cautious use" of techniques to create a baby from the DNA of three people. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, or HFEA, announced Thursday that it will now begin to accept applications from fertility clinics that wish to become licensed to perform the procedure.

The decision means the U.K. will sanction and regulate the techniques, known broadly as mitochondrial donation, "in certain, specific cases."

In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday, a special commission to South Sudan described the state of the country in the starkest terms possible. Atrocities like murder and gang rape are happening on an "epic" scale, reported the commission's chief, who warned that the world's youngest country now "stands on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war."

Updated at 10:52 a.m. ET Dec. 11

Turkey has declared a national day of mourning after two explosions struck a large soccer stadium in Istanbul, leaving at least 38 people dead and 155 others wounded, according to the Turkish interior minister. Among those killed were 30 police officers.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, released a statement claiming responsibility for the massive car bomb, which detonated outside the Besiktas stadium well after it had emptied of fans. The attack targeted the dozens of riot police stationed outside.

In 2010, Chris Bertish paddled into 25-foot waves en route to a win at the Mavericks Surf Contest, an annual competition at one of the world's most famous (and nastiest) big-wave breaks. On Tuesday, Bertish paddled out to conquer something even more massive — roughly 4,600 miles larger, in fact.

The 42-year-old South African surfer and sailor set out to become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean unassisted on a stand-up paddleboard.

The Jill Stein campaign plans to bring her fight for a statewide ballot recount in Pennsylvania to federal court.

Jonathan Abady, lead counsel to Stein's recount efforts, said in a statement late Saturday that starting Monday, the campaign will "file for emergency relief in federal court, demanding a statewide recount on constitutional grounds."

Indian moviegoers are set to get a hefty dose of patriotism with their big-screen previews.

According to an interim order handed down Wednesday by two justices on India's Supreme Court, movie theaters nationwide must play the country's national anthem before each feature film begins. What's more, the audience members must stand in observance, while an Indian flag is depicted on the big screen and the doors of the theater are temporarily closed to prevent distractions.

It was in 1974 that William Christenberry found the little red house.

The photographer and painter, a vital chronicler of rural Alabama, came across the building standing alone among the pine trees, deep in the Talladega National Forest. All he had with him was his tiny, no-frills Brownie camera — a long-cherished gift that "Santa brought my sister and me."

Rarely has a single door attracted so much media attention.

All weekend, cameras have been trained on the wood-paneled door of the clubhouse at the Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J., as the journalists behind them sought to suss out clues to the next step in President-elect Donald Trump's transition efforts. And on Sunday, those clues trickled in with each new arrival.

Less than a week after his election, Donald Trump has begun to fill out the team he plans to bring with him to the White House. The president-elect announced Sunday that he has selected Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to serve as chief of staff in his incoming administration.

In the same announcement, Priebus' appointment shared top billing with the news that Trump campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon will serve as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president.

Overnight Saturday, an apparent firebomb burned through the Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina's Orange County. A bottle of flammable liquid was thrown through one of the building's windows, igniting a four-room fire and leaving behind blackened walls and charred campaign posters — but no casualties. No one was injured in the attack.

Now, a day after the destruction in Hillsborough, N.C., politicians on both sides of the aisle are decrying the incident.

Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. The prolific musician is the first Nobel winner to have forged a career primarily as a singer-songwriter. What's more, he's also the first American to have won the prize in more than two decades. Not since novelist Toni Morrison won in 1993 has an American claimed the prize.

From a group of 40, the finalists for the National Book Awards have been whittled to just half that number. The National Book Foundation released its shortlists Thursday for its annual prize in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.

Say one thing for certain: The lists don't lack for leading lights.

When President Obama doled out the 2015 National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals on Thursday, plenty of the artists and arts patrons he draped with awards had familiar names — including Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Terry Gross and nearly two dozen others.

From the lingering sins of a nation's snarled roots to the complexities of mental illness and even to the colorful quest for a name of one's own, the books that round out this year's Kirkus Prize shortlists won't let you easily forget history — on whatever scale it's defined.

From the lingering sins of a nation's snarled roots to the complexities of mental illness and even to the colorful quest for a name of one's own, the books that round out this year's Kirkus Prize shortlists won't let you easily forget history — on whatever scale it's defined.

The U.S. has halted an attack in eastern Syria amid fears that the airstrike hit Syrian soldiers in the region on Saturday. The attack, which had been targeting Islamic State militants, hit Syrian soldiers instead, according to the Russian military.

"The coalition airstrike was halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military," U.S. Central Command announced in a statement.

And so the opening salvo of the National Book Awards has been launched ... gradually.

Over the past four days, the National Book Foundation has been rolling out the lists of nominees for its prestigious literary prize in waves — beginning the week by revealing the nominees for its young people's literature, nonfiction and poetry prizes. On Thursday, the foundation capped the multiday rollout with the release of its longlist of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

Nearly 27 years ago, Jacob Wetterling was abducted at gunpoint while out for a bike ride with his brother and a friend in St. Joseph, Minn. The masked assailant let the others go unharmed, provided they flee; the 11-year-old Wetterling, however, the assailant held onto.

To this day, Wetterling's 1989 abduction remains unsolved despite decades of national attention. But on Saturday, Minnesota officials offered some measure of closure nevertheless, announcing that the boy's remains had been identified.

Join me, if you will, on a brief trip down memory lane — back to Wednesday, when authorities told residents of a small Colorado town that their tap water had been laced with THC. At the time, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said that multiple tests of a local well had turned up "presumptive positive" for the compound, best known as the mind-altering component in marijuana.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

Walking among the California redwoods, drifting blank-brained on a break from college, I got to thinking about shoes. I can't say why, exactly. Perhaps it was because they were touching my feet.

Less than 24 hours after a truck sped down more than a mile of a beachside promenade in Nice, France, claiming the lives of at least 84 people and wounding many others, details are beginning to surface about the victims of the attack.

All five of those killed Thursday night at the Dallas protest were law enforcement officers — four of whom served with the Dallas Police Department, while a fifth worked for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, or DART. That DART officer has been identified by the department as Brent Thompson.

A planned white nationalist rally unraveled into violence in Sacramento, as counter-demonstrators clashed with the gathering just outside the California Capitol. At least 10 victims have been hospitalized with what the Sacramento Fire Department characterized as "critical trauma stab wounds."

Officials say many others suffered minor cuts, scrapes and bruises.

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