WHY IT MATTERS: Education

WASHINGTON (AP) — THE ISSUE: Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year on the country's public schools. The U.S. has record-high graduation rates, 82 percent, but also stubborn achievement gaps and dismally lagging math and reading scores compared with other countries. And university degrees are leaving millions mired in debt. Few issues touch the lives of families like the state of education.

  • Written by JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press

Showcasing Lao culture, Obama pushes back on US isolationism

LUANG PRABANG, Laos (AP) — President Barack Obama ventured Wednesday to a remote mountain town in Laos to tour a centuries-old Buddhist temple, gently chiding Americans to resist turning a blind eye to the world outside their borders.

  • Written by KATHLEEN HENNESSEY, Associated Press, JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

Happy landings: 3 space station crew members back on Earth

After watching more than 2,750 sunrises from above the Earth, three crew members of the International Space Station returned to the planet for a sparkling sunrise back on Earth Wednesday.

  • Written by BY SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

Apple to show off new iPhones and maybe new ways to listen

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is expected to show off new iPhones, an updated smartwatch — and maybe some new gear for listening to both — during its annual fall product launch event Wednesday.

  • Written by BRANDON BAILEY, AP Technology Writer