Over the past three weeks, people have been tumbling into emergency rooms across the country, seriously ill after using a synthetic drug known as K2 or spice.

Updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

Loretta Lynch is the new U.S. attorney general.

Lynch was sworn in today by Vice President Joe Biden, who said the daughter of a Baptist minister who preached during the sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., will now be "leading the march to a more perfect union."

Lynch, 55, is the nation's 83rd attorney general and the first black woman to hold the position. She said during a ceremony at the Justice Department that she would work to "imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness" to protect the rights of all.

With the U.S. combat role over in Afghanistan, the country's security now depends on men like Sgt. Maj. Faiz Mohammed Wafa, one of the leaders of the Afghan commandos.

On this day, the Afghan sergeant is screaming at trainees at Camp Commando, a training center built by the Americans in the hills south of Kabul. Two dozen trainees are seated in the dirt in full combat gear. Wafa is trying to teach them the proper way to clear a house, searching room to room for insurgents.

"I told you 10 times," he says. "Hold your weapons correctly!"

In Baltimore, the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died after being arrested, was underway Monday. Gray's family and many public figures are calling for peace, after a weekend that saw violence and arrests.

"We must not allow an already tragic situation to tear our community apart," Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said in a statement.

Taking the same stance as the Kentucky Derby and other big events, the All England Lawn Tennis Club is telling ticket holders for this year's Wimbledon not to try to bring selfie sticks to matches. The club reportedly cited the devices' "nuisance value."

Large music festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza banned the photo-taking props last month, with Coachella dismissing them as "narciss-sticks." Many museums and galleries have similar policies.

Six writers have withdrawn from the PEN American Center's annual gala on May 5 in protest against the free-speech organization's decision to give the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award.

More than 1,000 days after James Holmes opened fire on an audience at a midnight movie in Aurora, Colo., his trial will begin in earnest Monday.

His defense team admits Homes killed 12 people and injured 70 more; the trial is expected to turn on questions about Holmes' sanity — and whether he should be executed.

Nepal's devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors' nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.

Update at noon, ET: Death Toll Rises Above 4,000

We've updated this post with the latest figures from officials in Nepal.

Our original post continues:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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