National/World

Hit by several scandals over food safety controls, McDonald's business in Japan has reported its worst annual results since it went public 15 years ago. The company reported a net loss of 34.704 billion yen — around $303 million.

Last year, sales at McDonald's Japan stores were down around 15 percent from 2014, the company says. The Japanese unit has now reported a net loss for two years in a row, the result of a sequence of scandals.

Erika Christakis' new book, The Importance Of Being Little, is an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards. Ditch the tired craft projects (yes you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word:

Play.

New Hampshire voters go to the polls Tuesday, and they will resolve a lot of questions. Here are four things the first-in-the-nation primary will tell us:

1. How much damage did the last debate do to Marco Rubio?

Rubio came into New Hampshire with a head of steam. He quickly moved into second place in the polls, and there was even some hope he could overtake Donald Trump in the Granite State. But then, the needle got stuck on his talking points in the ABC debate on Saturday, earning him the worst reviews of his — until now — charmed presidential run.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Badger Aids British Archaeologists

2 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Farm Contractors Balk At Obamacare Requirements

2 hours ago

Obamacare is putting the agricultural industry in a tizzy.

Many contractors who provide farm labor and must now offer workers health insurance are complaining loudly about the cost in their already low-margin business.

Some are also concerned that the forms they must file with the federal government under the Affordable Care Act will bring immigration problems to the fore. About half of the farm labor workforce in the U.S. is undocumented.

The company that built a 17-story apartment building that collapsed during Saturday's earthquake in Taiwan no longer exists, but three of its former executives have been arrested as prosecutors look into allegations of shoddy building practices.

Two passenger trains crashed in southern Germany Tuesday, killing at least nine people and wounding more than 100 — a third of them seriously. The accident in Bavaria happened shortly before 7 a.m., local time.

The best thing Luke Skywalker had going for him in the original trilogy was that he never had to worry about who was going to feed the war orphans left behind by the rebellion, or rebuild trashed moisture farms. No, if you're Luke, all you gotta do is show up every once in a while, blow up a Death Star or have a lightsaber duel with your weird dad. He got to be the clean and bright hero, never having to face the ugly realities of upsetting a massive bureaucracy, destroying vital infrastructure and all the other petty inconveniences that come with a war.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This story was originally posted on the website of member station NHPR:

If you want to know whether Hillary Clinton will stay close to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire on Tuesday or are looking for an early hint of how the Republican race will end up, here's a tip: Keep an eye on Rochester.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 KQED Public Media. To see more, visit KQED Public Media.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

They say when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter.

When Dixville Notch, in the far northern reaches of New Hampshire, voted just after midnight Tuesday, it didn't predict eight more months of Donald Trump.

But as with Pennsylvania's groundhog, the results — three votes for John Kasich, the only candidate to visit the town, and two for Trump, along with four for Bernie Sanders and zero for Hillary Clinton — are not necessarily predictive.

The sighs we notice usually accompany emotions like relief or discontent. But our brains are programmed to make us heave an unconscious sigh every five minutes or so — no matter how we feel.

"Sighing is vital to maintain lung function," says Jack Feldman, a brain scientist at UCLA. These periodic deep breaths reinflate tiny air sacs in the lungs that have gone flat. But the brain circuitry behind those reflexive sighs has been a mystery.

The wife of a dead ISIS leader has been charged with having a "role in a conspiracy that resulted in the death of American citizen Kayla Mueller in February 2015," Justice Department documents say.

Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, also known as Umm Sayyaf, is an Iraqi citizen and was the wife of ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf before he was killed in a U.S. military operation last year.

Sunday night's Super Bowl landed a huge TV audience for its battle between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, which the Broncos took 24-10. While a football game is a football game, the Super Bowl is also a huge pop culture event, from the halftime show to the buildup and the barrage of advertising. We sat down the Monday morning after to take apart the highs, the lows, and the Beyonce of it all.

Beyonce's 'Formation' Is A Visual Anthem

16 hours ago

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that Canada will cease its airstrikes against self-proclaimed Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria by Feb. 22.

It will remain part of the coalition targeting the militants.

Until very recently it was thought that just one bacterium was to blame for causing Lyme disease in humans. But it turns out that a second, related bug can cause it too.

In 2013, during routine testing of bacterial DNA floating around in the blood samples of people suspected of having Lyme disease, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized they were looking at something different.

If you watched Sunday's Super Bowl, how did you get it? Over cable? Rabbit ears? (Yes, those still work.) Or did you stream it online?

Do you know any global health stories that should be getting coverage — but are overlooked by the media?

The Gulf of Mexico is now open for commercial fish farming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last month that, for the first time in the U.S., companies can apply to set up fish farms in federal waters.

The idea is to compete with hard-to-regulate foreign imports. But opening the Gulf to aquaculture won't be cheap, and it could pose environmental problems.

Let's Get People Talking

17 hours ago

What happens if NPR and its Member stations asked people all over the country the same question?

This year NPR's political team has worked hard to find new ways to address the campaign--getting past the horse race to the crucial conversations happening across the country.

During the last week of January, NPR piloted a coordinated political conversation with several Member stations to create a national conversation around a topic that's on everyone's mind: voter anxiety.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

People tend to think of information overload as a fact of life in the 21st century. Lately, we've been asking whether it really has to be that way.

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