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Why Are Diamonds Worth So Much?

Jul 2, 2016
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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Did you know the United Kingdom is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to aid for global health and development?

The amount given in 2015 was the equivalent of $18.7 billion in U.S. dollars. That's second only to the $31.08 billion from the United States. It's an impressive total given the comparative size of the two countries and their economies.

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

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

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

U.S. transportation authorities are investigating the deadly collision of a Tesla Model S car. And many reports say the fatal crash has heightened concern about self-driving cars. Which may be true. Except — Model S isn't a self-driving car.

Whenever July 4th lands on a Monday, travel surges as Americans take advantage of the long weekend. And you might assume the extra demand for gasoline would send pump prices higher.

But this year, drivers are discovering that prices have been falling in the run-up to the holiday — down to the lowest mid-summer levels in more than a decade.

So you think that beer you brewed in your kitchen is ready for prime time, and you're thinking, "Maybe I should take the plunge and set up a little craft brewery."

You're not the only one with dreams infused with hops and malting barley. During the past couple of years, new breweries were being launched at the rate of three a day in the U.S.

New District Brewing is one of them. It just popped up in a cinder-block building in an Arlington, Va., light-industrial park.

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There are still skeptics and lots of potential problems, but a tentative airplane deal between Boeing and Iran seems to be moving forward.

A provisional agreement has been signed for the sale or lease of more than 100 Boeing aircraft to Iran's national carrier over the next decade. The price tag is $20 billion.

If it goes through — and there are still unresolved questions — the deal could bring a windfall to Boeing, badly needed commercial jets to Iran Air, and encourage international companies still wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic.

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

The fatal crash of a Tesla Model S car that was in autopilot mode when it collided with a truck on a Florida highway last month is prompting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a preliminary evaluation of the automatic driving feature.

"This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated," Tesla says in a blog post announcing the NHTSA plan. "Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles."

A few weeks ago, I went back to the federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, for another conversation with Edgar Diaz.

Sick of getting your view blocked at live shows by people holding up their phones? Apple was granted a patent yesterday for technology that can disable those cameras — at least in specific places.

Amid all the macro-level questions about the effects of Britain's decision to leave the European Union — its broad economic and political repercussions — the Brexit will be felt in small, practical, everyday terms as well. Although it's impossible to predict exactly how things will play out, here are a few of the possible ways Britons may experience repercussions of the Brexit:

Mobile phone usage

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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

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

From Thursday through Monday, about 3.3 million Americans will head to airports for the July 4 holiday travel period. They'll be flying during the peak of a record-breaking summer travel season.

Those passengers can expect to see heavier-than-usual security in the aftermath of recent deadly attacks on airports in Belgium and Turkey.

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory?

Jun 29, 2016

For the past few years, my friends and I have noticed two trends when dining. First, seemingly every high-end menu rebukes factory farming with an essay about locally sourced pork belly, and second, just about every one of these restaurants looks so much like a factory — with exposed light bulbs, steel details and brick walls — that I'm constantly looking over my shoulder for the foreman.

Facebook says it's changing its news feed, again. It says posts from friends and family will now come first, prioritized over posts from publishers and celebrities.

It's potentially worrisome news for media companies, whose traffic is heavily boosted by Facebook-driven clicks. But it's also only a small, vague peek into the black box that is Facebook's algorithm, which determines what version of the world is presented to the 1.65 billion people using the social network.

Voters in California will decide this November whether to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the nation's most populous state.

Environmentalists are demanding that one of the most prized fishes on the planet be listed as an endangered species.

Last week, about a dozen environmental groups — including Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Earthjustice — formally petitioned the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service to consider listing the Pacific bluefin tuna as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. That status mandates the highest levels of protection from harm.

At the recent unveiling of a new self-driving shuttle bus called Olli, its designer sat perched on a stool nearby, his hands cradling a camera in his lap. He and Olli had just met several hours earlier.

Edgar Sarmiento is now 24. In 2014, he emerged into the workforce in his native Colombia with a degree in industrial design. He found work, at a design agency in Bogota, but it wasn't satisfying.

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The world's second largest diamond goes on the auction block today for an expected $70 million.

It was found last fall in Botswana, where half the population is poor or hovering just above poverty.

All of which raises the question: How much do diamond sales benefit Botswana's citizens?

Where a hospital is located and who owns it make a big difference in how many of its doctors take meals, consulting and promotional payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, a ProPublica analysis shows.

A higher percentage of doctors affiliated with hospitals in the South have received such payments than doctors in other regions of the country, our analysis found. And a greater share of doctors at for-profit hospitals have taken them than at nonprofit and government facilities.

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