NPR News

Shots - Health News
10:06 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Behind The Scenes At The Lab That Fingerprints Microbiomes

Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project at the University of Colorado in Boulder, works in the lab where the samples are processed.
The American Gut Project

The gut microbiome may soon reveal important answers to questions about our health. But those answers aren't yet easy to spot or quick to obtain.

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Goats and Soda
9:55 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Risks Have Never Been Greater For Medical Workers In Conflict Zones

Dr. Mohammed Arif helps treat a wounded patient at a field hospital in Kobani, Syria. Most of the clinics in this besieged Syrian border town are now in ruins. Only one still stands, its location kept secret lest it be targeted.
Jake Simkin AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:13 am

Last month, American aid worker Peter Kassig was executed in Syria by the self-declared Islamic State militant group. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician had worked in hospitals, clinics and refugee camps throughout the region for more than two years. He was known for treating anyone who needed him, regardless of political affiliation. In a country like Syria, that kind of openness is both a statement of integrity and a huge personal risk.

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The Salt
9:52 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Way Beyond Brownies: Vice Launches A Marijuana Cooking Show

Aurora Leveroni, 91, is also known as "Nonna Marijuana."
Vice

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:03 am

On Sunday, my mother sent me an email: "OMG! Watch this unbelievable cooking show!"

It wasn't spam, and my mother, who's 65, does not use OMG lightly.

The fuss was over a 20-minute video about a 91-year-old grandmother who cooks Italian classics in marijuana-infused butter.

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Parallels
9:19 am
Wed December 17, 2014

A Tweet On Women's Veils, Followed By Raging Debate In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian women wear their traditional face covering, the niqab, at a coffee and chocolate exhibition in the capital Riyadh on Monday. A prominent religious figure said on Twitter that the face veil is not mandatory, sparking a heated national debate.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

The man at the eye of the storm in Saudi Arabia is Ahmad Aziz Al Ghamdi. He's a religious scholar, the former head of the religious police in Mecca, a group officially known as the Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Polls Show Cuban-American Views On U.S.-Cuba Relations Are Nuanced

An elderly man makes a move on a chess board at the Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana in Miami, where political opinions are shifting.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:07 am

With news that the United States will work toward re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and easing the embargo, there is already talk about the reaction in the Cuban-American community.

In political terms, this is a major voting bloc in the hugely important swing state of Florida.

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U.S.
8:51 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Cuba, U.S. Agree To Prisoner Release Including American Alan Gross

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:29 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
7:59 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Church Of England Names Its First Female Bishop

The Rev. Libby Lane will be consecrated on Jan. 26.
Nigel Roddis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:54 am

The Church of England has named its first female bishop.

The Rev. Libby Lane, who has been a parish priest for 20 years, will be consecrated on Jan. 26, becoming the first woman to hold that position since the church was founded five centuries ago.

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The Two-Way
7:09 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Obama Unveils 'New Approach' On Cuba As Former Foes Chart New Course

President Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. will work with Cuba to normalize diplomatic ties.
Doug Mills UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:09 am

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

President Obama announced today the most significant change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in more than 50 years, paving the way for the normalization of relations and the opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Obama said "we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries."

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The Two-Way
6:01 am
Wed December 17, 2014

In Pictures: After Horrific Attack, Pakistan Picks Up The Pieces

The uncle and cousin of injured student Mohammad Baqair (center) comfort him as he mourns the death of his mother, who was a teacher at the school that was attacked.
Mohammad Sajjad AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:15 am

Pakistan is picking up the pieces today after an attack on a school by Taliban militants left 145 people dead.

It's a heart-wrenching story. We've collected the news in a different post. Here, we'll tell the story visually, but fair warning β€” the photographs are representative of the horrific attack, so they're tough to look at:

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Animals
5:53 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Stray Cat In Russia Feasts On Fish

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:50 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
5:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

As Pakistan Mourns, Prime Minister Removes Moratorium On Death Penalty

Chairs are upturned and blood stains the floor at the Army Public School auditorium the day after Taliban gunmen stormed the school in Peshawar, Pakistan.
B.K. Bangash AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:27 am

A day after a horrific Taliban attack on a school that left 145 people dead, Pakistan began to take stock.

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Europe
4:58 am
Wed December 17, 2014

AP Photographer Snaps Engagement Photo

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:53 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
3:04 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Too Little, Too Late For Many New Yorkers Seeking Hospice

Sandra Lopez (left) and her dog, Coco, greet hospice nurse Heather Meyerend last fall. In the weeks before Lopez died, Meyerend stopped by weekly to check her physical health, pain levels and medications.
Amy Pearl WNYC

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:50 am

Sandra Lopez and her Chihuahua, Coco, were inseparable. He followed her everywhere, and kept Lopez's mood up when she was in pain β€” which was often.

On Oct. 15, 2014, Lopez died at age 49 of melanoma that had slowly spread throughout her body over the course of two years.

Lopez was in and out of the hospital in 2014, but during the months she was home, a hospice nurse from the Metropolitan Jewish Health System visited once a week to help manage the pain, backed up by a 24-hour, nurse-staffed phone line that Lopez called often.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Wed December 17, 2014

DOJ Intervention May Help Conn. Police Regain Community's Trust

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:50 am

Copyright 2014 WSHU Public Radio Group. To see more, visit http://www.wshu.org/.

NPR Story
3:04 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Pakistan Observes 3 Days Of Mourning After School Attack

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:50 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
3:04 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Senate Adjourns, GOP To Take Over In January

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:50 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Ed
1:42 am
Wed December 17, 2014

An Alternative To Suspension And Expulsion: 'Circle Up!'

A restorative justice circle at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif.
Sam Pasarow/Edna Brewer Middle School

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 6:56 am

One by one, in a room just off the gym floor at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, Calif., seventh-graders go on the interview hot seat.

Some 80 students have applied to be "peer leaders" in the school's new, alternative discipline program called "restorative justice."

Kyle McClerkins, the program's director, grills them on aspects of adolescent life: "What is the biggest challenge for middle school girls? What has changed about you from sixth grade to now?"

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The Two-Way
6:28 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

'Clifford The Big Red Dog' Creator Bridwell Dies At 86

Author Norman Bridwell and his wife, Norma, pose for a portrait in 2011. The creator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog stories passed away Friday at age 86.
Charles Sykes AP

More than 50 years after he came up with a story about Clifford the Big Red Dog, artist and author Norman Bridwell has died. In 2012, Bridwell told NPR he was shocked when his idea was accepted for publication.

A native of Indiana, Bridwell was 86. He died Friday on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, where he had long lived with his wife, Norma.

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The Two-Way
5:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Cows Remain At Large After Breakout At Idaho Meat Plant

Cows were running free in Pocatello, Idaho, Tuesday, following in the hooves of a feisty heifer that escaped from a meat packing plant Friday. The pursuit of that cow made national headlines; five cows have now broken out of the plant in the past four days.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Bill Cosby Won't Be Charged Over 1974 Molestation Claim

Citing the statute of limitations, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says it won't pursue child sexual abuse charges against comedian Bill Cosby, who has been the subject of numerous allegations made by more than a dozen women.

Prosecutors "noted the statute of limitations at the time of the alleged incident was three years," The Los Angeles Times says.

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Around the Nation
3:35 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:29 pm

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline β€” a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

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The Salt
3:28 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Japan's Beloved Christmas Cake Isn't About Christmas At All

A woman prepares a Japanese Christmas cake at the Patisserie Akira Cake shop on Dec. 23, 2011. The sponge cake is drenched in symbolic meaning.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:55 am

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Theater Cancels New York Premiere of 'The Interview'

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:43 am

Updated at 2:10am ET

A source close to Sony Pictures confirms to NPR that the New York premiere of The Interview scheduled for Thursday has been canceled by the theater that was to host the screening.

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The Salt
3:18 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The 12 Days Of Quirky Christmas Foods Around The Globe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:07 am

Wherever people celebrate Christmas around the world, they feast. It may be as simple as a bowl of porridge, but food rituals to mark the day as separate and special from all other days are practically universal. So often eating the food associated with this holy day helps families pause for a moment to remember who they are, and where they came from.

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Secret Lives Of Teachers
2:48 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Skating Out Classroom Stress As A 'Derby Dame'

Nina Park, also known as Elle L. Cool Jam, is a member of the Cosmonaughties roller derby team in the Boston Derby Dames league.
Kayana Szymczak for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:42 am

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Pilot? Artist? Bartender? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

Every fall, on the first day of school, Nina Park greets her new honors English class with a game called "two truths and a lie." Her students, 10th-graders at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, Mass. have to guess which is which.

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Middle East
2:48 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Pakistan Near Watershed Moment, But It Will Take Work

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:46 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
2:48 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Peshawar School Was 'Almost Obvious' Target For Pakistani Taliban

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:29 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We begin this hour with today's shocking terrorist attack in Pakistan. Gunmen entered a military-run school in Peshawar and began executing children. The military says 132 students and nine staff members were killed.

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Environment
2:48 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

In California, Fire Plus Drought Plus Rain Add Up To Mud

The King Fire burned 100,000 acres in the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California β€” 50,000 of those acres in one day. Now the danger is mudslides.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:52 pm

An hour east of Sacramento, Calif., trucks carrying burned timber from the Eldorado National Forest roar down the canyon as chain saws buzz in the distance.

But U.S. Forest Service ecologist Becky Estes says besides humans, not much else in this forest seems alive.

"We're standing in an area that ... is going to be probably 100 percent mortality of the trees," Estes says.

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Goats and Soda
2:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger

The comic book superhero Priya survived a rape and now fights violence against women.
Courtesy of Ram Devineni

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:46 pm

Two years ago this day, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Three days later she died from her injuries. The incident pushed millions in the city and all over India to protest the widespread violence against women. The protests led to tougher laws and empowered women to stand up against sexual violence.

And one man was inspired to create a comic book superhero.

Ram Devineni, a New York-based filmmaker, gave life to Priya, a survivor of gang rape who seeks to stop violence against women.

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It's All Politics
2:31 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

With Facebook Post, Jeb Bush Takes A Big Step Toward 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Facebook announcement comes following a series of statements that he would soon decide on a presidential run.
Facebook

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:21 pm

After months of hints and Hamlet-esque worries about the woes of a modern presidential campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced on a Facebook post that he is "actively" exploring a presidential run.

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