NPR News

Goats and Soda
1:12 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Which Contagious Diseases Are The Deadliest?

Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases)
NPR Composite CDC

No one knows what the death toll in the Ebola epidemic will be. As of Tuesday, nearly 2,500 people have died and nearly 5,000 have caught the virus, the World Health Organization says.

So how does this epidemic compare with the toll taken by other contagious diseases?

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Belgium Agrees To Euthanize Man Convicted Of Murder, Rape

Inmate Frank Van Den Bleeken, seen here in court last autumn, says he wants to die because he sees no progress in the mental problems that were linked to his crimes of murder and rape.
Herman Ricour AP

In a country whose laws don't allow for the death penalty, the case of a Belgian man who sees himself as a threat to society – and wants to die – is putting new focus on Belgium's health care and justice system, as well as its laws allowing euthanasia.

After an appeals court in Brussels approved a deal allowing inmate Frank Van Den Bleeken to die from an assisted suicide, the country's justice minister cleared the way for his transfer to a hospital late Monday.

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Sheriff Defends Use Of Military Equipment

The images of combat vehicles rolling in to confront demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, provoked national debate over police departments receiving military equipment.

Since 2006, the Pentagon’s Excess Property Program has supplied police departments with almost 80,000 assault rifles, more than 600 armored vehicles, and hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of other equipment.

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Trump Plaza Hotel And Casino Closes Its Doors

Ruth Hardrick, a dealer who worked at Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino for 26 years, stands with friend, Anthony Powell, on The Boardwalk, as she answers a question after the casino closed early Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Atlantic City, N.J. Trump Plaza is the fourth Atlantic City casino to go belly-up so far this year. (Mel Evans/AP)

After 30 years in business Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey is closing its doors.

This is the fourth hotel in the coastal gambling destination to close this year. Has Atlantic City lost its luster?

Vince Mazzeo, state assemblyman representing New Jersey’s 2nd Legislative District speaks with Herw & Nows Jeremy Hobson about the casino closures.

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Detroit's Post-Bankruptcy Blues

Monument to Joe Louis in downtown Detroit. (memories_by_mike/Flickr)

Detroit is one step closer to ending its bankruptcy ordeal after it reached a settlement with one of its remaining creditors.

Syncora Guarantee Inc. has withdrawn its objections to the city’s restructuring plan in return for a deal worth a fraction of the $200 million the company said it was owed.

Still, when Detroit does emerge from bankruptcy it doesn’t mean its revenue problems will be over.

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

BP Lawyers Use Old-School Trick; Judge Not Amused

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled nearly two weeks ago that BP acted recklessly in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig accident and oil spill.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 12:51 pm

Back in school, did you ever fudge the spacing on a report to meet the teacher's page-length requirement? Lawyers representing oil company BP tried something similar in a recent court filing connected to the company's 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Odile Leaves Wreckage In Mexico And Threatens Flooding In U.S.

Cars sit in a flooded street in San Jose del Cabo Monday, after hurricane Odile knocked down trees and power lines in Mexico's Baja California Peninsula.
Ronaldo Schemidt AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Odile is now a tropical storm, but it's still bringing heavy rainfall and power outages to the Baja Peninsula and surrounding areas. And a second storm could threaten the western coast of Mexico of the U.S. later this week.

Odile is still carrying sustained winds of more than 50 mph — and projecting tropical-storm winds up to 150 miles from its center, according to the National Hurricane Center, which expects the storm to weaken into a tropical depression by early Wednesday.

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Shots - Health News
10:20 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Farewell, Heating Pad: Physical Therapists Say It Doesn't Help

The physical therapist will advise, but you're going to have to do the work.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 12:30 pm

I have fond memories of listening to NPR while lounging at the physical therapist's with a heating pad on my shoulder. Don't do that, the nation's physical therapists' association says.

Heat therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and other "passive physical agents" almost never help, according to a list released Monday by the Choosing Wisely campaign. Instead, they siphon time and money away from what you really want from a physical therapist — an exercise program that will restore strength and mobility.

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Dempsey Says If Needed He Would Recommend Ground Forces In Iraq

Members of the anti-war activist group CodePink interrupt a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 12:57 pm

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers today that while the president has ruled out "boots on the ground" as part of a campaign to destroy the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq, he was prepared to recommend a combat role for U.S. advisers or ground troops if the situation warrants.

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Shots - Health News
9:20 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Health Law Tempers States' Insurance Mandates

Is that health service covered?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:05 pm

For decades, states have set rules for health coverage through mandates. These laws require insurers to cover specific types of medical care or services.

The Affordable Care Act aims to curb this piecemeal approach to coverage by establishing minimum standards for insurance coverage in individual and small group plans nationwide and requiring states to pay for mandates that go beyond them.

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The Two-Way
9:18 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Marriott's New Envelope For Room Tips Stirs Debate

Marriott is putting envelopes like this one in thousands of rooms at its hotels, hoping to boost the number of guests who tip the housekeeping staff.
Marriott

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:07 pm

A new program to encourage guests to tip the housekeeping staff at Marriott hotels is meant to make it easier for people to show their gratitude to workers. But the plan, part of an initiative from Maria Shriver's group A Woman's Nation, is raising questions over how the company pays its staff — and whether guests should be expected to tip.

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The Salt
9:08 am
Tue September 16, 2014

A Scientist's Journey From Beer To Microbiology To Bourbon-Making

Ian Glomski outside his home in Charlottesville, Va., where hops grow in his garden. He quit an academic career in microbiology to start a liquor distillery.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 12:18 pm

If you have been following the various posts about beer on The Salt, you may have noticed a pattern: Many of the folks making beer have a scientific background. There's good reason for that. People don't make beer. Yeast does. Well, OK — it's a partnership.

And sometimes, it's a two-way street between the brewery and the lab.

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Around the Nation
8:38 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Homeless Vets: They're Not Just Single Men Anymore

Alexander Morales, who served in the Army in the 1970s, with his family: wife Roberta; Elvia, 7, Elena, 8, and Elvira, 7 (in front), and Ruben Verdugo, 13, and Aaron D. Huerta, 17 (in back). Morales' family has been going for years to the Stand Down event in San Diego, where veterans receive assistance.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 9:11 am

Every summer for 27 years, a small tent city has popped up in San Diego. "Stand Down" is a three-day oasis for homeless veterans, with showers, new clothes, hot meals, medical help, legal aid and a booth set up for every housing program in the city.

Increasingly, the event needs ways to keep children entertained.

"They've got the kids zone and everything. My kids live out here very happy. They're looking forward to it from last year," says Alex Morales, who served in the Army in the 1970s.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Ukraine Approves EU Pact And Temporary Self-Rule For Rebels

Ukrainian lawmakers applaud a televised address by the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz (on screen) in the Ukrainian Parliament on Tuesday in Kiev. The parliament voted to strengthen trade ties with the EU, but not until 2016.
Sergey Dolzhenko EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:40 am

Ukraine's parliament has granted separatist-held areas temporary self-rule and given militants amnesty in a vote aimed at quelling a months-long insurgency that has threatened to permanently cleave.

The parliamentary move comes in tandem with another to expand economic ties with the European Union beginning in 2016. Last year, former President Viktor Yanukovich rejected a similar pact, leading to his ouster in November.

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The Two-Way
6:34 am
Tue September 16, 2014

U.S. Begins Airstrikes In Support Of Iraqi Ground Forces

Members of Iraqi security forces are seen during a fight with Islamic State militants Sunday on the outskirts of the city of Ramadi.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:20 am

The United States has begun its first-ever airstrikes in direct support of Iraqi ground forces, in the opening move of what could be a protracted fight against so-called Islamic State militants in the region.

NPR's Tom Bowman, on Morning Edition, says the airstrikes, south of Baghdad, targeted an ISIS position after Iraqi soldiers fighting them requested the assistance.

"This is something new," Tom says. "For the first time, U.S. airstrikes have been in support of Iraqi forces."

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Asia
5:07 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Chinese City Creates Sidewalk Lane For Smartphone Users

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:31 am

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

Around the Nation
5:01 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Funeral Home Offers Drive-Thru Lane To View Loved One

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:59 am

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Politics
4:49 am
Tue September 16, 2014

How To Measure Success Against The New Monster In The Middle East?

President Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the White House on Sept. 10. Obama ordered the United States into a broad military campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy militants in two volatile Middle East nations, authorizing airstrikes inside Syria for the first time, as well as an expansion of strikes in Iraq.
Saul Loeb AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:06 pm

Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked on NBC's Meet the Press what victory would look like in the new struggle against Islamist extremists in Iraq.

"Success looks like an ISIL that no longer threatens our friends in the region, that no longer threatens the United States," McDonough said.

Vague as that is, it may be the best answer available at the moment. And that is a problem.

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The Two-Way
4:47 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Suicide Bombing In Kabul Kills 3 NATO Troops

A U.S. soldier stands guard near a damaged vehicle at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on Tuesday.
Mohammad Ismail Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:51 am

The Taliban has claimed credit for a suicide attack on a military convoy just yards from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed at least three NATO soldiers and wounding nearly 20 other troops and civilians.

NPR's Sean Carberry, reporting from the Afghan capital, says the car bomb was detonated on one of the busiest streets in the city during rush hour.

"It shook the capital and set off alarms at the embassy," he says.

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NPR Story
3:16 am
Tue September 16, 2014

NFL Proposes Plan To Stop Domestic Violence By Its Players

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:53 am

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

NPR Story
3:16 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Details Emerge About U.S. Plans To Fight ISIS In Iraq

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:59 am

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

Around the Nation
2:06 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Community Keeps Calm Despite Questions About Wal-Mart Shooting

Members of the Ohio Student Association gather outside Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office in Columbus last month to call for the release of in-store video in the fatal police shooting of John Crawford III.
Jim Otte/The Dayton Daily News AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 12:43 pm

While the police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo., continues to get considerable attention, another shooting of a black man by white police officers, near Dayton, Ohio, has been met with a more measured response.

Beavercreek, Ohio, is a mostly white, moderately affluent city of about 40,000. On Aug. 5, 22-year-old John Crawford III of nearby Fairfield was shopping at a Wal-Mart there.

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Europe
1:57 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Will Scotland Vote To Cut The Cord?

A tourist wears a poncho decorated with the national flag of Scotland to shelter from the weather in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh, on Monday.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:03 am

It's pouring in Edinburgh, and the fog is so thick you can barely see to the end of the block.

People walking through the city center duck out of the rain into a little stone alcove to talk about the subject on everyone's mind — Thursday's big vote on whether Scotland will become an independent country.

The latest polls show the race is extremely tight.

In the Edinburgh rain, a striking number of voters have recently changed their minds. Michael Constantine says he and his parents all switched sides.

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Goats and Soda
1:42 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Hiccups Were The Clue That Led Researchers To Ebola

Red Cross health workers wearing protective suits in Conakry, Guinea, on Sunday.
Cellou Binani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:05 am

The Ebola virus had been circulating in Guinea for roughly three months before doctors and international aid organizations finally detected it.

It was hiccups that eventually gave it away, journalist Jeffrey Stern wrote in Vanity Fair this weekend.

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Shots - Health News
1:38 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Too Few University Jobs For America's Young Scientists

Victoria Ruiz (left), a postdoctoral fellow in immunology, works with Brianna Delgado, a high school student that she mentors, at the Blaser Lab, inside NYU's Langone Medical Center in New York, NY.
Ramsay de Give for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 10:13 am

Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That's, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research.

In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don't actually exist.

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Goats and Soda
12:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Obama To Announce Buildup In U.S. Efforts To Fight Ebola

Workers unload medical supplies to fight the Ebola epidemic from a USAID cargo flight in Harbel, Liberia, in August.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 7:43 am

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is already the deadliest on record, having killed more than 2,400 people. Health experts warn it could get much worse, if the spread of the disease isn't contained quickly.

That alarm has President Obama meeting today with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Obama is expected to announce a major buildup in U.S. efforts to address the threat of Ebola.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Expanding Mission In Iraq, U.S. Strikes Fighters South Of Baghdad

With air strikes on the Islamic State south of Baghdad, the United States officially expanded its mission in Iraq on Sunday and Monday.

According to Central Command, Iraqi Security Forces requested the airstrikes near Sinjar.

"The airstrike southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense, as outlined in the President's speech last Wednesday," Central Command said in a press release.

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It's All Politics
4:47 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Tommy Boggs, Influential Lobbyist, Dies At 73

Brian K. Diggs AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:44 am

Tommy Boggs, a longtime lobbyist who in many ways epitomized the Washington establishment, has died. His sister, Morning Edition commentator Cokie Roberts, said he apparently had a heart attack.

Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., 73, pioneered a new, more professional way of lobbying starting in the 1960s, when he saw how power in Washington was becoming more diffuse. Clout on Capitol Hill spread from the House and Senate leadership to more junior members, especially in reforms after the Watergate scandal. In the executive branch, the number of regulatory agencies increased.

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Goats and Soda
3:28 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

What Obama Should Say And Do About Ebola

A health worker speaks with families in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward in Monrovia, Liberia. Ebola-stricken West Africa needs more health staff and more medical facilities.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 3:55 pm

Tomorrow, President Obama is scheduled to announce a new U.S. plan to help stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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Business
3:11 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

With Turmoil Roiling Abroad, Why Aren't Oil Prices Bubbling Up?

A soldier guards a pipe en route to the Kawergosk Refinery near Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, in July. Fighting in northern Iraq forced the closure of the country's largest oil refinery, Baiji, and cut production from the Kirkuk oil field this summer.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:32 am

The price of oil has been falling — a drop that you may already have noticed at the pump. Gasoline prices have dropped noticeably since June, and oil is now well below $100 a barrel.

That decline has happened even as conflicts have flared in or near oil-producing regions. Normally, oil prices are expected to spike higher amid turmoil — so why have they been trending lower?

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