NPR News

Shots - Health News
1:14 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Coded Talk About Assisted Suicide Can Leave Families Confused

Hope Barrone-Falk and J.D. Falk on their wedding day in 2009.
Kelly Dunsford Courtesy of the family

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 11:30 pm

Physician-assisted suicide is illegal in most states in the U.S. But there are gray areas where doctors can help suffering patients hasten their death. The problem is nobody can talk about it directly.

This can lead to bizarre, veiled conversations between medical professionals and overwhelmed families. Doctors and nurses want to help but also want to avoid prosecution, so they speak carefully, parsing their words. Family members, in the midst of one of the most confusing and emotional times of their lives, are left to interpret euphemisms.

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Goats and Soda
1:14 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

A Toilet In Every Home: Zambians Celebrate Sanitation Milestone

Village chiefs, residents and government officials take to the streets to celebrate the Chienge district's accomplishment of bringing sanitation to every home.
Mark Maseko Courtesy of UNICEF Zambia

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:46 pm

On a sunny day in the remote Chienge district of Zambia, hundreds gathered for a celebration that was the first of its kind. There was singing, laughing and no shortage of dancing. The village chiefs and government officials came dressed in their finest clothes, while volunteers sported bright green T-shirts that read, "We use a toilet ... do you?"

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It's All Politics
12:26 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Gyrocopter Pilot On His 'Incredible' Flight Onto Capitol Lawn

Doug Hughes said he sees his future as working for "the cause of getting a Congress — not more liberal, not more conservative — but a Congress that is working for the people."
Peter Overby NPR

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 6:39 am

Florida postman Doug Hughes made headlines last month for landing his gyrocopter on the lawn in front of the Capitol building.

In an interview with NPR, Hughes said he "made every effort to send word ahead" about the flight, but also knew he would be taken into custody. He made the flight anyway, he said, to "get a message to the American people — not that there's a problem with Congress but that there are solutions to the problem."

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Fla. Mailman Who Flew Gyrocopter Onto Capitol Lawn Appears In Court

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:00 pm

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

The Florida mailman who landed a gyrocopter on the lawn of the Capitol last month appeared in court today and pleaded not guilty to all six charges against him.

Douglas Mark Hughes was charged Wednesday and faces up to 9 1/2 years in prison.

NPR's Peter Overby reported on the charges against Hughes:

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Shots - Health News
12:10 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

You And Yeast Have More In Common Than You Might Think

This fungus among us — baker's yeast, aka Saccharomyces cerevisiae — is useful for more than just making bread.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:25 am

Rip open a little package of baker's yeast from the supermarket, peer inside, and you'll see your distant cousin.

That's because we share a common ancestor with yeast, and a new study in the journal Science suggest that we also share hundreds of genes that haven't really changed in a billion years.

Edward Marcotte, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, knew that humans and yeast have thousands of similar genes. But, he wondered, how similar are they?

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Politics
12:08 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

When Is A Filibuster Not Really a Filibuster? When It Looks Like A Filibuster

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul's 10 1/2 hours on the Senate floor were about liberty, the Constitution and the need to stand out in a field of presidential hopefuls.
Andrew Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 2:49 pm

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, held the floor of the Senate for 10 1/2 hours Wednesday afternoon and evening, airing his objections to the NSA bulk collection of telephone records in the U.S.

Many of the accounts of this lengthy performance referred to it as a filibuster, or a near-filibuster, or some kind of filibuster or other.

It was none of the above.

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Parallels
11:54 am
Thu May 21, 2015

He Calmed Kandahar. But At What Cost?

Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq is the police chief widely credited with bringing much greater security to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. But critics accuse him of human rights abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:07 pm

The southern Afghan city of Kandahar was the birthplace of the Taliban and has long been considered one the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

But the city has grown peaceful in recent years, and much of the credit has been given to an American ally: Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, the provincial police chief.

On a recent day, the most feared man in Kandahar is slumped in a cheap blue plastic chair on a wide patio. He's slight and wiry, with a shy smile. He could be mistaken for a security guard at this palatial home of marble and chandeliers.

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Shots - Health News
11:22 am
Thu May 21, 2015

People In Poor Communities Are More Likely To Lose Eyesight

Vision loss and blindness can be devastating, isolating people and increasing their risk of illness and death. And that burden falls hardest on people in poor communities, especially in the South.

More than three quarters of the counties with the highest rates of severe vision loss are in the South, according to an analysis published Thursday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It's the first analysis of severe vision loss at the county level.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Obama Calls Loss Of Ramadi A 'Setback,' But Denies U.S. Is Losing To ISIS

President Obama tells The Atlantic that the loss of Ramadi to the self-declared Islamic State is a "setback," but he denies the U.S. is losing to the group.
Kathy Willens AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:26 pm

President Obama says that while the loss of Ramadi to the self-declared Islamic State is a "setback," he doesn't think the U.S. is losing to the militant group.

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The Salt
9:57 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Urban Food Forests Make Fruit Free For The Picking

A morning's berry harvest from West Philadelphia's Ogden Orchard includes raspberries, gooseberries, currants, goumis and mulberries.
Courtesy of Philadelphia Orchard Project

To discover the new frontier of urban farming, you'll have to look up — and look sharp — for hanging fruit.

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Shots - Health News
9:52 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Overnight Contacts Can Help Kids' Sight During Day, But Also Carry Risks

Logan Levenson had a cornea transplant to repair an eye after a fungal infection.
Courtesy of Beth Levenson

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 3:32 pm

The sales pitch for contact lenses that help kids see better by reshaping their corneas sounds futuristically appealing. Sleep overnight in the lenses, pop them out in the morning and experience perfect or near-perfect vision for an entire day.

Beth Levenson of Williamsburg, Va., thought the lenses, even at a price of $2,000, seemed ideal for her son Logan, then 9, who played on several sports teams.

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Code Switch
9:25 am
Thu May 21, 2015

On 'Menace II Society' And 'Easy Rider': Why All The Talk On Bikers And Thugs Matters

Sgt. Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department speaks to the media as Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson (left) stands nearby a Twin Peaks restaurant where nine members of a motorcycle gang were shot and killed in Waco, Texas on Tuesday.
Mike Stone Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 10:36 am

In his New York Times column this week, Charles Blow discussed bikers and thugs in the aftermath of the Waco shootout on Sunday.

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Shots - Health News
9:07 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Heart Risk Factors May Affect Black Women More Than White Women

African-American women may be more sensitive to metabolic abnormalities like high triglycerides or low good cholesterol.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 9:31 am

African-American women can be at risk of heart disease even if they don't have metabolic syndrome, a study finds.

That's a problem, because the current thinking is that metabolic syndrome — defined as high triglycerides, bad cholesterol, abdominal fat, high blood pressure and impaired glucose metabolism — is the big risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

The picture with women appears to be a lot more complicated, especially when you compare women in different racial or ethnic groups.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Malaysia Orders Navy, Coast Guard To Rescue Rohingyas At Sea

A newly arrived Rohingya migrant uses a mirror after taking a shower at a temporary shelter in Bayeun, Aceh province, Indonesia, on Thursday.
Binsar Bakkara AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 6:08 pm

Malaysia's prime minister has ordered the navy and coast guard to search for stranded Rohingya migrants in the Andaman Sea, a day after Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta agreed to take boatloads of desperate refugees who have been in limbo for weeks since fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Fears Grow That ISIS Might Target Palmyra's Ancient Treasures

A photo released on Sunday by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows a general view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, northeast of Damascus, Syria. Fears have intensified that the self-declared Islamic State, which captured the city on Wednesday, might raze the ruins.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 10:52 am

Following the self-declared Islamic State's capture of Palmyra, concern today is turning to the security of the ancient Syrian city's archaeological sites and fears that the Islamist extremists might try to destroy them, as they have done elsewhere.

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The Two-Way
6:11 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Pipeline Operator In Calif. Spill Reportedly Had History Of Infractions

A helicopter coordinates ships below pulling booms to collect oil from a spill near Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., on Wednesday.
Michael A. Mariant AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 2:29 pm

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

The Texas-based company responsible for the undersea pipeline that has leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the sea near the coast at Goleta, Calif., has a history of federal safety violations, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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Africa
5:46 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Freed From Boko Haram, Hostages Now Held By Nigeria's Military

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 7:20 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
4:52 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul Stages 'Filibuster' To Protest Patriot Act

In an image from Senate video, presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul speaks on the floor of the U.S. Senate Wednesday afternoon at the start of an almost 11-hour speech opposing renewal of the Patriot Act.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 11:04 am

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

Protesting the soon-to-expire Patriot Act, presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul held the floor of the Senate for nearly 11 hours late Wednesday in a filibuster-like speech railing against the law and the government's continued surveillance of Americans' phone records.

"I don't think we're any safer looking at every American's records," Paul said.

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Around the Nation
4:45 am
Thu May 21, 2015

California Drought Creates Business Opportunities

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:44 am

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Asia
3:16 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Personal Ad First: Mother In India Places Gay-Marriage Ad For Son

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:44 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Environment
1:38 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Spending To Fight Wildfires At The Expense Of Preventing Them

Rancher Ross Frank worries that funding to fight fires in Western communities like Chumstick, Wash., has crowded out important land management work.
Rowan Moore Gerety Northwest Public Radio

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 4:23 am

The weed-whacker is a frequent companion to the sounds of chirping birds and rustling pines at Ross Frank's ranch in Chumstick, Wash. With forested land on all sides, he's clearing dense brush beneath a stand of by his house.

"So we're turning that around manually and mimicking what fire would have done naturally," he says.

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Heroin In The Heartland
1:36 am
Thu May 21, 2015

States Lack Accurate Statistics On Widespread Heroin Use

Stacy Emminger holds the death certificate for her son, Anthony, who was addicted to heroin. His death was marked as a multidrug toxicity in Pennsylvania.
Ben Allen WITF

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:51 am

In Pennsylvania, it's estimated opioids like heroin killed at least 1,300 people last year. In Massachusetts, more than 1,000 have died, and in Connecticut, heroin deaths jumped more than 85 percent in two years.

But figuring out the size and scope of the problem is harder than many people think.

Pennsylvania, like many states, doesn't require reporting of specific details on drug overdoses, and whatever other information is available is at least two years old.

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Asia
1:35 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Why A Chinese Government Think Tank Attacked American Scholars

The Dzungar army surrenders to Manchu officers of the Qing Dynasty in 1759 in the Ili Valley, now part of China's Xinjiang region, in this painting made several years later by Chinese and Jesuit missionary artists.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 4:23 am

Last month, a Chinese government think tank bashed history professors from Harvard, Georgetown and other leading American universities regarding things they wrote — at least 15 years ago — about events that occurred more than two centuries ago.

"This was a uniquely vitriolic attack," says Georgetown's Jim Millward. The article calls him as "arrogant," "overbearing" and an "imperialist," and dismisses Millward's and his colleagues' scholarship as "academically absurd."

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It's All Politics
6:39 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Postman Who Gyrocoptered Onto Capitol Lawn Faces Two Felonies

A gyrocopter rests April 15 on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Doug Hughes, a 61-year-old postal worker from Ruskin, Fla., landed the lightweight helicopter on the Capitol lawn to promote campaign finance reform. He's scheduled to enter pleas to multiple charges Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 10:39 am

Doug Hughes, the Florida postman who gyrocoptered through Washington's anti-terrorism warning system to land on the Capitol lawn, now faces two felonies, four misdemeanors and up to 9 1/2 years in prison for his efforts.

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Islamic State Takes Control Of Ancient City Of Palmyra

Smoke rises after a Syrian Rocket launcher shell on Islamic State positions in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, about 215 kilometers northeast of Damascus on Tuesday. News reports say the Islamic State has taken control of the city.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 10:35 am

The self-declared Islamic State has taken control of Palmyra, an ancient city that's on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites.

Palmyra and Tadmur, the modern town that adjoins it, have been the scene of recent fighting between Syrian government troops and fighters from the Islamic State. Multiple news reports say government troops left the city ahead of an advance by the rebels.

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Science
5:25 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Chipping Away At The Mystery Of The Oldest Tools Ever Found

An ancient stone tool unearthed at the excavation site near Kenya's Lake Turkana. It's not just the shape and sharp edges that suggest it was deliberately crafted, the researchers say, but also the dozens of stone flakes next to it that were part of the same kit.
MPK-WTAP

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 5:07 pm

A scientific discovery in Kenya, first reported in April, challenges conventional wisdom about human history, say the scientists who made the discovery and are now releasing the details. The scientists say the collection of stone tools they turned up near Lake Turkana were made long before the first humans are thought to have evolved.

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Parallels
5:17 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

For Israel, Soccer Becomes A Geopolitical Football

FIFA President Sepp Blatter kicks a ball during the inauguration of a football stadium in the village of Dura al-Qari near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday. Blatter said he is on a "mission of peace" to resolve tensions between the Israeli and Palestinian soccer federations.
Majdi Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 6:39 pm

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has moved to the soccer field. Next week, at the annual meeting of FIFA — the international body governing football — its 209 members are scheduled to vote on a proposal to suspend Israel from international play.

Palestinian soccer officials put the proposal on FIFA's agenda, saying Israeli policies hurt Palestinian players and the sport's development and break FIFA's own rules.

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The Salt
4:08 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

McMadness: Activists Pile On At McDonald's Shareholders Meeting

Demonstrators march on McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., on Wednesday, demanding a wage increase to $15 per hour.
Brian Kersey UPI /Landov

Whoa, I wouldn't want to be Steve Easterbrook right about now.

The newish CEO of McDonald's — who has pledged to turn the fast-food giant into a progressive burger chain — is getting an earful this week, as the company prepares to convene its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday.

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U.S.
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Often The Butt Of Jokes, S.C.'s Giant Peach Is Ripe For Renovation

The restoration of the landmark, popularized by a House of Cards episode, has some fans wondering whether the giant peach will lose its giggle-inducing appearance.
Michael Tomsic WFAE

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

You can't miss it as you drive down I-85. The Peachoid, as it's called, is a massive peach-shape water tower near the North Carolina border.

When maintenance crews sandblasted the paint off the water tower recently, people were furious.

Just ask Claire Huminski, with the city of Gaffney.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Maine Bill Aims To Make Abuse-Deterrent Painkillers More Affordable

Sales of prescription opioid painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 pm

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

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