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Praying for rain? You'll get (slightly) less when the moon is very high, a new study finds.

Scientists at the University of Washington say the moon's position impacts the amount of rainfall on Earth.

"As far as I know, this is the first study to convincingly connect the tidal force of the moon with rainfall," researcher Tsubasa Kohyama says in a press release from the university.

The folks in the Hawkeye State get first say in the presidential race. Caucus history dates back to the 1968 convention and the anti-war violence in the streets of Chicago. People were fed up with the top-down system for picking presidential nominees. Reforms were passed and Iowa jumped to take advantage, scheduling its caucus first in 1972. Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock looks at the history of Iowa caucuses.

For this week’s edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, host Jeremy Hobson sits down with Anne Litt of KCRW in Santa Monica. She shares new music from Charlie Hilton, M. Ward and Mexrrissey. Mexrrissey is a play on the name of the British artist Morrissey.

The cost of investing in some basic stock funds is falling, as firms try to attract new customers, many of whom are younger and skeptical of paying hefty fees. According to Morningstar, the number of funds that cost $10 or less for every $10,000 invested has more than doubled in recent years, from 40 in 2010, to more than 100 today. This puts pressure on companies to make money elsewhere. Jill Schlesinger of CBS News joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain.

Benoit Violier, the renowned 44-year-old chef of Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland, has died in what police say has the look of a suicide. The authorities say they found Violier's body next to a gun in his home.

For years now, the Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville has won the coveted three stars in the annual Michelin restaurant guide. In December, it was named No. 1 on La Liste, a French survey of the best restaurants worldwide.

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

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Stephanie Hundley is an enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporter. The 28-year-old from Waterloo is also enthusiastic about the fact that she's not going to vote for Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman.

The first real votes of the 2016 presidential election will be cast at the Iowa caucuses tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

And that means there are a lot of questions in the air.

Will Donald Trump's lead in the polls translate to dominance in the caucus rooms? Will Iowa voters feel the Bern? What's the mood like on the ground? (You'll find answers at NPR Politics, with a wide range of reporting and analysis on the candidates, the voters and what it all means.)

The Takeaways:

  • Republican candidates raised more than $227 million in 2015, less than the GOP field raised in 2011.
  • The year-end reports include the first disclosure of big money from Donald Trump and reveal the precarious state of Jeb Bush's White House bid.
  • Some wealthy conservative donors, including Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, haven't put their money behind any GOP candidate yet. Big donors on the Democratic side are behind Hillary Clinton.
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A team of British scientists received approval by U.K.'s fertility regulator to edit genes in human embryos.

"It is the first time a country has considered the DNA-altering technique in embryos and approved it," the BBC reports.

The Stream is now closed. You can see archived news, photos and analysis from NPR's political team on the ground in Iowa and in Washington, D.C. below. For updated coverage, visit NPR.org or elections.npr.org.


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(Last update 1:30 a.m. ET)

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Men driving mountains of Styrofoam on the back of three-wheeled, motorized scooters are a common sight in Shanghai, but the one captured on this video is the biggest I or any of my friends have ever seen.

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I'm David Greene in Des Moines, Iowa, at Smokey Row, a coffeehouse in Des Moines.

Renee, you should really see this. It is - I mean it is hundreds of people, I think, just packed in here.

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For the first time in decades, a freely elected parliament took its seats in Myanmar on Monday, with the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi preparing to run the country. The change comes after years of strife — and a weekend of celebration.

Taco Literacy Class; Sake-Flavored KitKats

Feb 1, 2016
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Good morning, I'm David Greene in Des Moines, Iowa. Tonight is caucus night, and here's your weather forecast. Snow, possible blizzard conditions in parts of this state. This has campaigns nervous about voter turnout - although, not this one.

The Iowa caucuses are known for hoisting the little-known hopeful to glory. But for each skyrocket that actually launched here, many more have fizzled on the pad.

The slick talkers auditioning for media gigs.

The household name whose prominence fails to translate.

The ambitious up-and-comer seeking name recognition for the future.

The nonpolitician who strikes a nerve the year before the election year.

After Iowa, the bell tolls for these.

For every Obama ...

About three months ago, Bill Nelson got an unusual phone call.

Nelson oversees data and assessment for the Agua Fria Union High School District in southwest Phoenix, Ariz. The call was from a former student, who left the district back in 2011.

He was "not quite a graduate," Nelson recalls. At the time, the young man had failed part of Arizona's high school exit exam, called the AIMS.

But in 2015, Arizona rescinded the AIMS requirement, and made that retroactive. So this former student was in luck.

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Egypt has an unusual law known as the "seasonal marriage" law, and the government says it's aimed at helping the many poor families who resort to selling their daughters into temporary or long-term marriages with wealthy, older foreign men to support themselves.

Egypt's Justice Ministry says it will begin strictly enforcing that law, which requires foreign men — usually from Gulf countries — to pay to marry women 25 years or more their junior. And it's increasing the amount the men must pay. All this, it says, is to protect Egyptian women.

Politics In The News: Iowa Caucuses

Feb 1, 2016
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And in Des Moines, Iowa, I am David Green. And, Renee, I'm at a coffeehouse in Des Moines with - this is a first for me - a live audience.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Finally, after more than 10 months of campaigning from more than a dozen presidential candidates, voters get to weigh in. Iowa Republicans and Democrats will caucus Monday night, and the results could at long last provide some clarity to the Republican and Democratic nominating contests — or not.

Here are five things we're watching:

Any day now, Ben Lecomte will plunge into the Pacific Ocean off a Tokyo beach toward San Francisco. He wants to become the first person to swim across the Pacific. He's already the first person to free swim across the Atlantic Ocean, without a kickboard.

No one knows how the physical feat of swimming 5,500 miles will affect Lecomte's heart, but cardiologists are anxious to find out. His swim offers a rare opportunity to study whether extreme athletic performance has a harmful effect on the heart.

If the advice to eat more fiber seems easy to ignore, you're not alone. Most Americans don't get the 25 to 38 grams a day that's recommended, depending on age and gender.

But if you're skimping on fiber, the health stakes are high, especially if you're a teenage girl.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics concludes that eating lots of fiber-rich foods during high school years may significantly reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

About 40 years ago, when she was 24, Consuelo Hermosillo had an emergency caesarean section at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. In the new documentary No Más Bebés, she recalls asking her doctor what type of birth control she should use going forward.

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