NPR News

Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

The team prosecuting President Trump's former campaign chairman has a message for Paul Manafort: no more excuses.

Lawyers working for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller objected Wednesday to Manafort's bid to delay the trial scheduled for July 25 in Alexandria, Va. To make their case, they cited recorded jail calls and prison logs suggesting Manafort has been getting better treatment than most detainees, not worse.

Updated at 3:33 p.m. ET

The Senate voted 51-48 on Wednesday to confirm Brian Benczkowski as an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, ending an 18-month delay in which its Criminal Division operated without a permanent leader.

Benczkowski, a Justice Department veteran who held top posts in the George W. Bush administration, had languished for months as critics raised questions about his legal work for a Russian bank and his close ties to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Scientists on the hunt for anti-aging drugs say they've made an advance with tantalizing potential: Two experimental drugs appear to safely boost the immune systems of elderly humans.

The researchers stress that more research is needed to confirm the findings and show the drugs are safe. And at least one researcher says the findings are based on a relatively small number of people and used methods that could produce misleading results.

Still, many researchers say the findings are encouraging.

The population of Madagascar has more than doubled over the past generation, from 11.8 million in 1990 to 25 million today. And with more mouths to feed, residents are cutting down rainforests so there will be more land for agriculture.

That's a threat to the rainforest ecosystem. Madagascar rainforests are home to rare and endangered species like the black-and-white indri, the largest known lemur, topping out at about 20 pounds.

The election night map in 2016 brought many surprises, but none more stunning than Wisconsin's switch from blue to red — marking its first vote for a Republican presidential ticket since 1984.

Michigan and Pennsylvania also ended long Democratic streaks that night. But the Badger State was the big shock, because Barack Obama had carried it twice by comfortable margins and Hillary Clinton had led all through the fall in the most respected statewide poll.

Many people who attempt suicide end up in an emergency room for immediate treatment. But few of those suicide survivors get the follow-up care they need at a time when they are especially likely to attempt suicide again.

Now, a study shows that a simple intervention conducted by staff in emergency departments can reduce the risk of future attempts. The intervention involves creating a safety plan for each patient and following up with phone calls after discharge.

If there's one thing we're grateful for on Shots, it's our passionate, engaged audience. Our stories often prompt a lively response from readers and people who hear us on the radio. This was definitely the case with Monday's look at the use of permethrin-treated clothing to prevent tick bites, which can cause a lot of nasty diseases.

This week, we're tackling questions from readers who are worried about health insurance roadblocks in the face of a serious illness or medical crisis.

Q: I think genetic testing could be a great tool for physicians. My fear is what the insurance industry will do with the information, especially in today's political climate. Could they decide that you have a pre-existing condition and charge a higher rate, or not cover you at all?

It was a hot day at the zoo when Jordan Carlson's son, who has motor-planning delays, got thirsty. "We went to the snack bar and found out they had a 'no straw' policy," Carlson says. "It was a hot day and he couldn't drink."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Every week, we talk about what we should all do to prepare to tape Pop Culture Happy Hour. For this episode, we're joined by Marissa Lorusso of NPR Music. And when I wrote to Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon and Marissa in advance, I told them this about preparation: "I mean, I assume we've all watched Jeopardy!"

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This summer, millions of vacationers are expected to visit Branson, Mo., to see acts like singer Tony Orlando or the Oak Ridge Boys. It's boom time for the tourist destination, but for many of the workers who keep the good times rolling, a severe shortage of affordable housing forces them into rundown extended stay motels.

The main strip of Branson, in southern Missouri, is lined with miles and miles of all the miniature golf, bumper cars, fudge shops, custard stands and music theaters that a vacationing family could wish for.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Trump is now applauding Pfizer for agreeing to reverse or postpone drug price hikes, a day after he pressured the pharmaceutical giant in a scathing tweet.

He posted a tweet Tuesday evening saying he has spoken with both Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ian Read about the price increases. Trump praised Pfizer for "rolling back price hikes, so American patients don't pay more," saying he "hopes other companies do the same."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This review of the second-season finale of The Handmaid's Tale discusses in detail what happens in the second-season finale of The Handmaid's Tale.

The sound of the second season of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale coming to an end was the sound of a balloon, expertly inflated to the point where it seemed about to break, being let go so that it releases its tension in a long, anticlimactic raspberry.

Senate Democrats, who are divided on abortion policy, are instead turning to health care as a rallying cry for opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Specifically, they are sounding the alarm that confirming the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals judge could jeopardize one of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions — its protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.

Updated at 2:50 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The Trump administration has published a preliminary list of additional Chinese products that could be targeted with tariffs in the escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The list covers some $200 billion in Chinese exports that could be hit by a 10 percent tariff. It's an extensive list of over 6,000 goods that include seafood, propane and toilet paper, among many other things.

Like millions of global citizens, Abraham Leno has been riveted by the story of the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand.

"I sat around the radio with my family and we wanted to hear the recent updates of the kids, every little detail," he says. "To see all the governments sending their best divers, giving them equipment, offering their moral support — it was a beautiful thing to see."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Fast-food workers may be stuck in jobs for various reasons. In many cases, their employers prevent them from leaving to work for other restaurants within the same chain.

Now, 10 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia are taking on the issue with an investigation into eight national fast-food chains. At issue are "noncompete" clauses that limit where employees can work after they leave.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

U.S. officials made threats to Ecuador in an attempt to water down a resolution in support of breastfeeding, according to a report in The New York Times.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Forty-five million Americans are burdened by student loans. A new quiz show lets a handful of them use what they learned in school to pay off their debt.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PAID OFF")

Pages