The president's education tour is part of a broader campaign aimed at boosting the fortunes of the middle class. A study out today shows just how widespread the nation's economic pain has been. It finds that over the past decade, wages have been flat or even declined for the bottom 70 percent of American workers. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has that story.
When the drug company Merck Animal Health announced plans to suspend sales of its Zilmax feed additive last week, many observers were shocked.
Yet concern about Zilmax and the class of growth-promotion drugs called beta agonists has been building for some time. In an interesting twist, the decisive pressure on Zilmax did not come from animal welfare groups or government regulators: It emerged from within the beef industry itself, and from academic experts who have long worked as consultants to the industry.
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In Romania, new churches are popping up at the rate of 10 a month. That's one every three days, according to a BBC report. It also includes a vast cathedral under construction in the capital city, Bucharest.
This building boom is taking place in one of Europe's poorest countries, and it has Romanian-born commentator Andrei Codrescu wondering what's really going on.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 8:53 am
A secret federal court found that the National Security Agency violated the civil rights of Americans when it collected thousands of emails and other digital messages between Americans, according to a 2011 opinion released Wednesday.
The FISA court ruled parts of the program to be unconstitutional and ordered them to be revised. The government made changes and the court signed off on the program in November of 2011.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:09 am
For nearly a year, disease detectives around the world have been trying to track down the source of a mysterious new virus in the Middle East that has infected 96 people and killed 47 since September.
Now it looks like they've pinpointed at least one place where the virus is hiding out.
Scientists at Columbia University have detected the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, in a bat near the home of a man who died from the disease. The team found a small fragment of the virus's genes in the animal that matches perfectly with those seen in the patient.
Colombia. The drug trade. Multiple plane crashes, drive-by shootings, Peace Corps hippies who peddle drugs, and an actual hippo on the loose. Despite all of that, there's actually not much plot to this novel. This is more of a metaphysical detective story where cause and effect can be difficult to pin down — a book where the events that matter most occur inside the characters.
Rocky, windswept Eastern Egg Rock, about 6 miles off the coast of Maine, was once a haven for a hugely diverse bird population. But in the 1800s, fishermen decimated the birds' ranks — for food and for feathers.
When ornithologist Stephen Kress first visited 40 years ago, the 7-acre island was nearly barren, with only grass and gulls left. Not a puffin in sight. Not even an old puffin bone.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 8:16 am
This week's innovation pick is a shower head that reminds you you're taking too long. The Uji shower head gradually turns from green to red as users linger in the shower.
"It encourages [people] to take shorter and more energy efficient showers," said one of the co-inventors, Brett Andler. "By letting people become aware of how long they're in the shower, we've actually been able to cut shower time by 12 percent."
Digging a trench under the punishing midday sun, Thomas Lokinga stops only when he needs to wipe the sweat from his face. He is determined to find a nugget of gold amid the hard-baked ground in Nanakanak, in the eastern part of South Sudan, the world's newest nation.
David Cox Jr. talks with NPR's Melissa Block about how his father would have loved getting his ring back
"I can't touch it or pick it up without thinking about him and I can't pick it up without thinking about this journey of the ring."
That's David C. Cox Jr. of North Carolina talking Wednesday about the rather amazing saga of the ring his father had to trade for food in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II — a ring that has now made it back to the Cox family after seven decades.
All this summer, NPR is looking back to civil rights activism of 1963, marking the 50th anniversary of a number of events that changed our society. From the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Mississippi to the March on Washington; NPR is remembering the past and examining how our society has changed.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 8:58 pm
Ebola, your days as one of the world's scariest diseases may be numbered.
A team of U.S. government researchers has shown that deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be vanquished in monkeys by an experimental drug given up to five days after infection — even when symptoms have already developed.
An antibody cocktail aimed at Ebola's outer surface rescued three of seven macaques infected with lethal doses of the hemorrhagic virus in the U.S. Army's high-security labs at Fort Detrick, Md.