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The federal government released its first overall hospital quality rating on Wednesday, slapping average or below average scores on many of the nation's best-known hospitals while awarding top scores to many unheralded ones.

The Federal Reserve has voted to keep interest rates where they are, but noted that "near-term risks" to the economy have diminished, a sign that a hike is on the horizon.

As was widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep the target for the federal funds rate at a quarter to a half percent. However, a statement released Wednesday afternoon sounded decidedly more optimistic about the economic outlook.

Dozens of women and girls have reportedly been raped by South Sudanese government soldiers near a U.N. compound in the country's capital, Juba.

About 30,000 civilians have taken shelter in the U.N. base amid fighting in South Sudan, as we reported. The Associated Press spoke to witnesses and civilian leaders about the rampant sexual violence against ethnic Nuer women and girls there.

With antibiotic-resistant super bugs on the rise, researchers are on an urgent hunt for other bacteria that might yield chemicals we can harness as powerful drugs. Scientists once found most of these helpful bacteria in soil, but in recent decades this go-to search location hasn't delivered.

Now, researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany say that to find at least one promising candidate, we need look no further than our own noses.

A judge granted John Hinckley Jr. his freedom this week, 35 years after Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan.

His release from a mental hospital comes with a handful of limitations: Hinckley will live with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Va., he cannot contact his victims, their relatives or the actress he was obsessed with at the time of the shooting, Jodie Foster.

Warning: This post discusses the basic plot elements of the Netflix series Stranger Things, the comic Paper Girls, and the film Super 8.

Autumn 1979. Ohio. Five kids on bikes tool around their suburban development and stumble into an adventure involving monsters and sinister authority figures.

Autumn 1983. Indiana. Four kids on bikes tool around their suburban development and stumble into an adventure involving monsters and sinister authority figures.

A pet 75-pound tortoise has been reunited with his owners who were forced to leave him behind, after sheriff's deputies found the animal trying to escape the wildfires that had prompted an evacuation order in Los Angeles County.

This is the third in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has dropped the remaining criminal charges connected to Freddie Gray's death but she stands by the legitimacy of the original charges.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is such a crazy, turbulent storm that it creates sound waves that travel hundreds of miles up and actually heat the planet's upper atmosphere.

That's the conclusion of scientists who found a striking hotspot right above the Great Red Spot. They describe their finding Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Ethan Dean, a 6-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis, spent Tuesday as the recycling and garbage superhero of Sacramento, Calif., complete with a fluorescent sanitation safety T-shirt and a green cape.

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About Presidents And Food?

4 hours ago

It's convention season, which means the presidential election is in full swing.

There has always been a lot to divide politicians, but we at The Salt are interested in what brings them together: They all have to eat.

So we paged through our archives for stories about U.S. presidents and their predilections for — and embarrassing mishaps with — certain foods. How much do you know about presidents and food? Take our quiz to test your credentials.

Prosecutors in Baltimore have dropped all remaining charges against police officers related to the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, reports NPR's Jennifer Ludden.

A total of six officers had been charged in connection to the death. Four trials had ended without convictions — one, a jury trial, ended with a hung jury, and three bench trials returned verdicts of not guilty. Three more trials were scheduled.

John Hinckley Jr., 35-years after he tried to kill a president, has won his freedom.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has granted a request for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital where he's resided for decades, to go live full-time with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Va.

A street in Qamishli, a city in northern Syria that sits along the border with Turkey, was hit by a powerful car bomb Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and devastating a residential area, according to Syria's state-run media. Nearby buildings were severely damaged, collapsing walls and floors.

There was a time when Sandra Gologergen's freezer never ran out. Packed with traditional Inuit foods like whale, walrus, seal and fish, her freezer has been an essential lifeline, ensuring her husband, three kids and grandson make it through the long harsh winters of Savoonga, Alaska.

"Then that changed," she says.

Jonathan Goodman can recall most of the lectures he's attended at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He can recite detailed instructions given more than a year ago about how to conduct a physical.

But at the end of his second year, the 27-year-old M.D.-Ph.D. student could not remember any class dedicated to addiction medicine. Then he recalled skipping class months earlier. Reviewing his syllabus, he realized he had missed the sole lecture dedicated to that topic.

"I wasn't tested on it," Goodman says, with a note of surprise.

"Miss Cleo," the television psychic indelibly fixed in the memories of '90s TV-watchers, died Tuesday in Palm Beach, Fla., of cancer. She was 53.

The Obama administration announced today that it is expanding a program that helps Central American refugees, including minors, to reunite with their families in the United States. The effort is designed to discourage people from leaving their homeland and flooding the southern U.S. border, say administration officials.

The program has three components.

With recent reports that drugmakers have sharply raised the prices of some prescription drugs, a reader has written in to ask why a common generic drug is also suddenly costing him more. Another reader has questions about health plans with high deductibles. Here are those readers' questions, and what I've learned about the answers.

The 2,200-year-old mummy of an Egyptian man who spent a lot of time sitting and eating carbs went on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Tuesday and will be open to the public beginning Wednesday.

Roger Federer won't be competing at the Olympics in Rio next month — or anywhere else, for the rest of the year.

In an announcement on Facebook, he says he needs "more extensive rehabilitation" after knee surgery earlier this year.

Federer, currently the No. 3 ranked men's tennis player in the world, won medals at the last two Olympics — a gold in doubles at Beijing in 2008, and a silver in singles at London in 2012.

The baristas have spoken, and Starbucks is listening: The company says it's loosening its dress code for in-store employees. Yes, the green aprons remain, but you may begin noticing more personal flair underneath.

A company announcement invites baristas "to shine as individuals while continuing to present a clean, neat and professional appearance."

Two studies released at an international Alzheimer's meeting Tuesday suggest doctors may eventually be able to screen people for this form of dementia by testing the ability to identify familiar odors, like smoke, coffee and raspberry.

In both studies, people who were in their 60s and older took a standard odor detection test. And in both cases, those who did poorly on the test were more likely to already have — or go on to develop — problems with memory and thinking.

A district judge in Texas has dismissed the last remaining criminal charges against two activists who covertly recorded videos of themselves attempting to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt used fake IDs when they approached the organization. They were indicted for tampering with government records, a felony charge. Those charges have now been dismissed on technical grounds.

An attorney for the pair called it "a huge win for First Amendment rights," NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

The prime minister of Australia said he is "shocked and appalled" after seeing footage of children being hooded, shackled, stripped and held on the floor by prison guards at a youth detention facility in the Northern Territory.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it is looking into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer system, after the website WikiLeaks published thousands of internal emails on the eve of the party's convention.

How WikiLeaks obtained the emails is unclear.

Two car bombs in Mogadishu, Somalia, killed 13 people on Tuesday, in an attack that has been claimed by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab, The Associated Press reports.

The twin suicide bombings occurred near the African Union peacekeeping base, by the Mogadishu airport.

One explosion targeted the offices of a U.N. mine-clearing agency, the AP writes:

Two men attacked a church near Rouen, France, on Tuesday, taking several hostages and killing a priest in his mid-80s before the attackers were shot to death by police.

The self-described Islamic State, through the group's Amaq news agency, claimed responsibility for the attack in the small town of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

'Clone Sisters' Of Dolly The Sheep Are Alive And Kicking

Jul 26, 2016

About four years ago, Kevin Sinclair inherited an army of clones. Very fluffy clones.

"Daisy, Debbie, Denise and Diana," says Sinclair, a developmental biologist at the University of Nottingham in England.

The sheep are just four of 13 clones Sinclair shepherds, but they're the most famous because of their relation to Dolly, the sheep that made headlines two decades ago as the first successfully cloned mammal.

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