NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
2:05 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

How A Tiny Fly's Ears Could Help You Hear Better

If you were a cricket, this little fly would make you very nervous.
Courtesy of Louisiana State Arthropod Museum

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:32 am

Ormia ochracea is not a very likeable creature, even by fly standards.

This parasitic fly likes to leave its larvae on the backs of crickets. The larvae burrow inside the cricket and then proceed to eat the cricket alive.

But humans who have struggled with hearing loss might soon be thankful for at least one small part of this fly — its ears.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:55 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What's Better Than A Total Eclipse Of The Sun? Check This

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:54 pm

Any eclipse is worth seeing. A total eclipse — where the moon completely blots out the sun, where day turns to night, where solar flares ring the moon's shadow like a crown of flame — that's the eclipse everybody wants to see, the alpha eclipse that eclipses all the other eclipses. Everybody knows this (me included), until I saw this ...

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

FAA Prohibits U.S. Airlines From Flying To Tel Aviv

A woman passes by a departure board at Philadelphia International Airport showing that US Airways Flight 796 to Tel Aviv has been canceled Tuesday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 9:00 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a 24-hour ban on flights to and from the Tel Aviv airport.

"The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014," the FAA said in a statement.

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Shots - Health News
12:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Appeals Court Strikes Down Subsidies In Federal Health Exchange

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:37 pm

A three-judge panel at the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit threw the fate of an important part of the Affordable Care Act into doubt Tuesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that the Internal Revenue Service lacked the authority to allow subsidies to be provided in exchanges not run by the states. The ruling could put at immediate risk the millions of people who bought insurance in the 36 states where these online insurance marketplaces are run by the federal government.

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Monkey See
12:28 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

'Audience Measurement': How Networks And Critics Are Wrestling With Numbers

iStockphoto

If the Television Critics Association press tour of 2014, wrapping up Tuesday and Wednesday with presentations from PBS, has had a catchphrase, it's "audience measurement."

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The Two-Way
10:49 am
Tue July 22, 2014

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:03 pm

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act, when it threw out an IRS regulation that governs subsidies. But before the ink dried on that decision, another three-judge panel hearing a similar case issued a decision that was completely opposite.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:43 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Rituals That Work And Why

It took more than superstition to build Egypt's famous pyramids. It took some very clever engineering to move the heavy stones used in construction across the area's shifting sands.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images
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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Tue July 22, 2014

U.K. Orders New Inquiry Into Ex-KGB Spy Litvinenko's Death

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko, says she is "relieved and delighted" with the U.K. government's decision to open a public inquiry into the former KGB agent's death in 2006 by radiation poisoning.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:12 pm

Britain has ordered a public inquiry into the death in 2006 of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko by radiation poisoning.

In a statement to Parliament today, Home Secretary Theresa May said the independent Home Office inquiry will be headed by Robert Owen, a senior judge who is the coroner in the inquest into Litvinenko's death. She said the inquiry would, among other things, identify "where responsibility for the death lies."

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Shots - Health News
9:43 am
Tue July 22, 2014

States Experiment With Health Savings Accounts For Medicaid

Topp Yimgrimm/iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 10:19 am

If all goes according to plan, next year many Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries will be required to make monthly contributions to so-called Health Independence Accounts. Those who don't may have to pay more of the cost of their medical services, and in some cases may be refused services.

Supporters say it will help nudge Medicaid beneficiaries toward becoming more cost-conscious health care consumers. Patient advocates are skeptical, pointing to studies showing that such financial "skin-in-the-game" requirements discourage low-income people from getting care that they need.

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Detroit Pensioners Approve City's Bankruptcy Plan

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 10:19 am

Detroit moved one step closer toward bankruptcy after crossing a major hurdle on Monday.

With a large margin, retired police and firefighters approved modest cuts in their pensions that are part of the city's bankruptcy plans.

The Detroit News reports:

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Gaza Conflict Day 15: Here's What You Need To Know

A relative bursts into tears in front of the bodies of seven members of the Kelani family, killed overnight by an Israeli strike in Gaza City.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:33 pm

As Israel's offensive against Hamas entered its 15th day, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo pressing for a truce modeled after the 2012 cease-fire.

Still, the violence continued unabated with the death toll on both sides rising: More than 500 Palestinians and 25 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have been killed.

With that here's what you need to know:

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Jakarta Gov. Widodo Wins Indonesian Presidency, Tally Shows

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo talks to the media during his visit at a reservoir development project in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Dita Alangkara AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:13 pm

Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo won 53 percent of the vote in Indonesia's presidential election, according to a final tally released Tuesday by the country's Election Commission.

Widodo, a former furniture maker who entered national politics only two years ago, received 70,997,859 votes of the nearly 133 million valid ballots cast; his rival former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, received 46.85 percent of the votes. Turnout was high — nearly 71 percent.

The figures were reported by The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Book News: Thomas Berger, Author Of 'Little Big Man,' Dies

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Train Carrying MH17 Victims' Remains Arrives In Government-Controlled City

Police officers secure a refrigerated train loaded with bodies of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 as it arrives in a Kharkiv factory on Tuesday.
Olga Ivashchenko AP

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 9:03 am

A refrigerated train carrying the remains of the people who died aboard the downed Malaysia Airlines plane arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday. That's a city controlled by the central government in Kiev and 17 hours away from the chaos of Hrabove, the eastern city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, where the debris and remains were scattered.

The New York Times sets the scene:

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