NPR Blogs

The Salt
3:18 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Are Farm Veterinarians Pushing Too Many Antibiotics?

Cattle crowd inside a feedlot operated by JBS Five Rivers Colorado Beef in Wiley, Colo.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:27 pm

In a barn outside Manhattan, Kan., researchers from Kansas State University are trying to solve the riddle of bovine respiratory disease. They're sticking plastic rods down the noses of 6-month old calves, collecting samples of bacteria.

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The Salt
3:17 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Can Starbucks Do For Tea What It Has Done For Coffee?

A pot of tea sits at the newly opened Teavana tea bar in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:59 am

Starbucks, which revolutionized the coffee industry, is now taking on tea. It has opened its first tea bar, and it's creating mixed tea beverages, some even more complex and customized than the coffee beverages we all know.

This first store, on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, has minimalist decor: gray soft seats, charcoals, chestnut browns. Teavana teas line one wall. Beakers filled with colored liquids greet you at the entrance.

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Shots - Health News
3:16 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Which Plans Cover Abortion? No Answers On HealthCare.gov

In a hearing Wednesday, Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois questions Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about which insurance plans offer abortion services.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:21 pm

As if the rollout of the federal health law didn't have enough problems, abortion is back in the spotlight.

How the various health plans in the exchanges would or would not pay for abortion was one of the very last issues settled before the bill was passed in 2010. Now abortion's invisibility on the federal HealthCare.gov website has some people pretty upset.

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The Two-Way
6:57 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Israeli Warplanes Reportedly Strike Russian Missiles In Syria

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 8:57 am

Unnamed U.S. officials have told CNN and The Associated Press that Israeli warplanes destroyed a shipment of Russian missiles at a Syrian airbase. But officials in Tel Aviv won't comment on the reported attack near the port of Latakia overnight on Wednesday.

"We're not commenting on these reports," a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry told Reuters.

Reuters also reported an explosion in the area and said one Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he thought that Israel had carried out a strike, but stressed that he was not entirely certain.

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The Two-Way
6:40 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Judge Blocks Oversight For NYPD's 'Stop-And-Frisk' Policy

New York City Council member Jumaane Williams speaks at a March demonstration in Lower Manhattan against the city's "stop-and-frisk" searches.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 7:37 pm

A federal appeals court judge has put a temporary hold on changes to the New York Police Department's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy ordered by a lower court and suspended the judge who made the earlier ruling.

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Shots - Health News
6:25 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Polio Has Not Returned To South Sudan, After All

We reported Wednesday that the polio outbreak in Somalia had spread to South Sudan. But health officials say that they were mistaken. There have been no polio cases in the country since 2009.

The World Health Organization said previously that it had confirmed three cases of polio in South Sudan back in August.

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Shots - Health News
5:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

For The Young And Healthy, Health Insurance Is A Hard Sell

Students Amanda McComas, Rose Marie Chute and Sari Schwartz are approached in October at Santa Monica City College in California about signing up for insurance with the Affordable Care Act.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:01 pm

Getting young, healthy people to sign up for health insurance is seen as critical to the success of the Affordable Care Act. It's precisely those people who will help offset the cost of the older, sicker ones.

But while cheap health insurance and subsidies based on income are intended to make the program appealing to the young, what if they haven't even heard of the health care law? Or don't want to buy even an inexpensive policy?

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The Salt
4:56 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heat, Drought Draw Farmers Back To Sorghum, The 'Camel Of Crops'

A test field of sorghum outside Manhattan, Kan., planted by Kansas State University.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:07 pm

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Local Charities Gear Up For Cut To Food Stamp Benefits

This shop in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in New York's Union Square accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), or food stamp benefits.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:06 am

More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will be getting a bit less starting Friday when a temporary benefit enacted as part of the federal stimulus expires.

The Department of Agriculture, which runs the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, as the food stamp program is formally known, says a family of four receiving $668 per month in benefits will see that amount cut by $36. One in 7 Americans receives food stamps.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Wrongful Death Verdict Reversed In Virginia Tech Case

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:28 pm

A wrongful death verdict related to the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech has been overturned after the Virginia Supreme Court found that school officials could not have foreseen that 32 people would die in an attack on its campus.

The ruling overturns the findings of a circuit court jury, which had said the school had not done enough to warn students and staff on campus of the threat posed by Seung-Hui Cho — specifically, during a gap of some two hours between attacks on April 16, 2007.

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Shots - Health News
3:13 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Too Many Texts Can Hurt A Relationship, But

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:23 pm

Texting has become such a normal way to communicate that it's hard to imagine that we ever used our voices to tell our better halves, "Hey, I got the milk."

But when it comes to a committed relationship, researchers say it's better not to lean too heavily on the texts for the tough stuff. Stick to "I <3 U" rather than "I M sooo disappointed in you!!"

Texting terms of endearment really seems to help. Affirmations like that are associated not just with a more stable and satisfying relationship, but with mitigating hurts and frustrations.

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The Salt
3:08 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Candy Sales Are Flat; The Industry Blames The Weather

Halloween candy is offered for sale at a Walgreens store on September 19, 2013 in Wheeling, Illinois.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Halloween candy sales have been flat over the last few years. And candy makers point to several reasons, including one I hadn't thought of: bad weather.

"The past two years have been plagued with major weather disruptions in key celebration regions," Jenn Ellek of the National Confectioners Association tells us in an email.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Hitler's Gestapo Chief Lies In Jewish Cemetery, Scholar Says

Dating to the 17th century, this Jewish cemetery may be the final resting place of Heinrich Mueller, the head of Adolf Hitler's Gestapo. A German historian says he has traced Mueller to the cemetery.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:12 pm

The fate of Nazi war criminal Heinrich Mueller, who led Adolf Hitler's Gestapo, has long been a mystery. Now a historian says he has traced Mueller to a Jewish cemetery in Berlin. If confirmed, the discovery would end 68 years of uncertainty about the man who ran the secret police.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Capt. James Kirk To Command Navy's New 'Stealth Destroyer'

The USS Zumwalt, the first in a new class of "stealth" destroyers.
U.S. Navy/General Dynamics

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:00 pm

Capt. James Kirk always got the latest, most advanced ship in Starfleet, so it seems only fitting that the Navy's new stealth destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, is slated to be commanded by none other than Capt. James A. Kirk, USN.

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The Two-Way
1:38 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Police Have Video That Led To Claim Toronto Mayor Used Crack

When he emerged from his home Thursday morning, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford found reporters in his driveway. As they peppered him with questions, he shouted that they had to get out of his way. He didn't respond to questions about a video that allegedly shows him smoking crack.
Mark Blinch Reuters /Landov

Last spring, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was compelled to say that "I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine" because of reports about a video that allegedly showed him doing just that.

Now he's back in the same uncomfortable spotlight.

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