NPR Blogs

Shots - Health News
12:00 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Prolific Prescribers Of Controlled Substances Face Medicare Scrutiny

Number of providers by state who wrote at least 3,000 prescriptions for Schedule 2 controlled substances in 2012 in Medicare Part D.
ProPublica/NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 7:31 am

Despite a national crackdown on prescription drug abuse, doctors churned out an ever-larger number of prescriptions for the most-potent controlled substances to Medicare patients, new data show.

In addition, ProPublica found, the most prolific prescribers of such drugs as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin often have worrisome records.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:38 am
Mon December 15, 2014

The Math And Science Of Latkes

Latkes.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 7:15 pm

Tomorrow evening marks the start of Hanukkah, the Jewish "Festival of Lights" and an eight-day-long excuse to eat fried potato pancakes known as latkes.

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Monkey See
11:23 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Watts Going On: The Gaudy Excess Of 'The Great Christmas Light Fight'

The Fuller family's Christmas light display in Clayton, N.C.
Brownie Harris ABC

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:11 pm

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

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Shots - Health News
11:01 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Small Businesses Drop Coverage As Health Law Offers Alternatives

Where are the health insurance deals? On the exchanges, many small businesses have concluded.
Bjorn Rune Lie Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:57 pm

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Subsidies under the health law for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious — though not easy — choice.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Mon December 15, 2014

From Australia To France, Another Bad Day For Uber

.
Screenshot

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:37 pm

Uber's troubles are mounting. The ride-sharing service was criticized in Australia after its "surge pricing" kicked in, quadrupling fares for some customers trying to flee the area in Sydney where a gunman took hostages in a cafe.

Here's a screenshot that one customer sent to Mashable with details of the increased fare:

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The Two-Way
10:48 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Book News: Apple Enters A New Round In E-Book Price-Fixing Fight

In its attempt to obtain a foothold in a market long dominated by Amazon, Apple ran afoul of antitrust law.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 10:57 am

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

Apple is sliding back under the judicial microscope Monday in a legal challenge that could bear big implications for the e-book market. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is slated to hear the company's appeal of a verdict that found it guilty of violating antitrust law.

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Families Of Newtown Victims Sue Rifle Manufacturer

A makeshift memorial with crosses for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre stands outside a home in Newtown, Conn., in December 2013, a year after the shootings.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 1:24 pm

Family members of some of the victims of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used by the gunman to kill 26 people.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Mon December 15, 2014

WATCH: Local Coverage Of Australian Hostage Siege

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:38 pm

A gunman was holding an unknown number of hostages at a downtown chocolate cafe in Sydney. Early on Tuesday morning, Australian time, police moved in and said the siege was over.

We're following the news here. Below is a feed of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news coverage. ABC is the country's national public broadcaster:

The Two-Way
6:38 am
Mon December 15, 2014

3 People, Including Gunman, Killed In Sydney Cafe Siege

A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, on Monday.
Rob Griffith AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 3:13 pm

(Last updated at 1:48 p.m. ET.)

Just as the siege entered its second day, police stormed a chocolate shop in downtown Sydney, ending a more than 12-hour hostage standoff that began during morning rush hour.

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The Salt
3:25 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Congress To Nutritionists: Don't Talk About The Environment

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:34 pm

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation's dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 am
Mon December 15, 2014

To Stop Teen Drinking Parties, Fine The Parents

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:53 pm

When it comes to teenage drinking, the typical venue is a party — where some teens play drinking games and binge. It may surprise you to learn that the majority of parents are aware that alcohol is flowing at these events.

On any given weekend, some teenagers receive three to four text messages about parties, says Bettina Friese, a public health researcher at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, Calif.

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The Two-Way
11:08 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Your #NPRUglySweaters: The Joy Of Knitwear We Ought Not Wear

We asked, you delivered — photos of holiday sweaters galore.
Matt O'Malley Twitter

When it comes to the perfect holiday sweater, for many people, cheesy is good — tacky is better — and astonishingly ugly is best of all.

The demand for ugly holiday sweaters has reached such a height that it's changed how businesses stock for the season, as Eleanor Klibanoff reported for us on Weekend Edition Saturday. Wal-Mart and Kohl's sell new "vintage" ugly sweaters, and actual vintage stores have had to start searching for new stock to sell.

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The Two-Way
9:34 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Hostages Held In Cafe In Sydney, Australia

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:03 am

Update at 1:33 a.m. ET

An undisclosed number of hostages are being held at a chocolate shop and cafe in Sydney, Australia. Reuters is reporting that police say they've made contact with the gunman and that TV footage showed three then two more people running from the scene. The number of hostages is said to be "not as high as 30," according to New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Cheney On Harsh Interrogation: 'I'd Do It Again In A Minute'

Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, in September. Cheney has been highly critical of the bipartisan Senate report
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 3:51 pm

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is standing by his spirited defense of harsh interrogation techniques used against terrorist suspects during the George W. Bush administration.

Given another chance to authorize such methods, Cheney declared on NBC's Meet the Press today: "I'd do it again in a minute."

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