National & International News

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Xanda, Son Of Cecil The Lion, Also Killed

Jul 21, 2017

It appears that the 6-year-old son of Cecil the lion has met with the same fate as his father, two years after the famed lion's killing at the hands of a trophy hunter sparked a global outcry.

Xanda was killed near Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park on July 7, according to the Oxford scientists who were tracking him with a GPS collar like the one they used to track his father.

The remains of Salvador Dalí were exhumed Thursday night, pulled from their resting place by Spanish officials hoping to confirm whether the surrealist painter fathered a child in an affair. The closed procedure extracted some hair samples, nails, teeth and two long bones from the artist's embalmed body, the DNA of which might offer the conclusive answer to a high-profile paternity lawsuit long underway.

Updated at 10:24 p.m. ET

The White House communications operation underwent a dramatic shake-up Friday. Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a wealthy New York financier, as his communications director. Appearing on camera before the White House press corps at a televised press briefing, Scaramucci then announced Sarah Sanders, Spicer's deputy, as the new press secretary.

In statements Friday night, Trump praised Scaramucci and Sanders.

In an attempt to reach a younger and more diverse audience, the largest and most well-known Latino advocacy group in the U.S., the National Council of La Raza, renamed itself this month. The new name, UnidosUS, was announced at the group's 2017 conference in Phoenix. This has caused a rift in the U.S. Latino community — some see it as shedding a dated name, but others see it as leaving a legacy behind.

Is Inflammation Bad For You Or Good For You?

Jul 21, 2017

Chronic, low-level inflammation seems to play a role in a host of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer and even depression. And even though the science on inflammation and disease is far from settled, tests and treatments are being promoted that claim to reduce that risk.

That's even though inflammation is also a force for good, protecting against infection and injury. Acute inflammation occurs when you sprain your ankle or get a paper cut. It's part of the immune system's box of tricks to spark a defense and promote healing.

Given the fact that "New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee" has been marketed as a "male enhancement" product, it might be fair to assume that consumers who plucked the instant coffee off store shelves had a clear idea of its intended effects.

The Affordable Care Act is not "exploding" or "imploding," as President Trump likes to claim. But Trump does hold several keys to sabotaging the insurance marketplaces, should he so choose — one of which his administration is reportedly weighing using.

Deadly Earthquake Strikes Greece And Turkey

Jul 21, 2017

At least two people were killed by a strong earthquake that struck Greece and Turkey in the early morning hours Friday, sending thousands of panicked vacationers and locals streaming outside.

Manal Idrees looks out the car window in shock at the streets of her neighborhood in the oldest part of Mosul, reduced to chunks of concrete and tangled metal.

She fled when ISIS moved in three years ago. Although she has seen images of the destruction after Iraqi forces retook Mosul two weeks ago, experiencing it in person is staggering.

"It's ruined — all ruined," she says as we drive by streets where not a single building is left standing. "Mosul is gone. Iraq is gone."

And then she starts to sob for the son she lost: "All the beautiful young men are gone."

The U.S. government will ban American citizens from traveling to North Korea, citing safety and security concerns. The State Department confirmed the new restriction on Friday, after Young Pioneer Tours, which organized Otto Warmbier's fateful visit to North Korea, announced the pending move.

Warmbier's trip to the pariah nation ended in detention, imprisonment and a catastrophic head injury that resulted in his death after being released and deported to the U.S. last month.

Protesters, worshippers and security forces are massing in Jerusalem's Old City, where security measures at a religious shrine are angering Muslims. Tensions are high at the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

There are reports of small skirmishes in Jerusalem, after Muslims gathered for Friday afternoon prayers outside Al-Aqsa mosque. Worshippers who refused to pass through the metal detectors chose instead to pray next to them.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Daniel Estrin reports:

This summer, scientists in California are releasing 20 million mosquitoes in an effort to shrink the population of mosquitoes that can carry diseases.

It sounds counterintuitive. But the plan is to release millions of sterile male mosquitoes, which will then mate with wild female mosquitoes. The eggs the females lay won't hatch, researchers say.

When it comes to U.S. sanctions against Moscow, the Cold War has never really ended.

President Gerald Ford signed off on trade restrictions against the Soviet Union and other communist countries in a 1974 measure known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, for its congressional sponsors.

The message to Moscow: If you deny basic human rights — in this case, the right of certain people, especially Jews, to emigrate from the Soviet Union — you can't conduct normal business with the United States.

Harry Obst, who worked as a German interpreter for seven U.S. presidents through Bill Clinton, says he can only remember one who ever dispensed with an interpreter during discussions with a foreign leader: Richard Nixon.

It was a bad idea for lots of reasons, the author of White House Interpreter: The Art of Interpretation tells NPR.

Less than two months ago, U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was way behind in the polls when he took the stage at a music festival in Liverpool.

With his shirt untucked, Corbyn, 68, introduced the indy rock band the Libertines and delivered an impassioned defense of public funding for the arts before a crowd of some 20,000, most of them youngsters.

He urged them to demand "a government that cares about sport, culture and the arts — and gives you the space to play and rehearse your music!"

Asma Jama was out to dinner with her family at an Applebee's in Coon Rapids, Minn., in October 2015, when a woman seated nearby starting getting angry. Why? Jama, who is Somali-American and Muslim, was speaking Swahili and wearing a hijab.

The woman, Jodie Bruchard-Risch, demanded that Jama speak English — and then smashed Jama in the face with a glass beer mug.

"I could see it from the doctor's face that it was really bad," says Jama, who is 39. "I had lacerations across my chest, all over my hands, and 17 total stitches."

Kenneth Jay Lane turned designing "fake" jewelry into a global business. He didn't take himself too seriously — joking that his costume jewelry wasn't fake or junk. Instead, he would pronounce it "faque" and "junque."

Lane died in his sleep at his home in Manhattan, according to Chris Sheppard, executive vice president of Lane's company, who says it has not been determined whether he died Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Lane was 85.

The Trump Organization is asking the federal government for special visas to hire scores of foreign workers for two of President Trump's private clubs in Florida — the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

Exxon Mobil says it has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control, after the office said the oil and gas giant must pay a $2 million penalty for allegedly violating sanctions on Russia.

The alleged violations took place in May 2014, when Exxon Mobil signed a series of deals with Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russian oil company Rosneft.

Updated July 25, 5:25 PM ET: Tuesday afternoon, the Senate voted to send the original House legislation repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act to the floor. (Details below on the proposals/bills.)

But the Senate is only using it as a vehicle to add amendments that will change it substantially. The first amendment would phase out many of the Affordable Care Act's provisions over two years.

The first international robotics competition for high schoolers made headlines before it even started — and after the event was over as well.

First there was the story of the all-girl Afghanistan team, which was denied visas to attend for unknown reasons.

The Navy says it has its first female candidates for two elite special operations jobs previously closed to women — including a prospective SEAL.

One woman is in the pipeline to be a SEAL officer, and another is on the path to becoming a special warfare combatant crewman. The news was first reported by Military.com, an independent website. The Navy declined to identify the candidates, citing security considerations.

On a party-line vote, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday to confirm President Trump's most controversial judicial nominee to date.

He is John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer and political blogger whose posts disparaged gay rights and compared the Supreme Court's abortion decision in Roe v. Wade to its pro-slavery 1857 Dred Scott decision.

And he is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Governments have struggled to come up with effective ways to stop people from cutting down trees.

That's because unchecked deforestation can cause soil to erode, worsen flooding and destroy natural habitats for wildlife. It's become a serious problem throughout the globe. Deforestation accounts for roughly 10 percent of worldwide emissions from burning, and loss of trees reduces the amount of carbon being reabsorbed into the ground.

Chester Bennington, one of the lead singers for the band Linkin Park and a former singer for Stone Temple Pilots, has died. His death was confirmed to NPR Thursday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, which said that his body was discovered at a house in the 2800 block of Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles and that investigators are currently on the scene. The death is "being looked at as a possible suicide at this time," according to Brian Elias of the coroner's office. Bennington was 41 years old.

Groups that represent industries from farming to fracking are supporting a legislative push to rewrite how government handles science when drawing up regulations.

And the whole effort has scientists worried.

Consider, for example, the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment Act, or HONEST Act, which passed the House in the spring and now is with the Senate. Just how "honest" it is depends on whom you ask.

Jim Schott had one goal when he abandoned academic life to start the company called Haystack Mountain: He wanted to make some of the finest goat cheese in the country. With cheese in hand, he visited supermarkets, trying to persuade them to sell his product. Some didn't take him seriously. But Whole Foods did.

"From the very beginning, they wanted to taste it," Schott recalls. "And they wanted to know the story. They wanted to know where the cheese came from; who was making it; where it was made."

A Nevada parole board has granted O.J. Simpson parole from prison after he served nearly nine years following a conviction on armed robbery and other charges.

On Thursday, the four-person panel unanimously voted to grant parole. The parole board said that Oct. 1 is the earliest the former NFL star is eligible for release.

NPR's Ina Jaffe walked us through the incident that led to his conviction:

The Republican scramble to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has yielded yet another version of a health care overhaul bill, along with yet another score from the Congressional Budget Office — the second analysis from the nonpartisan agency in two days.

Empty streets, makeshift barricades, burning tires, signs scrawled with "No to dictatorship": Protests continue on the streets of Venezuela as a 24-hour general strike takes hold, the latest development in an ongoing political and economic crisis.

Some citizens are trying to go to work despite the shutdown of public transportation; others are taking to blockaded streets in protest. There is widespread fear of more bloodshed after months of conflict and dozens of deaths.

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