National & International News

We follow stories about America and the world, with help from NPR.

It's hard not to get excited about news of a potentially effective treatment for sepsis, a condition that leads to multiple organ failure and kills more people in the hospital than any other disease.

But there have been so many false promises about this condition over the years, it's also wise to treat announcements — like one published online by the journal, Chest — with caution.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has adopted the F-rating, a classification system designed to champion women in film.

The new rating was created three years ago by Holly Tarquini, executive director of the Bath Film Festival, to "support women in film and change the stories we see on screen." The Bath festival created a website for the rating, which says:

"The F-Rating is a classification for any film which

  1. is directed by a woman
  2. is written by a woman

In August 2016, an outbreak of mumps began in Arkansas. Since then, there have been nearly 3,000 cases of the disease across 33 counties in the state.

As a public health practitioner, I wondered: Why did this outbreak take off?

My team at HealthMap, a computational epidemiology lab based out of Boston Children's Hospital, began by rounding up as much data as we could.

The Affordable Care Act replacement plan championed by President Trump would hurt low-income people in rural areas that voted heavily for the Republican last fall, according to an NPR analysis of data on proposed subsidy changes from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It's not every day that the world gets a new tool that could save 100,000 children each year.

And it's definitely not every day that the secret to that tool is the same thing that makes space ice cream so memorable.

Sounds crazy. But bear with me a moment.

Scientists say they have a new vaccine that's about 70 percent effective against rotavirus — a nasty little pathogen that gives children bad diarrhea here in the U.S. but kills more than 200,000 children each year in developing countries.

At the State Department on Wednesday, officials from 68 countries and organizations gathered for a two-day summit to coordinate plans to fight ISIS. This was the first full meeting of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS since 2014, and a chance for the Trump administration to flesh out what it wants to do differently.

So far, it is mainly stepping up a fight that the Obama administration put in motion.

Sears used to be the titan of American retailing. But now its future is in doubt.

Shares of the company's stock tumbled 12 percent today after the company acknowledged Tuesday in its annual 10-K filing that its future viability is not a sure thing. A 10-K is a report that public companies file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, giving a comprehensive summary of the company's financial performance.

Angela Chen makes money hawking her ties to important people, running a consulting firm that helps companies connect with Asia's power players.

So it inevitably attracted notice when Chen spent nearly $16 million recently to buy a four-bedroom Park Avenue penthouse owned by President Trump himself.

The February deal, which was first reported by Mother Jones, underscores one of the problems posed by Trump's ongoing business interests.

An airstrike by U.S.-led coalition forces leveled a school west of Raqqa and killed at least 33 people, according to two activist groups monitoring Syria. The groups allege the attack, which they say occurred overnight on Monday and Tuesday, hit a building that had been housing families fleeing violence in war-torn areas nearby.

Updated at 7:12 p.m. ET

Explosive accusations and countercharges on Wednesday threatened to derail one of Congress' investigations into the potential connections between President Trump's 2016 campaign aides and Russia's meddling in the election.

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, announced that he had learned that then-President-elect Donald Trump and some of his staff had been caught up in U.S. surveillance of foreign targets overseas in the months after the election.

Before Carmencita Misa became bedridden, she was a veritable "dancing queen," says her daughter, Charlotte Altieri.

"Even though she would work about 60 hours a week, she would make sure to go out dancing once a week — no matter what," Altieri, says. "She was the life-of-the-party kind of person, the central nervous system for all her friends."

A massive stroke in March 2014 changed all that. It robbed Misa, 71, of her short-term memory, her eyesight and her mobility — and it left her dependent on a feeding tube for nourishment. Now, she lives in a nursing home.

Thursday will mark seven years since President Obama signed the now-threatened Affordable Care Act before a crowd in the jam-packed East Room of the White House. It was the signature legislative moment of his presidency, underscored by then-Vice President Biden, who whispered into the president's ear that it was a "big f****** deal." The mic picked up the remark, which created quite a stir.

The owner of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy was acquitted on 25 counts of second-degree murder, but guilty of racketeering and fraud in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and hurt more than 700.

A jury found Barry Cadden, an owner of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center, guilty of some of the charges, but decided against holding him directly responsible for the deaths, which could have resulted in a life sentence for Cadden.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

The Food and Drug Administration says at least nine women have died of a rare blood cancer after receiving breast implants, and that the agency is officially acknowledging an association between the implants and the disease.

On Tuesday, the agency announced that as of Feb. 1, it had received 359 breast implant-associated reports of a rare type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma called anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL.

Men may soon be able to take their own sperm count — at home. With a smartphone. Yes, there's an app for that.

You may be asking yourself, why?

Low sperm count is a marker for male infertility, a condition that is actually a neglected health issue worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

A viral social media campaign to fight the looming famine in Somalia has already raised more than $2 million. The goal is to send 60 tons of food to the country. But as the campaign has unfolded, it's become clear that it's still a work in progress. With the distribution set for March 27, some critical details are changing or not yet available.

By a largely party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate approved a bill that repeals Obama-era hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The House already voted last month to abolish those restrictions — which were instituted by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 to protect predator species from hunters — and so the bill now heads to the desk of President Trump, who is widely expected to sign it.

School districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said Wednesday in an 8-0 ruling.

The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Thursday

British authorities have made eight arrests in their investigation into Wednesday's attack in London, police said Thursday morning.

Mark Rowley, the national lead for counterterrorism policing, told reporters that there were four dead, including the attacker, and 29 people have been treated in hospitals. Seven people are in critical condition, he said.

Police had earlier said there were five dead including the attacker.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Late last year, India sought to force people with large amounts of cash stashed away to deposit it in bank accounts. It was a tax-collecting exercise to get people to disclose unreported wealth and pay up.

The government credits the move for a 12 percent increase in tax collections from the previous year.

GAO Will Investigate Skyrocketing Prices For Orphan Drugs

Mar 22, 2017

Acting on a request from three influential U.S. senators, the government's accountability arm confirmed Tuesday that it will investigate potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act.

The Government Accountability Office still must determine the full scope of the investigation. That scope will take some months, says Chuck Young, GAO's managing director for public affairs.

North Korea fired a missile from its east coast Wednesday, in a test that appears to have failed in an explosion within seconds of launch, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry and U.S. Pacific Command. Both groups confirm the launch occurred at North Korea's air base in Wonsan.

The ill-fated missile, which marks the country's third test of the year and second so far this month, is seen as a response to annual joint military drills by the U.S. and South Korea.

Though he didn't come from a farming family, from a young age Tim Joseph was fascinated by the idea of living off the land. Reading magazines like The Stockman Grass Farmer and Graze, he "got hooked on the idea of grass-fed agriculture — that all energy and wealth comes from the sun," he explains, "and the shorter the distance between the sun and the end product," the higher the profit to the farmer.

Two men who were born in Germany but don't have German citizenship will be deported to countries in North Africa, where their parents immigrated from, over suspicions that they were planning a terrorist attack. German officials say it's the first time the government is making such a move.

This blog post has some pretty useful information. So print it out; get out your highlighter and take off the cap.

Ready? Now throw it away, because highlighters don't really help people learn.

We all want for our kids to have optimal learning experiences and, for ourselves, to stay competitive with lifelong learning. But how well do you think you understand what good learning looks like?

Could the U.S. Justice Department prosecute reporters for publishing stories based on classified material? That once-tangential question briefly took center stage during Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearing.

As several Republican lawmakers stressed the possible criminality of leaking to the press about the activities of President Trump's advisers and associates, South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy went a step further, asking, "Is there an exception in the law for reporters who want to break a story?"

FBI Director James Comey demurred.

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