National & International News

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Editor's Note: This is an updated version of a story that was originally published on July 28, 2013.

When South Africa's Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at age 95, the international community celebrated him as an iconic figure, a symbol of hope and statesmanship, the man who guided a troubled country from apartheid to democracy.

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

Russia's State Duma has adopted restrictions on foreign media outlets, days after the U.S. Justice Department forced the production company behind media outlet RT America to register as a foreign agent operating in the U.S.

"A total of 409 lawmakers out of 450 voted for the amendments, no one voted against them or abstained," the state-run Tass news agency reported.

Australians have given same-sex marriage a resounding "yes," in a historic nationwide poll, with nearly 62 percent of registered voters approving the measure.

Although the mail-in poll is non-binding, it nonetheless ensures that Parliament will consider ensconcing the popular sentiment as law — a bill to do just that was introduced in the Senate late Wednesday after the results of the poll became known.

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, doctors and nurses are moving as many patients as they can from intravenous medications to the same drugs in pill form.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview that aired on Wednesday's Morning Edition, says that he has no plans to run for president in 2020 but that it would be "foolish" to rule it out entirely.

As more executives accused of sexual harassment are being ousted from companies around the nation, including NPR, many are rethinking whether human resources departments are willing or able to handle the job of fielding and investigating complaints. Many have grown skeptical, after recent news stories suggesting some HR departments knew of issues, but failed to adequately respond. Many others have lost faith in HR through experiences of their own.

Washington used to operate one scandal at a time.

Not anymore. Here are just some of the scandals currently brewing:

  • The indictment of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

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Updated at 6:05 a.m. ET Wednesday

Zimbabwe's army said Wednesday that it has seized control in what is being described as "a bloodless transition" that has apparently pushed aside President Robert Mugabe. The military said he and his family are "safe and sound."

Armored vehicles and soldiers patrolled streets in the capital, Harare, amid loud explosions overnight. Soldiers reportedly took control of the headquarters of the national broadcaster, ZBC, and an army spokesman said on air: "This is not a military takeover."

Two female lawmakers accused sitting members of Congress of sexual harassment but did not divulge their identities, at a House hearing Tuesday.

"This is about a member who is here now; I don't know who it is. But somebody who I trust told me the situation," said Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., a member of the House Administration Committee, which is conducting a review of existing policies to prevent and report sexual harassment.

Volunteers Save Beached Whales On Indonesian Shore

Nov 14, 2017

Ten sperm whales that had beached themselves in the Aceh Province of Indonesia were spotted early Monday. Professional rescue teams and local volunteers worked into the night and were able to release six of them. The remaining four died.

Officials still don't know what caused the whales to strand themselves.

Conservation groups sent a team of at least 50 into the water to try and save the whales with the help of people nearby who were willing to lend a hand.

Mattel unveiled its first hijab-wearing Barbie doll on Monday, modeled after fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who has broken ground herself as the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete in the head scarf.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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Kelly, give me a five-letter word to describe swapping out Scrabble tiles you don't like.

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C-H-E-A-T.

HU: Oh, what?

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Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans now plan to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as part of a tax overhaul bill.

Several Senate Republicans said Tuesday that including the repeal in tax legislation, currently making its way through a key Senate committee, would allow them to further reduce tax rates for individuals without adding more to the deficit.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved its first digital drug: a pill embedded with a sensor that transmits whether someone has taken it.

Although the approval is a big step for digital medicine, there are concerns about privacy, convenience and cost.

India Declares War On Unsafe Selfies

Nov 14, 2017

How far would you go to snap the perfect selfie?

For some people, the answer is clearly: too far.

Take India, for example.

Federal health officials Tuesday issued a warning about kratom, a herbal product being promoted as a safe alternative to opioids for pain that is also marketed for treating addiction, anxiety and depression.

The Food and Drug Administration says there's insufficient evidence the supplement works to treat addiction or other problems and cited growing evidence it can be dangerous. Kratom may cause seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.

Updated at 12:01 ET Nov. 16

There are a lot of anxious graduate students at universities around the country right now.

That's because to help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan would raise taxes on grad students in a very big way. These students make very little money to begin with. And many would have to pay about half of their modest student stipends in taxes.

As Mexican authorities continue to crack down on drug smugglers, criminals continue to aim high in a bid to evade them. Last week, Mexican authorities seized a jury-rigged bazooka and nearly one ton of marijuana in the border town of Agua Prieta in Sonora state, the Mexican Attorney General said in a statement.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

After thousands of U.S. veterans won a class action suit against the military over being used in chemical and biological testing, the Army says it will pay for their medical care. But the group's attorneys say the service is falling short of meeting its obligations and that it's withholding details veterans are seeking about what agents they were exposed to.

The Army says veterans can be treated for any injuries or diseases caused after the service used the soldiers as research subjects in the period from 1942 to 1975.

The new tax plan introduced by House Republicans could have negative implications for universities, graduate students and those with student loans.

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