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Draylen Mason was known as an accomplished musician who was heading to college, but he could also make you laugh before he even opened his mouth.

"You just expect to laugh with him. That boy was hilarious," said Sharrel Prince, who has known him since pre-K. "What made Draylen funny is that he says the things everyone else is scared to say."

While the U.S. continues to debate what, if any, federal firearms restrictions to enact in the wake of last month's deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, Canada is introducing new gun laws of its own, even as opponents there have vowed to fight those changes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal party government has proposed what it bills as "common sense gun laws," including tougher background checks and more thorough screening of people with a history of violence.

Senators are grilling top intelligence and election officials Wednesday on Capitol Hill, as they continue to investigate how to better secure voting systems in the U.S.

Investors are expecting another quarter-point increase in interest rates Wednesday afternoon as the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee winds up its first two-day meeting under new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

Economists are wondering whether faster economic growth might cause the Fed to pick up the pace of its rate hikes. The Fed has signaled three rate increases for 2018, but accelerated growth could cause policymakers to add an additional hike.

Welcome to Invisibilia Season 4! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior, and we here at Goats and Soda are joining in for the podcast's look at how a reality show in Somalia tried to do far more than crown a winning singer. The ultimate goal: to change human behavior.

White Skin, Black Emojis?

5 hours ago

Trying to pick the right emoji to convey exactly what you're feeling — excitement, fear, existential dread — can be tough. What makes it more complicated? All those different skin tones.

On Ask Code Switch, we take on your trickiest questions about race and identity. This week, we're tackling a letter from Kristyn Gelfand, 38, in Toronto. She writes:

It's 1995, and Chris Cox is on a plane, reading a newspaper. One article about a recent court decision catches his eye. This moment, in a way, ends up changing his life — and, to this day, it continues to change ours.

The case that caught the congressman's attention involved some posts on a bulletin board — the early-Internet precursor to today's social media. The ruling led to a new law, co-authored by Cox and often called simply "Section 230."

Updated at 7 a.m. Wednesday

Authorities said a "serial bomber" was behind the explosions that killed two and injured several others in the Texas capital. Early Wednesday morning, police said a suspect in the bombings killed himself in an explosion in his vehicle.

The Affordable Care Act very nearly failed to become law back in 2010 because of a dispute among Democrats over how to handle abortion in the bill.

Now a similar argument between Democrats and Republicans is slowing progress on a bill that could help cut soaring premiums and help stabilize the ACA.

At issue is the extent to which the Hyde Amendment — language commonly used by Congress to prohibit most federal abortion funding — should be incorporated into any new legislation affecting the health law.

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In New York City today, a woman who had briefly opened her home to the alleged Parkland, Fla., high school shooter gave a terrifying account of his stay with her. In a tearful presentation, Rocxanne Deschamps talked of her friendship with the late Lynda Cruz, the mother of accused gunman Nikolas Cruz, and the fear she felt most of the time that he was in her home.

Cruz is charged with the murders of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.

A Minneapolis police officer is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case of an unarmed Australian woman who was shot and killed after calling 911 to report a possible crime.

It's been a bad week for Cambridge Analytica.

Talking About Periods in Public

16 hours ago

"Shark week," "Aunt Flo," "Carrie at the prom" — these are a few common nicknames for periods, according to Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, author of Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity. But the list is far from exhaustive: "There are something like 5,000 euphemisms for periods," she says.

For years Harjit Masih has been talking about what happened outside of the Iraqi city of Mosul, the Associated Press reported. He and 39 other Indian men — all construction workers working on the Mosul University campus — had been kidnapped by members of ISIS as the extremist group waged its assault on the city.

Remember that skeleton hanging in the front of your biology — or art — classroom?

It's possible those bones are not plastic, but actual human remains. A lot of classroom skeletons, in high schools, universities and medical schools, are real.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


The turmoil for Facebook isn't letting up. The social media giant is facing more blowback from users, regulators and investors following reports that its user data was misused by Cambridge Analytica, a firm that worked for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

That has spurred a user boycott, as angry former Facebook users started turning to Twitter over the weekend to express their discontent. David Chartier, a freelance writer in Chicago, was one of them:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Democrats got their shot at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday, when she testified before a House committee about her department's proposed budget.

The hearing followed widespread criticism of DeVos for lackluster performances on 60 Minutes and the Today show earlier this month. She remains one of the most unpopular members of President Trump's Cabinet and continues to anger Democrats over many issues.

With recent backlash surrounding analytics firm Cambridge Analytica's access to and alleged misuse of massive amounts of Facebook user data, NPR wants to hear from social media users.

Fill out the form below. An NPR producer might be in touch, and your response may be used for an upcoming story.

From Clues To Capture: Forensics, Profiling And The Hunt In Austin

18 hours ago

The task of catching a criminal – such as the one(s) behind the apparent serial bombings in Austin, Texas – often hinges on forensic experts, whose job may involve concocting a profile of the perpetrator or perpetrators.

"You're building the outline of who this individual is, and you'll fill it in as more information becomes available," retired FBI agent Mary Ellen O'Toole told NPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday.

North Korea has earned a reputation as a country that knows how to play a weak diplomatic hand well. Or at least, it is known to have confounded U.S. negotiators and persisted in its nuclear drive by hook or by crook, despite both its relative weakness and repeated American efforts to halt and reverse North Korea's nuclear development.

What lessons should the U.S. government bear in mind if President Trump indeed ends up sitting across the negotiating table from Kim Jong Un, and what should Trump do differently?

José López doesn't have a deed for the little house at the edge of a dairy farm where he was raised and still lives — only the stories his grandfather told him about how the house came to be.

It began with an agreement between gentlemen 39 years ago. His grandfather, a foreman on the farm, needed a house for his recently divorced daughter, López's mother. So he asked the farm's owner if he could have a little corner of the sprawling estate to build her one.

"My grandfather worked on the farm for 44 years," López said, "and his boss was a good man. He said yes."

When Roger Severino tells his story, discrimination is at its heart.

"I did experience discrimination as a child. And that leaves a lasting impression," he tells me.

Severino directs the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When I meet with him at his office in the shadow of the Capitol, he talks about his childhood as the son of Colombian immigrants growing up in Los Angeles.

Robots have taken over many of America's factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong.

But can they pick a strawberry?

"You kind of learn, when you get into this — it's really hard to match what humans can do," says Bob Pitzer, an expert on robots and co-founder of a company called Harvest CROO Robotics. (CROO is an acronym. It stands for Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer.)