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The astronomer Carl Sagan said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Last week, a physician made the extraordinary claim that he had an effective treatment for sepsis, sometimes known as blood poisoning.

Sepsis is a bodywide inflammation, usually triggered by infection, and the leading cause of death in hospitals, taking 300,000 lives a year. So, even a 15 percent improvement in survival would save 40,000 lives — the number of Americans who die on the highway each year, or from breast cancer.

The Swedish word uppgivenhepssyndrom, sounds like what it is: a syndrome in which kids have given up on life. That's what several hundred children and adolescents have done, literally checked out of the world for months or years, unable to move, eat, drink, speak or respond. All of the victims of the disorder, sometimes called resignation syndrome, have been youngsters seeking asylum after a traumatic migration, mostly from former Soviet and Yugoslav states. And all of them live in Sweden.

Think about the avocados you mash for your Super Bowl guacamole, or the fresh tomatoes you enjoy in the winter. There's a good chance they came from Mexico.

Our southern neighbor is the United States' leading supplier of fresh produce, providing 70 percent of the fresh vegetables we import and more than 40 percent of our fresh fruit imports. That trade has boomed since NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement — was signed in 1994.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided that despite the historic flub at this year's Oscars, PricewaterhouseCoopers will continue to be involved in the balloting and ceremony — with a few new safeguards.

In case you've somehow forgotten, the accounting firm handed presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for Best Picture winner.

Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET

Just three weeks after South Korean President Park Geun-hye was formally ousted from power, she has been arrested for her role in the scandal that led to her impeachment.

A district court in Seoul issued the warrant early Friday local time, hours after the disgraced politician appeared before the court for questioning. Park's marathon warrant-request hearing Thursday lasted nearly nine hours — the longest in South Korean history for such a hearing.

Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

Take a deep breath in through your nose, and slowly let it out through your mouth. Do you feel calmer?

Controlled breathing like this can combat anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It's one reason so many people experience tranquility after meditation or a pranayama yoga class. How exactly the brain associates slow breathing with calmness and quick breathing with nervousness, though, has been a mystery. Now, researchers say they've found the link, at least in mice.

In February of last year, Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker signed an administrative order to help jumpstart mariculture, or sea farming, in the state. One Juneau couple is whipping up a recipe to make local kelp an enticing business and snack. They're part of a growing number of startups that see Alaska seaweed as a marketable food.

Kelp has become a big part of Matt Kern and Lia Heifetz's relationship.

Thirteen members of a church choir were killed when their bus collided head-on with a pickup truck Wednesday afternoon in Texas. The crash happened about 75 miles west of San Antonio, outside Garner State Park in Uvalde County.

On the afternoon of April 14, 2016, Yu Huan, 22, and his mother were working at their brake disc company in eastern China's Shandong Province, when 11 men arrived and blocked the company's entrance, set up a grill and started drinking alcohol and barbecuing outside. It was the second day in a row that they'd been harassing the family.

A Forgotten Shipwreck Imperils Washington's Oysters

6 hours ago

Driving up the coast toward Bay Center, Wash., it's obvious when you start to approach Willapa Bay. Fifteen-foot high piles of empty shells begin to appear on the side of the road. This is an oyster town.

But it's also home to a sinking piece of history.

While the political world continues to focus on the machinations of congressional investigations about Russia (which won't have conclusions drawn for months, if not longer) and where health care goes from here, there's another, arguably more important story going on — ramped-up military engagement.

Here's the New York Times Thursday:

Your sniffles may feel worse if you're lonely.

In the heart of Beirut, architect Mona El Hallak herds a group of students together outside a monumental mansion — a vast, elegant building whose yellow walls and graceful pillars are ravaged by thousands of bullet holes.

"We are," she shouts over the cacophonous traffic, "at the intersection of Damascus Road and Independence Avenue."

Seventeen-year-old Indrani Das just won the top high school science prize in the country. Das, who lives in Oradell, N.J., took home $250,000 from the former Intel Science Talent Search, now the Regeneron Science Talent Search, for her study of brain injuries and neuron damage. In her spare time, she's already working with patients as a certified EMT.

Some of President Trump's proposed spending cuts would cripple programs that benefit communities full of his rural supporters, but at least in Strong City, Kan., some say they are ready "to bleed a little bit."

Strong City is a former railroad town of about 460 people, less than half the size it was in 1890. Trump's proposed budget aims at killing the program that threw a lifeline to the town's water system.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin says the Department of Veterans Affairs "is on a path toward recovery."

"We have a clear mandate to do better, [and] to make sure that we're honoring our mission to serve our veterans," Shulkin told NPR's Morning Edition.

They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they're smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

Two separate high-profile incidents broadcast this week highlighted the criticism black women regularly face in the workplace and spurred many to share their own experiences on social media.

For years, a State Department employee allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from Chinese intelligence agents and failed to report the repeated contacts to U.S. officials.

Candace Claiborne pleaded not guilty at a federal court appearance Wednesday to charges of obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI, over her relationship with the Chinese agents.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world's most recognizable people.

An international soccer superstar, blessed with good looks and a golden foot, Ronaldo indisputably stands as one of the greatest to take the pitch. He's so beloved, in fact, that he just got an international airport named after him in his native Madeira Islands in Portugal — plus a bust fashioned in his likeness.

The right-wing government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is taking steps that could cause a popular American university in Budapest to close.

Under a bill submitted to the Hungarian Parliament late Tuesday, non-EU universities issuing diplomas in Hungary would be required to have a campus in their home country.

When President Trump signed an order to roll back climate policies, he promised more jobs for coal miners.

"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal. Gonna have clean coal, really clean coal," Trump said in making the announcement at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with President Trump next week, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.

This visit will be the first in-person meeting between Trump and Xi, after Trump's sharp criticisms of China during the presidential campaign.

Trump and Xi are likely to get together at Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort, though the White House hasn't officially announced the visit. Likely topics for discussion are Trump's threats to counter China's trade policies, which he has called unfair.

The White House says President Trump has a new special assistant on his staff — his daughter Ivanka. The announcement comes a week after the president's oldest daughter moved into her own office in the West Wing to work on women's issues.

Her shift from an informal adviser at the White House to an unpaid government employee is small but important. She was already applying for security clearance, had access to classified information and was meeting with world leaders.

Today the United Kingdom formally told the European Union it is leaving, after decades of membership in the 28-nation political alliance and trading bloc. The move triggers an estimated two-year divorce process that will involve many months of tough negotiations and will launch Britain on a new, uncertain path.

Addressing the House of Commons in London, Prime Minister Theresa May said Brexit is an opportunity for her country to chart a new course, unencumbered by the bureaucracy of the multilateral organization based in Brussels.

After millions of dollars of flood damage and mass evacuations this year, California is grappling with how to update its aging flood infrastructure. Some say a natural approach might be part of the answer.

All the water that poured down spillways at the Oroville Dam in northern California did a lot of damage to the area — and for miles down the river.

"It looks like a bomb's gone off," says John Carlon of River Partners, a nonprofit that does river restoration. "That's what it looks like."

A new Missouri law cuts off a line of funding to all organizations that provide abortions in the state, including hospitals.

For years, Missouri has helped low-income women pay for family planning under a Medicaid program called Extended Women's Health Services, which is funded by both the state and the federal governments.

Michael Sharp believed in the power of persuasion. The 34-year-old Kansan with the round face and a penchant for plaid shirts would walk, unarmed, deep into rebel-held territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sit in the shade of banana trees with rebels and exchange stories.

Inevitably, those stories would turn to the past. "Rebels love talking about the past," Michael once told me.

Update 7:06 P.M. Eastern: The EPA says it's reversing course and keeping chlorpyrifos on the market.

That's despite the agency's earlier conclusion, reached during the Obama administration, that this pesticide could pose risks to consumers. It's a signal that toxic chemicals will face less restrictive regulation by the Trump administration.

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