NPR News

It's 5:30 a.m. and dark in the fifth-floor hotel room, just a few minutes' drive from the Orlando airport. There are still 20 minutes before the entire family needs to be downstairs to enjoy the free breakfast in the hotel lobby, then they'll be driving the 15 minutes north to school — first period starts at the "very early" time of 7:20.

This has been the daily routine for nearly two months since Yerianne Roldán, 17, and her sister Darianne, 16, arrived in Orlando from western Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Privacy has long been a moving target, thanks to technology.

For much of humanity's history, privacy referred to the physical environment — who can see or hear you. Consider one of the most famous law review articles, called "The Right To Privacy," penned in 1890 by Samuel Warren and future Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis.

Venezuela's Constituent Assembly has approved a law its authors say would punish messages of hate in broadcast and social media with penalties reaching 20 years in prison.

The new law comes in a period of rising political tensions over the rule of socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The U.S. Justice Department has informed AT&T that it will block the telecommunications giant's planned $85 billion takeover of Time Warner unless it sells off CNN — a network frequently targeted for derision by President Trump. The move has therefore triggered concerns within CNN that the administration is taking action against a media outfit simply because it has angered the president with its coverage, raising First Amendment implications.

Getting rid of the requirement that everyone in the country have health insurance coverage would save the government $338 billion over the next decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Wednesday.

Look at Vincent Van Gogh's Olive Trees closely enough, and you'll find the subtle intricacies of his play with color, his brushstrokes, perhaps even his precise layers of paint atop the canvas.

You'll also find a grasshopper. Well, parts of one, anyway.

Just hours after Maine voters became the first in the nation to use the ballot box to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Republican Gov. Paul LePage said he wouldn't implement it unless the Legislature funds the state's share of an expansion.

"Give me the money and I will enforce the referendum," LePage said. Unless the Legislature fully funds the expansion — without raising taxes or using the state's rainy day fund — he said he will not implement it.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

More than two months since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and historic flooding damaged tens of thousands of houses in the Houston area, many homeowners who got hit are in a bind. Their now-gutted homes are financial drains.

That's bringing out investors who are eager to pick up damaged houses at low prices.

Call it a post-Harvey frenzy for flooded homes.

Corey Boyer, an investor based in Cypress, Texas, has been putting in more than a handful of offers – many site unseen.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Germany's highest court has ruled that the country must provide a third gender option beside male or female in the nation's birth register — or dispense entirely with information on gender in civil status.

Scott Gottlieb, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner appointed by the Trump administration, has this in common with Michelle Obama: He wants to know what's in the food he eats.

And this, it seems, includes calorie counts.

Now, the FDA has released its guidance on implementing an Obama-era rule that requires chain restaurants and other food establishments to post calories on menus or menu boards. The mandate was written into the Affordable Care Act back in 2010.

Editor's note: The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria as a "biopesticide" in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The bacteria keep mosquitoes from spreading diseases like dengue and Zika. Back in 2012, NPR's Joe Palca wrote about scientist Scott O'Neill's 20 years of struggle to make the idea of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes work. Here is his story.

We praise athletes, at every level, for their ability to compete, to dazzle, to perform under pressure, to inspire and — maybe most importantly — to win.

And when they fall down, when they tear, break or injure themselves, they promise to pick themselves back up, come back stronger than ever and carry their team to victory — thus solidifying their seemingly superhuman performance.

But what goes into recovery? How do athletes get better? And then how do they stay healthy?

Often, recovery — and general pain management in sports — involves medication.

A child who was on the verge of death from a rare inherited disease has been treated with genetically engineered skin cells that replaced most of the skin on his body.

The treatment represents a notable success for the field of gene therapy, which has suffered many setbacks. And it's potentially good news for children suffering from a painful and often deadly skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa.

As the sun went down Wednesday on the vermilion walls and yellow tile roofs of Beijing's Forbidden City, the first families of the U.S. and China took in a Peking opera performance in the palace where China's emperors lived for nearly six centuries.

It was the start of what China's ambassador to the U.S. calls a "state visit plus" — a highly choreographed blend of stagecraft and statecraft, designed to highlight the evolving chemistry between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping.

When a shooter started spraying the inside of a Sutherland Springs, Texas church with bullets on Sunday, 30-year-old Joann Ward "threw her body over the little ones," according to her mother-in-law, Sandy Ward.

The "little ones" who were at church that day were Joann Ward's daughters Rhianna Garcia, 9, Emily Garcia, 7 and Brooke Ward, 5 and stepson Ryland Ward, 5.

Joann Ward, Emily and Brooke died; Ryland was shot several times and remains in critical condition, facing multiple surgeries.

Traditional. Predictable. Risk-averse. These words defined Saudi Arabia and its elderly monarchs for decades. But the kingdom's brash crown prince, 32-year-old Mohammad bin Salman, is swiftly scrapping the old ways of doing business at home and abroad.

After stops in Japan and South Korea, President Trump arrived in China on Wednesday, the third of his five stops in Asia this week. He had tea and dinner, and took in some opera, with China's leader Xi Jinping. On Thursday, they will hold bilateral talks. On the table will be the trade imbalance between the countries that Trump hopes to rectify and ongoing provocations from China's intransigent neighbor, North Korea.

Even as the world — especially Asian nations — looks on, no one is watching this leg of Trump's swing through Asia with more trepidation than Taiwan.

The new troops of the Afghan 215th Corps are assembled on a wide plaza at midday at their base, called Camp Shorabak.

Passing in review is their new commander, Maj. Gen. Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai. He proved himself fighting the Taliban in northeast Afghanistan. Now he's in charge of Helmand — the deadliest province in a troubled country.

Soft lounge music pipes through the speakers as elegantly dressed shoppers peruse organic produce and meats at City'super, one of Shanghai's most upscale markets, a cross between Whole Foods and Louis Vuitton. But one look at the price of an American steak is enough to conjure a mental scratch of a needle across this soothing soundtrack: Nearly $60 for a pound of USDA Prime ribeye.

President Trump has called it "ridiculous," a "horrible law" that made it difficult for U.S. companies to compete overseas.

But the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars businesses from paying bribes to overseas officials, remains a key part of U.S. efforts to combat global corruption.

Now one study is showing the Trump administration's use of the law may be declining, even as administration officials say they're committed to enforcing it.

On a recent Saturday in Rome, several thousand angry Italians marched through the streets of downtown. They came to protest a bill that would grant citizenship to children born in Italy to long-term resident foreigners.

Sara Polimeno came from the northern Piedmont region to demand a stop to migrants.

"There's an invasion of Muslims imposing their religion on us," said Polimeno. "They have different customs and culture and they're upsetting all our habits. They're demanding too much. Enough!"

This time of year, the stands at Paris' hundreds of weekly food markets are laden with plump, dark grapes and wild mushrooms. Wild game often hangs from hooks above.

Of all the seasons to visit Paris, food lovers say the best time is autumn.

"The fall is the best time to eat in France," says longtime Paris resident and culinary historian David Downie. "Everyone knows that. It's when everything comes in. It's the harvest season."

Depending on whom you ask, finding out whether your genes make you a better athlete or give you healthier skin may be as easy as swabbing your cheeks for a DNA test on your way into a football game. But others say these "wellness" tests marketed directly to consumers are modern snake oil — worthless, or even misleading.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration gave a boost to direct-to-consumer genetic testing when it announced plans to streamline its approval process.

President Trump delivered a warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to underestimate U.S. resolve in the face of Pyongyang's nuclear threats. Trump also challenged other nations — especially China — not to stand idly by while Kim pursues his aggressive nuclear program.

A transgender woman has won a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates. Danica Roem defeated an incumbent who had sponsored a bill earlier this year that would have restricted which bathroom transgender people could use.

It's the first time someone who's said they were transgender has been elected to a state legislature.

Roem, a Democrat, decisively defeated Republican Del. Bob Marshall in a Northern Virginia district near Washington, D.C. Marshall had held the seat since 1992 and had been a prominent religious conservative in Virginia politics.

After announcing an end to health insurance coverage for contraceptives, the University of Notre Dame now says that the coverage will continue to be available through third-party providers, as it has been before.

The news comes a week after the school informed students and staff that the coverage would be terminating within the next year and just over a month after the Trump administration gave organizations the choice of opting out of providing such coverage.

Updated at 11:44 p.m. ET

Democrat Ralph Northam has easily won the Virginia governor's race, defeating Republican Ed Gillespie in a stinging rebuke to President Trump.

Pages