NPR News

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics kicked off on Friday — at 8 p.m. in South Korea and at 6 a.m. ET in the U.S. — with 2,900 athletes from 92 countries gathering to compete for 102 medals in Pyeongchang.

The U.S. Olympic team was led into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium by flag-bearer Erin Hamlin.

The Winter Games run from Feb. 9-25. The Paralympics will use many of the same facilities, with 670 athletes competing from March 9-18.

Our recap of the big event:

The ceremony begins

If you're Native American, there's a good chance that you've thought a lot about blood quantum — a highly controversial measurement of the amount of "Indian blood" you have. It can affect your identity, your relationships and whether or not you — or your children — may become a citizen of your tribe.

Blood quantum was initially a system that the federal government placed onto tribes in an effort to limit their citizenship. Many Native nations, including the Navajo Nation and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, still use it as part of their citizenship requirements.

About 10 miles off the Alabama coast, Ben Raines gently falls backward from a boat into the Gulf of Mexico, a scuba tank strapped to his back and handsaw on his belt. He's on a mission to collect cypress samples from 60 feet below.

"We're going to cut some pieces as if we were in a forest on land," says Raines, an environmental reporter with AL.com.

One year ago this week, Jeff Sessions stood beaming in the Oval Office as he awaited his swearing-in as the 84th attorney general of the United States.

On that day last February, President Trump signed executive orders on violent crime and gangs, pledging that a "new era of justice begins." And, in the year that followed, Sessions has managed to transform the Justice Department, particularly in the areas of civil rights, immigration and drugs.

President Trump has picked a new chief for the Office of Government Ethics, seven months after the last confirmed head of the agency quit in frustration over his conflicts with the White House.

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

The sister of North Korea's leader, Kim Yo Jong, and other high-ranking officials from Pyongyang have met with South Korea's president. Their three-day visit to South Korea marks the highest level inter-Korean contact in more than a decade.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency also says Kim Yong Nam is "the only member of the communist state's ruling family to have visited the South, at least since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War."

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

President Trump signed a bipartisan budget agreement Friday morning, following approval of the bill in Congress shortly before sunrise.

The two-year spending pact will let lawmakers spend $300 billion more than current law allows.

The deal suspends a 2011 budget law championed by conservatives that set hard caps on discretionary spending and included an automatic trigger known as "sequester" cuts if Congress attempted to bust those spending caps.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children as children and enlisted in the armed forces will not be deported even if their legal protections expire.

Here's a story that might convince you that paying attention to your grammar lessons might one day put money in your pocket.

Thanks to the absence of the comma in the wording of a state law laying out what activities qualify a worker for overtime pay, more than 120 drivers for the Oakhurst Dairy in Portland, Maine, are eligible to share a $5 million legal settlement announced today.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has affirmed a decision that 47 Russian athletes and coaches should not be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics, weighing in on the matter with just hours to go before Pyeongchang holds its opening ceremony for nearly 3,000 athletes from around the world.

The group of 47 who were turned away includes Victor Ahn, a short track speed skater who has won multiple gold medals in previous Olympics, including in Sochi.

Updated at 10:47 p.m. ET

It seems all but certain that the nonessential operations of the government could shutter for at least a few hours overnight after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., repeatedly objected to a Senate vote in order to air his grievances over what he calls runaway federal spending.

Paul faced off with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the Senate majority whip, just after 10 p.m. on the Senate floor and blocked multiple attempts by Cornyn to hold a vote on funding legislation before 1 a.m. Friday.

Jurors are now deliberating in the federal trial of two Baltimore police officers who are charged with rampant corruption, in a case that has brought forth stunning allegations of misconduct in the department.

The case centers on the Gun Trace Task Force, an elite unit that was supposed to be taking illegal guns off the street. Instead, witnesses say its members were reselling the guns and drugs it seized right back onto the streets.

It's the biggest smorgasbord on TV. NBC and its related platforms are serving up more than 2,400 hours of Olympics coverage through the closing ceremony on Feb. 25 — a record for a Winter Olympics. It's all there in front of you, but figuring out what you want and when you want it is a challenge. Here are a few ideas on sorting through it all:

How To Watch On TV

Different neurological conditions like autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder appear to have more in common than scientists thought they did. A new study finds that they have important similarities at a molecular level.

And understanding the molecular basis of those disorders could help in developing better treatments.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Veer and Maya eloped despite their parents' objections. Shahzad and Sabeena have a traditional arranged marriage that's been complicated by their inability to have children. Ashok and Parvati met via an online matchmaker.

The experiences of these three Indian couples are the focus of Elizabeth Flock's new book, The Heart Is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai. Flock, a reporter for PBS Newshour, spent nearly a decade following, and sometimes taking part in, their lives.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The Man Who Inspired A Menstrual Pad Movie

Feb 8, 2018

Today, everyone respects Arunachalam Muruganantham, 52, a social entrepreneur who lives in the city of Coimbatore in South India. But there was a time, he says, when his neighbors were convinced he had lost his mind. Some even believed that he was a vampire.

"It all started because I wanted to create a good sanitary napkin for my wife," he laughs.

The connection between Middle Eastern and Mexican food goes all the way back to the Moors, and is well-known in culinary circles. Al pastor tacos are just a pork version of the shawarma spits that Lebanese immigrants brought with them to Mexico City in the 1930s. In nearby Puebla, a wrap called tacos árabes — Arabic tacos — uses a flatbread that's halfway between pita and lavash. Kibbe (fried meatballs made from bulghur wheat) is popular in the Yucatán, thanks to Syrians who settled in the Peninsula over the past century.

The Trump administration is withholding half of its planned aid to the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees. The former U.S. Army officer who directs the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in the West Bank is in Washington, trying to figure out what it will take to have that money restored.

Before heading to the White House, Scott Anderson spoke to NPR on Wednesday about the case he is making.

The United States contributed $60 million to UNRWA this year but is withholding another $65 million for further consideration.

The 242 athletes who will represent the U.S. in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics come from 32 states, from Alaska to Florida. And while powerhouse winter sports states like Colorado and California are sending the most Olympians to South Korea, cities and towns around the U.S. have good reason to watch their daughters and sons compete as well.

Pages