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Suspicious that a package shipped from Hong Kong might contain smuggled animals, U.S. agents who opened the package found three live king cobra snakes hidden in potato chip cans. The man who was to receive the package outside Los Angeles has been arrested on federal charges.

Rodrigo Franco, 34, could face 20 years in prison on a charge of illegally importing merchandise, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. U.S. officials accuse him of violating the Endangered Species Act and falsifying records.

In the neonatal intensive care unit of Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, a father is rocking a baby attached to a heart monitor. While doctors roam the halls trying to prevent infections, Chief Information Officer Theresa Meadows is worried about another kind of virus.

"The last thing anybody wants to happen in their organization is have all their heart monitors disabled or all of their IV pumps that provide medication to a patient disabled," Meadows says.

Sri Lanka celebrated its eradication of malaria last year. But now the country faces another mosquito-borne illness: dengue fever. It's also sometimes known as "breakbone fever" because of the severe pain it can cause.

A dengue outbreak has left some Sri Lankan hospitals so full that they're turning away patients, says Gerhard Tauscher, an operations manager with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He is based in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

Stretch & Bobbito On Race, Hip-Hop, And Belonging

Jul 26, 2017

For most of the 1990s, Adrian "Stretch" Bartos and Robert "Bobbito" Garcia hosted a famous weekly hip-hop radio show on Columbia University's campus radio station, WKCR. Their no-frills, four-hour show was broadcast during the wee hours of the morning — 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday mornings — on a low-strength signal that listeners had to be deliberate about searching out.

NPR Pentagon Correspondent Tom Bowman and Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep discuss President Trump's tweets announcing the military will not allow transgender people to serve.

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Missouri already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. Now it's looking to place new requirements on the procedure, including having doctors meet with women seeking abortions before formal consent can be given and requiring the health department to hold unannounced annual inspections of abortion clinics.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

A senior FBI official said Wednesday the nation is "under relentless assault" from foreign adversaries, as the Senate Judiciary Committee continued its probe into Russia's interference with last year's presidential election.

Bill Priestap, assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI, painted a bleak picture of efforts — both overt and covert — by foreign government agents inside the U.S. "Our economy, our national security and our way of life are being actively threatened by state actors and their proxies," he said.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that the government will not allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, a year after the Pentagon lifted its ban on transgender service members.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, he wrote:

"Dear Dickie," the woman wrote on thin parchment paper. "Here I am, so please don't scold me ..."

The Jan. 2, 1947, letter had made its journey from Honolulu to Kobe, Japan, courtesy of a 5-cent airmail stamp — evidence of an overseas courtship between two young people. She began with an apology for not writing sooner but quickly eased into flirting and teasing, anticipating the day when they would see each other again.

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President Trump's administration says it's trying harder to bring home American citizens detained in Iran. Iran seems to be hinting that it wants another prisoner swap, as the Obama administration once negotiated.

France is asking European neighbors to help it fight fast-growing wildfires that have consumed thousands of acres of forest near the Mediterranean coast, forcing tourists to leave an area that is normally packed with visitors in the summer.

Several large fires have struck near the French Riviera this week, in resort areas near Saint-Tropez and also on the island of Corsica. Their rapid growth is being blamed on dry and windy conditions and plentiful fuel.

World Santa Claus Congress Meets In Denmark

Jul 26, 2017

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tells NPR's Rachel Martin that President Donald Trump is right to be troubled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election. The Justice Department's culture, Gingrich says, is "very liberal" and has an anti-Trump bias and the probe is a "fishing expedition." Sessions, he says, should exercise more authority and enforce the law.

Domenico Montanaro has analysis.

Crumbs may seem harmless here on Earth, but they can be a hazard in microgravity — they could get in an astronaut's eye, or get inhaled, causing someone to choke. Crumbs could even float into an electrical panel, burn up or cause a fire.

That's part of the reason why it was a very big deal in 1965 when John Young pulled a corned beef sandwich out of his pocket as he was orbiting the earth with Gus Grissom.

"Where did that come from?" Grissom asked Young.

"I brought it with me," Young said.

What You Can Do With 2,000 Pounds Of Butter

Jul 26, 2017

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Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep. There's no limit to what you can achieve with 2,000 pounds of butter. Sculptors completed the annual butter sculpture at the Ohio State Fair. And the centerpiece is a 6-foot-tall bottle of chocolate milk.

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I'm Steve Inskeep. And this is Alice Cooper.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE")

ALICE COOPER: (Singing) Welcome to my nightmare. I think you're gonna like it.

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The Costs Of Fighting Wildfires In Montana

Jul 26, 2017

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A prototype of what could be the next generation of space stations is currently in orbit around the Earth.

The prototype is unusual. Instead of arriving in space fully assembled, it was folded up and then expanded to its full size once in orbit.

Teachers have one of the lowest-paid professional jobs in the U.S. You need a bachelor's degree, which can be costly — an equation that often means a lot of student loans. We've reported on the factors that make this particular job even more vulnerable to a ton of debt, including chronically low teacher pay, the increasing pressure to get a master's degree and the many ways to repay loans or apply for loan forgiveness.

On a recent camping trip, the itinerary for Girl Scout Troop 6000 was full of only-in-the-wilderness activities for these New York City kids. At a campground upstate, the girls — age 5 to 15 — milked cows and roasted marshmallows, and screamed when a moth flew by or someone found a spiderweb in the bathroom.

At the end of the trip, the girls left the cabins where they'd stayed and returned to the closest thing they have to a home: a 10-story budget hotel in Queens, where New York City's Department of Homeless Services pays to shelter homeless families.

The biggest story of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday might be about the people who aren't there.

The chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wanted Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, and Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, to appear and testify — either voluntarily or involuntarily, if necessary, under subpoena.

Those witnesses said they agreed — but they arranged with the committee to do so in private as opposed to under the TV lights.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

In an emotional return to the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. John McCain admonished the leaders of his party for how they managed the health care bill and called instead for "regular order."

Updated: 7:26 p.m.

The House overwhelmingly passed a sanctions bill on Tuesday that would punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election and tie President Trump's hands in terms of lifting economic restrictions on Moscow.

If you're involved in high school athletics, you know the scene. There's increasing pressure to specialize in a single sport and play it year-round.

In a joint Rose Garden press conference Tuesday, President Trump stood beside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and said the United States is helping Syrian refugees by supporting their needs close to home.

"Our approach supporting the humanitarian needs of displaced Syrian citizens as close to their home country as possible is the best way to help most people." Trump said.

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