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Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall In Puerto Rico

1 hour ago

Updated at 9:12 a.m. ET

After devastating parts of the Caribbean, Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico at 6:15 a.m. ET Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had previously been a Category 5 hurricane, but even downgraded, it packed powerful sustained winds of 150 mph and is the strongest storm to have hit the island in decades.

The Trump administration says many of the organizations that help people enroll in health plans on the federal insurance marketplaces don't provide enough bang for the buck, sometimes costing thousands of dollars to sign up each customer. So, it is cutting their funding, some by as much as 90 percent, the government told the groups last week.

The letters "CFPB" may not be much more than alphabet soup to your average student loan borrower. They stand for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new-ish federal agency — created in 2011 — with a unique mission. This "soup" packs a powerful punch for student lenders and for-profit colleges accused of defrauding or otherwise mistreating Americans.

An estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. each year, enough to fill Chicago's Willis Tower 44 times. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted annually.

These are tough times for Washington's roughly 400 think tanks — the policy factories where scholars get paid to study issues and give politicians advice. Powerful external forces are reshaping the industry.

One current example is the left-leaning New America Foundation, founded in 1999. It works on public policies for the digital age. Last month it landed in the think tank industry's latest money controversy.

There's a chance Republicans wouldn't be so close to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania hadn't dropped into the Capitol barbershop this spring.

"I was up on the Hill, I happened to just go by the barbershop to see if I could get a haircut, and Lindsey was in the chair," Santorum said. "And Lindsey asked me what I was doing, and I thought to myself, 'Well, let me just bounce it off Lindsey.' "

The Republican Party's infighting is on full display in Alabama ahead of next week's Senate runoff — a race that's getting nastier by the day.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET Thursday

There was some consternation Monday on Capitol Hill after President Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that "if [the U.S.] is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." Congress is, after all, the only branch of government constitutionally authorized to declare war. And that would seem to include nuclear war.

But Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker says it's complicated.

After the revelation that a cybersecurity breach at the international credit reporting agency Equifax exposed personal information of 143 million people, the company has confirmed an additional security incident with a payroll-related service in the months prior. It says the two are unrelated.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

Even as former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly appeared Tuesday on rival NBC to deny that he had ever sexually harassed colleagues, Fox was acting to defend itself on several fronts in court and in the court of public opinion.

In the most prominent instance, Fox is seeking to scuttle yet another lawsuit — this one filed over a retracted story about the late Seth Rich — by convincing a judge that the key source in the story should be treated as an employee.

Every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter has pledged commitment to historically black colleges, or HBCUs.

And just about every year, HBCU leaders gather in Washington D.C., to lobby Congress and the White House. This year President Trump was not there to greet them, which was just as well because the meeting took place amid simmering frustration with the Trump administration.

Much of that frustration is due to what HBCUs consider little or no support from the administration, and what they call a lack of understanding of the financial straits some schools are facing.

Tell Us Your Maria Story

15 hours ago

NPR is working to bring you the latest news about Hurricane Maria, which is striking Caribbean islands already working to recover from Hurricane Irma.

But our reporters can't be everywhere. That is where you come in: How close are you to the storm's path? What is happening in your neighborhood? How are these storms affecting your mental and emotional state?

If possible — and if you're in a safe place — we would like to follow your story. You can choose a way to talk to us:

  • Fill out the form below.

Eight months after he packed up his White House office and vacated the premises, President Barack Obama's top lawyer is finally opening up.

In a speech at Columbia University's law school last week, Neil Eggleston told students that "I'm not sure where the lawyers are" in the vetting process for some of President Trump's controversial executive orders, from the travel ban that now covers visitors from six majority-Muslim countries to efforts to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they're banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

A welcome mat was literally rolled out for refugees resettled in the U.S. at a somewhat unexpected locale Saturday: President Trump's childhood home.

In a very pointed message, international charity Oxfam invited four refugees from three countries to spend the day at the Queens, N.Y., home where Trump spent his earliest years.

Updated 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency has lowered the number of people confirmed dead in Tuesday's earthquake. Luis Felipe Puente now says 217 people were killed. Earlier he said the death toll was 248. He gave no explanation for the revised number.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET

The death toll continues to rise in Mexico after Tuesday's earthquake. The country's national civil defense agency confirmed the death toll stands at 248. Rescue teams are digging through the rubble to find survivors.

For the first time since Hurricane Irma, people who live in the lower islands of the Florida Keys are returning home. For many, that means arriving at a home to no power and no running water. And some who live in Marathon, Summerland and Big Pine Key — islands hard-hit by Irma — found their homes no longer livable.

When Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key last week, it carried winds of 130 miles per hour. For islands like Marathon Key on the "dirty" — more powerful — side of the storm, the storm surge was even more damaging than the winds.

Women's Roles In Gangs

19 hours ago

Copyright 2017 WBEZ. To see more, visit WBEZ.

It wasn't that long ago that the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died once and for all in the Senate.

Or so many thought.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Authorities say three people have been arrested after an eruption of violence on Georgia Tech's campus Monday night. The clash, which broke out during a vigil for a 21-year-old student shot and killed Saturday by police, left officers with minor injuries and one police vehicle damaged by fire.

Rolling Stone magazine is facing a defamation suit — again — as a federal appeals court ruled that three former University of Virginia students have a plausible case that they were personally implicated in a now-retracted story about an alleged gang rape.

The lawsuit began more than two years ago but was dismissed by a district court. Now the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the case should move forward, at least in part.

In the picturesque German city of Potsdam, a crowd gathers at the main square where a band is playing innocuous 1980s covers.

The friendly-looking musicians on stage attempt to rouse some enthusiasm from those waiting to hear Martin Schulz — the main challenger to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sunday's elections — speak at a campaign rally.

His legacy lies in his eponymous AK-47 assault rifle, one of the world's most popular and lethal weapons, and now Mikhail Kalashnikov's likeness looms over Moscow in the form of a 30-foot-tall monument, but not everyone is happy to see it.

Kalashnikov's daughter, Yelena, unveiled the statue Tuesday at a square off Garden Ring Road, a busy thoroughfare in Russia's capital city, according to Reuters.

'Why We Shoot'

22 hours ago

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

Sarah Dudas doesn't mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science.

But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she'll probably point out a bivalve's gonads or remark on its fertility.

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

Even though Maria has weakened to a Category 4 storm, it remains a dangerous hurricane. Maria's maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm should keep that intensity until it makes landfall. Puerto Rico has long been spared from a direct hit by a hurricane.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. ET Wednesday

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump delivered a stern warning to North Korea's leader at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

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