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Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

FBI Director Christopher Wray defended his agency on Capitol Hill Thursday, speaking publicly for the first time since President Trump denigrated the agency last weekend. The questioning from lawmakers and the responses the new FBI director gave are a harbinger of likely issues to be raised again as the Justice Department's Russia probe appears to be intensifying after the recent plea deal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In his tiny kitchen, chef Thitiwat Tantragarn throws a handful of raw bamboo caterpillars into a hot skillet and sautés them with olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Seconds later, the cream-colored larvae are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Tantragarn adds white wine, then spoons the bugs, brown beady eyes and all, over grilled scallops and Jerusalem artichokes before sending the plate out to the dining room.

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

Driven by fierce Santa Ana winds, four intense fires near Los Angeles grew to engulf more than 115,000 acres Thursday, and officials say residents should continue to expect dangerous fire conditions, as both strong winds and very dry conditions persist.

Congress, once again, finds itself days away from a potential government shutdown, and a fight over immigration could stand in the way of a deal to prevent it.

"It could happen," Trump told reporters Wednesday. "Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country. They are looking at shutting down. They want to have illegal immigrants in many cases, people that we don't want in our country, they want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country."

Republicans in Congress are on the verge of fulfilling their longtime dream of eliminating the federal estate tax, and they could do it in a way that is even more generous to heirs than previous repeal efforts.

Bills passed by the Senate and the House recently would reduce or scrap the taxes heirs now pay on estates larger than $5.5 million. And the bills would do so without repealing the so-called "stepped-up basis" provision.

President Trump's declaration that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and his order to move the U.S. Embassy brought quick and sharply differing reactions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders.

The House and Senate are working to reconcile their versions of a tax plan, but one thing is certain: Big changes are ahead for the nation's schools and colleges.

K-12

Let's start with K-12. There, Republicans from both sides of Congress generally agree on two big changes.

Saving for private school

Four months into the new job, his predecessor is sharing deep thoughts on Instagram, his boss is tweeting that his agency's reputation is in "tatters" and lawmakers are blasting out dueling press releases to make the case that important decisions have been infected by politics.

It's not easy being FBI Director Christopher Wray.

On Thursday, Wray will get a say of his own when he appears in Congress for his first oversight hearing since the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm him in August. Here are a few things to watch.

Updated at 5:50 a.m. ET

Australia's Parliament has voted to approve same-sex marriage following a protracted and often bitter debate that was finally settled in a nationwide referendum last month that overwhelmingly backed the move.

In the capital Canberra, applause welled up from the House gallery after the chamber on Thursday followed Australia's Senate in approving the Marriage Amendment Bill of 2017.

The House approved a bill on Wednesday that would ease legal restrictions for carrying concealed firearms across state lines – a move pushed by the National Rifle Association that comes just weeks after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas.

On a mostly party-line vote, the measure easily passed, 231-198, although 14 Republicans voted no. Six Democrats voted for the so-called reciprocity measure, which would allow a gun owner with the proper permit in any state to carry a concealed firearm to another state where it is also legal.

Months after a tense standoff between China and India along their Himalayan border, Beijing on Thursday expressed anger over what it says was an Indian drone that crashed inside its territory.

"This action by India violated China's territorial sovereignty. We express strong dissatisfaction and opposition," Xinhua cited Zhang Shuili, a senior military official in China's western battle zone command, as saying.

China said the drone crashed in "recent days" but didn't say where. Zhang said his country would defend its national sovereignty against such intrusions.

It's long been known that hormonal contraception, like any medicine, carries some risks. But doctors and women have hoped that the newer generations of low-dose contraceptive pills, IUDs and implants eliminated the breast cancer risk of earlier, higher-dose formulations.

Now a big study from Denmark suggests the elevated risk of getting breast cancer — while still very small for women in their teens, 20s and 30s – holds true for these low-dose methods, too.

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David Ermold once again stepped inside the Rowan County, Ky., courthouse on Wednesday, except this time he wasn't asking for a marriage license — he was asking for Kim Davis' job. She is the Rowan County clerk who refused Ermold and his partner, among other couples, a marriage license on the basis of her religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.

High-ranking U.S.-based Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay a $400,000 fine for his part in a decade-long diesel-emissions cheating scandal.

Airlines including American, Delta and Alaska have announced restrictions on so-called smart luggage because the lithium-ion batteries found in many of these suitcases pose a fire risk.

These kinds of bags have proliferated in recent years, including motorized suitcases you can ride and one pitched as an autonomous "robot companion" that follows you around.

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Let's get the view now from the White House. Michael Anton is spokesman for President Trump's National Security Council, and he's on the line now. Michael, good to speak to you again.

MICHAEL ANTON: Thank you.

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President Trump today declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, something he said was overdue. He called it a recognition of reality. He said the U.S. remains committed to bringing peace to the region.

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Two women - one white, one black - are vying to be the next mayor of Atlanta. And one of them, Keisha Lance Bottoms, declared victory this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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This year, the price of the digital currency bitcoin has gone up more than 1,200 percent. A single bitcoin is now worth more than $13,000.

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NPR's Uri Berliner is here with us now to talk about it. Hey, Uri.

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Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, always did have good taco game, but would he actually prevail in his mission to eat at a different taco joint every day for a year?

When Republicans launched their tax push this fall, they said, here's the plan: We are going to lower taxes for people and companies. And part of the way we're going to pay for that is by getting rid of loopholes and special deductions and lots of little perks hiding in the tax code.

Today on the show: What happened to that plan, and what it says about the way our tax code works.

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