NPR News

National and international news from NPR

Hospice care is for the dying. It helps patients manage pain so they can focus on spending their remaining time with loved ones. But in recent years, nearly 1 in 5 patients has been discharged from hospice before he or she dies, according to government reports.

Federal prosecutors have lots of ways to intensify pressure on the people they're investigating, from early morning FBI raids to leaning on relatives of those under government scrutiny.

But even by those measures, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in last year's presidential election is moving with unusual speed and assertiveness, according to half a dozen legal experts following the probe.

No, it was not a dream. There really was a 30-foot inflatable chicken behind the White House on Wednesday.

A recently unsealed FBI affidavit reveals that investigators in the U.S. have been looking into a global financial network which used fake eBay transactions to funnel money to an alleged operative in the U.S.

The network was run by senior Islamic State official Sitful Sujan, who was killed in a U.S.-led airstrike in December of 2015.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Google CEO Sundar Pichai cancelled a company-wide Town Hall that had been organized after an employee was fired for writing a memo that criticized the tech-giant's diversity efforts.

In an email to employees, Pichai said some questions that had been pre-submitted via Google's moderating software "appeared externally this afternoon and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally."

The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe.

For global temperatures, last year surpassed the previous record-holder: 2015.

More Americans are drinking alcohol, and a growing number of them are drinking to a point that's dangerous or harmful, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this week.

The study, sponsored by a federal agency for alcohol research, examined how drinking patterns changed between 2002 and 2013, based on in-person surveys of tens of thousands of U.S. adults.

Bryce Harper is getting his wish.

At least for one weekend this month.

In March 2016, Harper, the Washington Nationals' superstar outfielder, said in an ESPN interview that baseball is "tired."

"It's a tired sport, because you can't express yourself," the then-23-year-old said.

Updated Aug. 11 at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Trump said Thursday that he was "very thankful" that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the expulsion of hundreds of U.S. diplomats from the country in response to sanctions — because the administration needs to cut the State Department's budget anyway.

A dispute over election results in Kenya that has pitted supporters of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta against his rival, Raila Odinga, intensified on Thursday, with the opposition presenting what it says is evidence of tampering with the electronic voting system.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

President Trump is doubling down on his incendiary rhetoric aimed at North Korea, saying on Thursday that his promise earlier in the week to meet Pyongyang's threats with "fire and fury" might have been too soft.

It's always appealing to think that there could be an easy technical fix for a complicated and serious problem.

For example, wouldn't it be great to have a vaccine to prevent addiction?

"One of the things they're actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is an incredibly exciting prospect," said Dr. Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services.

In the past two years, Yemen has endured no end of crises.

At least 10,000 people have been killed in the war between Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition seeking to oust them from power. Still, Yemen's health ministry says that violence has exacted a smaller death toll than the closure of the airport in the capital, Sanaa, which has left thousands more people incapable of seeking medical treatment abroad.

People generally think that editing human genes might be OK, but most think that there's a clear line that shouldn't be crossed when it comes to changing traits that would be passed down to new generations, according to a survey reported Thursday.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

In the wake of a series of sexual assault allegations, college athletes, coaches and athletics administrators at NCAA member schools must now complete annual sexual violence prevention education.

Police in London say they have arrested a 50-year-old man over an incident caught on video in May when a jogger shoved a woman into the path of an oncoming bus. The bus driver swerved, narrowly missing her.

Scores of migrants were forced overboard by smugglers off the coast of Yemen — the second such incident in as many days. Up to 180 people were forced off a boat Thursday and at least five have drowned and 50 are still missing, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"We have the five bodies for sure ... but we believe that there are certainly more than 50 who are still in the sea," Laurent de Boeck, the IOM's chief of mission in Yemen, told The Associated Press.

Imagine finding out one day that many of the stories that you told about yourself weren't really true. The way you understood your family history, the way you explained your personality ("I'm Italian, of course I talk loud!"), the way you talked about your hair — what if all of it was just, well, stories?

Or maybe even stranger: What if you found out that you had a whole hidden history that you'd never known about? That generations of your family had lived through events that you had no idea you were connected to?

Would that change who you are?

When people in several North Carolina precincts showed up to vote last November, weird things started to happen with the electronic systems used to check them in.

"Voters were going in and being told that they had already voted — and they hadn't," recalls Allison Riggs, an attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

The electronic systems — known as poll books — also indicated that some voters had to show identification, even though they did not.

On Saturday, heavy rains fell on New Orleans, causing floodwaters to rise in low-lying areas — and linger for hours. At first, officials said the city's pumps and drainage system were working fine and that the storm was just unusually strong.

But that wasn't true. Many of the pumps were out of service or operating at partial strength.

In Africa as well as parts of Asia and Latin America, women and babies die when labor takes a complicated turn and there is no one to provide a cesarean section. Young people succumb to accidental injuries for lack of surgical interventions. A child born with a cleft palate or club foot suffers through a lifetime of disability because no team is available to provide routine surgery.

Ruth Pfau was not supposed to go to Pakistan.

The German-born nun and doctor had been sent by her Catholic order to India. But on her way, in 1960, visa hang-ups forced her to stop in the Pakistani city of Karachi — and that was where she encountered the leprosy patient whose plight persuaded her to stay.

The four plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are from across the political spectrum: the American Civil Liberties Union, a health care group called Carafem that provides abortions, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Promising online shows that run from comedy and reality to live sports, Facebook says its new Watch platform will let creators connect with their audiences — and earn money in the process. The social media giant's plan calls for using ads to monetize video.

The escalating threats between the U.S. and North Korea have thrown the tiny U.S. territory of Guam into the headlines. North Korea this week threatened to create an "enveloping fire" around the strategically important Pacific island, located about 2,100 miles to its southeast.

But life here seems to go on as usual.

At Mosa's Joint, in Guam's capital Hagatna, Thursday happy hour lasts until 8 p.m. The place fills up fast with locals and military personnel, "kind of a little bit of everything," says Monique Genereux, who opened the bar and restaurant a few years ago.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Pages