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Blake Atkins gets a lot of texts from his mother when he's at school. But unlike most teenagers, this 16-year-old doesn't seem to mind.

That's because four years ago, Atkins was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. And now, his mother, Lori, has a way to find out and let him know when his blood sugar levels are out of the normal range.

"I do like that my mom can look at my numbers," says Blake, from San Carlos, Calif. "It keeps me sane. It helps keep her sane."

Built it and they didn't come.

That could be the motto for China's infamous "ghost cities" — vast housing complexes that were frantically erected over the past decade but remain largely uninhabited.

For years, the real estate market in China has been booming. Chinese laws allow city governments to cheaply grab nearby rural areas for development, and that's fueled the frenzy to build, build, build. Over the past 20 years, the country's urban areas have quintupled.

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Complaints about unwanted calls are up. Why can't somebody make them stop?

Regulators say telemarketing and robocalling top their list of consumer complaints. Nearly a dozen years since the federal Do Not Call Registry took effect, automated calling systems have exploded.

David Allred of Waynesville, N.C., says he gets a half-dozen robocalls every day.

He memorizes the numbers of the companies that are annoying him so that he knows not to answer the calls.

The U.S. investment company TIAA-CREF has amassed vast holdings of Brazilian farmland through a joint venture that has done business with one of the country's most notorious "land grabbers," according to a report published by a nonprofit group.

Earlier this year, singer and cookbook author Patti LaBelle teamed up with Wal-Mart to make a sweet potato pie.

It costs $3.48, it's got her face on the box, and sales were just OK when it came out in September.

But today, it's a scarcity. The pies have sold out in many Wal-Mart stores and are going for up to $40 on eBay. (We found this Craigslist listing selling slices for $10 each in Washington, D.C.)

In a change that's sure to send ripples through a media empire built on a thoughtful and rigorous approach to food, chef Chris Kimball is leaving America's Test Kitchen, the company he co-founded. Kimball's departure comes two months after the company got its first-ever CEO.

"Kimball's departure is immediate," says the Boston Common Press, the parent company of America's Test Kitchen, which says the two sides weren't able to agree over Kimball's contract. Kimball, 64, is also leaving his spot as the editor-in-chief of Cook's Illustrated magazine.

Grocers know this: Cheap turkeys will get customers into the store.

So this Thanksgiving, despite an avian flu that killed 8 million turkeys, shoppers are having no trouble finding bargain birds priced lower than last year.

In fact, store managers have been slicing all sorts of holiday-related food prices this fall.

When you're trying to persuade investors to pour money into your new seafood startup, maybe don't use the term maggots.

Now There's A Health Plan That Zeros In On Diabetes Care

Nov 17, 2015

Talk about targeted. Consumers scrolling through the health plan options on the insurance marketplaces in a few states this fall may come upon plans whose name — Leap Diabetes Plans — leaves no doubt about who should apply.

Poverty does not treat men and women equally, especially in old age. Women 65 years old and older who are living in poverty outnumber men in those circumstances by more than 2 to 1. And these women are likely to face the greatest deprivation as they become older and more frail.

This pretty much describes the situation of 87-year-old Lydia Smith.

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In this country, the Pentagon has been looking for new places to hold detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the prison President Obama wants too close. One possibility is Fremont County in southeastern Colorado. NPR's David Welna paid a visit.

How do terrorists communicate to hide from investigators?

We know little about the means used by those involved in the deadly attacks in Paris, but intelligence and security officials have already launched a new wave of chatter about encryption.

Education Management Corporation will pay $95.5 million to settle allegations that it lied about its recruiting practices. The sum, announced Monday by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, is the largest civil award to date in a case involving a for-profit college.

"Simply put," Duncan said, "EDMC wasn't interested in playing by the rules."

San Antonio is one of the country's emerging tech hubs. It's also home to a rich culinary scene. Now city officials are trying to bring both communities together through a program called Break Fast and Launch.

Japan has once again slipped back into recession, casting new doubts upon whether "Abenomics," its much-touted economic-reform agenda, is succeeding.

The economy contracted by .8 percent in the third quarter of 2015, following a decline of .7 percent in the preceding quarter.

It was the fourth time in five years that the Japanese economy entered a recession, which is usually defined as two successive quarters of negative growth.

The government said consumption by the private sector rose by .5 percent during the quarter, in line with expectations.

Here's what I remember about the beginning of the night: I'd planned to stay up late, for work. Later than usual, to watch President Obama's State of the Union address.

It was cold outside, January in D.C. A snowstorm was coming, and the digital antenna for my TV wasn't behaving. I was getting up often to adjust it.

I also remember the president had a lot of energy. It was 2014 and the economy was finally in shape. He wanted to make sure we knew.

About an hour into the speech, he got to the part about education, and said something that changed my life:

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Many Americans feel they can't save any money for the future. Yet if an employer automatically enrolls workers in a 401(k) plan and matches some of their contributions, 90 percent of people stick with it and save and invest for retirement.

Now, what if your employer doesn't do that for you? What can you do? People in NPR's new Your Money and Your Life Facebook group wanted to know.

Almost 20 percent of the people in low-income communities who die of colon cancer could have been saved with early screening. And those premature deaths take a toll on communities that can least bear it.

Lower-income communities in the United States face $6.4 billion in lost wages and productivity because of premature deaths due to colon cancer, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Five years ago, Congress promised an overhaul of the nation's food safety system, passing the Food Safety Modernization Act.

It took much longer than expected, but the Food and Drug Administration has now released the centerpiece — or at least, the most contested — part of that overhaul. These are rules that cover farmers who grow fresh produce, as well as food importers.

Our Ideas series is exploring how innovation happens in education.

Fourteen-year-old Yasemine Dursun is an aspiring entrepreneur. Her invention is called the Slapwrap, a braceletlike device for storing earbuds.

In a cacophonous hallway crowded with her classmates, she launches into her pitch:

"If you're washing your hands, water can get on your buds and damage them," the ninth-grader explains. "They can dangle and pick up dirt. This is kind of disgusting, but it can cause acne."

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been under fire for opening three detention centers to hold Central American immigrant families who fled to this country seeking asylum.

Under the pressure of a federal court order, ICE is now exploring ways to release the mothers and children with alternatives to detention — but human rights activists are unhappy that the same for-profit prison company that locked up the families now manages their cases after release.

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Editor's note: This post contains a word you might find deeply offensive.

Thanks to the legacy of Rosa Parks, people of all races can sit where they wish on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., today. But that's only if there's a seat, or even a bus going their way.

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Rolls-Royce Recalls 1 Car Over Airbag Issue

Nov 12, 2015
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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit