It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. The crisis in eastern Ukraine took a deadly turn this morning. Pro-Russian gunmen in the town of Slovyansk have shot down at least two Ukrainian helicopters. Two Ukrainian troops are believed to have been killed when those helicopters crashed. The Ukrainian government also says that it has captured 10 pro-Russian checkpoints on the outskirts of Slovyansk and that it's surrounded the city.
NPR's business news starts with General Motors back in court.
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INSKEEP: GM returns to federal bankruptcy court this morning. You will recall that company filed for bankruptcy back in 2009 and they are now asking a judge to enforce one of the provisions of that bankruptcy deal. The provision protects GM from lawsuits over automobile accidents that occurred before that time.
New numbers and demographic information released by the White House Thursday reveal some telling details about the 8 million people who selected new health insurance through HealthCare.gov and state marketplaces.
A Dallas jury recently awarded nearly $3 million to a family who said they were poisoned by a natural gas drilling operation near their North Texas ranch. The verdict, reached on April 22, is being called a landmark by opponents of the drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."
Director Amma Asante found the story behind her new movie, Belle, in a painting: artist Johann Zoffany's 18th century portrait of two beautiful, young English ladies, draped in silks and pearls. The twist? One is biracial.
Belle is based on the real-life story of that woman, Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was the daughter of a Royal Navy captain and the slave he met after capturing a Spanish ship.
On a recent day, just west of Kabul — where the city's sooty sky gives way to fresher air — Abdul Sadiq coaches four young members of the Afghan National Cycling Federation. They're working on their riding technique while dodging the free-form traffic.
"The road is very narrow. Make sure you don't get into an accident, as you can see the cars are coming," the former competitive cyclist tells them, amid zooming vehicles and honking horns.
There's been a lot of talk about wearable devices being the next big thing in the technology world. It's easy for the hype to get ahead of the products, but there's actually some serious innovation going on.
Thursday, the federal government sent a message that it's taking sexual harassment on college campuses seriously. Education officials released the names of 55 schools facing investigation for their handling of sexual abuse allegations.
Three out of four physicians believe that fellow doctors prescribe an unnecessary test or procedure at least once a week, a survey released Thursday finds.
The most frequent reasons that physicians order extraneous — and costly --medical care are fears of being sued, impulses to be extra careful and desires to reassure themselves about their assessments of patients, the survey said.
When Bruce (Thomas Haden Church) barrels over a man with his snowplow in the opening scene of Whitewash, it looks like an accident. Perhaps not a blameless one on Bruce's part if the half-empty bottle of liquor rolling around the floor of the vehicle is any indication, but an accident nonetheless. Besides, the victim was stopped in a dark portion of the street, out of the range of the few streetlights on the small-town road, all as a brutal snowstorm reduced visibility to nearly nil.
Everyone is on a voyage of self-discovery in Ida — the two central characters certainly, but also Poland-born, Britain-based director Pawel Pawlikowski, making his first film in the homeland he left at 14.
Decked out in red, white and blue clothing, and waving flags and banners, thousands of supporters of the far-right National Front party marched through central Paris on Thursday — known as May Day or International Workers Day — to hear charismatic leader Marine Le Pen. The traditional gathering began, as always, at a gilded statue of Joan of Arc, where Le Pen laid a wreath.
Scientists reported Thursday they had figured out a way to make primitive human sperm out of skin cells, an advance that could someday help infertile men have children.
"I probably get 200 emails a year from people who are infertile, and very often the heading on the emails is: Can you help me?" says Renee Reijo Pera of Montana State University, who led the research when she was at Stanford University.
A California jury is deliberating a major lawsuit between tech titans Apple and Samsung. Apple is suing Samsung for patent infringement and asking for a whopping $2 billion in damages. But even if Apple prevails in this case, later this year the Supreme Court could undermine the victory by calling Apple's patents and thousands of others into question.
Imagine if there were a virus that could get inside you and dial up your libido, so that you all of a sudden start mating more (more frequently and with more partners), so that the virus — the tricky, tricky, clever, little virus — could transmit itself through your lovemaking to somebody else, then somebody else, and somebody else after that.
We have to begin to view Russia no longer as a power but as more of an adversary - those are the words today of Alexander Vershbow, the deputy secretary-general of NATO. We, in this case, means NATO, and few people are as experienced when he is when it comes to the alliance and the Russians. Before becoming the number two man at NATO, he was U.S. ambassador to the alliance and then U.S. ambassador to Russia. And he joins us now. Alexander Vershbow, welcome to the program.