Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:50 pm
Despite a $7 billion effort to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation there is at its highest level since the U.S. invasion more than a decade ago, sparking corruption, criminal gangs and providing the insurgency with hard cash, says John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.
In testimony before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, he warns Wednesday that Afghanistan could degenerate into a narco-criminal state.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:55 pm
There has been a carefully guarded secret in medicine: Evidence is often inconclusive, and experts commonly disagree about what it means.
Most medical decisions aren't cut and dried. Instead they're usually made with uncertainty about what is best for each person.
This uncertainty secret has been revealed in a very public disagreement among experts about who should be treated for high blood pressure. The controversy hinges on the level of blood pressure that should serve as a trigger for treatment.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:05 pm
The biggest problem the United States faces is not unemployment or the economy — it's the country's government, according to a plurality of Americans cited in a recent Gallup poll. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, dissatisfaction with the U.S.'s political leadership topped all other issues.
Centuries before the U.S. was colonized, the British were handing down estates and titles from father to son. Never from mother to daughter.
Then came the royal pregnancy last year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka William and Kate, had a boy, George. But before the prince was born and his sex known, Parliament changed British law so a first-born girl could inherit the throne. And a group of female aristocrats began fighting to apply the principle more broadly.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:04 pm
Women who work out with weights an hour a week cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and yoga or stretching exercises count, too, according to a study that tracked the health of almost 100,000 women.
Doctors have long known that regular exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but that's always been translated as aerobic exercise like jogging or brisk walking.
Finally today, I'd like to end the program where we started: talking about poverty. We, like a lot of other people in the news business have been talking about poverty a lot this week and last.
We're doing this because we have something called a news peg — which is a fancy word for a reason to talk about something we want to talk about anyway. And that news peg is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's first State of the Union address, when he said this:
"This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, some corners of the Internet are melting down because of a reported shortage of Velveeta. And don't try to act like you don't know what that is. We'll talk about the history of the ooey, gooey stuff and why, in a buffalo mozzarella world, we still like it. But first, to football. This is golden time for pro-football lovers. Two teams will book their tickets to the Super Bowl this weekend after a long season of hard hits.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later, we want to hear about why a federal judge has rejected a nearly multibillion dollar settlement - sorry, a multimillion dollar settlement that the NFL reached with former players. We'll hear what that could mean going forward. But first, we want to talk about a new report from the Pew Research Center that finds that only 80 percent of African-Americans are Internet users compared with 87 percent of whites.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:50 am
Several donor nations have each pledged tens of millions of dollars for civilians affected by Syria's civil war.
The pledges, including $500 million from Kuwait and $380 million from the U.S., came Wednesday at the start of a conference in Kuwait City to raise money for the humanitarian suffering caused by the more than two years of fighting. The U.N. wants $6.5 billion for the effort to assist Syrian refugees. It's the largest-ever appeal for a single crisis.
The maritime watchdog says there were 264 strikes against shipping worldwide last year — a drop of 40 percent since attacks peaked in 2011. And there were just 15 attacks off the coast of Somalia; by comparison, that same area saw 75 attacks in 2012 and 237 the year before.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:48 pm
Fifty years ago this month, the landmark U.S. Surgeon General's report linking cigarette smoking and lung cancer was released.
Over the past half-century, America has become more and more inhospitable to people who smoke — and to tobacco companies. In a recent statement, the Department of Health and Human Services declares its desire "to make the next generation tobacco-free."
These days, getting an aerial shot is as simple (although maybe illegal) as strapping a camera to a drone. Back in the day, though, it wasn't so easy.
George R. Lawrence, a commercial photographer at the turn of the last century, was known to tinker. (His Chicago studio advertised "The hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty.") He was often hired to photograph conventions and banquet halls with a specialized panoramic camera he had built himself. In 1901, he had a loftier idea: to lift his panoramic camera off the ground. And not just a few feet — but hundreds.
The tens of thousands of people with a history of serious illnesses who are enrolled in high-risk insurance pools created under the Affordable Care Act will have two more months before they lose that coverage, the Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:14 am
A 51-year-old Danish tourist was allegedly gang-raped in the heart of India's capital, and police said Wednesday that they've detained several suspects for questioning.
According to a police spokesman, the woman asked a group of men for directions back to her hotel Tuesday after she became lost. The Press Trust of India news agency reports that the men allegedly lured her to a secluded area near New Delhi's Connaught Place where she was robbed, beaten and sexually assaulted at knife-point.