Some witnesses were clearly lying when they spoke to a grand jury about the August police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., according to St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch. In an interview about the case Friday, the prosecutor says he won't seek perjury charges.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:39 pm
Thousands of people sentenced under the tough drug laws of the 1980s and '90s are still behind bars, serving mandatory minimum prison sentences requiring them to spend decades, if not life, in prison. Nowadays people convicted of the same crimes serve far less time.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 12:25 pm
Most of us don't remember our first two or three years of life β but our earliest experiences may stick with us for years and continue to influence us well into adulthood.
Just how they influence us and how much is a question that researchers are still trying to answer. Two studies look at how parents' behavior in those first years affects life decades later, and how differences in children's temperament play a role.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 3:12 pm
Today the Education Department released long-awaited details on a plan to hold colleges accountable for their performance on several key indicators, and officials said they'll be seeking public comment on the proposals through February.
"As a nation, we have to make college more accessible and affordable and ensure that all students graduate with a quality education of real value," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.
Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 7:45 pm
This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.
Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:11 am
A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.
This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench β the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep β which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 11:23 am
It's late afternoon. Most classes at Randolph College are done for the day but students have begun gathering in the lobby of the elegant, century-old main hall.
A student taps on a piano while he and four classmates wait for their philosophy professor. After-hours sessions like these are a key feature of this small, private liberal arts college in Lynchburg, Va.
It markets itself nationally as a "unique, nurturing community of learners," well worth the $45,000 a year in tuition, room and board.
Saying that Colorado's law legalizing recreational marijuana use is unconstitutional and places a burden on them, Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit against the state with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Marijuana was made legal in Colorado after the state's voters approved an amendment in 2012. Its first recreational dispensaries opened at the start of this year.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 9:23 am
Pennsylvania's fracking boom has led to record-breaking natural gas production, but its neighbor, New York, announced Wednesday it was banning the practice. Industry and environmental groups say New York's decision could be good for Pennsylvania.
New York's ban comes six years after the state placed a temporary moratorium on fracking to study the gas drilling technique. Now, officials question fracking's economic benefits and cite environmental risks.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:14 am
It took a few hours for some Cubans to realize the magnitude of President Obama's announcement on Wednesday about changes in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, according to Cuban blogger Yoani SΓ‘nchez.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 5:46 pm
The Secret Service must both change the way it trains agents and hire more of them, according to a panel that reviewed the agency that has endured a string of embarrassing lapses in recent months. The panel says its suggestions are "a road map for reform" under a new director.
Some of those suggestions are inherently practical β such as one that states "the fence around the White House needs to be changed as soon as possible to provide better protection."
California is battling the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.
Nearly 10,000 cases have been reported in the state so far this year, and babies are especially prone to hospitalization or even death.
Six of 10 infants who have become ill during the current outbreak are Latino. There's no conclusive explanation, but there are a few theories that range from Latino cultural factors to a lack of health insurance.
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:55 am
We're living longer.
And cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases aren't taking quite as much of a toll as they did a couple of decades ago.
But that doesn't mean we're immortal.
Road accidents, suicide, chronic kidney disease, alcohol-related diseases ... these are a few of the topics to discuss after looking at a new country-by-country analysis of causes of death by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:37 am
A Montana man's shooting in April of a German exchange student was a test of the state's "castle doctrine," which says a man's home is his castle and can be defended as such. But on Wednesday, a jury convicted Markus Kaarma of deliberate homicide in the death of 17-year-old Diren Dede, who was in his garage.
As Montana Public Radio's Christopher Allen reports, "Kaarma's defense team argued deadly force was justified because he was defending his home. Prosecutors argued Kaarma, who had been previously burglarized, set a trap with intent to harm and committed deliberate homicide."
Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:12 pm
Ebola may have slid off the nation's worry list, but that doesn't mean the United States is ready to handle an outbreak of Ebola or another infectious disease, an analysis says. That includes naturally occurring outbreaks like dengue fever, tuberculosis and measles, as well as the use of bioterrorism agents like anthrax.
Between the rugged terrain and the constant terrorist threats, vaccinating Pakistani children against common diseases hasn't been easy. Mountains make it hard β at times even impossible β for vaccinators to reach people in the north. In the south, health workers have to use four-wheelers and camels to travel through Pakistan's harsh deserts.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:36 am
The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card β a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 8:05 am
An African-American boy, George Stinney Jr., who was executed at age 14 in the killing of two young white girls has been exonerated in South Carolina, 70 years after he became the youngest person executed in the U.S. in the 1900s. A judge ruled he was denied due process.
"I think it's long overdue," Stinney's sister, Katherine Stinney Robinson, 80, tells local newspaper The Manning Times. "I'm just thrilled because it's overdue."