The Pentagon's congressionally-imposed budget cuts ran into a powerful opponent this week: Congress itself. The House Armed Services Committee rejected $5 billion worth of proposed cuts in order to preserve items cherished by individual lawmakers.
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Nearly every state has a prescription drug monitoring program that's meant to end abuse of opioids and other powerful pain medicines. But critics say most of these programs have a big loophole: they're voluntary, and many doctors don't use them. States that have made participation in PDMPs mandatory say they've started to cut down on practices that allow pain meds to be diverted into the black market. But those states are the exception.
As fire managers in the drought-stricken Southwest gear up for another long and expensive wildfire season, federal fire scientists are trying to better understand the physics behind what makes blazes spread.
At 89 years old, Stella Peshlakai Smith shuffles around her Arizona yard in white tennis shoes and a long traditional Navajo skirt. She points to her ceremonial home, called a hogan. "My father made this one [almost 100 years ago]," Smith says. Her modern house sits next door.
Now, the story of three stolen fruit trees and how they sprouted a community movement. It all starts in a vacant lot next to the Cathedral of the Rockies. It's a Methodist Church in Boise, Idaho. Church leaders decided to transform the land into an urban fruit orchard. Last week the church's building superintendent Joe Prin went to a nursery and picked up 22 trees to plant. They included four trees bought by a family whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. They were to be planted as a memorial to her.
Editor's Note: On May 10, Iran Davar Ardalan, a senior producer at NPR, will be the recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York. The annual award is given to "American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life," according to the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. Ardalan's grandfather traveled from Iran and arrived on Ellis Island in 1919.
Hoarding disorder is generally diagnosed in older adults, after their inability to discard things and their anxiety over possessions leave them unable to function. But it may take root much earlier in life, though psychiatrists say they're just starting to figure that out.
Hoarding symptoms may look different in teenagers than they do in adults, researchers reported at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting this week in New York.
On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
The state of Oklahoma now has at least six more months to get to know Charles Warner. He's a man who was scheduled to die, is sentenced for a brutal crime. But the state attorney general agreed to a stay of execution. That gives the state time to investigate the way it puts people to death. The investigation follows the execution of Clayton Lockett, a proceeding that took 43 minutes and intensified debate over the death penalty.
The House voted on Thursday to establish a new investigative committee to look into circumstances surrounding the attack two years ago on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the ambassador and three others.
Republicans accuse the White House of misleading the public about the nature of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack and stonewalling efforts by Congress to investigate. Democrats see the creation of the new investigative committee as an election-year political ploy to raise money and motivate the party's base.
Although most of the country just became aware of issues with Oklahoma's capital punishment protocols last week after Clayton Lockett's bungled execution, his lawyers had been worried for months. That's because in January, two condemned men in different states but injected with the same new drug cocktail endured executions that went badly. Lockett's lawyer, Susanna Gattoni, was unable to keep him from suffering a similar fate last week.
In college sports, Title IX is known mostly as a way to ensure women are given the same opportunity as men to participate in sports. What is less known is that the act also requires colleges to prevent sexual assault and violence at their institutions.
Stanford University's decision to stop direct investments in coal mining companies is encouraging student-led divestment movements at other universities. Chloe Maxmin of Divest Harvard discusses her hopes following Stanford's announcement. Harvard University has the largest university endowment in the U.S.
The Obama administration today reissued guidelines for America's schools. The goal is to keep states from turning away children who cannot prove that they are in the U.S. legally. A 1982 Supreme Court ruling allowed undocumented students free access to a public education. But even today, some school districts haven't gotten the message.
The fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline has stalled progress on an unrelated bill in the U.S. Senate. Republicans want to attach a series of amendments, including approval for the pipeline to a bill about energy efficiency. But Democratic leader Harry Reid says the Keystone vote ought to be separate. And as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, the disagreement leaves the energy efficiency bill in limbo.
Drive on I-94 just outside Chicago between Gary and Michigan City, Ind., and you catch a glimpse of the massive sand dunes that make up the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Tucked between coal plants and steel mills, the dunes are as high as 200 feet, stretching along the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan.
These dunes were formed some 14,000 years ago, and most are now covered in forest, says park ranger Bruce Rowe, who has worked at the lake shore for 30 years.
How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? It can be a delicate situation to decipher, and it's been a big concern in Connecticut since the Newtown shootings of 2012.
Lance Newkirchen, a regular patrol officer in the town of Fairfield, is also specifically trained to respond to mental health calls. On a recent weekday, he headed out in his patrol car for a follow-up call.
In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.
The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state medical examiner at the time, who proposed using three drugs, based loosely on anesthesia procedures at the time: one drug to knock out the inmates, one to relax or paralyze them, and a final drug that would stop their hearts.
North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge — 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with the head of the department of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki. I sat down with him at his office today. The secretary is at the center of a roiling controversy over medical care for former service men and women and he's facing calls for his resignation.
Older people face higher risks in surgery, but not all 85-year-olds are alike. One may celebrate his birthday skydiving, like former president George H.W. Bush, while another may be unable to stand without help.
Since half of all surgery in the United States is performed on people 65 and older, figuring out an individual's risk is key. Measuring frailty beforehand more accurately predicts who will do well after surgery, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR news. We'd like to turn now to something you or a student or a family you know might have been talking about lately - a lot of educators and officials seem to be talking a lot more about the subject lately. It's the issue of sexual violence on college campuses or involving college students.