Lots of studies have shown that cigarette smoke isn't good for a fetus. So many pregnant women use nicotine gum or skin patches or inhalers to help them stay away from cigarettes.
A few years ago, Megan Stern became one of those women. "I smoked heavily for the first seven weeks of my pregnancy because I didn't know I was pregnant," she says. "It was an accidental pregnancy, and I found out while I was in the emergency room for another issue."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In a diplomatic breakthrough, Iran has agreed to temporary limits on its nuclear program. In exchange, the U.S. and its allies have agreed to relax some of their crippling economic sanctions on Iran. The six-month agreement is designed to buy time to negotiate a more lasting deal that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It's already drawn a skeptical response in Israel and from some lawmakers here at home.
Outside the giant river otter exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, 5-year-old Emily checks out the sights while her baby sister lounges in a canopy-covered wagon.
The girls' aunt, Maggie Hathaway, is among a growing number of parents and caregivers who are rolling their kids around in wagons instead of strollers. "Sea World, or the fair — anywhere where ... the little one wants to lay down," she says.
This week, JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the sale of faulty mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis. It's the largest settlement with a single company in U.S. history.
From that settlement, $4 billion must go to help the millions of families who saw the values of their homes plummet and who still struggle to keep up with mortgage payments.
In Afghanistan, a grand assembly of some 2,500 tribal elders, politicians and civil society elites are meeting to decide whether to approve a security agreement with the United States. Approval by the grand assembly, called a loya jirga, would be in addition to the OK of the Afghan government. But as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has noted, the agreement can't go forward without the backing of the Afghan people. The security agreement would allow as many as 9,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the current NATO mission ends next year.
Former chemist Annie Dookhan began serving a 3-to-5 year sentence in a Massachusetts prison on Friday after pleading guilty to falsifying tests of drug evidence and helping to create one of the nation's largest drug lab scandals.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says the state is taking steps to improve forensic testing:
"It is certainly lessons learned," she says. "We hope that we've made changes in the system that will mean this unique case will not happen again in Massachusetts."
Public transit vehicles may be the key to China's success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It's an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.
At BYD's North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver's seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.
Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 12:36 pm
Just a day after his agency said it was reviewing "outdated and restrictive rules" banning the use of cellphones during flights, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is tempering his statement.
"We understand that many passengers would prefer that voice calls not be made on airplanes," Tom Wheeler, who was confirmed for the job in late October, said in a statement on Friday. "I feel that way myself."
Protesters march on Oct. 26 to demand that the Congress investigate the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs. Legally, the NSA can respond to many records requests from citizens with a non-committal answer.
Since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information about the agency's intelligence-gathering activities last summer, the NSA has been bombarded with requests for its records.
USA Today this week said the agency received more than 2,500 requests for records from July to September, compared to about 250 from January to March.
A Panther Pride sign cheers Washington High School's undefeated football team amid debris from last week's tornado.
Credit Anthony Souffle / MCT /Landov
The Washington High School football team was having its best season since the mid-80s when the tornado hit. On Saturday, they'll go up against Springfield's Sacred Heart Griffin High School for a spot in the state championship.
Credit Zbigniew Bzdak / MCT /Landov
Washington players from left, Nick Sievers, Colton Marshall, and Brogan Brownfield receive donated workout clothes during a break from practice in Normal, Ill., on Tuesday.
Competition and compassion meet on the field in Springfield, Ill., Saturday, when two central Illinois high school football teams face off for a spot in the state championship. One team is a perennial powerhouse, but the other is from a town that was all but leveled by a tornado.
Last week, linebacker Kevin Scott and the rest of the Washington Community High School Panthers were celebrating. They'd just made school history with a 12-0 record, capped off with a Saturday win that sent them to the semi-finals.
The state of Louisiana is paying tribute Friday to the Rev. T.J. Jemison, a strong and steady voice against unequal treatment for blacks in the Jim Crow South.
Jemison's body lay in repose at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, where Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said he will be remembered as one of the greats of the civil rights movement.
"He had such a heart and courage for justice," Landrieu said. "There are very few people in our state that will rise to that level of influence, and it is very appropriate that our Capitol was opened up for him today."
State and federal regulators have hailed Tuesday's $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over faulty mortgage assets it sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis as a big victory for the judicial system.
But like other big settlements to emerge from the financial crisis, the deal leaves unclear just what the bank did wrong.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:47 pm
The U.S. lost an average of 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands from 2004 to 2009, according to the latest data published by federal agencies. More than 70 percent of the estimated loss came in the Gulf of Mexico; nationwide, most of the loss was blamed on development that incurred on freshwater wetlands.
"The losses of these vital wetlands were 25 percent greater than during the previous six years," NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports for our Newscast unit. She also notes that the loss equals "about seven football fields every hour."
The University of Alabama football team is unbeaten, ranked number one and attempting to win a third straight national championship under head coach Nick Saban. Here to talk about the Crimson Tide's roll and other stories in college football is sportswriter Stefan Fatsis. Hiya, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Robert.
SIEGEL: Three national championships in a row, that would be something.
New Yorkers have a new way to deliver messages to their newly elected mayor, Bill de Blasio. It's a tent, a huge, translucent one on Canal Street called The Talking Transition Tent. More than 11,000 people have wandered through it so far, and it's become a kind of 21st-century soapbox, as NPR's Margot Adler reports.
University of California, Davis food safety field scientists Michele Jay-Russell, Paula Kahn-Rivadeneira, Anna Zwieniecka, Navreen Pandher and Peiman Aminabadi celebrate the first day of their experiment testing <em>E. coli</em> survival in soil.
Credit Courtesy of Fhon Saharuetai
The scientists spread four kinds of raw manure on a field in Salinas, Calif., as part of an experiment to test how long strains of <em>E. coli</em> live in soil where leafy greens are grown.
Credit Courtesy of Fhon Saharuetai
The scientists measure slurry with <em>E. coli</em> into backpacks for spraying on fields.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:54 pm
Some cars are meant to be beautiful; some cars are meant to serve a purpose. The makers of the Youabian Puma say their car was created with one goal: "to stand out and be unique." And that's what they've done, as dozens of howling headlines attest.
Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 10:08 am
School lunch has never been the stuff of foodie dreams. I'm still haunted by the memory of my elementary school cafeteria's "brain pizza" – a lumpy oval thing topped with fleshy white strips of barely melted mozzarella that clumped together like neurons.
And it looks like America's school cafeterias are still turning out the culinary abominations, judging by the images on Fed Up, a fascinating online project showcasing school lunch photos submitted by students across the country.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:56 pm
The Obama administration confirmed early Friday afternoon that starting next year, it plans to push back the start of enrollment for coverage under the new health care law by one month.
NPR's Julie Rovner tells us via Twitter that White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Department of Health and Human Services "has indicated its intent to shift the 2015 marketplace schedule by one month."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Those of us of a certain age can remember exactly what we were doing on a Friday this hour 50 years ago when we heard the news. President Kennedy's assassination horrified and transfixed the nation. It was murder in plain sight, seemingly the easiest kind of crime to solve. But 50 years later the basic facts of the case are still debated.
Fresh Air's Dave Davies discusses John F. Kennedy's abbreviated term in office with presidential historian Robert Dallek, who finds that while you can make an argument that Kennedy accomplished little, he represents something special in the American experience. Dallek's latest book is Camelot's Court: Inside The Kennedy White House.
It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.
This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.
For the first time in its history, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 points Thursday. The index of 30 stocks touched the mark earlier this week, when a trader was photographed at the New York Stock Exchange.
The Dow Jones industrial average tacked on 109 points Thursday for a gain of less than 1 percent. But the small rise brought a big milestone, as the industrial index closed above 16,000 for the first time in its history. The index had touched the mark earlier this week but fell short by the day's end.
Today, the Dow closed at 16,009.99.
The historic moment for the benchmark index that tracks 30 leading U.S. companies came on a day that began with positive economic news.