U.S. News

Shots - Health News
1:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Half Of A Drug's Power Comes From Thinking It Will Work

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:37 pm

When you take a pill, you and your doctor hope it will work — and that helps it work.

That's not a new idea. But now researchers say they know just how much of a drug's effect comes from the patient's expectation: at least half.

When patients in the midst of a migraine attack took a dummy pill they thought was a widely used migraine drug, it reduced their pain roughly as much as when they took the real drug thinking it was a placebo.

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Shots - Health News
10:28 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Why Hospitals And Families Still Struggle To Define Death

Erick Munoz stands by a photo of his wife, Marlise Munoz, at home in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 3. She is being kept on life support in a local hospital against the family's wishes.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram MCT via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:33 am

Death seems one of life's few certainties, but the cases of a girl and a young woman who are being kept on life support even though they are legally dead show how difficult it still can be to agree on the end of life.

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Shots - Health News
8:02 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Maryland's Bold Plan To Curb Hospital Costs Gets Federal Blessing

Hospitals in Maryland may soon have an unusual, new way to make money.
iStockphoto

Maryland health officials have reached an unprecedented deal to limit medical spending and abandon decades of expensively paying hospitals for each extra procedure they perform.

If the plan works, Maryland hospitals will be financially rewarded for keeping people out of the hospital — a once unimaginable arrangement.

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The Two-Way
7:32 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Sportswriter Who Let Readers Fill Out Hall Of Fame Ballot Is Banned

After it was revealed that he used his Baseball Hall of Fame voter ballot to pass along the suggestions of readers of the sports site Deadspin, Dan Le Batard has been stripped of his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is also banned from all future Hall of Fame votes.

Le Batard is a columnist for The Miami Herald who is also on ESPN radio and TV. He said Thursday that he worked with Deadspin to turn his ballot over to sports fans for many reasons, emphasizing a need for reform in Hall of Fame voting.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Alcoa Will Pay $384 Million Penalty For Bahrain Bribes

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:05 am

In what's being called one of the largest U.S. anti-corruption settlements on record, Alcoa and an affiliate it controls have agreed to pay millions in fines and criminal and civil penalties. The companies acknowledge paying bribes to royal family members in Bahrain.

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The Salt
6:04 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Food Firms Trim Trillions Of Calories From Packaged Treats

To make a more healthful version of Edy's Grand Ice Cream, Nestle developed a technology that could cut half the fat and two-thirds of the calories from the frozen treat.
Erik S. Lesser Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:30 am

It sounds impressive: Major food companies have slashed 6.4 trillion calories from packaged foods they sold in 2012 compared with 2007, a study reported Thursday.

But for each American, that number translates to about 78 fewer calories purchased each day, or the equivalent of cutting out one apple or 3 1/2 Hershey's Kisses.

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It's All Politics
5:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Newly Potholed Bridge Pops Up On Christie's Road To 2016

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie conducts a lengthy news conference Thursday about his administration's role in traffic tie-ups on the George Washington Bridge.
Jeff Zelevansky Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has found the George Washington Bridge in his way on the road to a potential 2016 presidential run. Right now, it's still an open question whether he'll get over it.

Thursday's marathon news conference was certainly an important moment in that journey. The heretofore 2016 Republican frontrunner apologized and took responsibility for members of Team Christie exacting political revenge on the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., by closing lanes to the nation's busiest bridge in September, causing major traffic snarls.

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Code Switch
3:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

White House Picks Choctaw Nation To Fight Poverty In Oklahoma

Chief Gregory Pyle (left) and Assistant Chief Gary Batton stand in front of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's Capitol building in Tuskahoma, Okla.
Larissa Copeland Courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared his "War on Poverty," President Obama issued his own plan to combat poverty Thursday with the nation's first five "Promise Zones."

All "Promise Zones" will receive a competitive advantage when applying for federal grants, on-site support from federal officials, and, pending congressional approval, tax incentives for businesses hiring and investing in the community.

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Environment
3:52 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Natural Gas Boom Cuts Into Pennsylvania's State Forests

An oversized truck load slowly moves equipment along an icy mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest.
Marie Cusick WITF

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:36 pm

On the side of a mountain road in Pennsylvania's Tiadaghton State Forest, I'm trying to avoid a steady stream of heavy truck traffic. Acres of freshly cut tree stumps stretch out in front of me.

Kevin Heatley lives in the area and has come to these woods for years to hike. He's an ecologist by trade and he's concerned about what he's seeing.

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The Two-Way
3:47 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

FBI Director 'Confused' By Reports Calling Snowden A Hero

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 14, 2013. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Comey said he's "confused" by reports that characterize NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a "whistleblower" or a "hero."
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:47 am

FBI Director Jim Comey says he's "confused" by reports that characterize NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a "whistleblower" or a "hero" because, he says, all three branches of America's government have approved the bulk collection of U.S. phone records, one of the most important revelations in Snowden's cascade of leaks.

"I see the government operating the way the founders intended," Comey said, "so I have trouble applying the whistleblower label to someone who basically disagrees with the way our government is structured and operates."

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Gates Memoir Could Prove Helpful To Hillary Clinton In 2016

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates writes in his new memoir that Hillary Clinton "is a superb representative of the United States all over the world."
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:34 pm

In his new memoir, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a fairly serious charge against Hillary Clinton that likely will hound her if she decides to run for president in 2016: that she admitted in his presence that there were political considerations in her opposition to the U.S. military surge in Iraq.

As soon as the first excerpts of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War surfaced, many Republicans pounced on Gates' recollection of the Obama-Clinton Iraq surge conversation.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Nuclear Missile Officers Reportedly Implicated In Drug Probe

Undated handout photo of the inside of the deactivated Delta Nine Launch Facility near Wall, S.D.
Anonymous AP

Two U.S. Air Force officers with authority to launch nuclear-tipped Minuteman 3 missiles, have reportedly been implicated in an illegal-narcotics investigation.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed official, says the officers are based at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and work for the 341st Missile Wing.

The report comes on the same day that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is scheduled to visit a similar base in Nebraska that also houses underground missile silos.

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Shots - Health News
2:34 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Tech Ventures in Georgia Prosper As Health Care Law Kicks In

EndoChoice CEO Mark Gilreath.
Jim Burress WABE

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:36 pm

Georgia is fighting the health care law at every political turn.

Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, chose not to expand Medicaid, despite the increased federal funding made possible by the Affordable Care Act. And Ralph Hudgens, the state's insurance commissioner, publicly vowed to obstruct the law.

But that doesn't mean that Georgia isn't seeing some financial benefits from the law.

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Shots - Health News
1:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Hot Air Ballooning: Transcendent, Until You Break A Leg

To ascend is divine. To land can be traumatic.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:06 am

Maybe your bucket list includes taking a hot air balloon ride. Sounds lovely. But before floating aloft, please note that coming back to Earth can hurt.

Almost half of the 169 hot air balloon crashes reported from 2000 to 2011 in the U.S. involved tourist flights, and 83 percent of the 78 tourist crashes caused at least one serious or fatal injury, a study finds. Five people died.

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Education
9:34 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Students Of Color Don't Apply To Top Schools, But They Should

Deadlines to apply for colleges are coming up - and some experts say a lot of qualified minority students won't be applying to the top schools. Host Michel Martin speaks with Donald Fraser, Jr., of CollegeSnapps, Inc. and Caroline Hoxby, an economist at Stanford University about why some students of color aren't trying to get into prestigious schools.

Music Interviews
9:32 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Singer Maysa On Applying To Home Depot And Earning A Grammy Nomination

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:02 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. This is the time of year when we've been talking a lot about resolutions and goals and what it takes to see them through. I think most people would agree that one of the traits successful people seem to share is the willingness to press on, even when success is not assured. Well, that could be the story of Maysa. After more than 20 years in the music business, she has been nominated for a Grammy this year in the category of Best Traditional R&B Performance.

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The Two-Way
12:54 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Loehmann's To Liquidate; Macy's Cuts Jobs In Reorganization

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 10:21 am

Discount retailer Loehmann's, which has been in business for more than 90 years, will begin liquidating its inventory on Thursday.

A bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Wednesday authorized three outside groups to conduct "going out of business" sales for the retailer.

The company blamed its demise on declining economic conditions, intense competition from other off-price and outlet retailers as well as competition online.

Loehmann's has 93 stores in 11 states.

Macy's To Reorganize

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The Two-Way
7:09 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Ease Up On 'No Tolerance' Policies, U.S. Agencies Tell Schools

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:56 pm

Saying that "zero tolerance" discipline policies at U.S. schools are unfairly applied "all too often," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is urging officials to rethink that approach. The Obama administration issued voluntary guidelines today that call for more training for teachers and more clarity in defining security problems.

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Solar Flare Will Hit Earth Thursday; Northern Lights May Expand South

Coming At You: An image created by NASA combines two pictures from its Solar Dynamics Observatory. One shows the location of a large sunspot; the other shows Tuesday's massive solar flare.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:51 pm

Tired of reading about intensely cold temperatures? Here's some news that might help take your mind off this week's deep freeze. It could even give you an excuse to hang around outside Thursday.

An intense solar flare is being blamed for disrupting a NASA mission and could force airlines to reroute some flights. That's the bad news. The good news is that the flare is also expected to expand the viewing field of the aurora borealis southward, perhaps down to Colorado and Illinois.

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Around the Nation
4:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Pregnant Woman On Life Support Draws Attention To Texas Law

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Fort Worth, Texas, a tragic and unusual medical ethics case is making headlines. Five weeks ago, a man found his wife unresponsive in their bed. A brain embolism is suspected. She was 14 weeks pregnant. Since then, the 33-year-old woman has lain unresponsive. But the hospital says Texas law requires they keep her alive until she delivers the child.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn has the story.

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Business
4:14 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

News Or Ad? Online Advertisers Hope You'll Click To Find Out

Buzzfeed is among a growing number of outlets using native advertising online. The ads mimic the site's look and style, and some link to pages almost indiscernible from a typical Buzzfeed page.
screengrab/Buzzfeed.com

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:11 am

The New York Times unveiled a major redesign of its digital offerings Wednesday. With a new scroll feature, readers will never again have to click to read the second half of a story, and the site is crafted to appeal to a mobile audience.

But the redesign has also embraced a controversial shift in journalism: Some posts on the site that look like articles are reported and written by people working for the paper's advertisers.

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Economy
3:53 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

As Temps Drop, Gas Prices Rise, Along With Demand For Fuel

Propane cylinders sit on the grounds of Blue Rhino, a propane gas company, in Tavares, Fla. In the Midwest, farmers needed more propane for crops that came in later than normal.
Gerardo Mora Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:18 pm

Cold weather this week has boosted demand for heating fuels across the country. Natural gas prices are up, especially in the Northeast. At one point prices for natural gas into New York City jumped nearly tenfold from an average winter price of $5.68 per million BTU to $55.49, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics company.

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Around the Nation
3:40 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Obama Administration Has Little Love For 'Zero Tolerance'

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The Obama administration says schools need to rethink their disciplinary policies because they're doing more harm than good. To deal with serious offenses like physical assaults or drug possession, many states and school districts developed zero tolerance policies. But the administration says those policies were being applied too often, even for small offenses. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages No Longer Recognized, Utah Tells Agencies

Utah is instructing state officials to put services and paperwork for same-sex couples on hold, reflecting a recent U.S. Supreme Court order that halted gay marriages in the state. Utah is appealing a district court's ruling last month that its ban on same-sex marriage is not constitutional. The state was granted a stay as it pursues the matter.

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The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

White House Defends War Policy Against Memoir's Harsh Critique

White House press secretary Jay Carney fields questions Wednesday about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new memoir.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:13 pm

The White House rebuffed a largely critical assessment of administration policymaking presented in a new memoir by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying disagreements over the course of action in the Afghan war were part of a "robust" internal process.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Coal-Mining Area Grapples With How To Keep 'Bright Young Minds'

Colby Kirk of Inez, Ky., is a junior at the University of Kentucky, studying to be a financial analyst. He says there aren't many opportunities for college grads in his hometown.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 12:23 pm

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education and tax cuts to help create jobs.

In the coming year, NPR will explore the impact and extent of poverty in the U.S., and what can be done to reduce it.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

So Are 2 Drinks A Day Really Too Many?

This looks like way more than one too many.
Chris Gramly iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:33 pm

A lot of us are drinking too much, and on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called us on it.

More than eight drinks a week for women and 15 drinks a week for men can get you into trouble, the CDC warned.

But that doesn't seem to jibe with other studies that found that drinking alcohol makes for better heart health, several Shots commenters noted. Shana Cuddy wrote:

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Education
10:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

New Education Standards Widen Achievement Gap For English Learners?

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Digital Life
10:21 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Internet Harassment Of Women: When Haters Do More Than Just Hate

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:16 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Finally today, we want to take a look at the world of Internet media. Now we often hear that the Internet is the brave new world where things like race and gender don't matter. Everybody can be who they want to be and have equal access and equal say. But we also know that there is an ugly side to the Internet, and that's something you may have experienced yourself, particularly if you are a girl or a woman.

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The Salt
9:05 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Whales, Dolphins Are Collateral Damage In Our Taste For Seafood

A sperm whale entangled in a drift net. A report says commercial fisheries around the world kill or injure 650,000 mammals a year.
Alberto Romero Marine Photobank

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals are injured or killed every year by fishermen around the world. And because most seafood in the U.S. is imported, that means our fish isn't as dolphin-friendly as you might expect.

Under pressure from conservation groups, federal regulators are preparing to tighten import standards to better protect marine mammals.

There was a time, more than 40 years ago, when U.S. fishermen killed millions of dolphins while fishing for tuna. After a public backlash, fishermen figured out how to minimize that so-called bycatch.

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