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BP Earnings Plunge 91 Percent In 4th Quarter

Feb 2, 2016

Global oil and gas price drops have shattered BP's profits.

The British energy giant said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter "underlying replacement cost profits" (or net income) dropped 91 percent. Profits fell to $196 million, compared with $2.2 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The full-year figures were somewhat less dramatic: 2015 profits amounted to $5.9 billion, down from $12.1 billion the previous year. That's a 51 percent drop.

The current Zika outbreak got its start in Brazil, and that country is still the epicenter of the outbreak. But could the situation in neighboring Venezuela be nearly as bad?

That's the charge being made by some doctors' groups, who claim the Venezuelan government is vastly underestimating the number of cases. The government estimates that around 3,700 people have likely been infected with Zika since the outbreak began last year.

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Every time we turn around, there's a new technology that seems to make everything faster, cheaper and easier. Yet consumers seem to be increasingly interested in some very slow and old technologies — like woodcarving, weaving and other handmade items.

Ironically, it's a modern technology — the Internet — that's making it easy for lovers of artisan goods to find goods and craftsmakers.

The World Health Organization announced Monday a public health emergency. The cause for alarm is the cluster of birth defects among babies born to mothers infected with the Zika virus, which has spread rapidly through Brazil and much of Latin America since 2015.

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For the first time, the government is allowing scientists to edit the DNA inside human embryos. As NPR's health correspondent, Rob Stein, reports, that's extremely controversial.

Editor's note: A previous version of this piece was published prematurely and contained a number of errors and mischaracterizations of Tom Gjelten's original reporting. We have corrected this post.

Benoit Violier, the renowned 44-year-old chef of Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland, has died in what police say has the look of a suicide. The authorities say they found Violier's body next to a gun in his home.

For years now, the Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville has won the coveted three stars in the annual Michelin restaurant guide. In December, it was named No. 1 on La Liste, a French survey of the best restaurants worldwide.

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

Last October, China ended its 35-year-old policy of restricting most urban families to one child. Commonly referred to as the "one-child" policy, the restrictions were actually a collection of rules that governed how many children married couples could have.

"The basic idea was to encourage everybody, by coercion if necessary, to keep to ... one child," journalist Mei Fong tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

A team of British scientists received approval by U.K.'s fertility regulator to edit genes in human embryos.

"It is the first time a country has considered the DNA-altering technique in embryos and approved it," the BBC reports.

Men driving mountains of Styrofoam on the back of three-wheeled, motorized scooters are a common sight in Shanghai, but the one captured on this video is the biggest I or any of my friends have ever seen.

It was billed as a successful peer-to-peer lending company. Instead, police say, online lender Ezubao used fake business listings to take in about 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) from nearly 1 million people who thought they would get a 14 percent return.

For the first time in decades, a freely elected parliament took its seats in Myanmar on Monday, with the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi preparing to run the country. The change comes after years of strife — and a weekend of celebration.

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On a little patch of grass outside a police station in the small town of Rubayda in northern Iraq, a half-dozen women with small children sit on a rug, with a haggard-looking group of men nearby, eager to talk about how they walked here.

"Day and night, for 48 hours, without food or water or sleep," says Khalaf Hussein Karam, a former soldier with a deeply lined face. He escaped from his town in the Islamic State-held area around the city of Hawija. With numerous relatives including women and children, he crossed the Hamrin mountain range.

An attack by Boko Haram on a village in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 65 people on Saturday night, according to Reuters.

A Nigerian military spokesman told the wire service that Boko Haram militants attacked the village of Dalori, near the city of Maiduguri in Nigeria's northeast.

The initial death toll was provided by a Reuters reporter who counted bodies, burnt beyond recognition, at a hospital morgue. The Associated Press, citing a local official, reports the death toll much higher, at 86 people.

Three explosions near a shrine revered by Shiite Muslims in Damascus have killed at least 45 people, according to reports from Syrian media and human rights monitors.

NPR's Alison Meuse, reporting from Beirut for our Newscast unit, says the Islamic State has claimed responsibility through its media outlets. She continues:

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Are refugees still welcome in Denmark? Many Danes say yes, despite a new, controversial law requiring police to seize cash and other valuables from asylum seekers arriving in the Nordic country. There's widespread criticism in Denmark of the new law, even as many Danes are nervous about the rising number of asylum seekers.

The pretty Baltic port town of Sonderborg is one of many Danish communities sending mixed signals to asylum seekers these days. It hosts scores of migrants at an asylum center on the city's outskirts.

North Korea is a mysterious place — even to South Koreans. Curiosity about life in the north has sparked a slew of new South Korean TV shows.

There is the Amazing Race-type program, in which North Korean women are paired up with South Korean men to take on various challenges, like trudging through mud carrying a bucket of water on their heads.

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A U.S. Navy warship sailed close to a disputed island in the South China Sea on Saturday, challenging maritime claims by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The trip near Triton Island, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is what the Pentagon calls a "freedom of navigation operation."

At least 37 migrants have drowned after a ship sank in the Aegean Sea on the way to Greece, the Turkish Coast Guard says. The coast guard was able to save 75 people and continues to look for more survivors.

At least 10 children were among the dead, including four toddlers or infants, The Associated Press reports. The victims were mostly Syrians.

Three teenage boys are lugging boxes of donated shoes into a stately neoclassical home in Mytilini, the capital of the Greek island of Lesbos.

Two of the boys are Syrian, and the other is Algerian. For the moment, they live in this house, a shelter for underage asylum-seekers traveling alone.

Inside, Christina Dimakou, a high-energy young lawyer, greets them. "Kalimera!" she says, Greek for "good day" and flashes a smile. The boys repeat the word, giggling.

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