NPR News

Got a high-deductible health plan? The kind that doesn't pay most medical bills until they exceed several thousand dollars? You're a foot soldier who's been drafted in the war against high health costs.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Andreas Lubitz "wanted to see his dream of flying fulfilled," says the flying club of the co-pilot who appears to have deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing 150 people.

A decade ago in Nigeria, rumors spread that polio vaccines were surreptitious sterilization efforts. That led to a boycott of the vaccine in 2003 and a resurgence in the poliovirus three years later.

The story points up a key point about vaccines: Confidence is critical.

A new study of more than 20,000 people in five countries looks as why people aren't confident in vaccines. The reasons vary, from a belief the vaccine isn't safe to a bad experience with a previous vaccination.

And the results can be devastating.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has stepped out of a federal prison in Alabama and now goes to a halfway house to complete a 2013 sentence for spending hundreds of thousands in campaign money on personal items.

WLS in Chicago reports: "The Jackson entourage, consisting of his father, Reverend Jesse Jackson; his wife, Sandi Jackson; and the former congressman's two children, arrived at Maxwell Air Force Base around 4:15 a.m. Thursday."

That's me (with scarf) in what's becoming my natural element, driving Chinese people around Shanghai and beyond for a series called "Streets of Shanghai." Usually, I offer free rides around the city so I can meet different kinds of people and get a sense of real life in China, where things move so fast a generation can be measured in five years.

The very first time we encounter Dong Nguyen, one of several hotly debated characters in Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he has just introduced himself to Kimmy in their GED class. And, as surely happens to Dong all the time, ever since he immigrated to New York from Vietnam, she's stifling a giggle over his name.

Sweet Briar College in Virginia will close its doors in May, after 114 years of teaching women at its scenic campus in western Virginia.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. E.T.

For millions of cash-strapped consumers, short-term loans offer the means to cover purchases or pressing needs. But these deals, typically called payday loans, also pack triple-digit interest rates — and critics say that borrowers often end up trapped in a cycle of high-cost debt as a result.

The Get-Well Gift That Keeps On Giving

Mar 26, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 appears to have deliberately crashed the plane carrying 150 people into the French Alps after the pilot had left the cockpit, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said at a news conference Thursday.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This post was last updated at 6:29 p.m. ET.

The Saudi ambassador to Washington says the Saudi air operations against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen will continue and "we will see coalition partners join in the effort" and he accused Iran of sending advisers to aid the Houthis.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now to David Greene with a Cinderella story that is the talk of the hockey world.

DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: The central character of this story has been busy creating moments like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2015 KGOU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kgou.org.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today is the final day of campaigning for Nigeria's presidential election - an election that was postponed six weeks ago because of security concerns. That delay seems to have been a bonus for embattled incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MaryAnn Anselmo feared for the worst when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a glioblastoma in late 2013.

"You start doing research on that type of tumor, and you're saying, 'Oh my God, you're history.' It's like a death sentence," says, Anselmo, now 59.

Only for her it wasn't.

Anselmo's successful treatment shows how precision medicine — tailoring therapy to each patient's genetic needs — is beginning to transform cancer care.

I once met a popular spoken word poet in Ethiopia who was asked by a government official to write a poem about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (He politely explained that he didn't do poetry about infrastructure.) But it's not surprising that Ethiopia would like to inscribe this dam into the Ethiopian epic.

The Willacy County Correctional Center is empty now. The tall security fences and dome-like housing units set out on the coastal prairie have no one inside them.

One morning late last month, the prisoners rioted. They set fires and tore the place up. Guards put down the uprising in about five hours. But the destruction was so severe that the sprawling detention compound has been shut down. All 2,800 inmates were transferred.

Willacy County is now facing the question — what does it do now that its biggest moneymaker is out of business?

Updated at 12:10 p.m. E.T.

Doctors who treat Medicare patients will face a huge cut, 21 percent, if Congress doesn't act by the end of the month. This isn't a new problem. While Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill agree that the formula that pays doctors who treat Medicare patients has long been broken, over the years they've been unable to pass more than temporary patches.

Heinz and Kraft.

When we hear those names we think ketchup and Velveeta, right?

But before they were products and companies that will merge to become a giant with $28 billion in revenue, Heinz and Kraft were men.

Termites are among the world's most destructive pests, causing more than a billion dollars in damage each year in the U.S. alone. Scientists in Florida have tracked the development of a new hybrid species of termite — one whose colonies grow twice as fast as the parent species.

Researchers say the new "super-termite" is even more destructive than other species and may carry a significant economic cost.

Just after midnight Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz scooped his own big announcement by about 10 hours. Ahead of a planned speech, he posted the news of his presidential bid on Twitter.

"I'm running for President and I hope to earn your support!" he tweeted.

The tweet, which included a 30-second video, was retweeted more than 3,000 times in 30 minutes. Cruz's announcement generated 5.7 million interactions (likes, posts, comments and shares) Monday on Facebook. And during his planned speech at Liberty University, his staff live tweeted lines from the speech on his account.

There's been a lot of buzz around the story that some inexpensive California wines, including a Charles Shaw (aka two-buck Chuck) white Zinfandel sold at Trader Joe's, have been found to contain traces of arsenic.

It was still dark when Tania Bruguera hopped into a cab with us on her way to Revolution Square.

"All of a sudden it looks quite subversive what we're doing," she said. Her voice revealed a little nervousness, but it translated into a giddy laughter.

More than a dozen Marines from Alpha Company fan out across California's Mojave Desert, far into the distance. Machine-gun fire gives them cover. The small forms dash ahead. Some drop to one knee, others fall on their stomachs, firing at pop-up targets.

Only one woman is part of this group. Until last fall, Sgt. Kelly Brown was fueling helicopters and trucks. Now she's running with an assault rifle.

More than 10 million Americans have trouble distinguishing red from green or blue from yellow, and there's no treatment for colorblindness.

A biotech company and two scientists hope to change that.

Mosquitoes Can Smell Inside Your Blood

Mar 25, 2015

Garlic lovers: You can smell them before you see them. Some people would say they even stink!

Hours after you eat garlic, your breath can still smell bad, as your body digests compounds in the plant and releases them into your blood.

Now scientists say a similar process might explain why people infected with malaria attract more mosquitoes than those not infected.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009, after he walked off his military outpost in southeastern Afghanistan. In a controversial move and five years after his capture, the Obama administration cut a deal with the Taliban, securing Bergdahl's release in exchange for the release of five Taliban detainees who were being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Pages