NPR News

Doctors are much more likely to level with patients who have cancer than patients who have Alzheimer's, according to a report released this week by the Alzheimer's Association.

Last week, a top Justice Department official issued a tough warning to banks and other corporations that repeatedly commit crimes. She said U.S. officials could do away with their deferred-prosecution agreements.

Such deals allow companies that have broken the law to escape criminal convictions by promising to clean up their act. A new book looks at the role these agreements play in the corporate world.

The green sea turtle typically lives in tropical waters, like the shores of Mexico or Hawaii.

But recently, scientists have discovered a population swimming year-round in a river just south of Los Angeles. It's the northernmost group of these turtles known to science.

Visit the 3-mile stretch of the San Gabriel River in Long Beach, wait a few a minutes, and Cassandra Davis says you'll usually see their heads above the water.

When children are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia now, they have more than a 90 percent chance of survival.

But when James Eversull was told he had leukemia in 1964, there wasn't much hope.

He was just 18 months old when his parents discovered what was wrong.

Move over, cooking shows. In Korea, the big food fad is eating shows, or mukbang. Korean viewers are so glued to watching strangers binge eating that the live-streamers consuming calories in front of webcams are becoming minor celebrities in Korean culture.

Johnny Reynolds knew that something was wrong as far back as 2003. That's when he first started experiencing extreme fatigue.

"It was like waking up every morning and just putting a person over my shoulders and walking around with them all day long," says Reynolds, 54, who lived in Ohio at the time.

In addition, Reynolds was constantly thirsty and drank so much water that he would urinate 20 or 30 times per day. "And overnight I would probably get up at least eight or nine times a night," he says.

At his TED Talk in Vancouver last week, Bill Gates posed the idea that, "If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it's most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes." He noted how the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which has taken about 10,000 lives, revealed serious problems in our global health care system. It's not that the systems didn't work well enough, he said. "We didn't have a system at all." He called the response "a global failure."

If you're trying out for a job in sales, the person who judges your pitch may not be a person — it could be a computer.

Job recruitment is the newest frontier in automated labor, where algorithms are choosing who's the right fit to sell fast food or handle angry cable customers, by sizing up the human candidates' voices.

Through his chief of staff, President Obama is strongly countering rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a two-state, Israeli-Palestinian solution.

"An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state," Denis McDonough, President Obama's chief of staff, said Monday at the annual conference of J Street, a left-leaning pro-Israel group.

Last year 4 million people visited SeaWorld's theme parks, where the top shows feature orcas, also known as killer whales. For years, activists have charged that keeping orcas in captivity is harmful to the animals and risky for the trainers who work with them, a case that gained urgency in 2010 when Dawn Brancheau, a veteran orca trainer, was dragged into the water and killed by a whale at the SeaWorld Park in Orlando, Fla. When Brancheau died, there was some dispute as to whether the whale's intent was aggressive and whose fault the incident was.

Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Now Munching On Bugs

Mar 23, 2015

More than 1,000 guests in gowns and tuxedos crowded into a two-story hall on Saturday night at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Standing among a pack of well-preserved African elephants, they sampled the delicacies offered by waiters wending their way through the throngs. They had come for the annual dinner of the Explorers Club — and the cocktail-hour fare certainly required an adventurous palate: All of it was made of insects.

Several efforts in Washington are converging on the sensitive question of how best to safeguard the information software programs are gathering on students.

A proposed Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 is circulating in draft form. It has bipartisan sponsorship from Democratic Rep. Jared S. Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana.

When someone asks whether we're winning the war on cancer, the discussion often veers into the world of numbers. And, depending on which numbers you're looking at, the answer can either be yes or no.

Let's start with the no.

The number of cancer deaths in this country is on the rise. It climbed 4 percent between 2000 and 2011, the latest year in official statistics. More than 577,000 people died of cancer in 2011. That's almost a quarter of all deaths. Those aren't just personal tragedies – the figure represents a growing burden on America.

When President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer in 1971, there were high hopes that scientists were close enough to understanding the underlying causes that many cures were within reach.

We obviously haven't won the war.

In fact, a prominent cancer biologist argues that the conceptual framework for understanding cancer has come full circle over the past 40 years.

Update at 7:21 p.m. ET. Jobs to be lost in deal:

Baseball's most iconic bat has a new owner. Monday, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., which owns Louisville Slugger, announced the brand would be acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods Co. for $70 million in cash. The move means that Wilson, maker of Major League Baseball's official glove, will soon own the maker of MLB's official bat.

Jacob Ryan of NPR member station WFPL reports that some jobs will be lost in the acquisition:

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday not to hear a case involving the constitutionality of Wisconsin's strict voter ID requirement shifts attention now to voter identification laws working their way through the courts in Texas and North Carolina.

Nobody is more excited about Burger King's new Chicken Fries — fried chicken strips shaped and served like french fries — than Burger King. The workers at the Chicago store we visited were all dressed in large, sacklike yellow Chicken Fries T-shirts, and a chicken mascot cavorted on the electronic menu, next to a picture of the item.

"Two orders of Chicken Fries!" I said, infected, salmonella-like, with their joy.

"We don't have any Chicken Fries," said the server.

I pointed mutely at the dancing chicken above her head.

China’s top weather official is warning people about the potential impact of climate change.

China’s Xinhua news agency reports that Zheng Guoguang, chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, said climate change could reduce crop yields and lead to “ecological degradation.”

The statements are considered rare, even though China is the world’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

“As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave,” Zheng said.

It’s that time of year: the high school class of 2015 is now receiving college decision letters.

At the same time, current high school freshmen and sophomores will face a revised version of the preliminary SAT or PSAT in the fall of 2015.

The PSAT is an important step before taking the actual SAT but the announced changes may change the way students go about preparing.

U.S. Skaters Aim For Gold At Worlds

Mar 23, 2015

The World Figure Skating Championships begin this week in Shanghai, China.

American skaters like Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds, Jason Brown and Josh Farris may stand a chance at getting on the podium, but they are not favored to win gold.

It’s been eight seasons since an American woman won a singles medal at the world or Olympic level, and four for the men.

What do the French do when their economy and identity are under assault? Throw a dinner party, of course – a global one.

From Madagascar to Washington, D.C., more than 1,000 French chefs on five continents hosted multi-course gastronomic dinners last Thursday in celebration – and defense – of France's culinary prowess.

At one dinner, at the Chateau of Versailles west of Paris, around 600 guests (including NPR), dined in the lamp-lit Battles' Gallery, flanked by oil paintings of French military victories through the ages.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to his country's Arab citizens for his comments ahead of last week's elections, saying he did not intend to offend them when he said Israel's Arabs were voting "in droves" to unseat his government.

"I know the things I said a few days ago hurt some of Israel's citizens and hurt Israel's Arabs. I had no intention to do that. I apologize for it," he said at a meeting with representatives of Israel's minority communities.

Philadelphia police officers "do not receive regular, consistent training on the department's deadly force policy," the Justice Department said today in a review of the city's 394 officer-involved shootings between 2007 and 2014.

The department also said: "PPD recruit training is not conducted in a systematic and modular fashion. As a result, some recruit classes receive firearms training close to the end of the academy, whereas others receive it early on."

It's easy to get put on statins, and it can be surprisingly hard to get off them. That's true even for people who are terminally ill and might have bigger concerns than reducing their cardiovascular risk.

People approaching the end of life who did stop statins were not more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who kept taking the drugs, according to researchers who tested the idea.

You Think Your City Is Full Of Trash? Ha!

Mar 23, 2015

They don't call it Trashmandu for nothing.

In Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu, garbage is pretty much everywhere. It's stuffed in plastic bags and dropped in drainage ditches. It's piled high in empty lots, on the roadside and on the edges of the city's sewage-filled rivers.

It is thrown out of bus windows and off rooftops into neighbors' yards.

It's hard to believe Kathmandu could get any worse. But this month, it did.

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore who transformed the sleepy British colony into a commercial powerhouse, is being mourned today in his country and beyond.

After the sun sets on Havana on weekends, G Street turns into a kind of runway.

Blocks of the promenade — which is very colonial with its big, beautiful statues and impeccable topiaries — swell with crowds of young Cubans. For the most part, they just walk up and down, greeting each other with kisses.

It's a spectacle: Everyone, it seems, is here to impress. They're perfectly coiffed, perfectly matched; they're splayed on benches, arms wrapped around each other.

Britain reportedly has withdrawn its remaining special forces from Yemen, days after a similar U.S. move, in response to the worsening security that the U.N. envoy for Yemen described as the "edge of civil war."

The reported development comes as Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen called on his Arab neighbors to intervene militarily to stop the inroads made by Shiite Houthi fighters in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country.

And they're off.

After a midnight tweet, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tied together the American Revolution, nostalgia for a better time, and an appeal to social conservatives in his official kickoff speech at Liberty University in Virginia.

"God's blessing has been on America from the beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn't done with America yet," Cruz said at the Christian evangelical university founded by preacher Jerry Falwell. "I believe in you; I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives to reignite the power of America.

There will be a question from some about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's eligibility to run for president.

That's because even though Cruz grew up in Texas, he was born in Canada. (He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2013.)

Democrats are sure to remind voters of Cruz's Canadian birth since some on the right have questioned where President Obama was born. The president is a native of Hawaii.

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