National News

Can The U.S. Military Turn The Tide In The Ebola Outbreak?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 12:09

Some say our military has a big role to play in bringing Ebola under control. But sending in troops is trickier than it sounds.

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Rare Virus Has Sickened Hundreds More Children, Hospitals Say

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 12:03

The rare virus is spreading fast, and doctors don't have an instant test to find out who has it. So parents should be ready to seek help quickly if a child has a cold that's rapidly getting worse.

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Obama's Plan: The Pros And Cons

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 09:48

The president has opted for an open-ended air campaign to fight the Islamic State. A look at what it will take to make the plan work and the risks that could cause it to fail.

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Some Things You Can Do In Your Sleep, Literally

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 09:32

For those who think there are not enough hours in the day, researchers may have just offered you a solution. The brain can continue tasks even while asleep, a study finds. Texting not included, alas.

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Suicide Is A Big Problem Where You'd Least Expect It

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 09:20

The conventional thinking is that suicide is a problem in high-income countries. But a new WHO report says that three-fourths of suicide deaths are in the low- and middle-income world.

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Boehner: House GOP 'Ready To Work With The President'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 08:55

The House speaker said Congress "ought to give the president what he's asking for" but also expressed skepticism, saying the White House plan to defeat Islamic State militants doesn't go far enough.

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Missouri Lawmakers Override Vetoes On Abortion, Guns

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 08:53

The state is set to expand gun rights and establish a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions after lawmakers overruled vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon.

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Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn't

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 08:31

In many countries, eggs aren't refrigerated and they're still considered safe to eat. But in the U.S., we have to chill them, because we've washed away the cuticle that protects them from bacteria.

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Detroit has the most expensive car insurance in the U.S.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-11 08:10

Drivers in Detroit, Michigan, pay the highest auto insurance rates in the country, with annual premiums costing 165 percent more than the national average, according to a new study by InsuranceQuotes.com.

The study claims Michigan's unique regulations on how insurers cover medical expenses are the cause for the state's higher rates.

From the study:

The reason for this is quite simple, says Lori Conarton, communications director for the Insurance Institute of Michigan.

According to Conarton, Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means each insurance company compensates its own policyholders for the cost of injuries regardless of who's at fault in the accident. This benefit is known as personal injury protection (PIP).

What's wholly unique about Michigan, however, is that state law provides unlimited lifetime coverage for medical expenses resulting from auto accidents, making insurance very expensive.

"No other state in the country provides lifetime medical benefits, which means the cost of medical treatment plays a big role in what people pay for auto insurance in Michigan," Conarton says.

Other factors that could contribute to Detroit's higher premiums include the large number of uninsured drivers in the region, with 20 percent of drivers lacking car insurance in the state of Michigan, and 60 percent of drivers in Detroit driving without insurance, according to estimates from a different study earlier this year by Quadrant Information Services.

The study also looked at car insurance rates that were significantly higher or lower than the national average in other metropolitan regions throughout the country, including New York, Miami and Los Angeles, which all had higher-than-average premiums.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Cleveland, Ohio, have the lowest insurance premiums in the country, compared to the national average.

Data table courtesy of InsuranceQuotes.com.

Fijian Peacekeepers Released By Syrian Nusra Front Rebels

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 07:44

The 45 U.N. troops were taken hostage last month on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights.

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The numbers for September 11, 2014

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-11 07:31

Per tradition, the 2,983 names of the people who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, were read at the World Trade Center site Thursday morning. The 9/11 Museum has attracted nearly a million visitors since opening in May. 

Here are some other stories we're reading and some numbers we're watching Thursday:

$363.8 million

That's RadioShack's revenue for its second quarter, which ended last month — a 22 percent drop from a year ago, as The New York Times reported. The troubled electronics retailer has tried rebranding and closing stores, but most analysts say it's headed for bankruptcy nonetheless.

6

The number of college and university police departments that have received mine-resistant vehicles from the Department of Defense since 1998, according to data published by the Chronicle of Higher Education. That total could still grow: The Chronicle's data isn't complete; they're still waiting on information from 11 states and the District of Columbia.

800 million

The estimated number of iTunes accounts that "purchased" the new U2 album, "Songs of Innocence," as part of an Apple promotion announced Tuesday. Many users were not pleased at the record's sudden appearance on their phones and computers. For comparison: Business Insider pegs U2's total album sales before this week at a measly 150 million.

$62 million

That's how much cash Los Angeles police seized during a raid in the city's Fashion District on Wednesday. The "fast fashion" industry provides an easy route for drug cartels to launder money, Quartz reported, and L.A. is a hot spot.

WATCH: Carney, McCain Spar On CNN Over ISIS Strategy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:50

The former White House press secretary went toe to toe with the Republican senator after President Obama's address to the nation about the Islamic State.

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A Happy Marriage, A Terrible Secret, A Healthy Baby

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:42

They were married in South Africa. The next day, he told his bride he was HIV positive. Soon after, she tested positive. And she thought nothing in her life would ever go right.

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UNESCO Director Concerned About New School Year In Iraq

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:38

Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO in Paris, calls for international help to protect Iraq's schoolchildren as they return to school.

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Ozone Levels Bounce Back, Showing First Increase In 35 Years

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:37

NASA says that a ban on CFCs enacted in the 1980s has contributed to a 4 percent rebound since 2000 in atmospheric ozone in mid-northern latitudes.

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FDA approves new weight-loss drug

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-09-11 06:00

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new weight-loss drug therapy. The drug, Contrave, is a combination of drugs used to treat depression (bupropion) and addiction (naltrexone). 

It’s approved for adults with a body mass index of 30 or higher (considered the threshold for obesity) and adults who are overweight (BMI of 27) but who also have a weight-related health condition.

In one trial cited by the FDA, 42 percent of patients treated with Contrave lost at least 5 percent of their body weight, while 17 percent of patients treated with a placebo did.

It has taken two attempts, four years, and several delays to get Contrave approved. In 2011, an FDA panel voted to approve the drug, but the agency declined and asked Orexigen, the drug’s maker, to pursue longer-term cardiovascular studies. When those studies were completed, the agency delayed approval again as it reviewed labeling and marketing requirements. 

“I don’t know what’s tougher, losing weight or getting an anti-obesity drug passed by the FDA,” says Robert Goldberg with the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Goldberg says obesity is linked to the central nervous system, and so are the drugs that treat it, so the FDA is extra-cautious. “The FDA is also worried that people will take these medicines and use them just to get an eight pack after their insanity workout,” when they are otherwise healthy. “Does it have a different bar? Absolutely.”

And yet, despite concerns about widespread use or abuse, sales of existing drugs on the market have proven disappointing. 

“The weight-loss drugs are not completely accepted as standard therapy, even for patients who are obese,” says Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health. He says getting doctors and patients comfortable with these drugs has proven difficult.

Another challenge for any weight-loss drug is how and whether insurance companies cover it. 

“If a drug is approved and not widely covered, it’s not gonna get adopted,” says Mendelson.

There are at least three more weight-loss drugs under development. 

 

Nation Remembers 9/11 On 13th Anniversary Of Attacks

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 05:13

President Obama, the first lady and vice president gathered for a moment of silence at the White House. Other ceremonies are scheduled at the Pentagon, in New York and in Shanksville, Pa.

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Sagging Pants And The Long History Of 'Dangerous' Street Fashion

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 04:18

For adults, "sagging" has long been a marker of slovenliness or something more sinister. But the style might just be the latest iteration of fashion freighted with some old anxieties.

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Playgrounds For All Children: Here's How To Find One

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 04:03

For kids with disabilities, a simple activity like going down a slide can be a challenge. An NPR crowdsourcing project maps inclusive playgrounds — fun and safe for all — across the country.

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Judge In Pistorius Trial Rules Out Murder

NPR News - Thu, 2014-09-11 03:50

South African Judge Thokozile Masipa, who has yet to render her final verdict in the jury-less trial, says the prosecution failed to prove premeditated murder.

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