The era of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to be coming to an end after eight turbulent years. Haider al-Abadi, the man set to replace him, is not a previously well-known figure. NPR's Alice Fordham has interviewed him, and she tells Melissa Block more about him.
The International Mathematical Union has announced the four winners of its prestigious Fields Medal. The group includes Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the prize in its long history.
The Ebola outbreak has taken a particularly high toll on health workers, with more than 100 cases of health workers infected with the disease. West Africans are now requesting access to experimental drugs that have been used on Western health workers.
You might have heard a lot recently about non-Asian people donning makeup or clothing to appear Asian. But why is it that we're seeing so much of this phenomenon, widely referred to as "yellowface"?
The man running third in the race to be Brazil's next president has died in a plane crash. Eduardo Campos' small plane crashed in bad weather south of Sao Paulo as it was preparing to land.
Paid paternity leave is a luxury in the U.S. Just 10 to 15 percent of employers offer it, even though an increasing number of fathers want, and expect, time off with a new child.
Flood warnings are still in effect for other parts of New England after an early-morning downpour jeopardized commuters in New York. One town has been hit with more than a foot of rain.
Even though they are bad for state budgets and aren't necessarily good bargains, Americans love sales-tax holidays. Retailers like them too, because the tax holidays motivate consumers.
“It can be a pretty significant increase in traffic in the store and sales,” says Jim Sluzewski, a spokesman for Macy’s.
So why are tax holidays so popular?
“There’s absolutely a psychological impact here that is bigger than the money,” says Craig Shearman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation.
He says consumers generally hold out for sales offering at least 25 percent off.
“If retailers were to offer 5 or 10 percent off, consumers would laugh at them,” says Shearman. “But when shoppers can save that same 5 or 10 percent by virtue of not paying tax, it goes way beyond the amount of money involved.”
While consumers save money at the cash register, it’s really the states that pay.
“The first time I heard about a state tax holiday, I laughed until I cried,” says Verenda Smith, deputy director at the Federation for Tax Administrators, an association of state tax agencies.
There are 27 tax holidays this year.
“They’re expensive. They tend to distort the economy a little bit. But people love ‘em,” says Smith.
If tax holidays disappeared, would retailers lose much business?
Joy Hyrons, who handles accounting for Miller’s School Supplies in central Florida, says not necessarily.
“Well, to be honest with you, it probably wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference because the people have to purchase these items anyway,” says Hyrons.
A geographical analysis of comments to the Federal Communications Commission shows wide disparities on the issue of an open Internet.
Chefs and gardeners have long used edible blossoms as a garnish for salads and entrees. Now, food entrepreneurs are giving them a big role in mixed drinks and chocolate.
Ronald Hampton — a black former police officer in Washington, D.C. — analyzes the recent spate of violent police encounters in the context of his experiences on the street.
A bigger and bigger chunk of the money hospitals get comes from you and me, thanks to a rise in what are known as high deductible health plans, in which consumers are spending more out-of-pocket for their own care.
With millions more people newly insured under the Affordable Care Act holding those plans, hospitals are thinking hard about the best way to collect from us when we can't pay our bills. In some cases, that means no-interest payment plans.
Craig Froude, CEO of CarePayment, says business is booming for his company, which works for hospitals offering patients no-interest payment plans.
“We will actually double in revenue in this year,” he says, “and we will probably double again in 2015.”
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports the number of workers with deductibles has jumped from 55 percent to 78 percent since 2006.
Froude says that's why hospitals are lining up outside his door.
“And so what we are really seeing patients are having to figure out how they are going to afford healthcare,” he says.
Hospitals do a good job getting money from insurers, but when it comes to what individuals owe, Fraude says it's just about 17 cents on the dollar. And that won't cut it as collections become a bigger part of the business.
“We're trying to get ahead of this curve because we want to be able to continue being financially viable,” says Melanie Wilson of North Carolina-based Novant Health.
Two years ago, Novant stopped offering a payment plan with a 12 percent interest rate and introduced a no-interest option. Wilson says collections bumped up 6 percent.
“They see that we are not here to just make money,” she says. “We're here to do the right thing.”
Not all hospitals can go that route. Sandra Wolfskill with the non-profit Healthcare Financial Management Association expects some hospitals to keep using loans or credit cards with interest because those lenders give hospitals money up front.
"I think the hospitals that are financially stressed may be more inclined to go with the credit card option because it moves their cash flow much quicker,” Wolfskill says.
Patients often don't know what they owe until the bill shows up, she says, adding that hospitals need to find a way to make that stop.
Congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman gives his take on the 113th Congress, including how House Speaker John Boehner has little sway, and business in the Senate has virtually ground to a halt.
The ruling came from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, which had taken up the case after a district court struck down Virginia's ban in February.
Designer Joy Cho's blog "Oh Joy!" gets about 550,000 page views a month. When it launched nine years ago, Cho says she wasn’t quite sure what a blog was. She had always considered it to be an online diary.
"I had left New York and moved to Philadelphia with no job, and while I was interviewing, I had to start freelancing as a designer to make ends meet," says Cho. "In the meantime, a friend of mine had suggested starting a blog... I really didn’t think anybody would care about what I had to say. But as somebody who is very visual, who’s always collecting things for future reference, I thought 'OK, well at least I can put them online and I can share them with people if they decide they want to view them with me.'"
That was nine years ago. Since then, Cho’s blog "Oh Joy!" has blown up. And recently, she decided to stop putting advertisements on her site - the usual means of revenue for bloggers.
"I had ads on my site for a very long time. However, in the last several years, brands and bloggers have been partnering together a little bit more on sponsored content," says Cho. "I find it to be much more meaningful, much more interesting and much more creative. It’s a way to work with a brand in a way that benefits everybody."
One example? The Whimsy Pop desk:
Cho has also found success in her line at Target and various collaborations with companies, including Land of Nod and Microsoft.
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.
The condor is tied to the bull's back and they fight it out in an arena. Many Peruvians say it's an important tradition. Conservationists call it another threat to a giant bird already at risk.
A more detailed account about what happened to Lois Lerner's computer is now available. But critics say there are still lots of unanswered questions.
Researchers say that in countries where clean water and soap are plentiful, there may be no additional benefit from installing sanitizer dispensers in classrooms.
Eduardo Campos, an economist who was running for president as the leader of the Brazilian Socialist Party, has died in a plane crash southeast of Sao Paulo. He was 49.
Monica Potts reflects on her time reviewing civilian complaints about encounters with the NYPD, in light of several high-profile, videotaped confrontations this summer between officers and civilians.