National / International News

Contagious Kisses? We Answer Your Questions About Ebola Recovery

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 13:25

Two Americans were released Thursday from an Atlanta hospital after treatment for Ebola. The news has generated a flurry of questions about what happens after you survive Ebola. So we asked the CDC.

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Boston bomber 'friend' pleads guilty

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 13:22
A friend of one of the men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing pleads guilty to obstructing the investigation into the attack.

VIDEO: England women seal World Cup place

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 13:05
England have qualified for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada after beating Wales 4-0 in Cardiff.

England women qualify for World Cup

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:56
England secure their place at the 2015 Women's World Cup with a resounding win over Wales in Cardiff.

Islamic State 'Beyond Anything We've Seen,' Hagel Says

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:44

The secretary of defense says the extremists are well-funded and organized and that he expects them to "regroup and stage an offensive" despite U.S. airstrikes.

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Teacher punched and swore at pupils

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:29
A Derby teacher is banned from the profession after he swore at pupils, punched them and called them offensive names.

Can Quinoa Take Root On The 'Roof Of The World'?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:29

Quinoa, once a homebody crop, crossed the Atlantic for the first time this century. Now the Food and Agriculture Organization has a hunch it can thrive in Central and Southwest Asia.

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Rights campaigner Helen Bamber dies

BBC - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:28
Veteran human rights campaigner Helen Bamber, who was among the first to relieve Nazi concentration camp victims in 1945, dies.

California's wells are going dry now, too

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:27

Water supplies are dwindling in California as the state’s historic drought drags on this summer. So, farmers in the state’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry are looking for water below ground instead. Groundwater is being pumped at record rates, and some of it is being sold for record prices.

In a good year, California’s farmers get most of their water from the state’s vast network of rivers and reservoirs. But in a drought, groundwater makes up 60 percent of the state’s supply. It’s a lot like an underground reservoir – and it’s drying up in many places. 

“When the water is gone, all the farming is gone,” says Billy Grissom, a Central Valley farmer and rancher who lined up to speak about groundwater at a recent Merced County public meeting. 

Many farmers in the region are relying on groundwater from wells on their land this year. When that happens, the groundwater levels drop, much like having too many straws in the same glass. So Grissom has had to deepen his wells.

“I had to add 40 feet,” he says. “I have the bill right here from Shannon Pump.”

Grissom is one of the lucky ones. It’s tough to get an appointment with companies that drill water wells because they’re booked up for months.

“A lot of people’s wells are going dry,” says Merced County supervisor Deidre Kelsey. “We are over-drafting the groundwater, and it is agriculture.”

Groundwater pumping doesn’t have to be publicly reported in California. There’s virtually no regulation of it, unlike in other western states. So, often, farmers don’t know how much their neighbors are taking until the water starts drying up.

At this public meeting, county supervisors are hearing about a case that’s on the record because the groundwater is being sold.

“This is common practice,” says Steve Sloan, one of two ranchers looking to sell up to 4 billion gallons of groundwater. Under California law, he owns the groundwater under his property. On today’s water market, it could make him millions.

“Water exchanges, water transfers have been done for over 30 years,” he says. “This is how we survive collectively as an ag industry in California.”

The water will be sent 50 miles away to a water district on the other side of the Central Valley. Farmers there are in even worse shape – they are looking at ripping out almond orchards, says local water manager Anthea Hansen.

“We’re in crisis mode,” says Hansen. “I have trees I need to keep alive. We don’t need large quantities of water to do that. “

Hansen is trying hard to make her case at this public meeting, but many farmers in the region don’t want to see water flowing elsewhere.

“What’s going to happen when you take this much water out of an aquifer?” asks Mike Gallo, a neighbor of Sloan’s. “We’re on the same aquifer. I don’t know what it’s going to do. Nobody knows what it’s going to do.”

The federal referee in the sale is the Bureau of Reclamation and the agency has approved it. Under current law, there’s little that local county officials can do.

In the big picture, water sales can help even out the economic impacts of the drought, according to experts.

“One of the ways to deal with shortages is to let water start moving, let the markets start moving water and that actually increases your economic efficiency,” says Jeff Mount, a geologist and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

But there are caveats. Groundwater is being dramatically over pumped in many parts of the Central Valley.

“You also have to do it in ways that don’t harm other parties,” says Mount. “And if you start drying up your neighbors' wells to sell water to somebody else, then you are causing harm.”

Some counties have taken matters into their own hands and effectively banned the sale of groundwater outside county lines.

California lawmakers are looking at regulating groundwater for the first time. Two bills are being considered in this legislative session and would have to pass by the end of August.

Vision Problems Increase The Risk Of Early Death In Older People

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:26

Older people whose visual acuity has slipped by just one letter on the eye chart are more likely to die sooner, researchers say. New glasses may be all it takes to maintain independence.

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European Fighters Take On More Prominent Roles In The Islamic State

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:12

The hunt is on to identify the man in the James Foley execution video who speaks with a British accent. An estimated 2,000 Europeans have left home to join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

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Failed Foley Rescue Reveals Challenges Faced By U.S. Intelligence

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

Earlier in the summer, a U.S. raid failed to rescue American hostages in Syria, including journalist James Foley, who was executed in a video released this week by Islamist militants. The hostages were not where they were thought to be. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston discusses the limits on America's ability to gather intelligence in Syria, as well as the latest developments since Foley was killed.

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How Ebola Stands To Worsen The Effects Of Malaria In West Africa

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

In Sierra Leone, the vast majority of deaths are not from Ebola, but from more common diseases like malaria, diarrhea and childbirth. The Ebola outbreak has crippled health services for those other diseases.

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American Ebola Patients Leave Atlanta Hospital Healthy

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

Two U.S. missionaries who caught the Ebola virus in Liberia have been discharged from an Atlanta hospital after fully recovering. They were the first known Ebola patients flown to the U.S. for treatment. Both received an experimental drug called ZMapp, but it remains unclear what role that treatment played in their recovery.

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Why Ebola Is Making It Harder To Provide Good Health Care

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

People are afraid to go to the doctor. Clinics have lost staff to the virus. Basic supplies aren't there. Ebola will have an impact on everything from malaria treatment to maternal health.

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McDonnell Takes The Stand, Founding Defense On Marital Dysfunction

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

In the corruption trial of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, McDonnell took the stand as a witness. Jeff E. Schapiro, politics columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, discusses the testimony with Robert Siegel.

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The Quandary At Jackson Hole: Is It Time To Step Back From Stimulus?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

With the economy showing signs of positive momentum, the Federal Reserve is facing familiar questions at its monetary symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Chief among these: Are interest rates too low? Robert Siegel asks Alan Blinder of Princeton University.

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Bank Of America Settles With Feds And States For Record Amount

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

In the latest fallout from misdeeds leading up to the financial crisis, Bank of America has agreed to a record $16.65 billion deal with federal and state governments. The deal helps the bank avoid prosecution for the fraudulent sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities to investors.

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The Siege Deepens In Eastern Ukraine's Donetsk

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

There are reports of heavy shelling on the outskirts of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, as government forces try to take the city from pro-Russian separatists. Meanwhile, thousands of the city's residents are trying to flee the fighting.

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Israel Unrolls New Series Of Strikes Against Hamas Leadership

NPR News - Thu, 2014-08-21 12:10

An Israeli airstrike killed three Hamas military commanders, who were buried shortly later amid threats that the militant group would respond.

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