National / International News
President Obama is pitching his State of the Union proposals on a campaign-like trip and on YouTube.
U.S. military advisers are keeping a low profile in Yemen after Huthi rebels staged a near coup. Sources tell NPR that U.S. special operations forces are still doing operations, but nothing to antagonize the Huthis. Meanwhile, White House officials are meeting to see what the changes mean for the counter-terror fight that President Obama lauded as a success only five months ago.
House Republican leaders had planned to pass a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and coinciding with the annual protest march by abortion opponents. But with Republican women balking at that measure, they instead passed a bill prohibiting the use of taxpayer money for abortions, something that's been in spending bills for years.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board is warning that "the probability of global catastrophe is very high" unless quick action is taken.
Robert Siegel speaks with Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., about whether he thinks Netanyahu's address to Congress in March will help him with his election a few weeks afterwards.
Google plans to enter the wireless phone business, according to published reports. By purchasing capacity on the T-Mobile and Sprint networks, Google could sell mobile service directly to customers, a move that would shake up the wireless industry.
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez says she believes Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, was murdered.
Lawmakers say the Obama administration is "stiff arming" Congress, keeping them away from diplomacy with Iran. The House Speaker is fighting back, inviting Israel's tough talking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress soon.
Mayors and police chiefs are asking how they can rebuild trust with minority communities. The question comes as a Justice Department investigation of a white police officer in the shooting death of a black man in Ferguson, Mo., is winding down.
Forensic scientists can find crime-solving evidence in the tiniest details, such as the insects that arrive at the scene to feed on the decomposing corpse.
The collective wealth of the world's 80 richest people matches the wealth of the poorest 50 percent of the population. That's according to new data from Oxfam, which says the super-rich are getting much richer. In 2010, it took 388 of the richest people to match half of the global wealth.
It is a powerful comparison but can also be abstract. Indeed. Oxfam has been criticized for the way it calculates global wealth. What does all this money actually look like? We pulled the top names off Forbes' billionaire list to see if we could come up with equivalents that could help you picture their net worth.
The Walton Family: $160.2 billion
The heirs to Wal-Mart founders Sam and Bud Walton are four of the 15 richest people in the world, with more than $160 billion split between Christy, Rob, Alice and Jim Walton. That's as much as Apple's notoriously large cash reserves.
Bill Gates: $80.6 billion
The Microsoft founder has donated much of his personal wealth via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He could still buy Uber twice, but just barely.
Warren Buffet and Carlos Slim: About $73 billion apiece
They're neck-and-neck for second place on Forbe's rich list. If they joined forces, they could level out the hit Russia's economy took this fall from sanctions and dropping oil prices.
Another fun fact: Buffet earned $13.5 billion in 2013 alone, meaning it took him just two minutes to earn $51,900, the median household income in the U.S. This tool from Penny Stocks Lab calculates how long it took Buffet to earn your wage:
Amancio Ortega: $61.4 billion
The fashion tycoon hails from Spain, but his net worth is equal to the GDP of the Dominican Republic.
Koch Brothers: $41 billion each
Charles and David Koch are known for running Koch Inudstries, one of the largest privately held companies in the world, as well as for their political activism and charitable donations. With their personal fortunes, the brothers could both cover the costs of every major national election from 1998 to 2014 and still have several billion left over.
Larry Elison: $54.5 billion
Liliane Bettencourt: $38 billion
Michael Bloomberg: $35 billion
The media mogul was mayor of New York, but his personal fortune almost exactly matches the Gross Metropolitan Product of Tuscon, Arizona.
And that's just the start: there are 67 more billionaires in that top 80, adding up to a net worth of $1.9 trillion.
The president's call for mandatory paid sick days starred in his State of the Union address. But forget the big speech: It may be small businesses — and state lawmakers — that decide this debate.
Your dollar may go further in Europe these days — but you'll have to get there first.
Airlines know that a weak euro will boost tourism, and they're raising the price of tickets from the U.S. to Europe, Asia and South America accordingly. On the flip side, airlines are cutting prices on flights originating in Europe to ensure demand remains high.
As fuel prices hit record highs over the past decade, many airlines ditched gas-guzzling jumbo jets for smaller aircraft with fewer seats. A drop in fuel prices may mean that some of those larger carriers return to the skies. That should — and the key word is should — lead to a drop in prices.
Two teams of editors and writers, including best-selling author Scott Turow, face off over Amazon's influence over the publishing industry, in the latest debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.
Fifteen years ago, the Millennium Development Goals challenged the world to stop and begin to reverse the spread of HIV by 2015. The world missed that goal, and today, 35 million people are still living with HIV and millions are suffering from AIDS. It can be hard to see how to bend the curve on the spread of this virus.
However, several places have managed to start to make inroads against the virus. Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Francisco have both made strides in reducing the spread of the virus. Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to end the HIV epidemic in the state. Another city that’s had some success is Washington, D.C.
“We had about 1,300 cases at a peak in 2007, and we are just under 500 as our preliminary numbers for 2013,” says Michael Kharfen, head of the Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration.
The district’s three-pronged strategy of outreach, treatment and prevention is the secret to its success, according to Kharfen.
Outreach means finding and testing as many people as possible – in schools, hospitals and on street corners. Sometimes Washington residents have to opt out of a test.
Treatment means getting people who are HIV positive into medical care and onto HIV medications as soon as possible, so they can stay healthy. Recent studies have shown that this method, known as “Treatment as Prevention” or “TasP” makes HIV positive people more than 95 percent less likely to transmit the virus to someone else, Kharfen says.
Prevention means needle exchanges, safer sex ad campaigns and giving out millions of free condoms. All this was achieved, Kharfen said, with an annual budget of around $85 million.
Another factor, he says, is the close relationship between Washington's government and its medical providers, like Whitman-Walker Health. It has many LGBT and low-income clients, two groups that bear a disproportionate burden of HIV infection.
“You can show that over a four-year period you can reduce the incidence of HIV by 70 percent and really get a marked improvement,” says Dr. Richard Elion, Whitman-Walker Health's clinical research director. “But that last 30 percent, over time, is not showing a decline. And that now is really where the illness is.”
So how do public health officials hit a shrinking target?
Washington has to get creative, Elion says. Whitman-Walker runs public health studies and surveys that look at at the next generation of HIV/AIDS treatments, approaches that include new medications and cold hard cash. One study looks at the impact of paying HIV-positive people a couple hundred dollars a year if they remain HIV undetectable, and therefore not infectious. Compare that to the roughly $20,000 it can cost for medicine for each newly infected patient.
Providers face challenges in getting patients to adhere to treatment for most chronic conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, Elion says. “The difference is that HIV because it’s an infectious disease has ramifications as a result of that lack of control," he says.
Whitman-Walker’s surveys helped show that a new prevention strategy known as "pre-exposure prophylaxis," or "PrEP," which involves taking HIV medicine to prevent infection, works in the real world.
Methods like these, known as biomedical interventions, should chip away at that shrinking target, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. And as for those lofty Millennium Development Goals? It's OK to miss a target, he says.
“When you set a goal and strive for it – although you may not reach precisely the goal that you set – it increases the energy, it increases the effort and it increases the fate that you’re going to get there,” Fauci says.
The ultimate goal is a world of “HIV zero,” no more AIDS deaths and no more HIV transmissions, Fauci says. He and other scientists say that day probably won’t come until there is a safe and effective vaccine, and that’s at least a decade away.
The opposable thumb you use to hold a pencil was long thought to be a defining aspect of humans. But an analysis of finger bones suggests stone tool use by pre-humans — perhaps 3 million years ago.
Jeff Gordon, who announced today that he won't race full-time after this year. Now 43, Gordon has been part of competitive racing since he was 5 years old.
A study suggests that when it comes to oranges, juice may unlock more of some beneficial nutrients for our bodies to absorb than fruit does. But don't use that as an excuse to gulp down OJ just yet.