NPR News

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

For most of us, debt is a big part of life. According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, 80 percent of Americans have some form of debt — from student loans to credit card balances.

There are many among the so-called silent generation, those born before World War II, who are still paying off mortgages and credit cards.

The dramatic failure of a test flight by Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket last October cost the co-pilot his life and left the pilot severely injured. New data from investigators suggest that the pilot survived in part because the craft essentially came apart around him.

Summertime is the perfect time to indulge in a refreshing cocktail on a balmy night. But before you reach for that minty mojito or sweet sangria, consider stepping out of your modern-day comfort zone and going back to the drinks of 100 years ago.

"Some of the best cocktails that we think about today — the martini, the daiquiri, the Manhattan — those all came out between the 1860s and Prohibition," says Derek Brown, an award-winning mixologist who has studied the history of alcohol in America.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Iran has the potential to be a boom market for American tech companies. The majority of the population is under 30 and well educated, and over half the country has access to the Internet.

Many businesses have to wait until more sanctions are lifted, but certain tech companies can already go into Iran legally because the U.S. has lifted sanctions on various communication technology. They just aren't sure they want to.

The drought in California has gone on so long, and is so severe, that it's beginning to change the way people are designing residential communities — in unexpected ways, and unexpected places.

Planning is under way, for instance, for one of the first eco-friendly communities in California's predominantly agricultural Central Valley.

The site is in the town of Reedley, 30 miles southeast of Fresno.

There were a number of factors that distinguished Reedley, says Curt Johansen, the San Francisco developer who's spearheading the project.

They were under watch by the FBI and the New York Police Department. And by the early 1970s, the Young Lords emerged as one of the country's most prominent radical groups led by Latino activists.

Inspired by the Black Panthers, a band of young Puerto Ricans wanted to form a Latino counterpart to the black nationalist group. In fact, one of the founding Young Lords in New York City almost started a group called the "Brown Tigers."

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, by surface area, and it has something the other Great Lakes do not: stable populations of mostly native fish species.

But scientists say a key fish in Superior's food web is now in trouble because of mild winters and an appetite for caviar in Europe.

There wasn't much demand for lake herring 10 years ago. It used to be fed to mink and used as fertilizer, according to Craig Hoopman, a commercial fisherman in Wisconsin who fishes around Lake Superior's Apostle Islands.

A beloved lion in Zimbabwe — Cecil was his name — was wounded with a crossbow, then later shot dead. The animal had reportedly been lured from Hwange National Park, a protected area.

The dentist who killed the lion said he believes it was a legal hunt, for which he reportedly paid $50,000.

A lot of people who want a Birkin bag — a handbag popular among celebrities that can cost more than $100,000 — will get on multiple-year waiting lists to get one. But its namesake wants nothing to do with one version of it.

Specifically, Jane Birkin no longer wants to be affiliated with the popular crocodile-skin version. Her request comes after PETA published a graphic video on how crocodiles are allegedly treated before being killed.

Muhammad Yunus just had a milestone birthday. On June 28, he turned 75. It's a big moment for a man who's had many big moments in his life — most notably the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, which loans small sums, aka "microcredit," to the poor, mainly women, so they can start their own businesses.

Yunus stopped by NPR last week — he was in Washington, D.C., for a conference — wearing the long, open-necked "kurta" shirt of his native Bangladesh. "[A tie] looks funny on me," he joked.

To tell whether a baby has been injured or killed by being shaken, the courts use three hallmark symptoms: bleeding and swelling in the brain and retinal bleeding in the eyes. Along with other evidence, those standards are used to convict caregivers of abusive head trauma, both intentional and unintentional, that can result in blindness, seizures, severe brain damage or death.

Too much love and affection from Grandma and Grandpa are helping China's "little emperors" pack on the pounds.

That is, children in China who are mainly cared for by grandparents are twice as likely to be overweight or obese, according to a study published this month in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Announcing the indictment of a white University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters called the officer's actions "asinine" and "totally unwarranted."

"This doesn't happen in the United States," he said. "It might happen in Afghanistan or somewhere else, but people here don't get shot during a traffic stop."

Do you roam city sidewalks with your nose buried in your phone, oblivious to what's going on around you? If so, you may want to look up and start paying attention.

Texting while walking decreases the ability to walk in a straight line and slows down pace significantly, according to a study published Wednesday in PLOS ONE. But this gait change may not be as dangerous as it sounds, the researchers say.

When the Man Booker Prize announced in 2013 it would expand eligibility to include writers across the English-speaking world, the doomsayers came out in spades. The literary award, the U.K.'s most prestigious, had long been open only to British writers and those from Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth.

Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 as a free upgrade Wednesday, hoping to become more relevant to mobile users as it updates a key operating system. One feature, which shares your Wi-Fi with your contacts list, is drawing skepticism.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Sr., the Democrat who represents a district that includes parts of Philadelphia, was indicted on Wednesday over allegations of political corruption.

According to the indictment, the government alleges that Fattah was involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy that included bribery, the illegal use of campaign contributions and theft of charitable funds.

Most people go vegetarian out of some combination of ethical, environmental or health concerns.

But to drop pounds? That could soon become another reason to go meatless. A meta-analysis published in early July shows that people who followed a vegetarian diet overall lost more weight than people on an average American diet.

College history majors used to study The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Today perhaps they should also be studying the decline and fall of history majors.

Since 2010, the number of history majors at Ohio State University has dropped by more than 30 percent, according to a May 9 Columbus Dispatch story. Meanwhile, the number of students majoring in history at the University of Cincinnati has fallen by 33 percent since 2010.

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but haven't been admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

The distinction is easy for patients to miss — until they get hit with big medical bills after a short stay.

France is boosting security around its entry to the tunnel that runs beneath the English Channel, after thousands of migrants tried to make a desperate rush to Britain. One migrant died; at least 3,500 have tried to make the trip this week.

Since the start of 2015, French officials have intercepted more than 37,000 migrants who were hoping to jump on trains or trucks heading to Britain via the tunnel that's called the Eurotunnel in France and the Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel, in Britain.

Tom Brady issued an impassioned defense of his actions this morning after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to uphold a four-game suspension over his role in "deflategate."

The New England Patriots quarterback called the suspension "unfair" and said he was "disappointed" that Goodell dismissed his "hours of testimony."

(This post was last updated at 12:47 p.m. ET.)

The Afghan government says the Taliban's spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, "died in April 2013 in Pakistan."

In a statement issued by the office of the president, the government said their report was based on "credible information."

The announcement comes just two days before the Taliban and the Afghan government hold a second round of peace talks in Pakistan.

Las Vegas Mob Museum To Open FIFA Exhibit

Jul 29, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Officials in Waller County, Texas, have released more jailhouse video that they say dispels some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the case of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell two weeks ago.

Her death was ruled a suicide by a medical examiner but her family says she was not suicidal.

NPR's Martin Kaste filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Pages