National News

What could a robot lawn mower possibly have to do with astronomy? A lot, apparently.

iRobot, which makes Roomba, the wireless vacuum cleaner, appears to be developing a robot lawn mower – one that would work using a wireless beacon system. That's according to a waiver filing in February with the Federal Communications Commission.

Wired, where we spotted this story, has the details:

LA Schools To Apple: You Owe Us

17 hours ago

The Los Angeles Unified School District is demanding that Apple Inc. refund millions of dollars for Pearson software that had been loaded onto iPads for the district's 650,000 students.

If an agreement on the dispute cannot be reached, the nation's second-largest school district could take Apple to court.

Two years after the district launched the most expansive school technology initiative in the country, its attorney said it is "extremely dissatisfied" with the work of Pearson, the publisher of the Common Core learning software.

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with South African journalist S'thembile Cele about how violence against immigrants has flared in South Africa. At least five people have been killed, and more than two thousand have fled to makeshift camps and police stations.

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

Transcript

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The U.S. government and cybersecurity companies agree that Iran has greatly improved its cyberattack capability over the past two years. A report being released tomorrow says Iran's cyberattacks have increased during nuclear talks, but some experts question that conclusion.

In the half darkness of an adobe hut in Gondar, Ethiopia, 20-year-old Gezahegn ("Gezi") Derebe pulls out an acoustic guitar. As on many evenings when the power goes out, he entertains his family by singing. Though his mother, Ayelesh, sways to the tune, she doesn't understand the lyrics, because Gezi sings not in his native Amharic, but in Hebrew.

Behind him, on a wall kept cool with a traditional mixture of cow dung and ash, hangs a laminated map of Israel. Above it are the framed photographs of his relatives who have already managed to emigrate there.

In Congress, just like at any storied American institution — McDonald's, New York Fashion Week, the Bush and Clinton families — trends come and go.

The 114th Congress is now 100 days old. And it can be difficult to keep up with the goings and comings of the body and its 535 members — the negotiations, visits from world leaders, the scandals and, oh yeah, the legislation.

So here's our look at what's in and what's out on Capitol Hill:

Have something to add to the list? Tweet @nprpolitics.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

The NFL has announced that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be reinstated Friday as "an active NFL player and may participate in all scheduled activities with the Vikings."

A long time ago, in a place far away, a manuscript was created with an enigmatic figure who looks a great deal like a certain little — and yet powerful — green guy from the Star Wars films. It's an unlikely connection between a religious tome and science fiction.

It's a question that bedevils dog owners the world over: "Is she staring at me because she loves me? Or because she wants another biscuit?"

The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice

19 hours ago

If you ask people in the city of Mexicali, Mexico, about their most notable regional cuisine, they won't say street tacos or mole. They'll say Chinese food. There are as many as 200 Chinese restaurants in the city.

North of the border, in California's rural Imperial County, the population is mostly Latino, but Chinese restaurants are packed. There are dishes in this region you won't find anywhere else, and the history behind them goes back more than 130 years.

Stephane Charbonnier, the editor of Charlie Hebdo who was killed in the Jan. 7 attack by two radical Islamists on the satirical magazine, is having the last word.

In a new book completed just two days before the attack that killed 12 people, Charbonnier, who was commonly known as "Charb," says the fight against Islamophobia protects Islam more than it does Muslims. The title of the 88-page book, published Thursday, translates to Letters to the Swindlers of Islamophobia who play into the Hands of Racists.

The Fences Where Spain And Africa Meet

19 hours ago

On a rocky beach in North Africa, a chain-link fence juts out into the Mediterranean Sea.

This is one of Africa's two land borders with Europe, at two Spanish cities on the African continent. Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish soil — and thus part of the European Union — separated from the rest of Europe by the Mediterranean, and separated from the rest of Africa by huge fences.

Some women may be paying hefty fees for birth control pills, vaginal rings and emergency contraception, despite a federal requirement that insurers pay their full cost. And some women only have coverage for a less effective type of emergency contraception, according to a report released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

We donate to charities for lots of reasons: because we're generally magnanimous people, because we care deeply about certain issues or because it's the only way to get Meg to stop talking about the plight of the endangered proboscis monkey.

And for men, there may be another force at play: a subconscious desire to impress the ladies.

Faced with a state rule that links funding to the admission of people who are actively using drugs or alcohol, a group that runs a homeless shelter in Manchester, Conn., is choosing to close the 40-bed facility. More than half of the shelter's budget reportedly comes from the state.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday defended his decision to sell a long-range air-defense missile system to Iran, criticized the West for its treatment of Moscow, called "tragic" the killing of an opposition figure and said Ukraine was not living up to commitments made in a recent peace deal.

A senior Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russia stance has been shot dead in Kiev, one day after a former pro-Russia lawmaker was found dead in the Ukrainian capital.

Oles Buzyna, 45, had recently resigned as editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Sevodnya. Ukraine's interior ministry said in a statement that he was killed Thursday afternoon by two masked gunmen shooting from a passing car, according to The Associated Press.

"One day your tragic ordeal will end, you will be reunited with your families and friends, and you will have the chance to finish the education you courageously sought," Malala Yousafzai said Monday to the girls in Nigeria who have been missing for a year.

Earlier this year, Caryn Hoadley received an unexpected letter after a routine mammogram.

The letter said her mammogram was clean but that she has dense breast tissue, which has been linked to higher rates of breast cancer and could make her mammogram harder to read.

"I honestly don't know what to think about the letter," said Hoadley, 45, who lives in Alameda, Calif. "What do I do with that information?"

If you're new to this area of winter sports, we'll reassure you: The Quad Cork 1800 is not a drink. Instead, it's a big deal in the sport of snowboarding, where Billy Morgan is being hailed as a hero for pulling off a trick that some had thought impossible.

The British snowboarder accomplished the feat on a slope at the Mottolino Resort in Livigno, Italy, where a special wedge of snow was built to provide enough speed and lift for Morgan to perform four off-axis flips and five full rotations while in the air.

Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET

The Vatican has announced an end to an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious — an abrupt conclusion to a five-year doctrinal overhaul of the main umbrella group for nuns in the U.S. that began in 2012.

The Vatican said Thursday that it has accepted a report on the overhaul of the LCWR "marking the conclusion of the Doctrinal Assessment" of the umbrella group.

Times in politics have changed.

Since it's the season for presidential campaign announcements, for evidence of just how much they've changed, look back 35 years to Ronald Reagan's announcement that he was running for president.

Company Offers $70,000 A Year Minimum Wage

Apr 16, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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