National News

For the second time in as many days, a swimmer off North Carolina's Outer Banks has been attacked by a shark.

After giving birth, some women save the placenta in order to consume it in the following weeks. In fact, Texas just passed a law giving women the right to take the placenta home from the hospital, the third state to do so.

Science doesn't support a lot of the claims of its purported benefits. But for Melissa Mathis, it's about her rights. Last year she had her baby, Betsy, in a Dallas hospital. When Mathis took Betsy home, she wanted to take the placenta home, too.

Looking to escape the staggering costs of a university education in the United States? You are not alone. And German education officials say a growing number of Americans are heading to the land of beer and bratwurst to get one.

At last count, there were 4,300 Americans studying at German universities, with more than half pursuing degrees, says Ulrich Grothus, deputy secretary general of the German Academic Exchange Service.

Two years ago, a wildfire was raging in the foothills of North Arizona. The Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters from Prescott, Ariz., were on the ground, battling the blaze.

Then the weather and the winds shifted, and the two-day-old Yarnell Hill Fire changed course. The commander had a huge decision to make: stay on safe ground, or try to cut off the blaze?

He made the call — and before the day was over, 19 hotshot firefighters were dead. It was one of the deadliest incidents for wildland firefighters in U.S. history.

The suicide bomber who attacked a Shiite mosque in Kuwait last week, killing 27 people, was a Saudi national who flew into the neighboring Gulf nation hours before carrying out his deadly mission, Kuwaiti officials say. The self-declared Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket experienced what the private space launch company calls "some type of anomaly in first-stage flight" about two and a half minutes into its flight.

NASA commentator George Diller confirmed that "the vehicle has broken up."

Pieces could be seen raining down on the Atlantic Ocean over the rocket's intended trajectory. More than 5,200 pounds of cargo, including the first docking port designed for NASA's next-generation crew capsule, were aboard.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Sunday that banks will be closed and capital controls imposed in order to stave off a run on the euro after negotiations with the country's international lenders broke down.

He said the Athens stock market would also be closed.

However, Tsipras blamed the European Central Bank for the latest crisis after it decided not to increase the amount of emergency liquidity amid a run on the banks that saw people lined up at ATMs, many of which ran dry amid the onslaught.

StoryCorps' OutLoud initiative records stories from the LGBTQ community.

As of this Friday, same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states — thanks to a historic Supreme Court decision.

In the 1970s, this week's ruling on marriage equality was unimaginable. But many gay couples, knowing marriage was impossible, still wanted legal protection for their unions.

Iconic civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and his partner, Walter Naegle, were one such couple. The two men fell in love and were together for many years.

Two 21st-century guys, a replica 19th-century wagon, some mules and a resolution: to re-live the Oregon Trail today.

Rivers, mountains, cliffs, runaway mules, cars and trucks, bad weather ... What could possibly go wrong?

Journalist Rinker Buck wanted to find out. He and his brother Nick hitched a covered wagon to mules and set off to retrace what's left of the westward path traveled by thousands of 19th-century pioneers.

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

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

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

This summer, NPR is getting crafty in the kitchen. As part of Weekend Edition's Do Try This At Home series, chefs are sharing their cleverest hacks and tips — taking expensive, exhausting or intimidating recipes and tweaking them to work in any home kitchen.

This week: Making delicious, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs in only about an hour — with a surprising piece of kitchen equipment.

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

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

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

How Well Do Hate Crime Laws Really Work?

Jun 28, 2015

Federal officials are investigating last week's Charleston, S.C. church shooting as a hate crime, and the U.S. Justice Department could weigh in in the coming weeks with a federal hate crimes charge.

On the final day of the Supreme Court's term on Monday, they will issue a ruling that could affect as many as one-third of congressional districts — possibly dramatically remaking the partisan makeup of the next Congress ahead of the 2016 elections.

Jeremy Smith has written a new book called Epic Measures: One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients. It profiles the work of Christopher Murray, a Harvard-trained doctor and health economist who looked at a lot of numbers about how people live and die around the world and found that it's all a guess.

Nearly 500 people were injured at a water park in Taiwan after an explosion at a music event caused a fire to break out Saturday night.

The fire started during an evening rap performance in New Taipei City, NPR's Frank Langfitt, reporting from Shanghai, tells our Newscast unit. The accident at Formosa Fun Coast was caught on cellphone video.

"At one point, green powder shot out from the stage over the audience," Frank says. "The powder quickly ignited, enveloping fans. Some people staggered around on fire, while others collapsed to the ground."

Before you prosecute thieves, you have to know what they stole. It's the same for crimes against nature.

The world's only wildlife forensic lab is in southern Oregon. The lab usually specializes in endangered animal cases, but armed with a high-tech device, it's now helping track shipments of contraband wood.

There's a small woodshop at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab. But there's no sawdust, or power tools. The shop is more like an archive, containing samples of some of the rarest woods on the planet — African mahogany, Brazilian ebony and more.

Greg Demetri hit the jackpot. When he picked the location for Villa Toscana, his nearly one-year-old Italian restaurant on the main stretch of businesses in Central, S.C., he had no idea that the building had once been owned by the town's most famous resident, Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Graham, a South Carolina native who announced recently that he would seek the Republican party's nomination for president, first lived in a room behind his family's business, the Sanitary Café — a bar and pool hall on Main Street — before moving into the house that now holds Demetri's restaurant.

In the early 20th century, the Cherry Sisters — a family of performers from Marion, Iowa — were like a meme.

Simply invoking the name — the Cherry Sisters — was shorthand for anything awful. As Anthony Slide wrote in the Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, the onstage siblings became "synonymous with any act devoid of talent."

It took artist Katherine Craig about a year to create her nine-story mural on 2937 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit. Most people who drive around the city have seen it — one side of the Albert Kahn-designed building is covered in a blanket of electric blue, and a flowing waterfall of multicolored paint splatters descend from the roof line. It stands in stark contrast to the rest of the landscape of low buildings and muted Midwestern colors.

It's called "The Illuminated Mural" and it's become emblematic of Detroit's North End neighborhood.

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