Is black pepper the new secret weapon against fat? A recent paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry claims that the piperine, an ingredient in black pepper, has the power to stop the body from making new fat cells, and could be used to treat obesity.
Months after safety advocates embraced wearing helmets during tornadoes — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines on the practice. The CDC says there's not yet enough scientific evidence to fully endorse the idea. But the agency is warming up to people donning helmets when severe weather threatens.
Since a horrific outbreak of tornadoes killed more than 250 people last year in Alabama, safety advocates have been on a crusade.
The star of John Irving's new novel, In One Person, is Billy Abbott. Billy is a character at the mercy of his own teenage crushes, which are visited upon by a whole repertory company of gender-bending characters.
It's a repertory company in the most literal sense, too. Billy spends many days backstage at the local theater — where gender can also fluctuate and where his family members are regulars.
Immediately after President Obama announced his support this week for same-sex marriage, attention turned to politics. The outcome of this year's election will be determined by a handful of states — one of them is Iowa, where the politics of same-sex marriage are complicated.
Same-sex marriage is legal here, but three of the state Supreme Court justices upholding that 2009 decision were removed from office by voters a year later.
The American military has two main jobs now in Afghanistan: sweeping the remaining Taliban from safe havens and getting Afghan security forces to take charge in the fight.
On a recent day, the Afghan National Army, or ANA, is to be out front on a joint Afghan-U.S. patrol in the countryside outside Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. It may seem like a small thing, but it's actually a big deal.
Sgt. Matthew McMurray lets his platoon know.
"ANA is going to lead, too. If they don't want to lead, just stop and make them walk ahead of you," he says.
[Roman Totenberg was a child prodigy who became a violin virtuoso, as well as a master teacher who passed along his command of craft and his love of music — and life — to thousands. He was also the man you wanted to sit next to at the table because he was so funny. Totenberg died this week at the age of 101, surrounded by loving family, friends and students. We asked his daughter, Nina Totenberg, for this remembrance. — Scott Simon]
A jury has found William Balfour guilty of killing three members of Grammy-award winning singer Jennifer Hudson's family.
Balfour, Hudson's ex-brother in law, was found guilty on all three counts of first-degree murder for the 2008 shooting deaths of Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. The Chicago Sun-Times adds that he was also convicted of "home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, residential burglary and possession of a stolen motor vehicle."
On Saturday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will deliver the commencement address at Liberty University, the nation's largest evangelical university. The speech will be attended by nearly 35,000 people, and it will give him a chance to win over a huge constituency that, up until recently, has been lukewarm about his campaign.
JPMorgan Chase is licking its wounds after announcing that it lost at least $2 billion in a hedging strategy that went terribly wrong. The announcement late Thursday sent the bank's shares tumbling more than 9 percent on Friday.
Meanwhile, regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have begun looking into what happened. And there were calls Friday for tighter restrictions on the kind of trades the bank engaged in.
A story about Mitt Romney's behavior in high school has his campaign in the defensive. The Washington Post has published a long story that details incidents of bullying by Romney when he was a senior at the Tony Cranbrook boys prep school in Michigan. Five former classmates spoke about an incident when Romney led a posse that targeted a student with long bleached-blond hair, tackled him, pinned him to the ground and hacked off his hair as he cried and screamed for help.
Carroll Shelby was a race car driver; he was a racing team owner, a chili entrepreneur. He survived a liver transplant and a heart transplant. But perhaps the thing that most people will remember him for is his automotive creations, especially the Shelby Cobra.
The French are known for being more tolerant than Americans about their politicians' private lives. One former French president even fathered a child with a mistress while in office.
But every French leader in history has been married — until now.
Next week, after Socialist Francois Hollande is sworn into office, he and his longtime companion, journalist Valerie Trierweiler, will become the first unmarried couple to move into the Elysee presidential palace.
The British got an intriguing glimpse today into the secret world of the powerful. They heard from Rebekah Brooks, a close advisor to Rupert Murdoch and a former tabloid editor. She was caught up in the phone hacking scandal that's engulfed Murdoch's British operations.
Today, Brooks testified to a media ethics inquiry. It's investigating the close relationship between Britain's press and its politicians. NPR's Philip Reeves has the story.
Some two dozen Americans have given $1 million or more to superPACs in the 2012 presidential campaign. The vast majority of them have been Republicans, but one movie mogul has chipped in $2 million to help out the superPAC supporting President Obama.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of DreamWorks Animation studios, was also the co-host of Obama's sellout event Thursday night at the home of actor George Clooney. Katzenberg told the crowd the event raised nearly $15 million, which would make it the most profitable presidential fundraiser ever.
Gay marriage gets an advocate in the White House, but only after Vice President Joe Biden has his say. President Obama's announcement comes a day after North Carolina voters overwhelmingly rejected the concept. And Dick Lugar's 36-year Senate career comes to an end in Indiana. Meanwhile, in the West Virginia primary, Obama defeats a jailed felon from Texas, 59 percent to 41 percent.
Listen to the latest political roundup with NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent an "official inquiry" to the Girl Scouts of the USA. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports the bishops will investigate whether the iconic group has ties or views that conflict with Catholic teaching.
Evelyn Bryan Johnson, a record-setting pilot who was born just six years after the Wright brothers made their historic flight, has died at the age of 102. Johnson, who began flying in 1944, holds the Guinness world record for the most hours logged by a female pilot — more than 57,000.
In addition to her accomplished flying record, Johnson also helped many other pilots earn their wings. After one student called her Mama Bird, the nickname stuck with Johnson, as she gave lessons and FAA flight exams to thousands of pilots.