National News

Finally, the federal HR department has released the health rule much of Capitol Hill has been waiting for.

There's now an explanation from the Office of Personnel Management on how members of Congress and much of their staff will get their health insurance starting next year.

Why buy 1 pound of hamburger meat from a local farmer when you can buy 5 pounds — plus another 20 pounds of stew meat, steaks and roast — for as little as half the price of what it all goes for at the market?

The widow of a man who died fighting a wildfire this summer as part of a "hotshots" team based in Prescott, Ariz., says her attempts to be paid her late husband's lifetime benefits have been denied. The city's explanation is that Andrew Ashcraft, 29, was a seasonal employee, Juliann Ashcraft said Wednesday.

Redefining Cancer To Reduce Unnecessary Treatment

Aug 7, 2013

A cancer diagnosis can be downright frightening. And after the initial shock, there can be gruelling rounds of treatment.

But sometimes treatment can be a waste, because the condition a doctor labels as cancer isn't really much of a health threat.

The National Cancer Institute convened a group of specialists last year to look at the problem of overdiagnosis and overtreatment of cancer. One idea: redefine what gets called cancer.

The ongoing immigration debate in Congress often spotlights the job market for people living in the U.S. illegally. Not long ago, that market included one of the country's top organic herb farms — until an immigration bust forced the business, based in Washington state, to clean up its payroll.

Ted Andrews, owner of HerbCo International, says he's learned some tough lessons during the transition to a legal workforce. Lesson No. 1: "There are events that can destroy a business in the snap of a finger," he says. "This was one of them."

Earlier today, diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia suffered a substantial blow, when President Obama pulled out a of planned bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.

When the keepers at the Netherlands' Emmen Zoo opened the night enclosure for 112 baboons on July 29, they expected the animals would be, as usual, eager to get inside.

After all, the baboons knew there was food for them in there.

Instead, biologist and zoo press officer Wijbren Landman tells All Things Considered the baboons didn't want to budge. "It took us about an hour to get them inside," he says. That night, the baboons didn't eat.

Temperatures Wednesday in Shanghai hit an all-time high: 105.4 degrees, according to officials here. It was the hottest day in 140 years, since the government began keeping records.

The Chinese megacity is in the midst of its hottest summer ever.

Usually bustling streets are near empty at noon and thousands have gone to hospitals for relief. To get a feel for how people are handling the heat wave, I waded into a public pool in the city's Hankou district. By early afternoon, the temperature was 98 degrees in the shade, according to the thermometer I brought along.

The family of the late Henrietta Lacks finally got the chance to weigh in on how scientists use cells taken from her — without consent — more than 60 years ago.

Russia's immigration issues would be familiar to Americans: Millions of impoverished migrants have come and found low-wage jobs. Some are in Russia illegally and are exploited by their employers. And a growing number of Russians fear this influx of migrants, many of whom are Muslim, is changing the face of the country.

At 3:30 on a recent morning, the train from Dushanbe, Tajikistan, pulls into Moscow after a four-day journey. The passengers hauling their bags out onto the damp, ill-lit platform are mostly men. Russian police eye the new arrivals with suspicion.

A city in South Korea flipped the switch on a road this week that will provide an electric charge to commuter buses on an inner-city route, officials say. The wireless power will be used to run two buses on round-trip routes of 24 kilometers (nearly 15 miles).

The charging road would allow electric vehicles to have much smaller batteries, according to researchers, and to be recharged whether they're parked or on the move.

Almost every time the U.S. government gets wind of a potential terrorist attack, it faces a tough choice: It can quietly pursue the suspected plotters, or it can go public in the belief that public awareness can discourage or thwart the attack.

In the current episode, the Obama administration has gone public in a big way, announcing the threat, temporarily shutting more than 20 U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts from Rwanda to Bangladesh, and evacuating many embassy workers in Yemen, the country described as the main source of the threat.

We don't have to tell you about the growing popularity of greens. From kale to collards to turnips, we've learned to embrace their nutrient-packed bitterness.

So here's a tip: When you're cooking up a big pot of greens, don't toss out what may be the most nutritious part — the brothy water that's left in the pot.

Never Too Old To Take Gold

Aug 7, 2013

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And speaking of sports, you might have heard our interview with John Tatum last month. He's the 94-year-old swimmer from Washington, D.C. who was getting ready for three events at the National Senior Games. We wanted to see how we did, so we caught up with him after the games wrapped up.

JOHN TATUM: Well, I got two gold medals and one silver medal, and I call that a successful outing. Although, I wanted to win them all.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Are Race-Based Goals In Education Helpful?

Aug 7, 2013

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We wanted additional perspective about this, so we've called Krista Kafer. She's an education policy expert. She's the executive director of Colorado's Future Project. That's a think tank associated with the Independent Women's Forum. Welcome to you, Krista Kafer. Thank you so much for joining us.

KRISTA KAFER: It's great to be here.

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're all getting older. And in the U.S., the population is aging pretty quickly.

Obesity, sedentary lifestyles and all, we can expect to live longer than ever.

An American boy born in 2008, for instance, can expect to live to the ripe old age of 75, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For girls, it's 80. Back in 1960, a newborn boy could expect to hit about 67, while a baby girl would probably reach 73, on average.

Add this to the list of damages done in recent years to important pieces of art:

"An American tourist in Italy has generated shock and outrage by snapping the finger off a 600-year-old statue at a museum in Florence." (NBC News)

Freddie Mac racked up a $5 billion profit in the second quarter, the mortgage backer said in its quarterly report Wednesday. The earnings are the second-highest in the history of Freddie Mac, which has now extended its streak of profitable quarters to seven in a row.

Satellite images released Wednesday by Amnesty International show widespread devastation that is "severely lopsided" in opposition-controlled parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The group says the images highlight human rights violations against Aleppo's civilian population amid the country's civil war.

A gay couple who were asked to sit in the back of a bus in New Mexico because they were holding hands have received an apology from the company that operates the shuttles at the Albuquerque International Sunport, where the incident took place earlier this summer.

The couple, Ron McCoy and Chris Bowers, live in the Portland, Ore., area and had begun a vacation days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued historic rulings that strengthened gay rights. The pair's visit to Albuquerque was timed to coincide with the city's Pride Festival.

We could, but we won't, ignore the annual fuss over Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

President Obama has canceled a one-on-one September summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House says.

It's the most dramatic effect so far on U.S.-Russian relations in the wake of Russia's decision to grant "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden temporary asylum while he tries to get safe haven in some third country.

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