National News

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

Jerusalem's mufti Mohammed Hussein has declared an end to recent protests, saying Muslims will again pray inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, rather than outside it, after Israeli police removed the last of the security equipment from the entrance to the holy site.

Clashes marred the return of thousands of worshippers to the site Friday afternoon.

Mon Dieu! Burgundy Snails Aren't French Anymore

Jul 27, 2017

In a large, sparsely furnished room at a food processing plant in the town of Migennes, in France's Burgundy region, three employees prepare large snails for packaging. They take the snails' flesh, which is cooked separately, and put them into shells of the right size. They reconstitute about a thousand snails an hour, says Romain Chapron, the director of Croque Bourgogne, the company that owns this plant and sells a couple million snails each year.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar is taking his shot helping narrow the opportunity and equity gaps with his Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook. The Los Angeles nonprofit helps public school students in the city access a free, fun, week-long STEM education camp experience in the Angeles National Forest.

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Some other news. A British court has made a final decision about the life of Charlie Gard. A judge says the critically ill infant must go off life support and be transferred to a hospice. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports his parents had hoped to bring him home.

Trump Backer On The President And The Press

Jul 27, 2017

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President Trump's declaration that the military will ban transgender individuals in any capacity was a stunner to Army National Guard Captain Jacob Eleazer, who transitioned from female to male.

Betting that thin is in — and might be the only way forward — Senate Republicans are eyeing a "skinny repeal" that would roll back an unpopular portion of the federal health law. But health policy analysts warn that the idea has been tried before, and with little success.

Updated: 9:27 a.m.

President Trump's announcement that he wants to ban transgender people from serving in the military could mean a historic reversal in the Pentagon's long-term trend of lowering barriers to service.

Or it could be a speed bump on a course the Defense Department was already following.

The question in Washington following Trump's post on Twitter Wednesday morning was: Which will it be?

Almost no one other than Trump himself had any idea what he intended when he wrote this:

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, was interviewed by Rachel Martin on NPR's Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Gingrich threw out a lot of allegations, including that the Justice Department is "very liberal" and "anti-Trump"; that Robert Mueller, the former FBI director and now special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation, is biased because of donations to Hillary Clinton from people at his law firm; and that Mueller has hired "killers" to take down Trump.

At 10:43 a.m. Wednesday, inmate and convicted murderer Ronald Phillips was pronounced dead, executed via lethal injection by the state of Ohio — the first time the state has carried out a death sentence in more than three years.

Phillips' death at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville may mark the end of one chapter in the state's battle to find a legally permissible means of execution – and the state may soon begin carrying out many more death sentences.

In the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, CEOs of U.S. health care companies have made a lot of money.

Their compensation far outstrips the wage growth of nearly all Americans, according to reporter Bob Herman, who published an analysis this week of "the sky-high pay of health care CEOs" for the online news site, Axios.

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You may have read that Bigfoot was found dead on a lake shore in New Mexico this summer. He wasn't. You can learn about that hoax here from the myth-busting and fact-checking site Snopes.

You may have heard NASA predicted the Earth will endure 15 straight days of darkness this fall. It didn't. Snopes has that covered too — debunking the claim when it first appeared in 2015 and again in May when it resurfaced.

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Louisiana Republican Congressman Steve Scalise is out of the hospital. Scalise was shot during a baseball practice with his colleagues last month. He was released from a Washington hospital yesterday, and he is now in a rehab center. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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After a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., Federal Reserve policymakers say they'll keep their benchmark rate in a range between 1 percent and 1.25 percent for the time being.

Fed officials said "job gains have been solid" and the U.S. "labor market continues to strengthen" in the statement after a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

The officials described economic activity as "rising moderately." They noted that unemployment rate has declined since the beginning of the year. The Fed is close to meeting its mandate to maximize employment.

Japanese scientists have genetically engineered a chrysanthemum flower that is "true blue" — a color that has long eluded flower breeders and researchers.

Blue has proved a challenge to produce in many other popular flowers, including roses, carnations and lilies.

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