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President Obama has ordered a full review of the process the United States uses to try to recover Americans taken hostage overseas.

In a recent letter to a lawmaker, Christine Wormuth, under secretary of defense for policy, said Obama ordered the review as a "result of the increased frequency of hostage-taking of Americans overseas, and the recognition of the dynamic threat posed by specific terrorist groups."

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Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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(This post was last updated at 5:15 p.m. ET.)

Two assailants, armed with a gun, knives and axes, launched an attack on worshippers at a Jerusalem Synagogue on Tuesday. It left five dead and at least six others wounded.

The U.S. State Department said three of the four killed were dual American and Israeli citizens. A policeman injured in the attack died late Tuesday, Haaretz reported.

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There are a lot of American knockoffs in the Kurdish parts of northern Iraq: Burger Queen is Burger King's twin, and instead of Papa John's, people get their pizza at PJ's.

The latest knockoff comes courtesy of Kurdish businessman Shihab Shihab after he decided he'd like to live in the White House. So he's building one for himself, his wife and his child — a mere 50 miles or so from a raging war against the Sunni extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS.

The fallout from the housing crisis isn't over.

According to Moody's Analytics, there were 700,000 foreclosures last year. And some of those people probably didn't need to lose their homes. Even now, more than six years after the housing crash, lawyers for homeowners say mortgage companies are still making mistakes and foreclosing on homes when they shouldn't be.

Doctor Shortage Looming? Maybe Not

Nov 18, 2014

The United States is facing a critical shortage of doctors that could seriously jeopardize the ability of a patient to get medical care in the coming years.

On a map, a border is a solid black line. On the ground, it can feel like a fiction. I'm standing on the edge of a shallow stream through the forest that separates two West African countries: Ivory Coast and Liberia. Here there is no fence. No sign. No border guard to prevent my crossing.

The popular ride-service company Uber is in damage control mode after a senior vice president expressed interest in unveiling details about the private lives of journalists in retaliation for unflattering coverage of Uber's business practices.

After years of setbacks, Alzheimer's researchers are sounding optimistic again. The reason: a brain protein called tau.

At this year's Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., there are more than 100 papers on tau, which is responsible for the tangles that form in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. In the past, tau has received less attention than another protein called amyloid beta, which causes the sticky plaques associated with Alzheimer's.

With the community of Ferguson, Mo., poised to receive a grand jury decision regarding possible charges in the death of Michael Brown, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday.

Nixon's decision clears the way for the National Guard and state agencies to work together to help quell any potential unrest.

Ferguson, on the outskirts of St. Louis, has been the scene of emotional protests and clashes with police in the weeks and months since Brown, unarmed at the time, was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson.

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: The Senate voted against completing the Keystone pipeline.

The remaining portion of the Keystone pipeline project, if completed, will be fewer than 1,200 miles long — just a fraction of the existing 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines running beneath our feet in the United States.

The Culinary Institute of America may be best known for churning out chefs. And some of its graduates — from Grant Achatz to Roy Choi to Anthony Bourdain — have succeeded in entertaining and inspiring a new generation of foodies.

Charles Manson has been in prison since 1969 and isn't eligible for parole until 2027, but he may be getting married — to a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison and believes he is innocent.

The Associated Press obtained the marriage license for Manson, 80, and Afton Elaine Burton, who maintains websites advocating for his innocence in the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Babies around the world face a lot of risks to their health: pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, to name a few.

But it turns out that no single infectious disease takes a greater toll than the simple fact of being born premature.

Premature birth is now the single largest cause of death among babies and young children. Every year, 1.09 million children under age 5 die due to health complications that stem from being born before week 37 of pregnancy (a 40-week pregnancy is considered full-term).

The straight white men of Straight White Men aren't what you might expect. Near the beginning of the new off-Broadway play, two adult brothers play a homemade, family board game, refashioned out of an old Monopoly set. Because the family is liberal and progressive, it's called "Privilege." It makes fun of their own straight-white-male privilege.

"Ah, 'excuses' card!" one of the brothers exclaims. The other reads it aloud. "What I just said wasn't racist/sexist/homophobic because I was joking," he deadpans. "Pay $50 to an LGBT organization."

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Church sermons can sometimes seem like they go on and on. And here's one in Mount Dora, Florida, that did, on purpose.

(SOUNDBITE OF SERMON)

ZACH ZEHNDER: He never gives up on us.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you, Lord.

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