National News

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A stretch of dry, empty prairie where the Sand Creek Massacre took place in Colorado has hardly changed in a century and a half.

Back in December 1864, America was still months from the end of the Civil War. Gen. William Sherman was making his infamous march across Georgia. And from the Western Frontier, word of the shocking Sand Creek Massacre was starting to trickle out. A regiment of volunteer troops in Colorado had attacked a peaceful camp of Native Americans, slaughtering nearly 200 of them — mostly women and children.

There's No Place Like A Dorm Room For The Holidays

Dec 15, 2014

It's final exam week for lots of college students. No doubt they're stressed right now, but once they hand in that last paper or take that last test, they're done for the semester. Pack up the suitcase and head home for the holidays.

But for some college students — many of whom are former foster youth — that's not quite what happens.

"I have no for-certain home, that's the thing," says Trudy Greer, a 22-year-old sophomore at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. She says she's had a lot of folks at EMU ask her where she lives, curious to know where her home is.

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Sandwich Monday: The Hanukkah Miracle

Dec 15, 2014

[Today's post comes to you from Dan Pashman, a friend of Sandwich Monday. You may know him from his spots on Weekend Edition; his WNYC podcast, The Sporkful; his book, Eat More Better; or the time he stole a piece of your sausage when you weren't looking.]

Following the lead of other Republican governors, Tennessee's Gov. Bill Haslam is moving to expand Medicaid in his state, using federal funds from the Affordable Care Act. Haslam announced the plan Monday morning; it'll be debated by the legislature next month.

From Nashville, Bobby Allyn of member station WPLN reports:

Understanding the human microbiome takes much more work than just identifying the organisms that live in a person's gut. A genetic census of these microbes is really only the start of figuring out what they have to do with health and disease.

Police are looking for a man accused of killing six people in Montgomery County, Pa., Monday. Officials say the gunman is Bradley William Stone, 35, who also left one person seriously wounded.

Reports and details are still coming in about this developing situation; we'll update this post as news emerges. While we expecting an official news conference to begin soon, for now we're relying on local media reports and earlier news releases.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that police officers don't necessarily violate a person's constitutional rights when they stop a car based on a mistaken understanding of the law. The ruling prompted a lone dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who warned that the court's decision could exacerbate public suspicion of police in some communities.

Checking into a hospital can boost your chances of infection. That's a disturbing paradox of modern medical care.

Denmark, together with Greenland, today will claim around 350,000 square miles of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, in an area around the North Pole that is slightly larger than the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.

Speed. That's key to ending the Ebola epidemic, says the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Thomas Frieden is visiting West Africa this week to figure out how to reduce the time it takes to find new Ebola cases and isolate them.

Otherwise, Ebola could become a permanent disease in West Africa.

Perhaps you are familiar with the oft-quoted wisdom of (allegedly) Coco Chanel that when a woman gets dressed and believes she's ready, she should take off one accessory before she leaves the house.

It seems there are fewer armchair socialists — or their right-wing counterparts — than there are armchair centrists according to a study published in BMJ, the former British Medical Journal, as part of its annual tongue-in-cheek Christmas edition.

Despite a national crackdown on prescription drug abuse, doctors churned out an ever-larger number of prescriptions for the most-potent controlled substances to Medicare patients, new data show.

In addition, ProPublica found, the most prolific prescribers of such drugs as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin often have worrisome records.

For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it. That ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Subsidies under the health law for workers to buy their own coverage combined with years of rising costs in the company plan made dropping the plan an obvious — though not easy — choice.

Uber's troubles are mounting. The ride-sharing service was criticized in Australia after its "surge pricing" kicked in, quadrupling fares for some customers trying to flee the area in Sydney where a gunman took hostages in a cafe.

Here's a screenshot that one customer sent to Mashable with details of the increased fare:

Yes, we know the 2008 presidential election is years in the past and will not come around again. The question is, does Sen. Ted Cruz know this?

Family members of some of the victims of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used by the gunman to kill 26 people.

'Half Asian'? 'Half White'? No — 'Hapa'

Dec 15, 2014

She was tall and freckled, with long, dark hair — and we stood out in the same way. As I leaned in to say hi, she yelled over the din, "You're hapa, aren't you?" It was the last word I expected to hear in D.C., but I welcomed the refreshing respite from the constant and inevitable question: "What are you?"

What am I? This is what they're really asking here: What is the particular racial mix that created you? Because YOU don't fit into a single box in my mind, and that confuses me.

One of six northern white rhinos left in the world died at the San Diego Zoo on Sunday.

Angalifu was thought to be 44 years old. He came to the park from Sudan in 1990 and had been treated for a range of age-related ailments.

U-T San Diego reports:

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A gunman was holding an unknown number of hostages at a downtown chocolate cafe in Sydney. Early on Tuesday morning, Australian time, police moved in and said the siege was over.

We're following the news here. Below is a feed of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news coverage. ABC is the country's national public broadcaster:

(Last updated at 1:48 p.m. ET.)

Just as the siege entered its second day, police stormed a chocolate shop in downtown Sydney, ending a more than 12-hour hostage standoff that began during morning rush hour.

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