National News

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You have to go. You know, um, go potty.

You are in a foreign country. And things are certainly looking a bit foreign.

Do you sit or squat? Can you toss toilet paper down the bowl or hole?

Let the signs guide you.

That is, if you can understand them.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In order to reach what Alaskans call "The Bush" — villages isolated across tundra — you'll need a bush pilot. That's where John Bouker comes in.

Most of Bouker's passengers are civilians he transports to and from Alaska's remote villages. He does his job with the nonchalance of a suburban dad in a minivan dropping his kids off at the mall.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

If Noelle Johnson had a bachelor's degree, she'd be able to live closer to work, she says. She wouldn't have to spend so much of her free time hustling for baby-sitting gigs. She'd shop at the farmers market. She'd be able to treat her sister to dinner for once. She and her husband could go on trips together — they'd be able to afford two tickets instead of one.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Public bathrooms don't have to be boring. Just look at this year's contenders for the title of America's Best Restroom, which range from sculpture and doll themes to wash-tub basins. This year's winner is tucked along a "green wall" of plants.

The top bathroom in America is currently at Longwood Gardens, west of Philadelphia, according to Cintas, the business uniform and supply company that runs the Best Restroom competition.

How much is a fast track for the Food and Drug Administration review of a new drug worth? Try $125 million.

In an auction, Gilead Sciences, a maker of HIV and hepatitis medicines, just bought a coupon good for the accelerated review of a drug of the company's choice from Knight Therapeutics, a Canadian company.

The priority review voucher entitles Gilead to move a drug of its choice through the FDA four months faster than the normal track.

A TV comedy Bill Cosby had been developing for NBC has been canceled, after new allegations of rape have been made against the comedian. Netflix made a similar move late Tuesday, shelving a comedy special that had been slated to premiere the week of Thanksgiving.

What does it mean to have a toilet?

We in the West don't spend much time pondering that question (on or off the toilet).

"It's something that's always in the background that keeps everything else moving," says Sam Drabble of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), a London-based nonprofit. "It allows us to live very busy lives, and it's not something we ever need to think about."

These days, a visitor to the Persian Gulf sultanate of Oman is likely to be a pale European seeking some winter sun, or perhaps a diplomat seeking to broker a deal between longtime rivals such as, say, the U.S. and Iran. But Oman's reputation as a go-between is well-earned and stretches back centuries.

Back when Northern Europe was overrun by Vikings, Oman had a vast maritime trading empire.
 Now the country is training a new generation of Omanis to care for that legacy, and along the way remind the world of its rich maritime history.

The flavor of the season, you may have noticed, is pumpkin spice. Food companies have gone overboard on the stuff. There are pumpkin spice ice cream sandwiches, pumpkin spice-flavored almonds and, of course, pumpkin spice lattes.

Comedian John Oliver couldn't take it anymore.

Updated at 1:28 p.m. ET.

President Obama says he will announce the executive actions he's taking to "start fixing our broken immigration system" during a speech to the nation at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

Jack Sim's career is in the toilet — literally.

The 57-year-old Singaporean made his fortune in the construction industry when he was in his 40s. And he wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the world.

Sim tried his hand at saving historic buildings and answering phone calls from people in distress, but neither felt right. "I was looking for something that was neglected and able to serve large number of people," he says.

Britain says it won't allow a controversial American dating coach to enter the country as his presence isn't "conducive to the public good."

[Fair warning: If you click on any of the links in this story, you will see offensive material.]

The American in question is 25-year-old Julien Blanc. His Twitter profile says he is the executive coach for Real Social Dynamics, a dating advice company. Blanc was scheduled to make public appearances in the U.K. in February 2015.

We're a few days late on this, but it's too cool not to share.

Here's a NASA video made from a new model that shows how carbon dioxide moves throughout Earth:

NASA explains what you just watched:

I'm sure I'm not the only parent who has hovered over a newborn's crib, wondering, "Is she breathing?" Tech companies are now offering to help parents manage that anxiety with devices that monitor a baby's vital signs and beam them to a smartphone.

But that might not be such a good idea, according to Dr. David King, a pediatric researcher at the University of Sheffield. He first heard baby vital signs monitors being discussed on the radio, and "I suspected there wasn't much evidence behind it, because I knew cardiovascular monitoring wasn't recommended in SIDS."

Amid rumblings about conflict of interest and corruption, Mexico's first lady says she will sell a multimillion-dollar home in one of the most glamorous areas of Mexico City.

In a YouTube video released late Tuesday, Angélica Rivera defiantly proclaims that she has "nothing to hide."

"I have worked all my life, and because of that I am an independent woman capable of building a patrimony with honesty," she said.

You don't get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you're not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace. Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too.

Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefits packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cellphones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015.

A day after an attack that left five dead at a Jerusalem synagogue, worshippers returned for morning prayers.

The Associated Press reports:

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Updated 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday:

Another 2 to 3 feet of snow is expected to fall in the Buffalo area by late Thursday. At least seven deaths in western New York have been blamed on the storm — at least four of them from heart attacks.

Original Post:

Driven by the lake effect, a massive snowstorm dumped up to 60 inches of snow on some parts of western New York, killing at least five people and paralyzing an area used to huge snow totals.

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