Listen

LATEST FROM NPR

A blistering report released on Wednesday by an investigative panel looking into the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last year, exposes a litany of school security breaches and chaotic protocol leading to the deaths of 17 students and faculty, and it recommends arming teachers to prevent or slow future on-campus attacks.

The Baylor University Lady Bears women's basketball team delivered a stunning double-digit defeat Thursday to the University of Connecticut Huskies, ending a 126-game regular season winning streak that spanned more than four years.

The No. 8 Lady Bears beat the No. 1 Huskies 68-57 at home in front of more than 10,000 fans at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Consider it another mark of the intense interest in the Justice Department's probe of Russian election interference:

Some 40 spectators — including reporters and a sketch artist — showed up on Thursday for a hearing that hinged on whether a long-shot case seeking $350 million from special counsel Robert Mueller could be steered to a particular judge.

Fewer migrants attempted the perilous Mediterranean crossing toward Europe last year, leading to a drop in migrant deaths at sea, as patterns of migration shifted amid growing anti-immigrant sentiment.

But the route remains as deadly as ever, with a slight rise in the number of deaths per migrant who made the crossing.

There's a big molecule, a protein, inside the leaves of most plants. It's called Rubisco, which is short for an actual chemical name that's very long and hard to remember.

Amanda Cavanagh, a biologist and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, calls herself a big fan of Rubisco. "It's probably the most abundant protein in the world," she says. It's also super-important.

How The Federal Shutdown Is Affecting Health Programs

Jan 3, 2019

There seems to be no end in sight for the current partial government shutdown, the third since the beginning of the Trump administration.

For the vast majority of the federal government's public health efforts, though, it's business as usual.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was the quintessential behind-the-scenes political power player. "He really has no signature speech — there's no great Dick Cheney moment where he was in front of a pulpit delivering a great line," says filmmaker Adam McKay. "He's always kind of just been in the background."

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

More troops are expected to be deployed to the Southern border to construct or upgrade 160 miles of fencing and provide medical care to a steady stream of migrant families arriving from Central America, according to military sources.

The deployment and fence construction along the California and Arizona borders would be paid for by the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense's discretionary funding.

Updated 3:55 pm E.T. Friday

The government shutdown began with the president's demand for border security money. But it has also halted E-Verify, a federal program that's supposed to prevent immigrants from working here illegally.

If U.S. employers want to check whether their prospective hires are eligible to work, they can't. The E-Verify database is "currently unavailable due to a lapse in government appropriations," according to a note on the government-run website.

In the midst of accusations of sexism and sexual harassment by aides on Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, the senator's former campaign manager acknowledged Wednesday that there had been "a failure," and Sanders is promising to make sure the same problems do not emerge if he runs in 2020.

Updated at 3:46 p.m. ET

Nancy Pelosi is again speaker of the House, as Democrats retook control of the chamber for the first time in eight years, bringing divided government back to Washington.

The first woman to hold the position, Pelosi is now the first person to reclaim the speaker's gavel in more than six decades.

The California Democrat was elected with 220 votes over California Republican Kevin McCarthy, the new minority leader.

If you've always wondered what a sing-off between the Phillie Phanatic and Goofy from Disneyland would look like, The Masked Singer is about as close as you're going to get. It premiered on Fox on Wednesday night, and the network would love to see it burn brightly, even though the high (like, extremely high) concept suggests it might burn rather briefly.

Two more people have died as a result of Wednesday's train accident on a bridge in central Denmark, police say, raising the death toll to eight. Investigators believe the passenger train hit an empty truck trailer from a freight train going in the opposite direction.

Berlin's flourishing tech scene attracts talent from across the globe. At a startup incubator in the western part of the city, an international team recently launched an app called SPRT, which connects sports enthusiasts.

Amy Cooper, a 20-year-old SPRT employee who moved to Germany from Britain last June, complains that Berlin's Internet speed is so slow, it feels like the old dial-up days she has heard her parents reminisce about.

Schistosomiasis is listed as a "neglected" tropical disease by the World Health Organization — one of those diseases that's been overlooked by modern medicine.

It mainly hits poor people in poor countries — and it hits a lot of them, up to 200 million a year. There are only a few drugs available to treat it. There are no designer drugs being cooked up in a lab in Europe for schistosomiasis. Doctoral students rarely pen their thesis on this disease.

Wild Eyes — the sailboat abandoned by American Abby Sunderland in her failed bid to circumnavigate the world solo as a 16-year-old — has been found floating off of Australia's coast, nearly nine years after she was rescued in the Indian Ocean.

Seeing her boat again brought back a flood of emotions, says Sunderland, who is now 25.

North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy has disappeared from the diplomatic compound in Rome, according to South Korea's spy agency. NPR's Seoul Correspondent Anthony Kuhn reports the South Korean National Intelligence Service briefed lawmakers in a closed-door hearing Thursday.

Ambassador Jo Song Gil and his wife disappeared from the diplomatic compound in Rome in November, before his term was set to end later that month, Kuhn reports.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Updated at 10:37 a.m. ET

Saudi Arabia says it is seeking the death penalty for five of 11 suspects in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, according to the country's Public Prosecutor.

The 11 suspects appeared in a Riyadh courtroom Thursday for the first hearing in the case.

Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET

Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke entered office on a horse and left via a resignation note he wrote in thick red strokes. He posted a photo of that resignation on Twitter, and an avalanche of criticism soon followed from readers who assailed his penmanship, ethics and industry-friendly track record while managing 500 million acres of public lands.

CIA Director Gina Haspel spent much of her career overseas and undercover — and she wants more CIA officers doing the same.

Ashley Nickloes is a busy woman. She's working toward her master's degree. She has four living children (she specified that a fifth died after a preterm birth). And when I caught her, she was in St. Louis, doing simulator training for her role as a pilot in the Air National Guard.

"You know, you can only be busy a hundred percent of the time," she laughed. "You get enough sleep when you're dead."

On top of all that, she also ran for Congress in Tennessee last year, but lost in the primary.

They whirled and they twirled and they tangoed through the '70s as the hit musical duo Captain & Tennille. And when "Captain" Daryl Dragon died Wednesday night in Prescott, Ariz., his longtime musical partner was by his side.

That's one giant leap for China.

China state television announced Thursday that China's Chang'e 4 lunar explorer, which launched in early December, "became the first ever probe to soft-land on the far side of the moon." The probe touched down at 10:26 Beijing time, the China Global Television Network said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold confirmation hearings for President Trump's pick for attorney general on Jan. 15 and 16.

If confirmed, William Barr will replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who was appointed after Jeff Sessions was forced out in November.

In 2018, NPR looked back on how events from 50 years ago — the pivotal year of 1968 — shaped our current world. In our "1968: How We Got Here" series, NPR's National Desk and reporters from across the newsroom examined more than 40 events, ideas and movements from that year and sought out to answer a simple question: How did each of those get us to where we are today?

Mexican archaeologists have discovered what they say is the first temple of a pre-Hispanic fertility god known as the Flayed Lord who is depicted as a skinned human corpse.

The discovery is being hailed as significant by authorities at Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History because it is a whole temple, not merely depictions of the deity, which have been found in other cultures.

Experts found two skull-like stone carvings and a stone trunk depicting the god Xipe Totec.

Bob Einstein, the gravelly-voiced comedic actor who delighted viewers by playing inept stuntman Super Dave Osborne and, more recently, by vexing Larry David on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, died on Wednesday at age 76. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.

The Senate has voted to fill the top post at the U.S. Census Bureau with President Trump's nominee Steven Dillingham.

In a unanimous voice vote on Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Dillingham's nomination, which the White House first announced last July. He previously led smaller federal agencies, including the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're going to turn now to one of the Democratic leaders in the briefing this afternoon, Minority Senate Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois. Welcome to the program.

DICK DURBIN: It's good to be with you.

Pages