News From NPR

News From NPR

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

America's new top diplomat received an enthusiastic welcome at the State Dept. Wednesday, as he promised to re-energize a department that's been largely sidelined in the first 15 months of the Trump administration.

"I want the State Department to get its swagger back. We need our men and women out at the front lines executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy," Pompeo said during his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony. "To represent the finest nation in the history of civilization, we should be proud of that."

Honduran Deana Quczada peels back her young daughter's black hair to reveal a deep scar on her forehead. She was beaten, Quczada says, six months ago as part of an apparent revenge attack on her family by gangs that Quczada's husband may have been mixed up with. When her daughter was released after spending a month in the hospital, Quczada immediately fled with her north in hopes of making it to the United States, where she could ask for political asylum.

I've heard that if you ask the U.S. for help, they will give it, she says in Spanish.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

An Air National Guard cargo plane crashed near Savannah, Ga., on Wednesday morning while taking part in a training exercise.

At least five people were killed, reports Amy Kiley of member station WABE. The C-130 was traveling to an Air Force base in Arizona, she reports, when it went down just outside of Savannah's international airport.

The plane was attached to the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, says Capt. Jeff Bezore of the Georgia Air National Guard.

A pair of suicide bombings on Tuesday killed more than two dozen people worshipping at a mosque in the small town of Mubi, in northeastern Nigeria.

Dozens more were injured in the attack, which came just one day after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari made a state visit to the U.S.

Police put the death toll at 28, The Associated Press reports, but local hospital officials and rescue workers tell Agence France-Presse that the total could be far higher.

The fate of former Massachusetts State Senate President, Stan Rosenberg, could rest on the results of an investigation into whether he broke Senate rules, findings which could be made public soon.

At issue is Rosenberg's 30-year-old husband, Bryon Hefner, who recently pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, criminal lewdness and distributing nude photographs without consent.

Scientists are one step closer to understanding how modern birds evolved to have beaks, and the answer starts millions of years ago with some of the sexiest dinosaurs.

Updated at 11:35 a.m. EDT

The slow-motion showdown between President Trump and Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has entered a new phase: a knife fight over how, when or whether the two men may meet for an interview.

Direct interaction between the president and the special counsel's office has been possible all along, and in an earlier phase, Trump said he wanted to talk with Mueller — if his lawyers said it was OK.

On a balmy Thursday evening, dozens of young Saudis stream into the AlComedy Club in the western port city of Jeddah. It's the start of the weekend, and the crowd snacks on popcorn and ice cream before grabbing some of the sagging seats in the theater. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" blares from speakers hanging above a tiny stage.

The official autopsy of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man shot and killed by Sacramento police in March, found that he was shot fewer times, and fewer times in the back, than a private autopsy had concluded.

An autopsy commissioned by Clark's family found that Clark was shot eight times, with at least six shots in the back, contradicting police officers' account that Clark had approached them.

The coroner's office, in a report released Tuesday, found he was shot seven times, three times in the back, in a manner consistent with the police account.

To the untrained, the evidence looks promising for a new medical device to ease opioid withdrawal. A small study shows that people feel better when the device, an electronic nerve stimulator called the Bridge, is placed behind their ear.

The company that markets the Bridge is using the study results to promote its use to anyone who will listen: policymakers, criminal justice officials and health care providers.

The message is working.

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Three national reproductive rights groups are suing the Trump administration, arguing that changes to the federal Title X program will put the health of millions of low-income patients at risk by prioritizing practices such as the rhythm method over comprehensive sexual health services.

The Boy Scouts program is becoming Scouts BSA in February 2019 to reflect the decision to include young women, the Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday.

The organization's name will remain the same; only the program for older youth will change its name.

On January 23, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that bans U.S. aid to any health organization in another country that provides abortions, advocates or makes referrals for the procedure.

An Arkansas man has been convicted of malicious wounding for beating a black man during a white nationalist rally last year in Charlottesville, Va.

Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, will be sentenced in August. The jury is recommending 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, local TV station NBC 29 reports.

Before Hurricane Maria hit last September, Puerto Rico was battered by the forces of another storm — a financial storm.

The island's own government borrowed billions of dollars to pay its bills, a practice that Puerto Rico's current governor, Ricardo Rosselló, now calls "a big Ponzi scheme."

Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

Iowa's Legislature has passed a bill that would make most abortions illegal once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The measure, which would effectively ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, passed the state House late Tuesday and the state Senate early Wednesday. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has not said whether she will sign the bill.

More than 9 in 10 teachers say they joined the profession for idealistic reasons — "I wanted to do good" — but most are struggling to some extent economically.

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday sent warning letters to 13 manufacturers, distributors and retailers of e-cigarette liquids. In a phone briefing for reporters, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the companies are endangering kids by marketing the products to resemble juice boxes, cookies or candy.

"You look at the lollipop for example. I don't see how my 4- or 5-year-old doesn't just look at that and see a lollipop. It's a lollipop," he said.

Lynn Smith was picking out frozen vegetables in a Los Angeles grocery store when she was asked if she bought much of her food in that aisle.

"No I don't, as a matter of fact," Smith responded, slightly perplexed.

Patrick Shanahan is sitting in his sparse Pentagon office. The only picture is a framed portrait of his father, a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star. Now it's up to his son — the No. 2 defense official — to juggle both current and future wars.

And that means he works six or seven days a week. Both Shanahan and his boss, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, come from Washington state and have a good-natured rivalry about who gets to work the earliest, often before the sun rises.

As attendees of the National Rifle Association's annual convention ride on the interstate this week from the Dallas airport to their convention hall, they might look out the window to see a billboard questioning why the group has "cozied up" with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

In December 2015, Donald Trump's personal physician released a letter describing his patient's health in language that sounded more like it was written by the patient himself than the doctor — and it turns out that might be exactly what happened.

"If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," Dr. Harold Bornstein, a gastroenterologist from Lenox Hospital in New York, wrote at the time.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET Wednesday

Nearly 4,000 ill-gotten artifacts will be returned to Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says. The ancient objects were bought by Hobby Lobby, a national chain of arts and crafts stores, then smuggled into the United States in violation of federal law.

Texas and six other states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to force it to end the Obama-era program protecting about 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.

Severe government austerity measures designed to jolt Puerto Rico out of an 11-year recession propelled thousands of protesters into the streets across the island's capital on Tuesday in a series of marches that ended in chaos.

A coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, led by California, is suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its plan to change vehicle efficiency standards. The states are asking a court to review the EPA's proposed actions, arguing that they violate the Clean Air Act.

"We're not looking to pick a fight with the Trump administration, but when the stakes are this high for our families' health and our economic prosperity, we have a responsibility to do what is necessary to defend them," California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said.

Updated at 8:40 ET

Just minutes after midnight Wednesday, Nikol Pashinyan stepped in front of a huge crowd in Armenia's capital, microphone in hand. Not long before, lawmakers had rejected the opposition leader's bid for prime minister — the only one officially in the running — after he was grilled for hours in parliament Tuesday.

Former weapons inspectors say an apparent trove of information on Iran's nuclear weapons program will increase pressure for more intrusive inspections of its atomic sites.

On Monday, the Israeli government disclosed it had obtained thousands of pages of documents and nearly 200 CDs' worth of data on Iran's nuclear program.

Pages