Until Wednesday, the front door of Canada's main Parliament building, Centre Block, was often left unlocked. Taken as a metaphor for the nation as a whole, many think the attack in Ottawa will change that approach to security.
In the assault, a soldier was killed as he guarded the National War Memorial and a shootout left the gunman dead inside Canada's parliamentary complex.
In early October, blizzard conditions in Nepal killed more than 16 foreign trekkers and 17 locals, most of them lightly-dressed porters who were carrying the trekkers' gear. The tragedy calls attention to the dangers of trekking — and the risky life of local porters.
At 42, Rane Tamang knows the trekking business well. From a poor village in central Nepal and with little formal education, he started work as a porter 25 years ago, lugging 90 pounds of gear up mountains. He moved up to serve as an assistant cook and now alternates between cook and guide.
Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 7:01 pm
California's severe drought is putting stress on everyone these days: the residents whose wells are running dry; the farmers forced to experiment with growing their produce with much less water; and of course, the thirsty fruits and vegetables themselves.
The Girl Scouts organization wants s'more — members and leaders, that is.
Membership in Girl Scouts of the USA is on the decline. In the past year, according to the group's official blog, there has been a significant drop nationwide — down 400,000 girls and adults — from 3.2 million to 2.8 million.
Barely 24 hours after a gunman attacked Parliament Hill in Ottawa, killing a soldier, lawmakers gave a standing ovation to Kevin Vickers, the legislature's sergeant-at-arms, for reportedly firing the shots that took down the assailant.
All around the country, gasoline prices have been falling for weeks, down to an average of about $3 a gallon. Those lower prices are helping restrain inflation across the board.
On Wednesday, the Labor Department said its consumer price index barely inched up 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, the CPI has risen by 1.7 percent, roughly half of its historical average rate of increase.
An unusual government moratorium aimed at controversial research with high-risk viruses has halted important public health research, scientists told an advisory committee to the federal government on Wednesday.
A Texas nurse who contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan in a Dallas hospital is now free of the potentially deadly virus, her family says.
Amber Vinson, 29, remains in treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, but her family said in a statement that since Tuesday evening, doctors had been unable to detect traces of the disease in her blood.
Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 3:40 pm
Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon is known for his blunt manner, and in an interview with NPR, he says a future map of the Middle East will look very different from the one that exists today.
The borders of many Arab states were drawn up by Westerners a century ago, and wars in recent years show that a number of them are doomed to break apart, according to Ya'alon, a career soldier who became Israel's defense minister last year.
When Ebola began killing people in the Monrovia suburb of Clara Town several months ago, some residents blamed vaccines.
One vaccinator in the town says mothers didn't want her near their babies.
"They had a notion that when the people come to the hospital, we would inject them and kill them," says vaccinator Che Che Richardson at the Clara Town Health Center, "because it was the hospital giving the people Ebola."
Rumors like that, combined with the closing of many health facilities, have caused childhood vaccinations rates to plummet in Liberia.
Mexico's top prosecutor says a mayor and his wife ordered the attack on 43 students who have been missing for nearly a month. The couple — of the town of Iguala in the southern state of Guerrero — are now fugitives.
Thousands of protesters marched down Mexico City's grand Reforma Boulevard on Wednesday night, banging drums, carrying pictures of the 43 students who went missing on Sept. 26, and demanding the resignation of the governor of the state of Guerrero and even of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:28 pm
Baby Gammy might mean the end of Thailand's lucrative surrogacy business.
He's the child who was carried by a surrogate mom in Thailand-- and rejected by the Australian couple who had agreed to pay the mother $12,000. The reason: Prenatal testing showed that the baby, a twin, had Down syndrome.
The past few years have been California's driest on record. Forecasters predict that punishing droughts like the current one could become the new norm.
The state uses water rationing and a 90-year-old water distribution system to cope until the rains come. The system is a huge network of dams, canals and pipes that move water from the places it rains and snows to places it typically doesn't, like farms and cities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has once again changed the number of cars included in a massive and urgent recall over an inflator defect in air bags made by the Japanese company Takata.
Four hundred feet above a Malaysian forest, a three-foot eBee drone hovers and takes pictures with a 16-megapixel camera every 10 to 20 seconds. But it's not gathering images of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Even today's best drones aren't capable of such a photographic marvel. Rather, the drone is looking at a changing landscape that holds clues to the disease's spread.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday spoke with officials in China about data security and privacy. This meeting comes on the heels of a reported attack against users of Apple's iCloud service in China. Hackers allegedly were able to get hold of users' data by intercepting traffic on the Internet. They did not break into Apple servers.
Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:28 pm
The protractor and the Bunsen burner. Playing the recorder in music class. Drawing arcs and circles with a compass in geometry. These tools of the education trade become part of our lives for a semester or two and then we move on.
Today, NPR Ed begins a new series examining these icons of the classroom. We start off with a device that once was essential to higher-level math, in school and in the workplace, but now has all but disappeared:
Scientists announced Tuesday they've solved the mystery of the Mongolian ostrich dinosaur.
The mystery began in 1965, when fossil hunters found a pair of 6-foot-long, heavily clawed arm bones in Mongolia's Gobi desert. Nobody had seen anything like them before. Now, scientists say, they've got the rest of the beast ... and dinosaur textbooks may need to be rewritten.