NPR News

At Fieldale Farms in Gainesville, Ga., workers cut up chicken breasts and feed the parts into machines. The pieces are then marinated, breaded and eventually sold to restaurants.

The work here can be physically demanding. Not a lot of people want to do it — even though the average wage here is $16 per hour plus benefits.

Tom Hensley, the company president, says Fieldale Farms hires just about anyone who can pass a drug test.

"We hire 100 people a week. Because we have 100 people who quit every week, out of 5,000 employees," he says. "We're constantly short."

Questions of gender identity are nothing new. Way before Transparent and Chaz Bono and countless other popular culture stepping stones to where we are now regarding gender identity, there were accounts of "female husbands."

A new report on the growth of court fines and fees that are charged to often-impoverished offenders is focusing on another group that pays: their families.

Challenging The Whiteness Of Public Radio

Jan 29, 2015

Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared on Transom.org, with a shorter version published on BuzzFeed. Author Chenjerai Kumanyika will join Code Switch — along with African-American public radio journalists — in a Twitter chat Thursday moderated by lead blogger Gene Demby. Join Code

On a recent winter's day in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, it's 22 degrees below zero — or -30 Celsius. Whatever you call it, it's way below freezing.

Sculptor Jens Thoms Ivarsson stands over a block of ice with a razor-sharp chisel, turning a bare room into an ornate Spanish mosque made entirely of ice.

Here, 120 miles above the Arctic Circle, sits a frozen institution: Icehotel, the original.

According to law enforcement officials, ISIS and other terrorist organizations are increasingly adept at using social media to recruit from abroad. Last year alone, the FBI reports, around 20 American citizens were detained trying to travel to Syria to join militants fighting for the so-called Islamic State.

U.S. adults see various science-related topics much differently than do America's top scientists, with the two groups expressing widely divergent views on the safety of genetically modified foods, climate change, human evolution, the use of animals in research and vaccines, according to a new report published by Pew Research Center.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It happens at least once every episode: A scene in Parenthood carefully crafted to make you cry.

Like the moment when devoted parents Adam and Kristina Braverman try to console their son Max — who has Asperger's syndrome — after a school camping trip goes bad.

"Why do all the other kids hate me?" Max Braverman asks, voice wavering, just before telling his disbelieving parents a classmate relieved himself in his canteen during the trip. "Asperger's is supposed to make me smart. But if I'm smart then why ... why don't I get why they're laughing at me?"

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When it comes to the news — what its contents are and how it is delivered — who knows best? This conversation has been taking place as newsrooms go digital and social. This week the messaging app Snapchat weighed in, launching a new feature called Discover.

Guantanamo Bay is home to the United States' oldest overseas base. And since it was established in 1903, the base has been a bone of contention in U.S. and Cuban relations. Melissa Block talks to Vanderbilt History professor Paul Kramer.

Let's face it: We are people who consume many of our meals on the go. That means we're not eating on real plates or bowls but out of plastic containers and paper boxes. And perhaps daily, we drink our coffees and sodas out of plastic or plastic-lined paper cups.

A new study shows that when it comes to the classroom, girls rule.

They outperform boys in math, science and reading in 70 percent of the 70-plus countries and regions surveyed by the Organization for Economic Development Cooperation and Development. Girls do better even in countries that rank low on U.N.'s gender equality index and that tend to discriminate against women politically, economically and socially — like Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

The British government has summoned Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, asking him to explain why a pair of nuclear-capable Russian long-range "Bear" bombers flew alarmingly close to U.K. airspace.

The narrator of Rachel Cusk's new novel Outline is a novelist and divorced mother of two who has agreed to teach a summer course in creative writing in Athens. The novel itself is composed of some 10 conversations that she has with, among others, her seatmate on the plane flying to Greece, her students in the writing class, dinner companions and fellow teachers.

Three Americans who were working as contractors in Afghanistan died in a gunman's attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport complex Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

The news agency adds:

"It was not immediately clear who did the shooting or whether the shooter was a member of the Afghan security forces.

"The U.S. defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the incident was in the early stages of investigation."

In addition to the U.S. casualties, an Afghan citizen also died, the AP says.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lashed out at anti-war demonstrators protesting the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at a Senate hearing, calling them "low-life scum."

Kissinger, 91, and other former secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, were at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs, for a hearing on global security challenges.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

A treasure hunter, who located a sunken ship with perhaps the greatest loot in history but later disappeared in an alleged attempt to cheat investors and his crew of their cut, has been found. He is scheduled to appear in court next week in Florida, where authorities captured him earlier this week living in a $225-a-night hotel.

Updated at 5:04 p.m. ET

The Senate in a bipartisan 62-to-36 vote approved Thursday the Keystone XL pipeline project, setting up a faceoff with the White House, which has threatened a presidential veto.

Nine Democrats joined 53 Republicans to pass the measure, which now must be reconciled with a version passed last month by the House. The Senate vote is also not enough to override a presidential veto.

The American command in Afghanistan has for the first time in six years classified detailed statistics about the Afghan security forces — everything from equipment and training to attrition.

Gen. John Campbell, who is leading the NATO coalition's non-combat mission in Afghanistan, said he now considers all that sensitive operational information that could help the Taliban.

Campbell said he decided to classify details about the Afghan forces because they could be used by insurgent fighters to threaten both Afghan and U.S. forces.

Portugal's Cabinet approved a law Thursday that would offer citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled, burned at the stake or forcibly converted to Christianity 500 years ago.

"I do not want to say this is an historic amendment because I believe that for this matter, there is no possibility to amend what was done," Portuguese Justice Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz said, according to The Associated Press. "I would say it is the attribution of a right."

Update, 12:27 a.m.

The death toll is now at 3 with the death of a second infant in the hours following the blast, according to The Associated Press, and eight children and seven adults remain in critical condition.

"The blast occurred at 7:05 a.m. when the truck was making a routine delivery of gas to the hospital kitchen and gas started to leak. Witnesses said the tanker workers struggled for 15 or 20 minutes to repair the leak while a large cloud of gas formed.

At the Cleveland Clinic's sprawling main campus, Morgan Clay is being discharged early one Tuesday afternoon.

Clay arrived a couple of weeks earlier suffering from complications related to acute heart failure. He's ready to go home. But before he can leave, clinic pharmacist Katie Greenlee stops by the room.

"What questions can I answer for you about the medicines?" Greenlee asks as she presents a folder of information about more than a dozen prescriptions Clay takes.

"I don't have too many questions," Clay says. "I've been on most of that stuff for a long time."

In a further sign that Sri Lanka's newly elected president wants to deal with the country's troubled past, a government spokesman said today that a new probe is planned to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during the island's 26-year civil war.

French police questioned Wednesday an 8-year-old boy in the southern city of Nice who allegedly made comments praising the gunmen who staged the deadly attack on the weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Third-grader Ahmed, whose last name has not been released, refused to observe the minute of silence with his class following the attack on the magazine. He also allegedly expressed solidarity with the brothers who carried out the Jan. 7 attack.

Jordan is asking the so-called Islamic State to prove that a pilot the group is holding is still alive.

Mohammed al-Momani, a spokesman for the Jordanian government, said the government is seeking proof of life before it releases Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman who was convicted in relation to a deadly attack on a hotel in Amman.

A scientist who worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and pleaded guilty two years ago for promising undercover FBI agents he could build nuclear weapons for Venezuela, has been sentenced to five years in jail.

Argentina-born Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, a 79-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, told the agents posing as Venezuelan officials that he could design and supervise the building of 40 nuclear weapons for Caracas — including one targeted at New York City — in exchange for an unspecified amount of money.

Pages