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An Alabama man convicted of murdering a convenience store clerk in 1994 was put to death by lethal injection on Thursday night, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay the execution and amid ongoing legal challenges to the state's lethal injection protocol. Ronald Bert Smith Jr. had been on Alabama's death row since 1995, when he was convicted of murdering Casey Wilson, a convenience store clerk, during a robbery. The execution took place late Thursday night local time at the...

A Dutch court has convicted far-right politician Geert Wilders of inciting discrimination, but decided not to impose any penalty. The case is rooted in comments the lawmaker made at a 2014 rally, when supporters chanted that they wanted fewer Moroccans in the country. He then told them, "We're going to take care of that." Thousands of complaints were then filed, ushering in this case. "Prosecutors, who rejected Wilders' assertions the trial was politically motivated, asked that he be fined $5...

An anti-doping report has found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping, and that the "institutional conspiracy" extended far beyond previous evidence of cheating at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. The findings, published Friday, were accompanied by more than 1,000 individual documents released to the public as evidence (with athletes' names redacted). Russian officials have responded with "predetermined defiance," Charles Maynes reports for NPR from Moscow,...

In a photo for GQ earlier this year, Melania Trump sat in a white dress at a white table posed with a fork and spoon, twirling a thick platinum rope necklace in a bowl like a piece of bucatini. While we know the future first lady subsists on more than precious metals, we know little about her food preferences – except that she eats seven pieces of fruit a day. Given this, it's impossible to discern how or if she will affect the culinary tone of the White House and the country at large—a role...

Scientists in Ireland are using a rather unexpected material to make an extremely sensitive pressure detector: Silly Putty. The Irish researchers combined the kids' plaything with a special form of carbon, and came up with a remarkable new material — one they think could someday be useful in making medical devices. Physicist Jonathan Coleman , at Trinity College, Dublin, says Silly Putty has some extraordinary properties. If you roll the stuff into a tight ball and throw it on the ground, it...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to roll back government regulations, and two of his Cabinet picks announced this week underscore his intention to do just that. Trump plans to nominate fast food executive Andrew Puzder to head the Labor Department and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. If confirmed, the two men would signal a sharp break from the policies of the Obama...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Burnout - you know what this is. If not from personal experience, then you've heard tell from friends or family who are just so stressed and emotionally spent they can't get through a workday anymore. Some employers admit it's a real problem. But Noel King from our Planet Money team has the story of one small company that might have figured it out. (SOUNDBITE OF PHONE RINGING) LEAH POTKIN: This is Leah with...

Remembering John Glenn

Dec 9, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: And I'm Steve Inskeep with an epic American sound. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Godspeed, John Glenn - 10, nine, eight, seven... INSKEEP: That's the countdown as John Glenn sat in a space capsule and was soon the first American to orbit the Earth. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) JOHN GLENN: Oh, that view is tremendous. The capsule turning around, and I could see the booster during...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: One of the most prominent far-right politicians in Europe has been convicted of, quote, "inciting discrimination" against Dutch Moroccans. His name is Geert Wilders, and he's been an outspoken critic of Europe's immigration policies, especially in his own country, the Netherlands, and has adapted Donald Trump's campaign slogan for his own purposes. Make the Netherlands great again. Joining us now for more details...

There's a lot of time for contemplation when you're milking cows in Mongolia. 90-year-old Lkhagvajav Bish has milked them for decades. She's a nomadic herder, and she follows them in their endless search for grass. Today, the ger, or tent, she and her son live in is pitched in a valley surrounded by brown hills whose tops are white with frost, and as her hands squeeze the last milk from one of her herd, Bish reminisces about a time when this valley looked completely different. "We've been...

Donald Trump was elected president promising to use his business-world experience and negotiating skills to help boost the American economy. Now that he's about to take office, a lot of people hope he'll leave the business world behind. Two-thirds of those responding to a Bloomberg News poll said they think Trump needs to choose between being president and being a businessman, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. "They want him to be president, and they want that to be a full...

South Korean lawmakers voted 234-56 on Friday to impeach President Park Geun-hye. A constitutional court will now decide whether to remove from office the country's first female leader, who's been mired in a corruption scandal that has paralyzed the country's political system. "Regardless of the opinions in favor or against the impeachment, the public is watching with deep hearts," National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun said after the vote. "And hoping this doesn't repeat itself in the...

It's been nearly a year since Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency in Flint, Mich. Before she became mayor, the city switched its water supply to the Flint River in a cost-cutting measure. The water wasn't properly treated, which caused corrosion in old pipes — leaching lead and other toxins into the city's tap water. People were afraid to drink or even bathe in the water. Since then, a lot has happened. Charges were brought against several Michigan state officials and one Flint...

Thirty years ago, a new face debuted on daytime television: Oprah Winfrey. The new podcast, "Making Oprah," produced by member station WBEZ, chronicles Oprah's rise to stardom. Journalist Jenn White tells Oprah's story from her early days on her first talk show, AM Chicago , through to the biggest, most outrageous moments when 40 million people a week were watching her national show. It began with a station manager in Chicago, Dennis Swanson. He was the one who spotted something in the young...

With Donald Trump's choices for secretaries of transportation and of housing and urban development — Elaine Chao and Dr. Ben Carson, respectively — there may be hints about the urban agenda Trump's administration may be shaping. Some big-city mayors say they're worried about potential cuts in federal funding that candidate Trump warned about on the stump, and they are reaching out to the president-elect. They say they have plenty of ideas they want to share about the country's cities. Chicago...

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke about the dangers of the promulgation of fake news on Thursday after conspiracy stories involving her campaign spurred violence recently. "The epidemic of malicious fake news and fake propaganda that flooded social media over the past year, it's now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences," Clinton said. She was referring to the "Pizzagate" incident in D.C. this weekend, which came to a terrifying head. A...

Without congressional intervention, about 16,000 retired miners in seven states will lose their health care coverage by the end of the year. A proposal to temporarily extend the benefits is working its way through Congress. But two Senate Democrats, who are advocates for a more comprehensive plan, say the temporary provision isn't enough. They are threatening to hold up a spending bill that needs to pass by Friday night to keep the government running. Coal mining is dangerous work. For many...

China's top court has handed basketball legend Michael Jordan a victory in a long-running trademark dispute over the use of his name by a Chinese company. "Nothing is more important than protecting your own name, and today's decision shows the importance of that principle," Jordan said in a statement after the ruling. Here's more from Jordan: "Over the past three decades, I have built my reputation and name into a globally recognized brand. From my earliest playing days in the NBA, through my...

The U.S. surgeon general said Thursday that e-cigarette use poses a significant and avoidable health risk to young people. "We already know that e-cigarettes have the potential to cause lasting harm to the health of young users," said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. "Most contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug that can damage normal development of the brain – a process that continues until about age 25." Murthy's comments were part of a report released Thursday on rising e-cigarette use by...

In what could mark an escalation of tensions with the West, commercial satellite images suggest that Russia is moving a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles into Eastern Europe. Russia appears to be preparing to permanently base its Iskander missile system in Kaliningrad, a sliver of territory it controls along the Baltic coast between Lithuania and Poland. Arms control experts shared fresh satellite imagery with NPR, which they say provides evidence that the Iskander will soon be...

South Korea's national legislature is preparing to vote on the possible impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, who has been engulfed in a massive scandal involving allegations of corruption, influence-peddling and ties to a cult. The measure is coming up for a vote on Friday, a week and a half after Park said she would be willing to step down — but declined to resign . The complex scandal has destroyed Park's public support; her approval rating has fallen to 4 percent, according to a recent...

Updated 5 p.m. ET The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn't stop his pioneering ways. Glenn made history a second time in 1998, when he flew aboard the shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person to fly in space. Glenn was 95 when he died; he had been hospitalized in an Ohio State University medical center in Columbus since last...

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen fast-food restaurant CEO Andrew Puzder as his secretary of labor, his transition team announced Thursday. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Holdings, the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, and in a statement Trump praised him as someone who "has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans." "Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the...

In a recent essay in the New York Times, Columbia professor and historian Mark Lilla issued a warning to liberals left stunned by President-elect Donald Trump's victory: Knock it off with the "identity politics" or be doomed to repeat this failure. "American liberalism," he wrote , "has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism's message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing." This admonition has...

In 2010, Chris Bertish paddled into 25-foot waves en route to a win at the Mavericks Surf Contest, an annual competition at one of the world's most famous (and nastiest) big-wave breaks. On Tuesday, Bertish paddled out to conquer something even more massive — roughly 4,600 miles larger, in fact. The 42-year-old South African surfer and sailor set out to become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean unassisted on a stand-up paddleboard. The journey he has laid out for himself takes him...

The BOTS Act of 2016 is now on its way to President Obama's desk, after both houses of Congress approved the legislation that seeks to widen access to online ticket sales and foil scalpers who try to corner the market. The ban applies to ticket sales for any public event that can be attended by 200 or more people; it targets software that routinely defeats attempts by venues to try to limit the number of tickets one buyer can purchase. The full name of the legislation is the Better Online...

I first got to taste Blue Seal ice cream 13 years ago. I was 24 years old and teaching English in a tiny mountain town called Furukawa, which means "Old River." One weekend, some Canadian friends and I flew to Okinawa, Japan's southern-most island. Once we arrived in downtown Naha, Okinawa's capital city, my friends decided to dine at a steakhouse. And as the only vegetarian in the group, I was on my own. As I wandered down Kokusai-dori, or International Street, I saw the welcoming orange and...

President-elect Donald Trump's latest Twitter target is a local union official who questioned the billionaire's account of how many jobs he saved at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis. Trump has previously used social media to browbeat companies that move jobs offshore as well as entertainers whose acts he finds tiresome. On Wednesday, Trump took aim at Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999. Trump wrote on Twitter that Jones "has done a terrible job representing workers....

The surprise find of smallpox DNA in a child mummy from the 17th century could help scientists start to trace the mysterious history of this notorious virus. Smallpox currently only exists in secure freezers, after a global vaccination campaign eradicated the virus in the late 1970s. But much about this killer remains unknown, including its origins. Now scientists have the oldest complete set of smallpox genes, after they went hunting for viral DNA in a sample of skin from a mummified young...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnRxQ3dcaQk In 2015, Lida Xing was visiting a market in northern Myanmar when a salesman brought out a piece of amber about the size of a pink rubber eraser. Inside, he could see a couple of ancient ants and a fuzzy brown tuft that the salesman said was a plant. As soon as Xing saw it, he knew it wasn't a plant. It was the delicate, feathered tail of a tiny dinosaur. "I have studied paleontology for more than 10 years and have been interested in dinosaurs for...

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