KUNM

NPR News

On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water.

The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top.

The German city of Trier has never been particularly fond of its most famous son, Karl Marx, who helped turn communism into an ideology that changed the course of history.

Conservative and Catholic, the picturesque city on the French border took an ambivalent view of the radical revolutionary, born into a Jewish family in 1818.

There's a wall-long mural in the manufacturing area of SilencerCo, in West Valley City, Utah, that shows a crowd of people with muzzled mouths. One's holding a sign that says, "Fight the Noise." Another says: "Guns don't have to be loud."

As a leading manufacturer and seller of gun silencers — or suppressors, as they're more accurately called — SilencerCo wants to quiet guns. Congress may soon help in the effort.

After a day of statements, Tuesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearing was all about answers. Judge Neil Gorsuch was careful in his responses to Senate Judiciary Committee members, but there were still a number of insights that marked the day. Read our full Day 2 coverage here. These are five highlights:

Chicago police say they've located a missing teenage girl who was sexually assaulted in an attack streamed live on Facebook.

The Associated Press reports that the girl was apparently raped "by five or six men or boys" in the video, which was watched live by dozens of people.

It's the second incident in the past three months where an apparent violent crime in Chicago, with multiple assailants, was broadcast live on Facebook as it happened.

On Tuesday morning, the Department of Homeland Security announced new restrictions for personal electronics on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Devices larger than a cellphone will not be allowed in the cabin, though they will be allowed in checked baggage.

Later Tuesday, the U.K. announced it would be enforcing a similar rule — using a slightly different list of countries.

The rule change in both countries was unexpected and the explanations for it cryptic.

Here's a quick look at what we know, and what we don't.

Designers are rolling out their spring lines and the runways are looking more diverse than ever. But the comparative abundance of models who are people of color didn't happen overnight.

There was the occasional — very occasional — model who wasn't white in the 50s and early 60s on runways. But African-American models put American couture on the map in 1973 when they walked the runway in France in what's become known as The Battle of Versailles.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For more now, we turn to NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Hey there, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi.

Republican House leaders are making last-minute changes to their health care proposal in a bid to woo more conservatives ahead of a vote scheduled for Thursday.

One of those changes would let states impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients. A handful of states asked the Obama administration for that authority but were denied.

The biopic Selena tells the story of Mexican-American pop star Selena Quintanilla Perez, a Tejano music singer who made a rare crossover to mainstream American audiences. The movie debuted 20 years ago Tuesday, two years after the singer was killed by the former president of her fan club.

When Donald Trump was elected president, his daughter Ivanka Trump said she would move to Washington, D.C., but not into a White House office.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Nevada has taken a crucial step closer to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment — roughly 35 years after a deadline imposed by Congress. The state's Assembly approved the long-dormant measure in a largely party-line vote on Monday, sending it back to the state Senate for a final blessing.

Bangladesh has done a great job of getting more toilets to more people. Now it needs to figure out how to empty them.

If you're poor and you want to keep your health insurance, you may have to go to work.

That's the message from Republican lawmakers who Monday night released a series of changes to their plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

A key change, designed to help attract votes from conservative Republicans, would let state governors require people to work to qualify for health insurance under Medicaid.

President Trump made the trip up Pennsylvania Avenue to close the deal with members of his own party on a bill that, on the face of it, does what Republicans have been promising to do for years: Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

He came with a tough love message for members of his own party.

"Looks like you'd be ripe for a primary if you don't keep your promise," the president told the group of lawmakers in a closed-door meeting, according to Rep. Blake Farenthold. "He did say that," the Texas Republican adds.

Before Dyann Roof shot dead nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, he told his friend Joey Meek about his murderous plans during an alcohol and cocaine-fueled night.

Meek, 22, was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in federal prison for concealing knowledge of a felony and then making false statements to the FBI.

Google will give advertisers more control over where their ads appear and improve its internal controls, as the owner of AdWords and YouTube apologized for "a number of cases where brands' ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you saw any people leaping over fires, grilling fragrant kebabs or holding elaborate picnics this weekend, you may have witnessed celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which marks the start of spring across large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia.

A green sea turtle in Thailand that drew international sympathy when it emerged that she had consumed nearly 1,000 coins thrown into her pool has died.

The turtle nicknamed Omsin, the Thai word for "piggy bank," had an hours-long emergency surgery to remove the coins earlier this month. But she never woke up from a second emergency surgery.

Students throughout Boston are getting a radically different view of the world, one laminated 24-by-36-inch sheet of paper at a time.

Beginning last Thursday, Boston Public Schools administrators have been sending social studies teachers in the second, seventh and 11th grades new maps for their classrooms — depictions that more accurately portray the sizes of Earth's continents.

Being a prominent Twitter personality comes with its fair share of trolls. Trolls, as the Internet describes them, are users who bait others for their own amusement. So whenever Vann Newkirk, a writer at The Atlantic with a large following, gets a provocative clap back on his tweets about race, he usually ignores it.

A few years ago, Dr. Gregory Thomas thought he had finally found the Holy Grail of heart disease. And it was even found in a tomb.

He was studying the arteries of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies, and he thought this was finally it: a culture that would be free of heart disease. Heart disease couldn't be more than 3,000 years old, could it?

Man, he was disappointed.

This spring, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will host a three-day event co-hosted by a business group.

That's not unusual. But here's what is: The group's chair founded the company that paid President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lobbying work that may have benefited the Turkish government.

This mashup of money involving Turks, Flynn and Trump has concerned ethics experts who worry about a "pay to play" atmosphere in Washington. Here are the basics:

Exercising While Pregnant Is Almost Always A Good Idea

Mar 21, 2017

Being pregnant can sometimes feel like traversing a minefield of advice: You want to do the right thing for your baby and yourself, but conflicting input from physicians, relatives, friends and even total strangers makes it difficult to know exactly what is helpful and what is potentially harmful.

A group of researchers want women to know that when it comes to exercise, there is a strong consensus of benefit for both the mother and developing fetus.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

The White House says President Trump will attend a NATO meeting on May 25 in Brussels, and "looks forward to meeting with his NATO counterparts to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO, and to discuss issues critical to the alliance, especially allied responsibility-sharing and NATO's role in the fight against terrorism."

The statement follows criticism of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's announced intention to visit Russia in April, but not take part in a NATO foreign ministers meeting, which is also next month.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How far should scientists be allowed to go in creating things that resemble primitive human brains, hearts, and even human embryos?

That's the question being asked by a group of Harvard scientists who are doing exactly that in their labs. They're using stem cells, genetics and other new biological engineering techniques to create tissues, primitive organs and other living structures that mimic parts of the human body.

Their concern is that they and others doing this type of "synthetic biology" research might be treading into disturbing territory.

Former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, who left violence behind to choose peace — and who eventually met Queen Elizabeth II — has died at age 66. For nearly a decade, McGuinness served as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister.

From London, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports:

"McGuinness retired from politics in January, suffering from a rare genetic disease. Today, he was lauded for his crucial role in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Pages