NPR News

One of opera's leading men, Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, was dismissed Thursday by two of the world's most prestigious houses: the Royal Opera in London and New York's Metropolitan Opera.

His firing comes after an investigation by the Royal Opera [RO], which determined that he had demonstrated "inappropriate and aggressive behavior" during an RO tour of Japan in September.

Roughly a week after a massive explosion tore through a petrochemical plant in Port Neches, residents of the Southeast Texas city are being asked to leave to avoid its lingering effects.

On Thursday morning officials in town and Jefferson County reaffirmed a voluntary evacuation order due to high levels of a harmful chemical in the area.

Thousands of people are marching in the streets of Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and other French cities Thursday, as more than 30 unions launch a massive workers' strike that's meant to shut down the country and force President Emmanuel Macron to reevaluate his plans for pension reform.

The strike is being compared to the crippling protests of 1995, which were also triggered by a retirement reform effort and which unraveled the career of former Prime Minister Alain Juppé.

Scientists know if they transfuse blood from a young mouse to an old one, that they can stave off, or even reverse, some signs of aging. But they don't know what in the blood is responsible for this remarkable effect.

Researchers now report that they've identified hundreds of proteins in human blood that wax and wane in surprising ways as we age. The findings could provide important clues about which substances in the blood can slow aging.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Federal law enforcement officials have announced criminal charges against two Russian nationals who operate a hacking organization known as Evil Corp., a group officials say is responsible for one of the most sweeping banking fraud schemes in the past decade.

Greta Thunberg did not sail across the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks to become a lead singer. But, just days after the 16-year-old proselytizer censured a room of world leaders many times her age for their shared "fairy tales of eternal economic growth," the internet made her one, anyway.

New research raises concern about the safety of permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners, especially among African American women. The study was published Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer.

Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Thursday morning that House Democrats will move ahead with drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, though she did not define the scope of those articles.

"His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution," Pelosi said, referring to Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals while hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid were on hold earlier this year.

David Pierce was never someone who sat around watching life go by. He worked as a chef and had a catering business on the side. He sang in his church choir and did community theater, where he met his wife.

Then, in his mid-50s, doctors removed part of Pierce's foot, a complication of diabetes.

"My health just went, kind of really downhill. It really took a turn for the worse," says Pierce, sitting at his dining room table in his tidy home in Apalachin, N.Y. "I couldn't maintain even a part-time schedule."

Earlier this year, an NPR investigation with WAMU and Oregon Public Broadcasting found deep problems in how school districts report restraint and seclusion. Following that investigation, NPR reached out to educators about their experiences with these practices.

Brent McGinn spent a year early in his career working with students who could sometimes hurt themselves.

Oakwood Cemetery should not be so noisy at night, but the thousands of crows encamped here this evening will not shut up.

The graveyard, perched near downtown Rochester, Minn., is alive with the creatures yelling from the trees, cutting sharp silhouettes against the gray, late fall sky.

Left to themselves, the crows will eventually make their way to downtown where — intentionally or not — they will rain down poop, creating a slimy mess for city residents as well as staff and patients at the sprawling Mayo Clinic campus.

Nearly two years ago NPR profiled Usama Canon, a celebrated Muslim preacher facing his own mortality. He'd been public about his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, a degenerative neurologic condition that robs people of their ability to move, to speak. Eventually it takes your life.

Inside a bright red building in Redwood City, just south of San Francisco, cooks plunge baskets of french fries into hot oil, make chicken sandwiches and wrap falafel in pita bread.

If you've been in a restaurant kitchen, it's a familiar scene. But what's missing here are waiters and customers. Every dish is placed in a to-go box or bag.

Delivery drivers line up in a waiting area ready for the name on their order to be called.

When news broke that California Sen. Kamala Harris was dropping out of the presidential race on Tuesday, some fellow Democratic candidates quickly began ringing alarm bells. Harris was the only nonwhite candidate to have qualified for the next presidential debate on Dec. 19.

"What we're staring at is a DNC debate stage in a few days with no people of color on it, that does not reflect the diversity of our party or our country," former Housing Secretary Julián Castro said. "We need to do better than that."

Across from a Capitol Hill impeachment hearing that President Trump and his allies loudly rebuked, members of the White House legal team and its top legislative aide huddled Wednesday with Senate Republicans over lunch to plot out a potential trial in the upper chamber.

A few weeks ago, Elizabeth Warren made huge news with her plan to finance "Medicare for All." But as part of it, the Massachusetts senator made a big change to one of her other major policy goals: she boosted the size of the wealth tax she wants to impose on the very rich: The top rate went from 3% to 6%, giving her trillions more dollars in theoretical revenue to fund the sweeping program.

Dr. Laurie Punch plunged her gloved hands into Sidney Taylor's open chest in a St. Louis hospital's operating room, pushing on his heart to make it pump again, though a bullet had torn through his flesh, collarbone and lung. His pulse had faded to nothing. She needed to get his heart beating.

She couldn't let the bullet win.

A U.S. Navy sailor shot and killed two civilian employees of the Defense Department and wounded a third before killing himself at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor military installation.

Rear Adm. Robert Chadwick, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said the shooting occurred near Dry Dock 2 in the Naval shipyard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Chadwick said the male shooter "has tentatively been identified as an active-duty sailor assigned to USS Columbia," a nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine.

George Zimmerman is suing the family of the teenager he shot nearly eight years ago, seeking more than $100 million from Trayvon Martin's parents, their attorney and others. Zimmerman claims he was the victim of a conspiracy, along with malicious prosecution and defamation.

Martin's family has responded with a statement saying there's no evidence to back Zimmerman's contentions that he was the victim of a conspiracy.

The story of the House Democrats' impeachment report has quickly become all about the phone records.

The majority Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a 300-page report detailing the evidence it has accumulated in its impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Former President Jimmy Carter has been released from a Georgia hospital after being admitted over the weekend to receive treatment for a urinary tract infection.

The Carter Center announced Wednesday the 39th president "looks forward to further rest and recovery at home."

"Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was discharged from Phoebe Sumter Medical Center this afternoon," Carter Center spokesperson Deanna Congileo said in a statement.

On Tuesday night, four young artists had a chance to join a pantheon of Turner Prize winners, a list studded with a slew of marquee names. Like many of the awards handed out in the arts community, from the National Book Awards to the Oscars, the judges were expected to pluck just one winner from the crop of finalists — just as the prize named for painter J.M.W.

Chinese officials have expressed outrage after the House passed a bill late Tuesday condemning Beijing's crackdown on China's Muslim Uighur minority.

The bipartisan bill, which passed the House in a 407-1 vote, condemns "gross human rights violations" against the Uighurs and calls for "an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China."

This hour originally aired Feb. 01, 2019.


With Jane Clayson

A 71-year-old psychologist has a message for women of her generation: “Happiness is a choice and a set of skills.” She lays out the road map.

Author Adam Minter remembers two periods of grief after his mother died in 2015: the intense sadness of her death, followed by the challenge of sorting through what he calls "the material legacy of her life."

Over the course of a year, Minter and his sister worked through their mother's possessions until only her beloved china was left. Neither one of them wanted to take the china — but neither could bear to throw it out. Instead, they decided to donate it.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

A prominent Japanese doctor who devoted his life to providing aid in Afghanistan was killed by unknown gunmen on Wednesday along with five Afghan colleagues. It's the second attack on aid workers in the country in recent weeks.

Officials said Tetsu Nakamura, 73, was attacked while riding in an aid vehicle in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. He died of his wounds while he was being airlifted to a base for emergency care.

So far, there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Taliban denied involvement; ISIS is also active in the area.

Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for some food stamp recipients, a change that is expected to eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for 688,000 adults.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday formally named businesswoman and political novice Kelly Loeffler as his pick to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is retiring at the end of this month.

Loeffler's is slated to take office on Jan. 1, the day after Isakson steps down. In August, Isakson cited health concerns as the reason for leaving office with three years left in his term.

HIV Prevention Drugs Are Available For Free: How Do You Get Them?

Dec 4, 2019

The Trump administration Tuesday unveiled a plan to distribute HIV prevention medication free to individuals who do not have prescription drug insurance coverage.

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