NPR News

Cystic Fibrosis Drug Wins Approval

Jan 31, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug that can treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis.

The drug, known as Kalydeco, works by helping to fix one defect in the protein that causes the disease.

Any job that involves breaking up rock or concrete or brick can potentially expose workers to dangerous silica dust, and last year it looked like the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was about to put stricter controls in place to limit this health hazard.

The last time the British did this, they had a king: George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth, was on the throne.

George was so often tongue-tied, yet he proclaimed open the 1948 London Olympics flawlessly.

It was late July. The sun shone down on London from a cloudless sky. The BBC had acquired the TV broadcasting rights for just $4,000 and made the most of them.

People packed Wembley Stadium, eager to forget the horrors of the second world war.

As the Republican candidates were rallying their supporters in Florida on Tuesday night, their campaigns were quietly sending disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission in Washington. The big picture: Mitt Romney had more money than Newt Gingrich. President Obama had more than either of them. And a few of the new superPACs filed donor lists filled with high rollers.

Tuesday's disclosures run only through Dec. 31 but still reveal some essential truths.

For about two decades, ending in 1971, a former Monsanto chemical plant in West Virginia produced the herbicide 2,4,5-T which was used in "Agent Orange" — the defoliant the military sprayed over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

Now, Monsanto faces a class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of people living where the herbicide was manufactured in Nitro, W.Va.

On a frigid January morning, bundled-up travelers step off a ferry and scurry toward the imposing stone walls of the Haydarpasa train station, a 19th century landmark in Istanbul, a city full of history.

The people boarding this morning are nostalgic. They're longtime station employees, taking one of the last train runs to Eskesihir, where the station's first director-general is buried.

They're going, as it were, to give him bad news — that Haydarpasa's 150-year service as a public transportation center may be coming to an end.

O, for the love of Fido. In the messaging wars between presidential campaigns, there's no hiding the women (Newt Gingrich's ex-wife) or the children (as school janitors), and now not even the pets.

Thanks to the health care overhaul, most people no longer have to worry about getting sick and running out of health insurance coverage.

The law eliminated lifetime limits, which ran in many plans from $1 millon to $2 million.

Unfortunately, though, the change doesn't apply to plans that enroll some of the sickest people: those who buy coverage in so-called high-risk insurance pools because they have medical problems that make them uninsurable in the private market.

VIDEO: A Bunny That Thinks It's A Sheepdog

Jan 31, 2012

We'll get back to the serious news soon enough. But first, a video that, as The Awl tells us, is blowing up out on the Internet. We're not sure what it says about sheep, herding dogs or rabbits, but there's probably no need to over think this, so just watch:

As part of his yearly report to the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, the United States' intelligence chief said that depending how threatened Iran feels, it may be more willing to launch an attack against the U.S.

With virtually all polls giving him a solid lead among Florida's Republican voters, Mitt Romney is expected to handily win the Sunshine State's GOP primary Tuesday, putting him back on course for his party's presidential nomination.

If you thought the 2008 election cycle was full of negative ads, just wait until 2012's campaign gets fully underway.

The upcoming presidential campaign, says journalist Joe Hagan, is expected to "be the most negative in the history of American politics."

"Skinny venti quad decaf latte" is not a household term in India. But that may be about to change, as Elliot Hannon reports from New Delhi on today's Morning Edition.

More Than A Million Condoms Recalled In South Africa

Jan 31, 2012

The party may be over, but the trouble may just be starting in South Africa.

The health department in Free State province is recalling 1.35 million condoms that may not be up to snuff.

The Occupy D.C. encampment received notice that as of noon yesterday, camping would not be allowed at McPherson Square, the downtown Washington, D.C. park they've occupied for months now.

But that deadline came and went and instead of heeding the warning from the National Park Service, the protesters erected an even bigger tent. The protesters draped a huge blue tarp emblazoned with the words "Tent of Dreams" over the statue of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson in the middle of the park.

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