NPR News & Stories Via WUNC

Men may soon be able to take their own sperm count — at home. With a smartphone. Yes, there's an app for that.

You may be asking yourself, why?

Low sperm count is a marker for male infertility, a condition that is actually a neglected health issue worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Bacteria are thriving in the sky — and they influence the weather

22 hours ago
1
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/chriswaits/13870530113/">Chris Waits</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>

Ever since Antoni van Leeuwenhoek first observed “animalcules” through a microscope in the late 1600s, we’ve been finding bacteria all over. They’ve been discovered in deep sea vents, on human skin, and deep in Antarctic ice. There are even bacteria all the way up in the clouds. Strange and wonderful, no?

A viral social media campaign to fight the looming famine in Somalia has already raised more than $2 million. The goal is to send 60 tons of food to the country. But as the campaign has unfolded, it's become clear that it's still a work in progress. With the distribution set for March 27, some critical details are changing or not yet available.

By a largely party-line vote Tuesday, the Senate approved a bill that repeals Obama-era hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The House already voted last month to abolish those restrictions — which were instituted by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 to protect predator species from hunters — and so the bill now heads to the desk of President Trump, who is widely expected to sign it.

Baby Shafagh was born seven hours ago. In a refugee camp. Eight miles south of the Syrian-Jordanian border.

She's wrapped in a pink blanket. A white beanie covers her head.

In some ways, Shafagh is lucky. She came into this world in a maternity clinic, not a tent, and in a place where bombs are not falling overhead.

California’s had one of the wettest winters on record — more than twice as much rain and snow as in an average year. That's especially wild since we're six years into a historic drought. But California doesn't have enough dams, reservoirs or other storage. So instead of using it, all that precipitation just joins the Pacific Ocean.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Did NAFTA cost or create jobs? Both

23 hours ago
GettyImages-653577058.jpg
Sabri Ben-Achour

This story is from our special series that explores NAFTA’s role in our economy from the perspective of workers, business owners and trade negotiators. What exactly is NAFTA? And what happens if it changes?  Join us to discuss how one of the most hotly contested issues in our society shapes the way we live.

What did the North American Free Trade Agreement do?

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Thursday

British authorities have made eight arrests in their investigation into Wednesday's attack in London, police said Thursday morning.

Mark Rowley, the national lead for counterterrorism policing, told reporters that there were four dead, including the attacker, and 29 people have been treated in hospitals. Seven people are in critical condition, he said.

Police had earlier said there were five dead including the attacker.

More trouble for iconic retailer Sears

23 hours ago

In a financial filing on Tuesday, Sears said "substantial doubt exists related to the company's ability to continue as a going concern." The announcement hit the company's shares hard. Sears reported a loss of more than $2 billion in 2016. What does this disclosure mean for the retailer and is there any hope of a turnaround? 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

School districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said Wednesday in an 8-0 ruling.

The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More than 40 percent of American workers now spend at least part of their week working remotely, according to Gallup. But one company that was a pioneer of so-called telework is having second thoughts. Many remote workers at IBM were recently given a choice: come work at an office in one of six cities — Atlanta, Raleigh, Austin, Boston, San Francisco and New York — or leave. If this sounds familiar, big tech companies like Yahoo and Hewlett Packard have made similar moves.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The final game of the World Baseball Classic is tonight, down the road at Dodger Stadium. The United States made the finals for the first time, and it's playing against a team that’s close to home: Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican government bought ads to promote tourism during the game. The island could use a boost and a distraction from its major financial woes. For Puerto Ricans on the island and here on the mainland, a championship baseball game offers some rare positive news.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Late last year, India sought to force people with large amounts of cash stashed away to deposit it in bank accounts. It was a tax-collecting exercise to get people to disclose unreported wealth and pay up.

The government credits the move for a 12 percent increase in tax collections from the previous year.

Erie depends on immigrants to boost its economy

Mar 22, 2017
Saad-Albidhawi.jpg
Reema Khrais

Saad Albidhawi – whom everyone calls Al – has been fixing cars in his shop in Erie, Pennsylvania, since 1998.

Back then, he was in his 30s, a new Iraqi refugee living with his two brothers. He said to open his garage, he needed three very basic things:

“The money and the language and the help from other people.” 

Albidhawi said the money came from his previous job as a truck driver; the language came from his one-on-one classes; and the help took many forms, including recommendations from the electrician next door, who sent Albidhawi his first customers.

R
Jason Lee/Reuters

As a second-generation Chinese American author, Gish Jen is well aware of the dangers of stereotyping.

That doesn't stop her from unpacking the controversial notion that a deep culture divide separates East and West when it comes to how we view the self and identity. 

Her new book, "The Girl At the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap," is a deep dive into the debate.

Photos: What do refugee parents tell their children about Syria?

Mar 22, 2017
A
Alisa Reznick

A sign outside of the maternity clinic at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan tells you at any moment how many babies have been born at the camp. You can’t miss it.

The number updates with every single birth.

The day we visited, that number read 7,017. That’s more than 7,000 babies born in Zaatari over the past five years that the camp has been in operation. And, the camp itself is large, home to almost 80,000 people, according to the United Nations.

GAO Will Investigate Skyrocketing Prices For Orphan Drugs

Mar 22, 2017

Acting on a request from three influential U.S. senators, the government's accountability arm confirmed Tuesday that it will investigate potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act.

The Government Accountability Office still must determine the full scope of the investigation. That scope will take some months, says Chuck Young, GAO's managing director for public affairs.

North Korea fired a missile from its east coast Wednesday, in a test that appears to have failed in an explosion within seconds of launch, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry and U.S. Pacific Command. Both groups confirm the launch occurred at North Korea's air base in Wonsan.

The ill-fated missile, which marks the country's third test of the year and second so far this month, is seen as a response to annual joint military drills by the U.S. and South Korea.

Though he didn't come from a farming family, from a young age Tim Joseph was fascinated by the idea of living off the land. Reading magazines like The Stockman Grass Farmer and Graze, he "got hooked on the idea of grass-fed agriculture — that all energy and wealth comes from the sun," he explains, "and the shorter the distance between the sun and the end product," the higher the profit to the farmer.

What do your margarita and NAFTA have in common?

Mar 22, 2017
Martinez%20Brands%20resized.jpg
Kai Ryssdal and Daisy Palacios

This story is from our special series that explores NAFTA’s role in our economy from the perspective of workers, business owners and trade negotiators. What exactly is NAFTA? And what happens if it changes? Join us to discuss how one of the most hotly contested issues in our society shapes the way we live.

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

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Good news for hockey fans. Later this month, the U.S. is hosting the Women's World Hockey Championships. And Team USA is a favorite to win it all - if they play. Commentator Sarah Spain explains.

Two men who were born in Germany but don't have German citizenship will be deported to countries in North Africa, where their parents immigrated from, over suspicions that they were planning a terrorist attack. German officials say it's the first time the government is making such a move.

Pages