NPR News

Updated Dec. 13 at 5:21 p.m. ET

The Senate voted with support from lawmakers in both parties Thursday to end U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. The 56-41 vote marks the first time the Senate utilized powers granted under the 1973 War Powers Act, which gives Congress the power to demand an end to military actions.

While the House likely won't vote on the measure, the bipartisan vote is a major rebuke to Saudi Arabia, long a key U.S. ally.

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

Updated at 1:33 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that he intends to nominate William Barr, a prominent Republican lawyer and former attorney general, to return and lead the Justice Department.

Barr, who served as George H.W. Bush's attorney general from 1991 to 1993, holds sweeping views of executive power and hard-line positions on criminal justice issues.

"He was my first choice from Day 1," Trump told reporters outside the White House. "I think he will serve with great distinction."

Friday is shaping up as a busy day in the Justice Department's Russia investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller faces deadlines in two federal courts in cases involving two former Trump insiders, a former FBI director treks up to Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview, and a onetime Trump campaign adviser gets out of prison.

Here's a quick breakdown of what's on tap for the day:

Mueller's office to detail Paul Manafort's alleged lies

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found a new way to make sustainable fuel out of sunlight.

The process is an artificial form of photosynthesis – where plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into energy.

Here, researchers combined cobalt and urea – both cheap and abundant – to make a yellow material that absorbs sunlight.

That lets the material reduce carbon dioxide from the air into component parts that can be stored as a combustible liquid fuel.

Bill Gardner, the longest serving secretary of state in the nation, was elected to his 22nd term today, besting challenger Colin Van Ostern by just four votes.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

Former President George H.W. Bush was remembered as "a great and noble man" by his eldest son, former President George W. Bush, at a solemn but joyous state funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

The cathedral bells tolled as the casket containing the 41st president was carried by a military honor guard down the center aisle on Wednesday morning.

Seated together on one side of the aisle were President Trump and former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with their wives.

NPR's chief executive, Jarl Mohn, announced Tuesday that he would step aside next June at the end of his five-year term to focus on a newly created position to lead the public radio network's fundraising drive ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2020.

Mohn announced that he and his wife, Pamela, would also contribute $10 million toward the effort.

"I've had a chance to work at some great companies. But this has been the most important and rewarding thing I've done in my career," Mohn said in a telephone interview. "It really has been remarkable."

It may seem paradoxical, but sugar maple trees need snow to grow.

Each winter, a deep blanket of snow — 8 inches deep or more — covers about 65 percent of northeastern sugar maples. Without this insulating snow, the soil freezes deeper and longer, damaging the trees’ shallow roots.

George Herbert Walker Bush died late Friday. For many in the community surrounding Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, the former president was much more than the leader of the free world — he was their beloved friend and neighbor.

Former President George H.W. Bush Dies At 94

Dec 1, 2018

Updated at 7:05 a.m. ET

George Herbert Walker Bush died Friday at the age of 94.

Former President George W. Bush released a statement, saying for himself and his siblings, "Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died."

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Malcolm Gladwell's TEDTalk

The story of David and Goliath has transcended its biblical origins to become a common shorthand for unlikely victory. But, asks author Malcolm Gladwell, is that really what the David and Goliath story is about?

About Malcolm Gladwell

How Can Deserts Turn Into Grasslands?

Nov 30, 2018

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Allan Savory's TEDTalk

About two-thirds of the world's grasslands have turned into desert. Allan Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

About Allan Savory

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Jennifer 8. Lee's Talk

Journalist Jennifer 8. Lee talks about her hunt for the origins of familiar Chinese-American dishes — exploring the hidden spots where these two cultures have combined to form a new cuisine.

About Jennifer 8. Lee

Are We Happier When We Have More Options?

Nov 30, 2018

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Barry Schwartz's TEDTalk

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

About Barry Schwartz

The Book Concierge is back! Explore more than 300 standout titles picked by NPR staff and critics.

Open the app now!

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The fungal disease white-nose syndrome has killed off millions of bats across America. Since it was first identified in 2006, it’s appeared on bats in more than 30 states, including all of New England, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

Now, scientists are trying to learn more about the impact of this devastating disease, by listening to the calls of the bats left behind.

In a windowless classroom at the John J. Moran medium-security prison in Cranston, R.I., three men sit around a table to share how and when they began using opioids.

For Josh, now 39, it was when he was just 13 years old. "I got grounded for a week in my house, so I grabbed a bundle of heroin and just sat inside and sniffed it all week."

"I started using heroin at 19," says Ray, now 23. "I was shooting it. It was with a group of friends that I was working with, doing roof work."

On an afternoon last September, a string of explosions suddenly hit Merrimack Valley, Mass. At least five homes were destroyed and a person was killed. More than 20 others were injured.

Federal investigators say they have now pinpointed what caused the sudden explosions on Sept. 13 — a natural gas company field engineer made a major mistake in the plans he developed for construction work that happened earlier that day, resulting in a disastrous chain reaction.

Seven current and former students in Dartmouth's Psychological and Brain Sciences Department are suing the school over alleged mishandling of sexual assault and harassment reports, saying administrators ignored years of criminal behavior by tenured faculty members.

Read the full text of the suit here.

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