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Christian Picciolini was 14 years old when he attended the first gathering of what would become the Hammerskin Nation, a violent, white-power skinhead group. Looking back, he describes his introduction to the group as receiving a "lifeline of acceptance."

"I felt a sort of energy flow through me that I had never felt before — as if I was a part of something greater than myself," he says.

India has successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile. Indian authorities say the launch sent an Agni-V, a missile with a strike range of some 3,100 miles, flying from an island off the country's east coast in midmorning local time Thursday.

In a tweet heralding the test, Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman described it as a "major boost to the defence capabilities of our country."

Listen up, night owls: If you're sleeping six or fewer hours per night, you're not doing your health any favors.

A new study finds that getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night may help you tame your sweet tooth.

Updated at 12:20 PM

President Trump injected fresh confusion into tense negotiations to avert an impending government shutdown with a morning tweet that indicated he opposed the House stop-gap funding bill.

"CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!" Trump tweeted Thursday morning. The House funding bill includes a six-year renewal of the popular Children's Health Insurance Program, which GOP leaders included as a potential sweetener to get the votes they need to pass the stop-gap measure.

This past year, 2017, was among the warmest years on record, according to new data released by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

The planet's global surface temperature last year was the second highest since 1880, NASA says. NOAA calls it the third warmest year on record, because of slight variations in the ways that they analyze temperatures.

Both put 2017 behind 2016's record temperatures. And "both analyses show that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010," NASA said in a press release.

When Army Capt. Mark Nutsch and 11 fellow Green Berets jumped off their helicopter into the swirling dust of northern Afghanistan in October 2001, their Afghan partner informed them they would be battling the Taliban — on horseback.

"In that situation, they're certainly not going to give you their very best horses," Nutsch said dryly.

Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET

Health care workers who want to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral beliefs will have a new defender in the Trump administration.

The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.

In the competition for Amazon's second headquarters, just 20 metropolitan areas remain in the running.

Last year, Amazon set off a hyper-competitive proposal process, saying that it plans to invest $5 billion in building a second headquarters that could create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs.

The Seattle-based company, which is a financial supporter of NPR, says it reviewed 238 proposals in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Here are the metropolitan areas that made the cut:

We live in an age of heightened awareness about concussions. From battlefields around the world to football fields in the U.S., we've heard about the dangers caused when the brain rattles around inside the skull and the possible link between concussions and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Abdullah Shrim's phone almost never stops ringing. Most of the calls and messages are from other Yazidis asking for help to find their relatives. Others are from people threatening to kill him.

Shrim, a gregarious man with a ready smile, so far has rescued 338 members of the Yazidi religious group held captive by ISIS — almost all of them from Syria. It's a long way from his background as a beekeeper and businessman.

China is reporting its fastest economic growth in seven years, saying its gross domestic product grew by 6.9 percent in 2017. It's the first time since 2010 that the speed of China's economic growth went up rather than edging down.

In releasing the number Thursday, the National Bureau of Statistics of China said, "The economy has achieved stable and healthy development."

More than 30 Russian athletes participating in Siberian Indoor Championships last weekend abruptly withdrew from competition when drug testers arrived at the event.

According to the Russian sports website Championat, as many as 36 athletes cited various illnesses for withdrawing from the competition at the city of Irkutsk.

Apple announced in a statement on Wednesday that it plans to accelerate U.S. investment and create thousands of new jobs.

For years Apple Inc. has been criticized for outsourcing manufacturing to China.

Apple says it plans to bring back billions of dollars it has kept in tax havens overseas, and that it will pay a one-time tax of $38 billion on its overseas cash holdings.

Hugh Wilson — the creator of the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, who was also a director and an Emmy Award-winning writerhas died at 74.

Wilson died Jan. 14 at his home in Charlottesville, Va. His wife, Charters Smith Wilson, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he had been battling lung cancer and emphysema.

Wilson began in television by writing scripts for The Bob Newhart Show and The Tony Randall Show.

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Like many lawmakers, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., supports reviving earmarks, but he mused at a House Rules Committee hearing Wednesday that the debate is futile if House Speaker Paul Ryan does not.

"When the speaker ain't inclined, ain't much going to happen," Hastings quipped, noting the speaker reiterated as recently as last Friday that he opposes ending an earmark ban put in place by former House Speaker John Boehner.

As President Trump approaches his first anniversary of taking office, he and others are taking stock.

"2017 was a year of tremendous achievement, monumental achievement, actually," Trump told members of his Cabinet last week. "I don't think any administration has ever done what we've done and what we've accomplished in its first year."

The president has delivered on some of his major campaign promises. Other pledges are still works in progress, while some commitments have been quietly discarded.

As President Trump approaches the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, a majority of Americans think that his first year in office has been a failure and that he has divided the nation.

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll data released Thursday finds that Americans deemed Trump's first year a failure, 53 percent to 40 percent. And by an almost 2-to-1 ratio (61 percent to 32 percent), Americans said they believe Trump has divided the country since his election.

A former Department of Energy photographer has filed a federal whistleblower suit alleging he lost his job after leaking photos of a private meeting between Energy Secretary Rick Perry and a major Trump donor who heads one of the country's largest mining companies.

The photographer, Simon Edelman, took photos of the March 29, 2017, meeting between Perry and Robert "Bob" Murray, the CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, who gave $300,000 to the Trump campaign.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. ET

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told a caucus of Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday that he has persuaded President Trump that building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is unnecessary, signaling a possible reversal on the key campaign promise.

Kelly, who was secretary of Homeland Security before taking over as chief of staff in July, said that candidate Trump had not been "fully informed" about the border situation when he pledged repeatedly on the campaign trail to build the 2,200-mile wall and get Mexico to pay for it.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon frustrated lawmakers this week when he declined to answer many of their questions about his time in the Trump administration.

To hear members of the House Intelligence Committee tell it, Bannon was using the concept of executive privilege to evade legitimate oversight from Congress.

At the podium Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disagreed.

Updated on Jan. 17 at 6:12 p.m.

As the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election now carries into 2018, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is keeping quiet on details.

But one thing does seem clear: A year after President Trump took office, the crime of foreign money laundering looks as though it has become an important focus.

Since last May, thousands of Haitian immigrants have been steadily pouring into Canada, mostly on foot at the Quebec border, in an attempt to flee aggressive anti-immigration policies by the Trump administration.

On the first day as head of the United Nations — January 1, 2017 — Antonio Guterres pledged to make 2017 a year of peace.

But the year didn't turn out as he expected. In an informal address to member states at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Guterres said "peace remains elusive" — and "in fundamental ways, the world has gone in reverse."

With the death of biologist Mathilde Krim on Monday, at the age of 91 at her home in New York, the world lost a pioneering scientist, activist and fundraiser in AIDS research. She is being widely praised this week for her clarity, compassion and leadership.

Amid the panic, confusion and discrimination of the HIV epidemic's earliest days, Krim stood out — using science and straight talk, in the 1980s and beyond, to dispel fear, stigma, and misinformation among politicians and the public.

Updated at 8:06 a.m. ET, Jan. 18

Congressional leaders plan to vote later this week on a month-long spending bill but the ongoing fight over immigration threatens to derail the plan days before the Friday deadline to prevent a government shutdown.

Republican leaders say they are confident that Congress will vote this week to extend current spending levels until February 16 but Democrats and some far-right conservatives are threatening to block the legislation.

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Walmart is the latest national company joining in the fight to try to help curb America's harrowing opioid epidemic, which now kills more people than breast cancer.

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