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Days after expanding the fight for of Mosul, Iraq's security forces are pushing further into the strategic city's western portion, focusing on its airport. Thousands of ISIS fighters are believed to be in Mosul, the extremist group's biggest stronghold in Iraq.

From Erbil, Iraq, NPR's Alice Fordham reports for our Newscast unit:

With a nudge of a robotic arm, astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured a space capsule carrying 5,500 pounds of cargo early Thursday.

"Capture confirmed," NASA TV's announcer stated at 5:44 a.m. ET. The capture took place as the space station and the SpaceX capsule flew in orbit 250 miles over Australia's northwest coast.

For nearly a century, people have reported mysterious epidemics of permanent paralysis in rural regions of Africa. In 1990, Hans Rosling a Swedish epidemiologist and pop-star statistician, who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this month, linked the malady to cyanide in the staple crop, cassava.

Will the election of Donald Trump, who once boasted of grabbing women by the genitalia and has a history of sexist remarks, create a wave of female candidates at all levels of government in the coming years?

Early signs from the groups that work with women considering a bid for office suggest a level of intense interest not seen in at least a quarter century.

Kate Noble had never considered getting involved in politics until she woke up the day after Trump's surprise victory over Hillary Clinton.

President Trump wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to enforce his executive orders on immigration.

It wont be easy.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was blunt when asked by a member of Congress about it. He said he will add to the ranks "as fast as we can."

But he quickly added, "we will not lower standards and we will not lower training." Kelly then said he didn't believe "we're going to get 10,000 and 5,000 on board within the next couple of years."

Sen. John McCain made an unannounced trip to northern Syria last week to meet with U.S. forces stationed there, his office announced on Wednesday.

McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, went to discuss the campaign for defeating militants from the Islamic State.

"Sen. McCain's visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq," according to a statement from spokeswoman Julie Tarallo.

The trip, which is considered official travel, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico would run right through Native lands, and tribal leaders in the region say it would desecrate sacred sites.

"Over my dead body will we build a wall," says Verlon Jose, vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation. "It's like me going into your home and saying 'You know what? I believe in order to protect your house we need some adjusting.' And you're going to say, 'Wait a minute, who are you to come into my house and tell me how to protect my home?' " he says.

Scientists around the United States are getting ready to do an unprecedented experiment: They plan to march en masse in Washington, D.C., and other cities on April 22, to take a stand for the importance of public policies based on science.

Some researchers predict that this March for Science will release much needed energy and enthusiasm at a time when science is under threat; others worry it will damage science's reputation as an unbiased seeker of truth.

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, health care under the Affordable Care Act is going to change in the next few years. The Republican-led Congress has vowed to "repeal and replace" the health law known as Obamacare.

That has left many people anxious and confused about what will happen and when. So NPR's Morning Edition asked listeners to post questions on Twitter and Facebook, and we will be answering some of them here and on the radio in the weeks ahead.

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

Keitra Bates is standing in front of an empty storefront on Atlanta's Westside. The walls are yellow-painted stucco over cinder blocks, with iron bars on the windows and doors, and a small side yard littered with abandoned tires. A corner store, the Fair Street Superette, is next door.

London's Metropolitan Police Service, better known as Scotland Yard, is Britain's oldest and biggest police force. More than 43,000 officers and staff work for the organization.

On Wednesday, Cressida Dick, 56, was named as the first female police commissioner in the organization's 188-year history.

In a statement, the former beat cop from London's West End, said she was "thrilled and humbled" by the appointment.

From 2011 to 2014 Dick was head of counterterrorism, and among other operations, she oversaw security for the 2012 London Olympics.

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In the waning years of the Civil War, advertisements like this began appearing in newspapers around the country:

"INFORMATION WANTED By a mother concerning her children.

Local law enforcement officers have arrested some people who chose not to evacuate federal land near part of the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Most protesters had left earlier. At dusk, police moved back, and said they would not enter the camp at that time.

At the Oscars this weekend, one spotlight will shine on African-American women in the space race, thanks to the movie Hidden Figures, which is nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture.

Mae Jemison made history in this field as the first African-American woman in space, as part of the crew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.

Ever since Donald Trump entered the presidential race, his comments on illegal immigration have been pored over in the press — from vows to deport millions of people to promises that any enforcement plan would have "a lot of heart." Observers asked, again and again, how rhetoric would translate into actual policy.

Now activists and experts have the policies themselves to examine.

Democrat Michelle Frankard of Wisconsin voted for President Trump, and she's hoping she won't regret it.

At the Garden of Eatin', a bustling diner in picturesque Galesville, Frankard is having breakfast with her adopted father, Ken Horton. A dozen shiny electric guitars line the walls, each next to a black-and-white framed poster with the likes of Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin. The deep-seated booths host a variety of regulars and those just passing through.

Flooding in San Jose, Calif., has prompted the evacuation of at least 14,000 residents.

The mandatory evacuation orders began overnight, and will remain in effect for at least another day, reports Peter Jon Shuler of member station KQED.

"Flooding along Coyote Creek came after a series of heavy rainstorms combined with water rushing down the spillway of nearby Anderson Reservoir, which is now filled to capacity," he says. "Emergency crews had to rescue more than 250 people from their homes by boat."

News of recent anti-Semitic acts in the U.S. — like the toppling of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis and bomb threats against Jewish community centers — is being followed closely in Israel. So is the Israeli government's response to these incidents.

Some Israelis are questioning whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has played down the incidents to keep pressure off his political ally, President Trump.

The Dakota Access Pipeline's route takes it over four states and nearly 1,200 miles, from the Bakken oil fields in northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and down to a terminal in Illinois.

But one Missouri River crossing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has become the focal point of a fight over how the pipeline's route was analyzed and approved by the federal government.

Disability rights activist Nick Dupree died last weekend. Tomorrow would have been his 35th birthday.

Back in 2003, he told NPR: "I want a life. I just want a life. Like anyone else. Just like your life. Or anyone else's life."

He got that life.

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

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

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Who says nobody dreams big anymore?

MATT NEGRIN: I want to write about what it's like to never leave the Mall of America.

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Four newly discovered frog species are so tiny that they can sit comfortably on a fingernail, making them some of the smallest-known frogs in the world.

Scientists said in a video that they were "surprised to find that the miniature forms are in fact locally abundant and fairly common." The frogs likely escaped notice until now because of their tiny size and secretive habitats, hidden under damp soil or dense vegetation.

Reform groups in Mexico have been trying for years to persuade politicians to regularly disclose their assets and income, pointing to their northern neighbor as an example of a place where financial disclosure is the norm in government.

Then came President Trump, who has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns.

Wal-Mart announced Tuesday that its online sales grew at a faster pace than Amazon’s in the fourth quarter.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with CNN’s Maggie Lake (@maggielake) about what has been going so well for the nation’s largest retailer, while another iconic retailer, Macy’s, is struggling.

Since the formation of the United States, presidents have struggled with what to keep secret from the American people and what to reveal.

As co-director of the Transparency Policy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Mary Graham has studied how various presidents have handled the problem over the years.

They were unlikely settlers of America’s heartland: children, shipped from New York orphanages to small towns in the Midwest at the turn of the 20th century. And the little town of Concordia, Kansas, is making sure they’re not forgotten.

C.J. Janovy from Here & Now contributor KCUR has our story.

During a sentencing hearing in Texas two decades ago, a defense attorney for a man named Duane Buck called on an expert who said his client's race made it more statistically likely that he would commit violent crimes in the future.

Because of that statement, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-2 that Buck, who is black, can appeal his death sentence.

It's the latest development in a case that Chief Justice John Roberts describes as "a perfect storm" of circumstances that he says culminated in a lower court "making a decision on life or death on the basis of race."

These days, almost every new movie, TV show, album or book feels so anticipated and pre-packaged that we're already tired of it by the time it's released. This makes it especially thrilling when something dazzling just appears like that alien spaceship in Arrival, startling even those whose business it is be in the know.

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