And now, this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to go back to law and the politics of abortion, and we want to focus on what's happening in Texas. Early this morning, legislators there revived an effort to restrict access to abortion in that state. The bill would ban most abortions after 20 weeks and it would also place new tough standards on existing clinics.
Coming up in a few minutes, we'll dive a little deeper into what's going on with the abortion debate in Texas. But first, we want to talk about a development that's affecting recipients of housing assistance in Los Angeles County. The U.S. Department of Justice this week ordered LA County and the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, California to pay a total of $12.5 million in damages to residents of subsidized housing. That follows a two-year investigation by the department.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. If you were to paint a picture of today's contemporary music styles, it might be saturated with synthesizers and samplers that make up a, well, a very contemporary sound, very 21st-century. But there are a few musicians out there achieving the sound of today, but with the instruments of yesterday.
The next couple of days will bring fireworks, hot dogs — and a new unemployment report.
At least the first two will be fun.
As for Friday's job-market assessment, the Labor Department report likely will show little or no change in the 7.6 percent unemployment rate. "There is still a general weakness in the labor market," says Daniel North, economist with Euler Hermes, a credit insurance company.
Over 25 years as a federal judge, Royce Lamberth has touched some of the biggest and most contentious issues in the country. He led the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court after the Sept. 11 attacks, reviewed petitions from detainees at the Guantanamo prison, and gave a boost to Native Americans suing the federal government.
Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping and raping three women while he held them prisoner in his house for about 10 years, has been declared mentally competent to stand trial. The finding comes one week after a Cleveland judge ordered Castro to undergo an evaluation.
The results of that analysis were presented at a court hearing this morning.
In Chinatowns around the country — in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York — a peculiar financial scam is targeting elderly Chinese women.
This so-called "blessing scam" isn't much of a blessing. By asking lots of personal questions, the scammers convince their targets that they face terrible tragedy that they can only avoid if they place their valuables in a bag — and then pray over it. Usually, the victims place their jewelry and money in a bag that the thieves swap out for an identical one. And then the thieves tell the women not to open the bag for days.
It's much better to prevent illness than to treat it: less time, less money, less suffering. But prevention is a surprisingly hard sell with doctors and the public. That's true even though preventable chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are the most common causes of disability and premature death in the U.S.
If you died 55,000 years ago in the lands east of the Mediterranean, you'd be lucky to be buried in an isolated pit with a few animal parts thrown in. But new archaeological evidence shows that by about 12,000 years ago, you might have gotten a flower-lined grave in a small cemetery.