National & World News from NPR

One recent afternoon, I was walking up Nanjing West Road, Shanghai's traditional shopping street, when I ran into a crowd of protesters being chased off by a plainclothes cop wielding a bullhorn and a line of uniformed police. Demonstrations like this in the heart of the city are rare and sensitive for the government, which fears political unrest as China's economic growth continues to slow.

I asked a fleeing protester what had happened.

"Don't walk alongside me," pleaded the woman, named Zhao, staring straight ahead. "The police will detain me."

Two years ago in Istanbul, I dragged Selcuk Altun, a Turkish author and lover of all things Byzantine, to the Hagia Sophia, a sixth century church that's now a museum. But we couldn't even get close. Altun took one look at the mass of sweating humanity blocking the entrance and decided to do the interview outside. But this year, the change is astonishing.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation that allows mental health counselors and therapists to refuse to treat patients based on religious objections or personal beliefs.

Critics of the law say it could result in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As Nashville Public Radio reported earlier this month:

The FBI has officially decided it can't tell Apple how the agency hacked into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

Nearly a week after the bodies of eight family members were discovered in four homes in rural Pike County, Ohio, authorities are remaining tight-lipped about the details of the investigation, saying they don't want to tip off the murderer or murderers.

After Bernie Sanders lost four of the five presidential primaries Tuesday night, the Democratic hopeful's campaign is laying off many staffers.

Noting that 80 percent of the nominating contests have been completed, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement that "we no longer require many of the loyal and dedicated state and national support staffers who helped us."

Championing "stability" and protectionism, Donald Trump managed a sendup of the foreign policies of the last three American presidents, as well as the candidate he is likely to face this fall in a general election — Hillary Clinton.

"With President Obama and Secretary Clinton, we've had ... a reckless, rudderless and aimless foreign policy — one that has blazed a path of destruction in its wake," Trump charged in a sober foreign policy address at a hotel in Washington. He added, "[T]he legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion and disarray."

The NPR Politics team is back with a quick take following Sen. Ted Cruz's announcement that if he wins the nomination, Carly Fiorina will be his running mate. Most candidates wait until they actually get the nomination to pick a VP, so what's with all the fanfare? Cruz's announcement came just a day after he all five states that voted in the Northeast primaries.

On the podcast:

  • Political Editor Domenico Montanaro
  • Campaign Reporter Scott Detrow
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Need knee replacement surgery? It may be worthwhile to head for Tucson.

That's because the average price for a knee replacement in the Arizona city is $21,976, about $38,000 less than it would in Sacramento, Calif. That's according to a report issued Wednesday by the Health Care Cost Institute.

Missouri's so-called religious freedom bill may be dead for this year. The amendment to the state Constitution would have protected people who didn't want to provide services related to same-sex marriages, including clerks, clergy and businesses.

Wednesday's 6-6 vote by a House committee stopped the measure from advancing, The Associated Press reports. Three Republicans joined three Democrats in opposition, the AP says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

People who sustain a concussion or a more severe traumatic brain injury are likely to have sleep problems that continue for at least a year and a half.

The Supreme Court appears to be leaning in favor of reversing the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, based on Wednesday's oral arguments.

At the case's core is how to determine a clean "official act" from a corrupt one, and where the line is.

Justice Elena Kagan said during oral arguments that the court is concerned both about overzealous prosecutors and giving a free pass to corrupt politicians.

Stacy Bannerman didn't recognize her husband after he returned from his second tour in Iraq.

"The man I had married was not the man that came back from war," she says.

Bannerman's husband, a former National Guardsman, had been in combat and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He behaved in ways she had never expected, and one day, he tried to strangle her.

"I had been with this man for 11 years at that point, and there had never been anything like this before," Bannerman said. "I was so furious and so afraid."

A five-primary victory on Tuesday night seemed to embolden Donald Trump Tuesday night. Taking questions after his victory speech, the Republican front-runner went after Hillary Clinton, his most likely opponent in November, on her gender.

"Well, I think the only card she has is the woman's card," he said. "She's got nothing else going on. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the women's vote. And the beautiful thing is that women don't like her, OK?"

OK.

A prominent columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the largest news organization in Nevada, resigned after being told he could no longer write about two of the state's biggest players, including his newspaper's new owner, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

"If I can't do my job, if I can't hold the heavyweights in the community to account, then I'm just treading water," the columnist, John L. Smith, told NPR in an interview. "It wasn't an easy decision to make, but there was no other decision to make — at least in my mind."

Planning to squeeze cash out of your house this spring to do some remodeling?

You can relax a little. Interest rates on home equity loans, credit cards and car loans are likely to stay low for a while longer.

That's because the Federal Reserve Board's policymakers ended their meeting Wednesday without raising the benchmark short-term interest rate. If the benchmark had risen, then your borrowing costs probably would have been pointing higher too.

But you should be OK for now.

Pasang Lama is one of the survivors of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal that took 9,000 lives across the country, including his parents, brother and more than 30 relatives from his home village in the Langtang Valley. To cope with his loss, the 24-year-old has turned to an unexpected hobby: photography.

"After the earthquake, we lost everything, even the culture," Lama says. He and other young survivors from Langtang have started photographing their lives post-disaster.

Ted Cruz announced Wednesday he is picking former rival Carly Fiorina as his running mate in a last-ditch move designed to shake up the GOP primary race in which he badly trails Donald Trump.

Calling his decision "one of the most solemn choices you make" as a candidate, at a rally in Indianapolis, Ind., Cruz praised Fiorina's business experience, character and past ability to stand up to the Republican front-runner.

"She doesn't get overly excited," Cruz said. "She doesn't get rattled over what is being thrown at her."

Harriet Tubman, who will soon be the first African-American to grace a U.S. currency note, spent her whole adult life raising money either to rescue slaves or help them start life afresh on free soil. While her abolitionist friends in the North were generous contributors to the cause, Tubman also self-funded her heroic raids through an activity she enjoyed and excelled at: cooking.

Tubman's role as a professional cook, which provided her with a much-needed source of money in her long and poverty-stricken life, has often been overlooked.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food.

Take a look at some lawns this spring. You might see something that looks like a crown of thin leaves and spikey, yellow flowers shooting over the grass, particularly if you live in the South. If the stems are triangular, you've just found a sedge. Dig it up. If it's the right kind of sedge, clinging to the roots will be a few chewy, brown, marble-sized tubers called tiger nuts.

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