National & World News from NPR

Paul Kingsnorth's new novel, The Wake — a grim tale of medieval conquest and revenge — became a hit against all odds in the U.K. last year, and it's about to be released in the U.S.

I met Kingsnorth at his home in the countryside of far western Ireland. He and his wife grow their own food and home-school their two young kids. "I think we'll get bees and chickens, we hope, maybe something else," he told me, calling out to his daughter. "Lela, you want an alpaca, don't you? Lela wants an alpaca or a donkey or anything fluffy, really."

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Tropical Storm Erika has caused extensive flooding and landslides on the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, killing at least four people and cutting power and water to many residents.

The storm dumped 9 inches of rain on the mountainous island late Wednesday.

"The situation is grim. It is dangerous," Ian Pinard, Dominica's communications minister, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

His power and talent tested the nuts and bolts of basketball — literally. Darryl Dawkins, who became famous for backboard-shattering dunks after he was the first NBA player to skip college altogether, has died at age 58.

Lehigh Carbon Community College, where Dawkins coached for two seasons, says:

The National Portrait Gallery says it has no plans to heed calls by conservatives and anti-abortion activists to remove a bust of Margaret Sanger from an exhibit on civil rights. Sanger, who died in 1966, was an early supporter and activist for the birth control movement and the founder of Planned Parenthood.

NPR's Pam Fessler tells our Newscast unit that "the demands are part of a larger campaign against Planned Parenthood, after its employees were recorded talking about providing fetal tissue to medical researchers."

No one has ever written about having a body the way Alexandra Kleeman does.

Polio is almost gone from the face of the earth. The virus is actively circulating in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But now there's a worrisome new development in the polio end-game.

In Thursday's edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens, scientists report on a man in the United Kingdom who was immunized with oral polio vaccine as a child and whose stool samples continued to contain live polio virus for 28 years.

The images continue to haunt: storm surge from Hurricane Katrina pouring through gaps in failed flood walls, rapidly rising waters, desperate New Orleanians trapped on rooftops.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday ordered three tobacco companies to stop claiming their cigarettes are "additive-free" or "natural."

The agency said those claims could mislead smokers into thinking those cigarettes are safer than others.

My parents are Cuban and Panamanian. I grew up in Miami. I travel broadly in Latin America but reside in Brazil, which speaks Portuguese, not Spanish.

So what am I?

This may seem an irrelevant question to many, but as the American presidential season kicks into high gear there's been a lot of confusion about how to refer to people alternately called Hispanics or Latinos.

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Transcript

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Transcript

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In a new report and letter sent to congressional leadership, Planned Parenthood contends that controversial videos alleging the organization sells fetal tissue have been "heavily edited in order to significantly change the meaning" of what its staff said.

Dr. Bill Mahon was a young pediatrician in the early 1970s when he fell in love with the rugged coast and majestic redwoods of Mendocino County, Calif. Like other people who have moved to Mendocino from around the country, settling here for him was a personal choice that prioritized lifestyle over money.

The prospect of practicing medicine in a small community also called to him. In 1977 he left his well-paying job at Kaiser Sacramento to join a practice with two other pediatricians in Fort Bragg.

Still, the move was a risk.

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