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Mules named Sal are hard to find these days along the Erie Canal. But almost two centuries after workers began digging its route across upstate New York, you can still see barges pushed and pulled through what some consider the first superhighway of the U.S.

As the canal prepares to celebrate its bicentennial next July, some are questioning whether the canal is still worth subsidizing.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a formal recall of 1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on Thursday.

During a press conference, Chairman Elliot Kaye said consumers should "take advantage of this recall right away" because the phone represents such a "serious fire hazard."

Kaye said consumers should check the identifying number on the back of the phone at to determine whether their phone has a defective battery.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Jack Daniel's is a historic brand built on stories and legend. To this day, all of the whiskey is made in the hills of little Lynchburg, Tenn. And as part of its 150th anniversary, the company is highlighting a lesser-known part of its story: how a former slave played a key role in its founding.

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump offered a bold prediction Thursday that his economic plan will deliver up to 25 million new jobs over the next decade. He described the blueprint as "the most pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-family plan put forth perhaps in the history of our country."

During the Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

The ground had barely stopped shaking from North Korea's most recent nuclear test last week when the international condemnations began.

Samantha Cannariato has been trying to return her Samsung Galaxy Note 7 for more than a week. All owners have been urged to exchange the device after reports of phones exploding or catching fire. After hours in calls and five trips to the store, Cannariato still can't get rid of the phone.

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Episode 724: Cat Scam

Sep 14, 2016

Fred and Natasha Ruckel invented a cat toy called the Ripple Rug. It's like a scrunched up doormat with holes in it, and for cats it's like Disneyland-level fun. When the Ruckels put it up for sale on Amazon, it started selling well. It was a solid business. Then one day, Fred noticed that the Ripple Rug was also on sale on eBay--for twenty dollars more.

Sugar shocked.

That describes the reaction of many Americans this week following revelations that, 50 years ago, the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists for research that shifted the focus away from sugar's role in heart disease — and put the spotlight squarely on dietary fat.

What might surprise consumers is just how many present-day nutrition studies are still funded by the food industry.

President Obama has announced that the U.S. is ready to lift economic sanctions against Myanmar in light of political reforms in the Southeast Asian nation.

It's going to happen "soon," Obama said, but he did not indicate a specific timeline during a joint news conference Wednesday at the White House with Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Lifting sanctions "is the right thing to do in order to ensure that the people of Burma see the rewards from a new way of doing business, and a new government," Obama said. (The country is also known as Burma.)

High deductible health plans are the new normal.

Just over half of employees this year have a health insurance policy with a deductible of at least $1,000, according to a survey of employers from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It's the continuation of a multiyear trend of companies passing more of the costs of employee health care back onto workers.

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The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer says it will buy U.S. seed seller Monsanto for $66 billion in an all-cash deal that will create the world's largest supplier of seeds and agricultural chemicals.

Ever since home video games were introduced four decades ago, mastering them has typically involved late nights in front of a screen, fueled by junk food.

But now that colleges offer scholarships for gamers and pro teams compete for big prizes, some gamers are heading to the gym to train.

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Fourteen self-driving Ford Fusions idle in front of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.

On each vehicle, dozens of stationary and spinning cameras collect 1.4 million distance measurements per second, guiding the car on its journey.

Beginning Wednesday, the cars will be deployed on Pittsburgh's streets in a striking experiment by Uber to introduce self-driving technology to its passengers.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson's $20 million settlement with Fox News was unusual in some ways; she received an apology from the network and her complaint resulted in the ouster of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

A federal agency used her Wells Fargo unit as a cautionary tale, imposing the largest fine it's ever levied. Her bank fired some 5,300 employees for acting "counter to our values." But questions are now circulating about Carrie Tolstedt, the unit's leader, who's set to depart her post with $124.6 million in stock and options, and whose compensation for the five years targeted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau included a yearly incentive bonus of $5.5 million in stock, to go along with her base pay and other bonuses.

Southern California Gas Co. has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a case in which it faced a criminal charge associated with its handling of a massive gas leak in Porter Ranch, an affluent neighborhood of Los Angeles, last year.

The utility pleaded no contest to a single misdemeanor count for failing to immediately report the gas leak to state officials as required by law when it occurred on Oct. 23, 2015. Instead the company waited three days before alerting state emergency officials.

In the world of literary prizes Britain's Man Booker stands out as one of the most prestigious and lucrative. So every year writers and their publishers and agents are eager to learn who made the final cut. Today the six writers who made it to the short list were revealed. Two Americans, two Brits and two Canadians are now competing for the award which is given each year for a novel written in English which has been published in the U.K.

A national campaign to rewrite state laws and allow businesses to decide how to care for their injured workers suffered a significant setback Tuesday when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma's version of the law is unconstitutional.

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Would You Like Some Insurance With Your Insurance?

Sep 13, 2016

For the first time in her life, 26-year-old freelance designer Susannah Lohr had to shop for health insurance this year.

She called up a major insurer in the St. Louis area where she lives, and it offered her a plan with a hefty $6,000 deductible — that's the amount she'd have to cover herself before the insurance kicks in.

When she balked, the salesman on the phone suggested that she could buy a "gap plan," a separate policy for $50 a month to cover her deductible.

More Americans are making more money.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new numbers on Tuesday showing that, after a brutal economic recession and years of stagnation, real median household incomes rose from $53,718 in 2014 to $56,516 last year. That's a 5.2 percent rise — the first statistically significant increase since 2007.

But, as NPR's Pam Fessler notes, "the median household income was still lower than it was in 2007."

In the 1960s, the sugar industry funded research that downplayed the risks of sugar and highlighted the hazards of fat, according to a newly published article in JAMA Internal Medicine.