Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 4:36 pm
A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.
It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.
The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.
Baby boomers have never needed more care to ease their pain and suffering. But there simply aren't enough specialists to get the job done.
There's a shortfall of as many as 18,000 physicians focused on palliative care and hospice care. Right now, there are 5,150 hospice programs and 1,635 hospital palliative care teams in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to delay the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.
The Obama administration said it needed to cut funding for the towers — mostly in small communities — because of $637 million in budget cuts mandated by law.
"This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions," the FAA said in a statement. "Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System."
Authorities are looking into the possibility that white supremacist prison gangs may have been involved in a series of shootings of public officials in Colorado and Texas. If so, criminologists say, this would be part of a larger pattern of prison gangs extending their reach.
"Increasingly, these prison gangs are spilling out onto the streets," says Mark Potok, an editor with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Pope Francis told his staff to take "decisive action" when it comes to cases of clerical sex abuse of minors.
In a statement, the Vatican said the pontiff ordered the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty."
Lead poisoning in kids is hardly the problem it used to be, now that we've stopped using lead in house paints and gasoline. But the lead that lingers outside and in old homes is still dangerous if kids are exposed to it.
The first day of the latest talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group about the Persian nation's nuclear ambitions has ended with reports of a "shaky" start and Western diplomats saying they are puzzled by what Iran brought to the table.
Fresh Air remembers the film critic and bon vivant Roger Ebert, who died Thursday, with a roundup of interviews from our archive.
In one, from all the way back in 1984, host Terry Gross talks with Ebert alone; in a second conversation, from 1996, Terry interviews both Ebert and his late partner Gene Siskel onstage at Northwestern University.
In two very special conversations, Ebert himself interviews iconic directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.
And finally, critic-at-large John Powers discusses Ebert's 2011 memoir Life Itself.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you might remember that President Obama recently selected Julia Pearson to lead the Secret Service. She will be the agency's first female head. Well, guess who called that one first? It was not a political pundit. We'll tell you more in our BackTalk segment.