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U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made a surprise visit to Afghanistan today, as part of a round-the-world farewell tour. "The interests we are pursuing here are clear and enduring," said Carter at Bagram Air Force Base, as reported by the Associated Press. "To have a stable security partner that is eager and willing to work with the United States is an asset for the future for us." This is Carter's last planned trip to Afghanistan; President-elect Donald Trump has nominated retired Marine...

South Korean lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to impeach their president, Park Geun-hye, who is mired in a corruption scandal and facing a criminal investigation. But the celebration of the impeachment vote may be temporary, as a panel of justices will ultimately decide her fate. "A lot of attention and focus of the national media and public will be on the constitutional court," says James Kim of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies , a Seoul-based think tank. That court has 180 days to...

Patricia Aquilar, 21, began working at DeRuyter Brothers Dairy in central Washington nearly three years ago. She worked at the dairy's milking parlor, which she says handles about 3000 cows three times each day, seven days a week. Aquilar was one of four dairy workers responsible for pushing and guiding the cows into the parlor, connecting the animals to milking machines, wiping them and the machinery down, and cleaning towels and milk tanks.
"I worked six days a week for eight or nine...

The number of new cancer cases grew worldwide to 17.5 million in 2015 from 13.1 million in 2005. And the fastest growth is in some of the world's poorest countries, according to a report on the global burden of cancer in the Dec. 3 journal JAMA Oncology . "Cancer is increasingly important in countries where the main disease burden has always been infectious diseases," says Dr. Christina Fitzmaurice, an author of the report and assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and...

Alsarah was born in Sudan to politically active parents. When she was still a child a coup there forced the family to flee to Yemen. Then, after civil war broke out in Yemen, they had to flee again, this time to Amherst, Massachusetts — all by the time Alsarah was 12. But please, says the singer-songwriter, don't pigeonhole her as some sort of "refugee artist." "I was a refugee coming in. I know what it feels like when you first land somewhere and you don't have any of the resources, you don...

The widening gap between rich and poor Americans has pushed the chances of children earning more money than their parents down to around 50 percent, economic researchers say. That's a sharp fall from 1940, when 90 percent of kids were destined to move up the income ladder. Describing an American dream that for many has faded into a less plentiful reality, Stanford economics professor Raj Chetty said in a news release , "It's basically a coin flip as to whether you'll do better than your...

Say, What? Monkey Mouths And Throats Are Equipped For Speech

18 hours ago

If you could change the way a monkey or an ape's brain is wired, that animal would be capable of producing perfectly intelligible speech. That's the conclusion of a study that closely tracked the movements of a monkey's mouth and throat with X-rays, to understand the full potential of its vocal tract . Researchers then used that information to create a computer model of what it would sound like if the monkey were able to say phrases such as "happy holidays." The finding calls into question...

Even after he becomes president, Donald Trump will hold another title dear to his heart: executive producer. The next head of the U.S. government is to retain a stake and a credit for the NBC reality series Celebrity Apprentice, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks tells NPR. The story was first reported in the Hollywood trade publication Variety . "Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett," Hicks told NPR. The show, for which Trump served as host and an executive...

President Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a "full review" of "malicious cyber activity" timed to U.S. elections, the White House said Friday. The review will go all the way back to the 2008 campaign when China was found to have hacked both the Obama and McCain campaigns , White House spokesman Eric Schultz said at a Friday press briefing. In the 2016 election, U.S. intelligence officials charged that Russia had interfered. In early October, they released a strongly...

Any pet owner will tell you that their animal companions comfort and sustain them when life gets rough. This may be especially true for people with serious mental illness, a study finds. When people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were asked who or what helped them manage the condition, many said it was pets that helped the most. "When I'm feeling really low they are wonderful because they won't leave my side for two days," one study participant with two dogs and two cats, "They just...

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