NPR News

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is suing the manufacturers of an exercise band that he says failed and caused him to lose vision in his right eye in January.

There's a lot of worry about nearsightedness in children, with rates soaring in Southeast Asia as populations become more urban and educated. But maybe it also has something to do about how much Mom and Dad make you hit the books.

Firstborn children are 10 percent more likely to be nearsighted than latter-borns, according to a study published Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology. And they're 20 percent more likely to be severely myopic.

Spencer Stone, one of three Americans who thwarted a terror attack on a Paris-bound train this summer, was stabbed early Thursday morning in Sacramento, Calif., according to an Air Force spokesman.

In a stunning turn of events, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has withdrawn from the race to become the next speaker of the House.

McCarthy was the favorite ahead of Thursday's closed-door vote by House Republicans. He was in a three-way race for the top spot in the House with Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla.

This post was updated at 4:25 p.m.

In a shocking move Thursday afternoon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pulled out of the race for speaker of the House, throwing the GOP leadership race into chaos and confusion.

According to Republican congressmen coming out of the caucus meeting — where lawmakers were expected to pick a successor to retiring House Speaker John Boehner — McCarthy told Republicans he didn't have a path to victory.

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET.

Corrections officials in Oklahoma used the wrong drug to execute Charles Warner back in January.

A bill proposed Wednesday by two U.S. senators would require drugmakers and medical device manufacturers to publicly disclose their payments to nurse practitioners and physician assistants for promotional talks, consulting, meals and other interactions.

Iowa Republicans Don't Think Jeb Is Bush Enough

22 hours ago

These are critical days for the presidential campaign of Jeb Bush.

The former Florida governor has been traversing Iowa this week, in effect reintroducing himself to voters, with the first-in-the-nation caucuses in that state now less than four months away.

This is not where Bush and his advisers expected to be when he got into the race early this year. Back then he was quickly labeled the front-runner — the man to beat.

No one calls Bush that anymore, with the topsy-turvy, crowded GOP field and its outsiders named Trump, Carson and Fiorina sitting atop the polls.

Michael Horn, the CEO of Volkswagen's U.S. business, appeared before members of Congress on Thursday to answer questions about the German automaker's use of software in its diesel vehicles to fool emissions tests. VW has said some 11 million vehicles worldwide have the software.

Horn testified on the same day German prosecutors raided offices at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg and elsewhere, seizing documents and records as they investigate the emissions scandal.

A day after the Russian navy fired cruise missiles at targets in Syria — and two days after Russia's warplanes veered into Turkey's airspace — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance "is able and ready to defend all allies, including Turkey, against any threat."

Belarusian Journalist Wins Literature Nobel

Oct 8, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



House Republicans will huddle privately at noon on Thursday to nominate the party's candidate to succeed John Boehner as speaker of the U.S. House.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is heavily favored to secure the nomination, but his ultimate victory on the floor of the U.S. House later this month is still in question.

The House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly 40 Republicans representing some of the nation's most conservative congressional districts, bucked the party leadership and endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., for speaker on Wednesday.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Updated 6:02 p.m. ET

On Thursday morning, the ethics committee of soccer's world governing body banned the group's president and other leaders for 90 days, citing ongoing investigations into allegations against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President and FIFA Vice President Michel Platini and FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke.

The suspensions go into effect immediately and could be extended by 45 days, FIFA says.

Updated at 8:09 a.m. ET

Investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday. Alexievich is the first writer from Belarus to win the prize.

Alexievich won "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time," according to the citation for the award.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says there isn't much time. Congress and the White House face two big deadlines to fund the government. It will be an intricate maneuver to meet both deadlines even as congressional leadership changes. And in an interview with NPR, Lew described behind-the-scenes negotiations meant to avert a last-minute crisis.

"There are conversations going on at a staff level," Lew told NPR's Steve Inskeep, "and I think the key is for Democrats and Republicans [in Congress] to talk to each other."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The top Republican and Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee are preparing to introduce a bill Thursday they're billing as "companion" legislation to the major Senate sentencing overhaul unveiled last week.

New York City may have dodged a major storm recently when Hurricane Joaquin headed out to sea, but it was an unwelcome reminder of what happened three years ago when the city suffered catastrophic flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Now, the New York subway system is racing to get new flood-proofing technologies ready in time for the next big storm.

One of those methods is called the Flex-Gate, a big sheet of waterproof fabric designed to cover subway entrances and keep the water out.

Avoiding a possible strike, the United Autoworkers Union and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

According to a statement from UAW:

"After a lengthy bargaining process, your UAW FCA National Bargaining Committee has secured significant gains in a proposed Tentative Agreement with FCA announced today.

Death Penalty Back At The Supreme Court In New Term

Oct 7, 2015

The death penalty reared its head again at the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. It was the first time the court publicly considered a death case since last term, when a constitutional challenge to lethal injection procedures erupted into a rare, nasty and vituperative debate among the justices. This time, the issues were far more technical but still a matter of life and death.

Clinton Breaks With Obama To Oppose Asia Trade Deal

Oct 7, 2015

After months of not committing to a position on President Obama's proposed Asia trade deal, Hillary Clinton came out against it Wednesday.

The rain has stopped in South Carolina, but for people living along the coast, the worst of the flooding could still be ahead.

The floodwaters have not receded and as the water in the swollen rivers flow toward the ocean, more damaging high waters are expected.

As Laura Hunsberger reports for NPR, Gov. Nikki Haley says the state is ready:

The "death-with-dignity" movement took a giant step forward this week, with 38 million people coming under its umbrella in a single swoop when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act on Monday.

Coast Guard Calls Off Search For El Faro Crew

Oct 7, 2015

Six days after communication was lost with the El Faro cargo ship as it drifted into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, the U.S. Coast Guard ended the search for survivors.

Of the 33 people aboard the ship, rescuers found one body on Monday:

"Several 'survival suits' were spotted floating in the water, one of which contained the body. In addition, an empty, heavily damaged lifeboat was found."

Republicans in the U.S. House will take an initial vote Thursday on who they think should replace John Boehner as speaker of the House.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz recently announced his candidacy for speaker, but the front-runner for the job is current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, Calif.

And McCarthy's roots in California's Central Valley provide some clues about how McCarthy might run the House, if he's elected speaker.

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday Wednesday, amid a controversial bombing campaign in Syria, a weakening economy and tensions with the U.S. and its Western allies. The Russian leader made a point of taking it all in stride — including adulation from his fans.

He occupied an even more prominent place than usual on Russian state television on Wednesday. Putin was shown receiving a briefing on the Russian military operation in Syria, including the news that Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired more than two dozen rockets at targets in Syria.