National News

Hospitals seem to be doing a better job than nursing homes of keeping bedbugs at bay.

Your Roommate In The Nursing Home Might Be A Bedbug

If you're in the hospital or a nursing home, the last thing you want to be dealing with is bedbugs. But exterminators saying they're getting more and more calls for bedbug infestations in nursing homes, hospitals and doctor's offices.

Retired California school teacher Mikkel Lawrence sits with his cat, Max. Lawrence has hepatitis C and has struggled to afford the medicine he needs to treat it.

Covered California Votes To Cap What Patients Pay For Pricey Drugs

In recent years, expensive specialty medicines used to treat cancer and chronic illnesses have forced some very ill Americans to choose between getting proper treatment and paying their rent.

To ease the financial burden, the California agency that governs the state's Obamacare plans issued landmark rules Thursday that will put a lid on the amount anyone enrolled in one of those plans can be charged each month for high-end medicine.

Kholoud Sukkariyeh (right) and Nidal Darwish, who got married in defiance of Lebanon's ban on civil unions, walk past Beirut's landmark Pigeon Rock in 2013.

A Wedding And A Challenge: Lebanese Couples Fight For Civil Marriage

Like lots of young married couples, Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish love to show their wedding video. They go all misty-eyed remembering that day two years ago.

"Very beautiful," says Succariyeh. "Everything is nice."

Their wedding was special, not only as a personal milestone for the couple. It was a political milestone, as well.

Darwish says their union was a challenge to the state: It was Lebanon's first civil marriage.

A bird covered in oil flaps its wings at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., on Thursday. More than 9,000 gallons of oil has been raked, skimmed and vacuumed from a spill that stretched across 9 miles of California coast, just a fraction of the sticky, stinking goo that escaped from a broken pipeline, officials said.

Pipeline Operator: Possibly Months To Determine Cause Of Calif. Spill

It could be months before investigators can determine what caused a pipeline leak that has fouled a stretch of coast in Southern California, the company that operates the oil conduit says.

Since the leak was discovered earlier this week, more than 9,000 gallons of oil have been raked, skimmed or vacuumed from a 9-mile stretch of California shoreline near Santa Barbara, officials say.

"We have not even uncovered the pipe yet," said Patrick Hodgins, senior director of safety for Texas-based Plains All American, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reports:

In this photo released Thursday by a website run by Islamic State militants, damaged Syrian helicopters sit at Palmyra air base, which was captured by ISIS after a battle with the Syrian government forces earlier this week.

Islamic State Reportedly Seizes Last Syria-Iraq Border Crossing

Fighters with the self-declared Islamic State have seized the last border crossing in Syria, where they control half of the country, according to a British-based monitoring group.

Syrian government forces withdrew from al-Tanf, known as al-Waleed in Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The border crossing lies at the extreme northwest of Iraq's border with Syria.

Substitute teacher Josephine Brewington receives the substitute teacher of the year award.

An Irreplaceable Replacement, This Sub Gets The Job Done

One of the toughest jobs in education is the substitute teacher. The pay is low, schedules are unpredictable and respect can be hard to come by. But because the average teacher missed 11 days of school in 2012-2013, a sub like Josephine Brewington ends up playing a crucial role.

And this week — Brewington was rewarded for her efforts — winning the 2015 Substitute Teacher of the Year award.

How Do You Motivate Kids To Stop Skipping School?

It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good.

Nuns vote on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, at a polling station in County Dublin, Ireland, on Friday.

Irish Voters Decide Whether To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Voters in Ireland are deciding today whether the country will amend its constitution to make same-sex marriage legal.

The vote follows months of debate in the heavily Catholic country. Opinion polls suggest the referendum will pass and Ireland become the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in a national vote.

But, as NPR's Ari Shapiro points out, "polls in this part of the world have been totally wrong in the past.

Sabas Sanchez Jr. was better known among his neighbors in Madison, Neb., as "Gordo" — Spanish for chubby. He also had an oversized personality. His father keeps this tattered photo in his wallet.

In America's Heartland, Heroin Crisis Is Hitting Too Close To Home

Heroin, today, is killing more and more people in rural America.

One Mexican cartel has seeded low-cost heroin around rural towns in the Southwest and Midwest, selling it cheap and easy, almost like pizza.

Madison, Neb. — population 2,500 — is just a speck of a town, a two-hour drive from the big-city bustle of Omaha. But it's not far enough away to avoid the growing impact of heroin.

"The world's gotten smaller," says Police Chief Rod Waterbury. "If drugs can make it to Chicago, they can make it here."

Plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a 0.1mm mesh net. Seen here is a mix of multicellular organisms — small zooplanktonic animals, larvae and single protists (diatoms, dinoflagellates, radiolarians) — the nearly invisible universe at the bottom of the marine food chain.

Census Reveals Universe Of Marine Microbes At Bottom Of The Food Chain

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Microbes in the ocean!

There are (and scientists have done the math) trillions of microorganisms in the ocean: plankton, bacteria, krill (they're maybe bigger than "micro," but not by much), viruses, protists and archaea (they're like bacteria, but they aren't bacteria).

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