National News

Joyce Mitchell, who has reached a plea deal over charges that she aided a prison escape, is seen here during a June court date, along with her lawyer, Steven Johnston.

Former N.Y. Prison Employee Enters Guilty Plea Related To Inmates' Escape

Joyce Mitchell, the Clinton Correctional Facility worker who was charged last month with aiding two convicted killers' escape, has pleaded guilty after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

Mitchell, 51, was an instructor in the tailor shop at the prison in northern New York — a position that officials say allowed her to pass tools such as hacksaw blades and a screwdriver to prisoner Richard Matt.

A Yale University study analyzed the experience of 60 million Americans covered by traditional Medicare between 1999 and 2013, and found "jaw-dropping improvements in almost every area," the lead author says.

Happy 50th Birthday, Medicare. Your Patients Are Getting Healthier

Here's a bit of good news for Medicare, the popular government program that's turning 50 this week. Older Americans on Medicare are spending less time in the hospital; they're living longer; and the cost of a typical hospital stay has actually come down over the past 15 years, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Twitter Takes Down Unoriginal Jokes, But All Of Yours Are Probably Safe

Twitter has started taking down jokes for copyright infringement. The removals were first spotted by @PlagiarismBad, which traced the takedown notices to Olga Lexell, a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

President Obama delivers a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday.

Obama Asks African Countries To Create Jobs, Foster Democracy

President Obama capped a five-day trip to Kenya and Ethiopia by becoming the first sitting American president to address the African Union.

In a speech intended for the entire continent and delivered from the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Obama called on African leaders to create jobs and foster democracy. NPR's Gregory Warner reports that Obama spoke of Africa's bright future and called on leaders to end corruption and political intimidation.

Gregory filed this report:

Flags of member nations wave outside NATO headquarters in Brussels. For just the fifth time in its 66-year history, NATO ambassadors met in an emergency, Article 4 session to gauge the threat that the so-called Islamic State poses to Turkey.

NATO Says It Stands With Turkey In Fight Against ISIS

During a meeting with all 27 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday, Turkey said it wanted to give the members a heads up that at some point it may need their help fighting against the self-declared Islamic State.

Turkey called a rare Article 4 meeting of the NATO allies after it began an air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria.

Putting some work in ahead of cancer therapy can help speed up recovery afterward.

Rehab Before Cancer Treatment Can Help Patients Bounce Back

Cancer patients who do rehabilitation before they begin treatment may recover more quickly from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, some cancer specialists say. But insurance coverage for cancer prehabilitation, as it's called, can be spotty, especially if the aim is to prevent problems rather than treat existing ones.

A Chinese worker is seen at a construction site in Beijing. Economic changes in China and in other places have reduced demand and prices for commodities like the metal in the building's structure.

Drawing A Line From The Chinese Stock Market To Your Wallet

A mega-economic story is playing out globally. It involves U.S. interest rates, the Chinese stock market and jobs in Minnesota, Arizona and North Dakota.

And your wallet, too.

No kidding – it's all related. To see how, let your mind wander back.

Seif al-Islam is seen after his capture in 2011.

In Libya, Gadhafi's Son, Saif Al-Islam, Is Sentenced To Death In Absentia

A court in Tripoli has sentenced the son of Moammar Gadhafi to death in connection with killings during the 2011 uprising that ended Gadhafi's rule.

NPR's Leila Fadel reports from Cairo that because the country is in such disarray, the sentence was handed down in absentia. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"A spokesman for Tripoli's self-declared government said Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi is one of nine former regime figures who were sentenced to death today. The rest, including Libya's former spy chief, are all in a prison in Tripoli.

Eliot Elementary in St. Louis, Mo., closed 10 years ago. The building remains empty.

The Struggle To Breathe Life Back Into Empty Schools

Virginia Savage lives in a part of north St. Louis, Mo., that's filled with vacant buildings, including Marshall Elementary. It has been closed for years now, and vines crawl into the building's smashed-out windows. The playground is littered with empty liquor bottles.

Savage went to school at Marshall as a young girl, and now she sees bigger problems beyond all those blemishes: "Drug dealers, drug users, eyesore. That's what I see."

In St. Louis, the student enrollment is one-fourth the size it was in the 1960s. That drop has led the district to close 30 or so schools.

Gary Broomell and his daughter, Debbie, pose behind a sign on their ranch in San Diego County. Their family has been growing citrus for generations, but lately, it's been hard staying in the black growing oranges, so they started a vineyard a few years ago.

Squeezed By Drought, California Farmers Switch To Less Thirsty Crops

Water scarcity is driving California farmers to plant different crops. Growers are switching to more profitable, less-thirsty fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Nowhere is this truer than San Diego County, where water prices are some of the highest in the state.

Grapefruit trees shade the entrance to Triple B Ranches winery in northern San Diego County. The tasting room is a converted kitchen festooned with country knick knacks.

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