National News

Shelly Beach in Ballina, Australia, was closed following a fatal shark encounter there in February.

Australia Testing Shark-Detecting Drones To Prevent Shark Attacks

Part of the Australian coastline popular with swimmers and surfers will now be patrolled by drones as a way to protect beachgoers from shark attacks, government officials announced Wednesday.

The trials in the southeastern state of New South Wales are part of a AU $16 million ($11.6 million) program that will test the effectiveness of drone technology in mitigating shark attacks. The drones will send real-time images of coastal waters back to an operator using GPS coordinates.

Babies have suffocated after being trapped in padded crib bumpers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

To Reduce Infant Deaths, Doctors Call For A Ban Of Crib Bumpers

Flip through a popular children's furniture catalog and you'll find baby cribs with bumpers — a padded piece of fabric that ties around the wooden slats, making the crib look cozy and cute. The problem, researchers say, is these bumpers can be deadly, because babies can get caught in the fabric and suffocate.

The charred remains of the Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen on Oct 16, almost two weeks after it was hit by a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Attack On MSF Hospital A 'Tragic But Avoidable Accident,' Pentagon Finds

A Pentagon investigation into a deadly U.S. airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, has found the attack was the result of human error, compounded by malfunctioning computers and communication failures.

Gen. John Campbell, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, detailed the findings in a Pentagon briefing Wednesday. "This was a tragic and avoidable accident caused primarily by human error," he said.

U.S. Commander In Afghanistan Admits Mistakes In Kunduz Airstrike

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit
"As far as I know ... there is no problem of over-incarceration for rich, white financial or environmental executives," defense lawyer Jeffrey Robinson of the American Civil Liberties Union said.

Obama Administration Says House Bill Would Give 'Cover' To White-Collar Defendants

The bipartisan effort to overhaul the criminal justice system for drug offenders has hit a speed bump.

Some members of Congress are trying to tie those lighter punishments for drug defendants to a new bill that the Justice Department says would make it harder to prosecute a range of crimes from food safety to business fraud.

The plan, passed by voice vote by the House Judiciary Committee to little notice last week, would require prosecutors to prove guilt to a higher standard in many cases, by default.

Premiums Rise Faster For Flexible Health Plans Than For HMOs

Consumers seeking health policies with the most freedom in choosing doctors and hospitals are finding far fewer of those plans on the insurance marketplaces. And the premiums are rising faster than for other types of coverage.

Army soldiers and police patrol a street in the center of Brussels on Wednesday. Students are returning to class after a shutdown over fears that a series of simultaneous attacks could be launched around the Belgian capital.

Brussels Cautiously Opens For Business As Search For Suspects Continues

Four days after security levels were raised over a possible terrorist attack, the Belgian capital remains on high alert — but schools, businesses and subway stations are reopening to the public.

Police and soldiers were standing guard as life in Brussels returns to something like normal, reports NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton:

Patriotic Turkey: Detail from a vintage Thanksgiving greeting card.

The Peculiar Parade Of Thanksgiving Traditions

Time was in America that stores routinely closed on Thanksgiving Day. People sent Thanksgiving greeting cards, people donned odd costumes and schools and communities staged elaborate parades and Thanksgiving pageants in which Native Americans and pilgrims gathered together and smiled and waved.

Muslims in India protest against ISIS following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

Should The Phrase 'Islamic Extremism' Be Used? It's Debatable

There's a big divide in how Republicans and Democrats are talking about terrorism — and it's one unlikely to be solved anytime soon.

In the last Democratic debate, just a day after the terrorist attacks in Paris, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to use the word "radical Islam" to classify terrorist cells such as ISIS, Boko Haram (which has pledged allegiance to ISIS) and others. Her two rivals, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, agreed.

This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV shows a Russian warplane on fire before crashing on a hill Tuesday, as seen from Turkey's Hatay province. Turkey shot down the Russian warplane Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace. Russia denied that the plane crossed the Syrian border into Turkish skies.

Russia Calls Downing Of Its Plane A 'Planned Provocation'

One of two crew members survived the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey on Tuesday, Russian officials say, and was rescued by a Syrian commando unit in an operation that ended early Wednesday.