National News

How Do Companies Boost 401(k) Enrollment? Make It Automatic

More Americans are saving for retirement through their employers' 401(k) programs. That's because in recent years they've been given a strong nudge — more companies are automatically enrolling workers in retirement savings programs.

Some firms are also automatically increasing the amount employees contribute. That's just as important, experts say.

And all this makes a big difference: Without it, millions of Americans don't save at all.

Making Time For Retirement Planning

For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone

It's not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling.

As the doctor examines a patient, medical scribe Connie Gayton records the visit using a microhone tethered to her laptop.

Scribes Are Back, Helping Doctors Tackle Electronic Medical Records

Like many other doctors across the country, Dr. Devesh Ramnath, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon, recently made the switch from paper to electronic medical records. This meant he no longer had to just take notes when he was examining a patient — he also had to put those notes into the computer as a permanent record.

"I was really focused on just trying to get the information in, and not really focusing on the patient anymore," Ramnath says.

Prosecutor Max Huntsman delivers his closing arguments in the corruption trial of Angela Spaccia, the former city manager of Bell, Calif., in November. Huntsman's new challenge is to monitor the scandal-ridden LA County Sheriff's Department.

LA County's New Watchdog May Not Have Much Bite

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is one of the nation's most troubled law enforcement agencies.

Eighteen current and former deputies are facing felony charges as part of a federal probe into allegations of widespread prisoner abuse in county jails. The federal government is also investigating alleged cases of deputies on patrol using excessive force during routine traffic stops, and targeting blacks and Latinos.

A tank in Kramatorsk.

Six Things I Saw In Eastern Ukraine

Join NPR's London Correspondent Ari Shapiro Monday, April 21, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, for a live Facebook chat about his reporting in Ukraine.

Hey, Kids, Remember You're On Our Side: The FBI Makes A Movie

Earlier this week, the FBI posted a video on their website. It's a 25-minute movie called Game of Pawns, based on the true story of Glenn Shriver, an American college student who was recruited as a spy by the Chinese government.

Science teachers huddle over bacteria colonies at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. The museum plans to train 1,000 area educators to be better science teachers in the next five years.

A Scientific Experiment: Field Trips Just For Teachers

In a classroom across from the coal mine exhibit at the Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, students are huddled around tables, studying petri dishes of bacteria.

But these aren't school-age kids — these students are all teachers, responsible for imparting science to upper-elementary or middle-school students.

That's a job that many here — and many teachers in grammar schools around the country — feel unprepared for.

In South Korea, Ferry Rescue Efforts Yield Only Grisly Results

Cannon Michael's farm grows tomatoes, melons and onions, among other crops. This year, however, Michael will have to fallow one-fifth of the land due to the drought

California's Drought Ripples Through Businesses, Then To Schools

Cannon Michael runs an 11,000-acre farm in California's Central Valley. His family has been farming in the state for six generations.

Michael's multi-million-dollar operation usually provides a wealth of crops including tomatoes, onions and melons. But recently, he's pretty pessimistic about work.

"It is going to be a year that's probably, at best, maybe break even. Or maybe lose some money," Michael tells NPR's Arun Rath.

A relative waits for word of missing passengers of a sunken ferry in Jindo, South Korea. A newly released transcript depicts a scene of confusion on the stricken ferry as it sank.

Ferry Transcript Shows Confusion And Panic: 'Please Come Quickly'

For more than 40 minutes as their ship foundered last Wednesday, crew members of the South Korean ferry Sewol spoke with local maritime traffic services about a possible rescue. The conversation centered on getting help to the ship and on getting its passengers off the ferry, according to a transcript released Sunday.

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