National News

Dr. Joseph Fair, an American virologist, has worked in Sierra Leone for more than a decade.

A Virologist Takes You Inside The Ebola Protective Suit

Dr. Joseph Fair, a virologist with the Mérieux Foundation and special adviser to Sierra Leone's health ministry, has worked out of the country's Kenema Government Hospital for more than 10 years. Kenema is one of the worst-hit areas in the West African nation's Ebola outbreak; Fair lost colleagues and friends to the disease in recent months. So far, Sierra Leone has seen more than 2,400 cases of Ebola and at least 620 deaths.

Protesters rest following pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Sept. 29. They're using old and new forms of tech to stay connected.

Tech Week: Who's Offline, How Hong Kong Connects, How Google Works

Another week whizzed by with no shortage of tech news and headlines. Here's a look back and what we were up to here at NPR and some notable coverage from our friends in the media and blogosphere.

Tourists gather in front of old and new Casino Lisboa during a Chinese New Year celebration in Macau, a special administrative region of China, on Feb. 1. For decades, the Lisboa was the only game in town. Now, the world's biggest gambling companies are scrambling to set up shot in what was once a sleepy Portuguese colony.

Gambling in Macau: A Reversal of Fortune ... And Values

As casinos close in Atlantic City, more are rising halfway around the world in Macau, a Chinese territory on the edge of the South China Sea.

Macau already has 35 casinos, including the Venetian, which features gondoliers from Naples and Florence who belt out "O Sole Mio" along an ersatz canal as Chinese tourists snap pictures. In the next several years, Macau will add more multibillion-dollar gambling resorts modeled on Versailles and Paris.

Abdule-Rahman (formerly Peter) Kassig posing with a truck filled with supplies for Syrian refugees.

What We Know About The American Being Held By The Islamic State

The Sunni militant group Islamic State is holding another American hostage. The revelation came in a video showing the beheading of British citizen Alan Henning.

At the end of the the video, a man warns that Peter Kassig, an Iraq War veteran, is next.

As acting associate attorney general, Stuart Delery oversees the largest litigating division in the Department of Justice.

Understated Justice Department Lawyer Emerges As Key Player

He's argued controversial cases involving same-sex marriage, the secrecy of the U.S. drone campaign, and the legality of the bulk-surveillance programs for American phone records. But he's still far from a household name. Now, though, with his recent promotion to serve as the third in command at the Justice Department, Stuart Delery is inching out of the shadows.

Fire Breaks Out At Site Of Flight 93 National Memorial

Update, 11 p.m. ET: Despite the fire, the park and memorial will maintain Saturday hours.

A massive fire has left three administrative buildings at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., badly damaged, the AP reports citing the National Park Service.

The AP adds:

A girl cries outside an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia in late September. Both her parents died in the Ebola outbreak.

After Losing Parents To Ebola, Orphans Face Stigma

In the countries of West Africa where Ebola is taking its heaviest toll, one special concern is for the thousands of children whose parents have died from the illness.

According to UNICEF, at least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the outbreak's start.

The figures are climbing, says Andrew Brooks, UNICEF's head of child protection for West and Central Africa. In Liberia alone, where he's currently based, Ebola has robbed about 2,000 children of their parents.

One particular case struck him.

A sign directs voters at a polling site in Atlanta. "Georgia is changing dramatically," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter says. "There's no doubt that Georgia is next in line as a national battleground state."

As Populations Shift, Democrats Hope To Paint The Sun Belt Blue

The Democratic National Committee is running a Spanish language ad on radio stations in North Carolina and Georgia, where there are competitive U.S. Senate races.

"Republicans think we're going to stay home," the ad says. "It's time to rise up."

Democrats see opportunity in Southern states with fast-growing minority populations and an influx of people relocating to the Sun Belt. In Georgia, there's a push to register new voters in hopes of turning a red state blue.

Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America CEO Bruce Marks is offering the first batch of these "wealth building home loans" to homebuyers through his nonprofit organization.

New 15-Year Mortgage May Open Homeownership Door For More Buyers

The 30-year mortgage is the foundation of the real estate market largely because it makes housing more affordable. But the truth is, it's a lousy loan for building actual ownership or equity in your home during the first 5 or 7 years, which caused big trouble when housing crashed.

The vanillin made through synthetic biology will be used in flavorings sold in the U.S. by International Flavorings & Fragrances.

GMOs Are Old Hat. Synthetically Modified Food Is The New Frontier

Genetically modified organisms are ancient, technologically speaking. Though some consumers may just be discovering that they're in the food system (and getting riled up about labeling them), farmers have had access to them since 1996.

But there's a new technology on the scene, adding a twist to the already complicated conversation about GMOs in our food: synthetic biology.