National News

Should we drink diet soda or not? The latest study doesn't really clear things up.

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And The Risk Of Diabetes

The debate over whether diet sodas are good, bad or just OK for us never seems to end.

Some research suggests zero-calorie drinks can help people cut calories and fend off weight gain.

This skull, from the Swedish archaeological site called Motala, is thought to have come from a hunter-gatherer who died there about 8,000 years ago.

Europe's Family Tree Gets A New Branch

For those who eagerly trace their genetic lineage or subscribe online to find their earliest ancestors, there's a new group to consider adding to the furthest reaches of your list. A previously unrecognized population of ancient north Eurasians may be a major third braid in the genetic twist that gave rise to most modern Europeans and their kin.

Syrian rebel fighters in the northern city of Aleppo in August. The Obama administration has been vetting rebel groups and decided that more than a dozen are moderate enough to arm.

After A Long Wait, Syrian Rebels Hope The Weapons Will Now Flow

President Obama has long been reluctant to provide substantial aid to Syria's so-called moderate rebels, often dismissed as weak and disorganized. But the rapid rise of the group that calls itself the Islamic State has changed many calculations.

The CIA has been running a small-scale covert weapons program since early this year, according to rebels who have been trained and are now receiving arms shipments. The modest program has strengthened moderate battalions, according to Western and regional analysts, even as rebel commanders complain about the meager arms flow.

These supporters of Scottish independence are saying yes, and separatist groups in other parts of the world hope it will give them a boost as they seek to break away.

From Quebec To Kashmir, Separatists Watch Scotland Vote

Scotland's referendum on independence Thursday could resonate far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. There are many places with separatist movements, like the militias in eastern Ukraine who have been battling the Ukrainian government this year.

Here's a look at some of the other places with separatists who want to break away from their current rulers, from Canada to Spain to Belgium to India.

Quebec

If a child feels like the odd person out, it could mean more problems in the teenage years, psychologists say.

Kids' Perception Of Parents' Favoritism Counts More Than Reality

We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you're thinking it's not you.

But does that really make a difference? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

Nuala O'Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, testifies on net neutrality issues before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

Now, we wait.

The window for the public to weigh in on how federal rule-makers should treat Internet traffic is closed, after a record 3.7 million comments arrived at the FCC. The Sunlight Foundation analyzed the first 800,000 and found that fewer than 1 percent were opposed to net neutrality enforcement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a recent news conference in Rome. Zarif told NPR that the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to dealing with the self-declared Islamic State.

Iran's Foreign Minister: U.S. 'Not Serious' About Defeating Islamic State

Iran's foreign minister says the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to combating extremist groups in Iraq and Syria and that President Obama needs a reality check on the subject of defeating the Islamic State insurgency.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep in an interview to air on NPR, said the United States is "not serious" about defeating the Sunni extremists.

Direct Relief has been shipping medical supplies to West Africa.

Who's Giving What: Nonprofits Step Up Anti-Ebola Efforts

"Charities and individual philanthropies have given generously and they can make a big difference," President Obama emphasized yesterday during his announcement of U.S. plans for addressing Ebola.

President Obama speaks at U.S. Central Command, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday.

Obama Rules Out Another Ground War In Iraq

President Obama reiterated that he will not commit U.S. troops to fight another ground war in Iraq, adding that U.S. airstrikes, combined with expertise, would be more effective in defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State.

"As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq," Obama said at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

This human-scale lab rat cage is  parked near a skate park in Denver, Colo., to make a point about the lack of science on marijuana.

Colorado Tries Hard To Convince Teens That Pot Is Bad For You

Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.

One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.

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