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National News from NPR

Jon Cryer, left, and Ashton Kutcher in a scene from Kutcher's 2011 debut on CBS' "Two and a Half Men."
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:41

CBS' Two and a Half Men ends a 12-season run tonight as TV's longest-running multicamera sitcom. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says some experts still struggle to explain the show's longtime success.

Health insurer Humana Inc. disclosed that its Medicare Advantage plans are being looked at by the feds.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:37

Privately run Medicare Advantage plans offer seniors an alternative to standard Medicare. The plans are paid monthly fees based on complex risk formulas that are drawing federal scrutiny.

President Barack Obama speaks to an audience of international leaders and religious figures at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, at the State Department Thursday.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:03

The president told a summit on violent extremism that it's crucial to change the narrative about the intersection of religion, particularly Islam, and modern society.

Like dragon eggs stuffed with fiery peppers: KISS steamed buns will hit convenience store shelve in Japan next week. The buns are seen here in a news release from the Circle K Sunkus chain.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:18

They're dark and intense — and starting next week, a limited number of them will be sold in stores in Japan. Official name? Spicy Chili Tomatoman.

Wal-Mart says it will raise hourly wages for thousands of full- and part-time employees.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 09:36

The retailer says starting in April, thousands of full- and part-time employees will make $9 an hour.

Wilbur Sargunaraj tours the backwaters of Kerala, India.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 08:40

President Obama praised the Indian state last month for good reason. It's got beaches, backwaters and the country's longest life expectancy and highest literacy rate. Plus, girls outnumber boys!

Thailand's Attorney Director General, Department of Special Litigation Chutichai Sakhakorn, right, holds filed charging papers as Director General, Department of Investigation, Surasak Threerattrakul looks on at the Supreme Court in Bangkok Thursday.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 08:07

If she's found guilty of negligence, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could be jailed for 10 years. She was removed from office last May.

Ukrainian soldiers repair their truck's bullet-shattered windshield Thursday, hit during their withdrawal from Debaltseve yesterday.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 07:25

Ukraine says that in the past 24 hours alone, 14 of its soldiers have died and another 172 were injured. The leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia are trying to salvage a cease-fire.

Greece's hopes for reaching a new compromise with Eurozone members on the terms of its loans are seen as hinging on promises to reform its economy — and submit to outside inspections.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 06:06

With the bailout package that has kept Greece's economy afloat set to expire in just over a week, the country has formally asked Eurozone members for a six-month extension.

Nestle announced that it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products — including the dyes used to give the inside of a Butterfinger, like this one, that orange hue.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 02:26

Nestles says it's removing artificial flavors and dyes from its chocolate candies, and Hershey's says it's shifting to simpler ingredients. The moves come amid growing demand for natural food.

Iranian Jewish men read from the Torah scroll during morning prayers at Youssef Abad Synagogue in Tehran in 2013.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 02:25

Iran's Jewish population has dropped dramatically since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But nearly 9,000 Jews remain and many say they've built comfortable lives and learned to accept the limitations.

Lebanese-born Rula Ghani is Afghanistan's first lady. The wife of newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has her own office in the presidential palace and intends to play a prominent role in public life.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 02:23

In a country where women are seen but not often heard, Rula Ghani intends to play a prominent role. The wife of Afghanistan's new president hopes to help the country's most vulnerable people.

Measles is highly contagious, and it produces fever and rash in susceptible people who become infected.
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 02:23

Measles infected hundreds of children at a Philadelphia church whose members didn't believe in modern medicine. In a rare step, health officials moved to compel the families to vaccinate the kids.

The U.S. Olympic Committee has chosen Boston to bid on hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics. Committee Chairman Larry Probst is seen speaking last February.
Wed, 02/18/2015 - 23:03

Opposition to the Olympics has grown by 13 percent since Boston was chosen by the U.S. Olympic Committee to be the American bid for 2024.

Somali-American youths play basketball before the start of a September 2013 solidarity rally by the Minneapolis Somali community to denounce al-Shabab's attack of a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Less than a decade after groups of teens from Minneapolis emigrated to Somalia to join the terrorist group, more have been recruited to join the self-declared Islamic State in Syria.
Wed, 02/18/2015 - 22:58

U.S. officials say young Somali-Americans are leaving the Twin Cities for Syria to join the group ISIS, encouraged by an earlier wave of jihadists who had joined al-Shabab in Somalia.

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