More than 125 million women and girls in Africa and the Middle East have suffered from genital cutting and other types of mutilation, UNICEF said this week in the most comprehensive and quantitative survey to date. Nearly half of those women live in Egypt and Ethiopia, where the practice is still entrenched in the culture.
"It's seen as tradition — something that has just always been there," UNICEF's Francesca Moneti said. "It's just like how we get up in the morning and get dressed. Your daughter reaches the age of cutting, and she just gets cut."
A judge has temporarily blocked a North Dakota law that would have banned abortions beginning around six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat is detectable. It's one of several state laws passed this year intended to limit abortion.
Those backing the new rules say they will make abortions safer. But abortion-rights advocates say the laws are about politics, not safety.
When they come — and they are coming — will the robots we deploy into human culture be capable of evil? Well, perhaps "evil" is too strong a word. Will they be capable of inflicting harm on human beings in ways that go beyond their programing?
While this may seem like a question for the next installment of The Terminator franchise (or The Matrix or whatever, pick your favorite), it's a serious question in robotics and it's being taken up by researchers now.
Who needs jocks when you've got Jennifer Hudson and Amy Poehler?
That seems to be the message coming out of the White House following a star-studded meeting yesterday led by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. Its mission: Figure out how to help promote the Affordable Care Act.
This week, NASA is trying to do its part to raise science literacy. To give people a better understanding of Earth's position in the solar system, the agency's posted a picture of our planet taken from a billion miles away, give or take 100 million miles or so. And joining me now to talk about the picture, and why NASA took it, is NPR's Joe Palca. Joe, good to see you.
The line to see the thing that was supposed to smell like rotting flesh wrapped around the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., on Monday night. Most folks who braved the heat and hourlong wait weren't greeted with the overwhelming stench of death, but rather the smell of sweat and intense, intense humidity.
Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.
Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.
The online health insurance marketplaces can't open soon enough for Chris and Kristi Petersen. Enrolled in the Iowa high-risk insurance pool because insurers on the private market won't cover them, the couple pays more than $1,300 each month for a plan with a $2,500 annual deductible and a 20 percent copay for medical services. It's more than they can afford.
"At the end of this year, these exchanges are either going to have to offer some relief, or I'm just going to quit working and let the welfare take care of us," says Chris. "I'm fed up with it. I'm fed up with insurance."
Social media sites have gotten so difficult to ignore that millions of people are using apps to stop them from wasting time on the Internet. So if you lack self-control, no problem. Just download SelfControl — the app.
Switching gears now. We are about halfway through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. That's where observant Muslims abstain from food, drink and intimacy during daylight hours and take special care to pray and reflect on their spirituality. If you are currently observing Ramadan, you might sometimes forget that it's time to pray or eat until you hear this coming out of your pocket.