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More than six years have passed since British photojournalist John Cantlie was abducted by the Islamic State in Syria. On Tuesday, a top official said the British government believes he is still alive.

Speaking to journalists in London, Security Minister Ben Wallace did not disclose the intelligence that led the government to that conclusion. But he said officials believe Cantlie is still being held by ISIS extremists.

President Trump's travels to his private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., give the chief executive a chance to unwind, hang out with friends and play golf. But that presidential rest and recreation comes with a cost.

Hollywood's biggest night, the Oscars ceremonies, will not feature an official host guiding the event this year, according to the president of ABC Entertainment which will broadcast the Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

Karey Burke told television reporters that the telecast would have "a pretty exciting opening" even without a host.

This is not the first time that the awards show went on without a host.

Venezuela's once impressive medical system has crumbled dramatically. But it's hard to know exactly how bad things are — because the Ministry of Health stopped releasing national health data.

"There has been a strict secrecy policy in public institutions in Venezuela ... since 2012," says Jenny García, a demographer from Venezuela now living in Paris. The government hasn't wanted to release health statistics that are simply going to make it look bad, García says.

Gavin McInnes, the founder of the far-right, all-male group Proud Boys, has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center.

SPLC has labeled the Proud Boys a hate group and has published a series of articles with examples of racist, misogynistic and transphobic quotes.

McInnes is perhaps best known as a co-founder of Vice Media, a position he left in 2008. He founded the Proud Boys group in 2016, describing it as a "men's club that meets about once a month to drink beer."

The forecast is dire for the glaciers of the Himalayas.

According to a report released Monday, a third or more of them could be gone by 2100 — melted because of earth's warming climate. And that could have disastrous effects on the water resources of some 240 million people.

Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer is not a fan of the word "very."

"It's not a dreadful word," he allows, but "it's one of my little pet words to do without if you can possibly do without it."

"Very" and its cousins "rather" and "really" are "wan intensifiers," Dreyer explains. In their place, he advises that writers look for a strong adjective that "just sits very nicely by itself" on the page. For example, "very smart" people can be "brilliant" and "very hungry" people can be "ravenous."

Today's polarized politics can have a profound effect on relationships with family and friends. How is it for you? How do you, your loved ones and friends in your community stay connected — and calm — if you have sharp political disagreements?

We want to hear about your experience and the conversations you've had, or maybe didn't have. You can fill out the form below or here.

Your responses may be used in an upcoming story, on air or on NPR.org. A producer may contact you to follow up on your response, too.

In Texas, a growing number of patients are turning to a little-known state mediation program to deal with unexpected hospital bills.

The bills in question often arrive in patients' mailboxes with shocking balances that run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When patients, through no fault of their own, are treated outside their insurers' network of hospitals, the result can be a surprise bill. Other times, insurers won't agree to pay what the hospital charges, and the patient is on the hook for the balance.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

President Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night. He's expected to deliver a bipartisan message themed around "choosing greatness," while outlining what the White House calls a "policy agenda both parties can rally behind."

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