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FDA Moves To Rein In Drugmakers' Abuse Of Orphan Drug Law

Sep 13, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration is changing the way it approves medicines known as "orphan drugs" after revelations that drugmakers may be abusing a law intended to help patients with rare diseases.

On a clear day, Jocelyn Bentley-Prestwich can see Mount Adams from the vineyard where she works in Hood River, Ore. But lately, she's had difficulty seeing to the end of her property line.

With the Eagle Creek Fire burning along the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River has been cloaked in heavy smoke for more than a week. The fire now covers roughly 36,000 acres and has been burning since Sept. 2. Fire crews don't expect to be able to contain it until the end of the month.

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The organic eggs in your grocery store are supposed to come from chickens that have year-round access to the outdoors. That's according to long-standing organic regulations.

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This HIDDEN BRAIN. I'm Shankar Vedantam. For many years, tech companies have been really good at innovation and making money. What they've been less good at is in hiring and keeping a diverse workforce.

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The Department of Transportation released its revised guidelines on automated driving systems Tuesday, outlining its recommended — but not mandatory — best practices for companies developing self-driving cars.

Roughly half of Florida's homes and businesses remained without electricity on Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. A lot of the business recovery efforts there will depend on how quickly power can be restored.

On her way to work Tuesday morning, Carol McDaniel, vice president of human resources for the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, made her way through darkened neighborhoods.

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Today at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Apple CEO Tim Cook made a dramatic introduction.

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TIM COOK: This is iPhone 10. It is the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.

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Tesla owners who were in Hurricane Irma's path in the Southeast recently got an unexpected boost to help them, after the carmaker remotely upgraded vehicle batteries to their highest capacity.

The boost gave customers' cars an extra 30 to 40 miles, but it's also temporary: The batteries will lose their extra juice this weekend.

The move came at the request of a customer who was worried about traffic and the range between charging stations during a massive evacuation that saw millions of Americans leave their homes in Florida, Georgia and neighboring states.

Ever bought a car? Applied for a job? Checked your credit score? Then you’re probably in the system. The U.S. credit system.

Crowds poured into the streets in major cities across France to protest changes that President Emmanuel Macron wants to make to the country's labor code, waving flares and brandishing signs with sarcastic slogans such as "slackers of all nations unite."

The show of opposition, led by the far-left union CGT, is seen as the first major test for the recently elected leader.

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There has been yet another twist in a long-running scandal in Brazil. It has engulfed many of the rich and powerful, including several former Brazilian presidents. NPR's Philip Reeves reports from Rio de Janeiro.

Americans owe more than ever before, with household debt hitting a record of nearly $13 trillion. And auto loans, home loans and credit card debt are all still on the rise, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That has some economists saying the lessons of the bubble of borrowing in the run-up to the Great Recession have already been forgotten.

Journalist Franklin Foer worries that we're all losing our minds as big tech companies infiltrate every aspect of our lives.

In his new book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, Foer compares the way we feel about technology now to the way people felt about pre-made foods, like TV dinners, when they were first invented.

Pollinators such as bees play a key part of producing the beans that go into your morning cup of coffee.

In fact, they are responsible for about 20 to 25 percent of coffee production by increasing the plants' yield, Taylor Ricketts, the director of the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Environment, tells The Two-Way. Bees actually increase the quality of the beans by making their size more uniform.

France's busiest port, Boulougne-sur-Mer, sits just across the English Channel from Britain, in the Calais region.

Seagulls glide above scores of brightly painted boats docking to unload the catch of the day — mainly sole but also cod, roussette, crab and scallops.

It's all sold at a bustling seaside market where Marie-Laure Fontaine sells seafood from a fishing boat called Providence.

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Back in 2007, the hype around Apple's new phone was all about the keyboard — or lack thereof.

"In fact, some experts think the days of the telephone keypad are numbered," NPR's Laura Sydell wrote in advance of the release of the very first iPhone by Steve Jobs. It's fair to say, the forecast triumph of the on-screen keyboard has proved true (RIP BlackBerry Classic).

Cancer drugs cost far less to develop than industry-backed research asserts, an analysis published Monday asserts. Research and development costs are a major reason that drug companies justify high prices, so this dispute has a direct bearing on the cost of medical care.

It sounds like a bit of a head-scratcher: Department store giant Nordstrom says its new concept store won't actually have any clothing in stock.

Instead, Nordstrom Local will focus on free consultations with personal stylists, who will advise customers and then have the merchandise brought in. People can also get manicures and curbside pickup.

Prospective customers will be able to make appointments "online, over the phone or in-person," the retailer says.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

More than 6.5 million Florida homes and businesses are now without power after Hurricane Irma moved through the state, according to the state's emergency management division. That's 64 percent of the state's power customers, and there are several counties where 80-90 percent of customers are without power.

If someone asked you where you were and what you were doing on a certain day, would you know? Could you give them exact details and describe how the day progressed? For most people, the answer is probably no, but there are some days that are unforgettable for one reason or another. For those days, it's likely that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.

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Editor's note: In the 1950s, the U.S. poultry industry began adopting a new process: Acronizing. Ads that ran in women's magazines pictured crisp-skinned whole chicken that tasted "fresh," "wholesome" and "country sweet" thanks to a "revolutionary process which helps maintain freshness in perishables" like chicken. In reality, Acronizing referred to the use of antibiotics. Birds were doused in a diluted solution of antibiotics while they were being butchered. The goal was to keep the meat from spoiling, allowing birds to be sold not just days, but weeks after slaughter.

Hurricane Irma is expected to bring high winds and heavy rains across Florida as a Category 4 storm. While many people stocked up on supplies and boarded up their windows, a few businesses remained open in Miami on Saturday.

Café Croissant had its bright "open" sign lit, welcoming customers in from the rain. Pascal Vedel, who co-owns the cafe with his twin brother Didier, greets each patron with a smile and offers them coffee. The brothers are originally from Montpellier, in southern France.

When crisis strikes, leaders often call for sacrifice. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and in these days before Hurricane Irma churns ashore in Florida, we've seen innumerable Americans volunteer, sacrifice and even risk their lives to help others.

It might be too easy to contrast that generous spirit with the strict practices of major air carriers. But airlines make it pretty much irresistible.

Episode 793: This Week in Time Bombs

Sep 8, 2017

We returned from vacation this week and it felt like the world as we know it was about to end.

We're not talking about nuclear war or natural disasters. (Although there is that, too.) We're talking about the approaching economic abyss. Amid the hustle and bustle of the summer, Congress has somehow neglected to perform the basic job of passing essential legislation that keeps the U.S. economy going.

For instance, the fiscal year for the United States of America ends this month, and somebody (we're looking at you, Congress) has not yet written a new budget.

As Florida drivers hit the road to escape Hurricane Irma, the demand for gasoline has outpaced supply, leaving filling stations throughout the state short of fuel.

"It's horrible, man," said Aaron Izquierdo, who waited in a long line of cars at a Shell station in Doral on Friday. "Just yesterday I was in line for two hours to wait for gas, and by the time we got to the pump there was no gas."

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