Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:55 pm
Cuban cigars are wrapped in mystique. Soon travelers will be able to bring back $100 worth of the famed cigars. Here are some facts you should know.
1. Cuban cigars are expensive, even in Cuba.
As NPR's Tom Gjelten tweeted, the new permission to bring back $100 worth of tobacco (or alcohol) allows you at the most four good cigars. Tom says he hasn't been back to Cuba for six years, but the last time he was there, a single Cohiba or Uppman "set you back at least $25."
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 2:21 pm
A version of this story was originally published on Dec. 23, 2011.
If you happen to spend Christmas Eve in Canada — especially Quebec — you might be lucky enough to be invited to a festive dinner after midnight Mass. The feast is an old tradition from France called reveillon, and it's something to look forward to after a long day of fasting.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:22 am
California is battling the worst whooping cough epidemic in 70 years.
Nearly 10,000 cases have been reported in the state so far this year, and babies are especially prone to hospitalization or even death.
Six of 10 infants who have become ill during the current outbreak are Latino. There's no conclusive explanation, but there are a few theories that range from Latino cultural factors to a lack of health insurance.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:45 pm
We're living longer.
And cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases aren't taking quite as much of a toll as they did a couple of decades ago.
But that doesn't mean we're immortal.
Road accidents, suicide, chronic kidney disease, alcohol-related diseases ... these are a few of the topics to discuss after looking at a new country-by-country analysis of causes of death by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:11 am
India took a giant leap forward toward its ambitious goal of sending humans into space, launching an unmanned crew capsule aboard a powerful new rocket.
The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, launched the 630-ton rocket from its facility at Sriharikota on the country's southeast coast. It was the first flight test of an improved version of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, or GSLV rocket.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:37 am
A Montana man's shooting in April of a German exchange student was a test of the state's "castle doctrine," which says a man's home is his castle and can be defended as such. But on Wednesday, a jury convicted Markus Kaarma of deliberate homicide in the death of 17-year-old Diren Dede, who was in his garage.
As Montana Public Radio's Christopher Allen reports, "Kaarma's defense team argued deadly force was justified because he was defending his home. Prosecutors argued Kaarma, who had been previously burglarized, set a trap with intent to harm and committed deliberate homicide."
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:22 am
Soccer's governing body is meeting Thursday in Morocco, a day after the American lawyer, who spent two years investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the World Cup, quit in protest at how FIFA handled his report.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:02 am
Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the West in a year-end news conference today, blaming international sanctions and a steep plunge in oil prices for the precipitous drop in the value of the ruble.
Putin, speaking during a more than three-hour news conference attended by some 1,200 journalists, "promised never to let the West chain or defang his proud nation," according to The Associated Press.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 1:05 pm
Remember that worrisome new form of botulinum toxin we told you about in late 2013, the one that supposedly had to be kept secret out of fear it could be used as a bioweapon that would evade all of our medical defenses?
Well, as it turns out, it's not that scary after all. The antitoxin stored in the government's emergency stockpile works and would neutralize the toxin just fine.
Between the rugged terrain and the constant terrorist threats, vaccinating Pakistani children against common diseases hasn't been easy. Mountains make it hard — at times even impossible — for vaccinators to reach people in the north. In the south, health workers have to use four-wheelers and camels to travel through Pakistan's harsh deserts.