U.S.

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Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard could be released from prison after serving 30 years of his life sentence.

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports that he will be eligible for parole in November. "Under the laws in place at the time [of his sentencing], Pollard is eligible for parole unless he's acted up in prison or likely to commit another crime," she says.

Pollard was arrested in 1985 and eventually was convicted of espionage for conspiring to pass national defense information to Israel. Carrie reports that the Israeli government has repeatedly pushed for his release.

A new study of veterans from the Vietnam War has troubling implications for troops who fought much more recently — in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The study suggests that 40 years since the Vietnam War ended, hundreds of thousands of those vets still struggle every day with mental health problems linked to the traumas they experienced. It was published in the latest issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

New York state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Compliance with those laws is another matter.

New York passed a broad package of gun regulations after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., despite the objections of hunters and gun rights advocates. Now it appears that many gun owners are refusing to comply with a key provision that requires the registration of so-called assault weapons.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Salt Is Slowly Crippling California's Almond Industry

3 hours ago

As California's drought drags on, its almond industry has come under scrutiny. As you've probably heard by now, almonds use a lot of water — about one gallon per nut. Most growers are relying on groundwater even more this year, because their surface water has been cut off. But that brings a different problem all together: too much salt.

Not the salt added to make roasted almonds savory, but salt in groundwater – which is killing trees.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's Pie And Beer (And Pioneer) Day In Utah!

7 hours ago

July 24 is Pioneer Day in Utah, honoring the arrival of Brigham Young and other Mormon settlers at Salt Lake Valley in 1847. State offices and banks are closed, employees have the day off, and there are parades and fireworks throughout the state.

The actions of two teachers who were in a Louisiana movie theater when a gunman opened fire Thursday night are being praised, as officials say the women's bravery and quick thinking saved the lives of unsuspecting patrons.

Two people were killed in the attack in Lafayette, La.; nine more were injured. After being cornered by police, the gunman, identified as John Russel Houser, 59, reportedly killed himself.

Youngsters aren't the only ones who have an affinity for consuming a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time – in other words, harmful drinking. It turns out, the parents and grandparents of millennials know how to binge drink, too.

Adults over age 50 who are healthy, active, sociable and well-off are more at risk for harmful drinking than their peers, according to a study published in the BMJ on Thursday.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It had all the elements of an Internet hit: Two magicians hijack a TV news update, performing in the background behind an oblivious reporter. The video quickly went viral in Britain — but then it emerged that the Sky News team was in on the joke.

Health insurer Anthem has struck a deal to acquire rival Cigna for $48 billion — a buyout that would create the country's largest health insurer by enrollment.

The combined entity would have an estimated revenue of $115 billion and cover 53 million people in the U.S.

(This post was last updated at 2:53 p.m. ET.)

The Justice Department has received a referral to look into whether classified information was mishandled in relation to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account to conduct official business.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Remember that Chris Farley character from "Saturday Night Live?" The motivational speaker who lived in van down by the river.

Well, visitors to New York can now spend the night in a van down by the East River.

A listing on AirBnB is offering bed space in several vans in Long Island City.... ranging in price from $22 to $99.

The vans lack almost all amenities. One guest commented that "not being able to shower was definitely a negative ... seeing as New York isn't very clean."

Mass Shootings In America By The Numbers

14 hours ago

Mass shootings as defined by the FBI happen about every two weeks in America. For nearly a decade, USA Today has been tracking these incidents on a website that paints a grim picture.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

For more than a decade, Wilson Matthews and Jeanne Yeatman worked together as flight nurses on emergency response helicopters. Over that time, they cared for countless patients as they were being transported to hospitals. One flight in particular, though, remains impossible for them to forget.

They had been trying to save a 13-year-old named Stephen. He'd been riding his bicycle over a dirt jump when he fell and suffered severe head trauma.

By the time he made it into the helicopter, nothing that Wilson or Jeanne tried was doing any good.

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law 25 years ago, "everybody was thinking about the iconic person in a wheelchair," says civil rights lawyer Sid Wolinsky. Or that the ADA — which bans discrimination based on disability — was for someone who is deaf, or blind.

But take a tour of New York City with Wolinsky — and the places he sued there — and you will see how the ADA has helped not just people with those significant disabilities, but also people with minor disabilities, and people with no disability at all.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET

Lafayette, La., Police Chief Jim Craft said a gunman opened fire in a movie theater during a Thursday night screening of Trainwreck.

Craft said the gunman killed two people and wounded seven others before shooting and killing himself. At least three of the wounded remain in critical condition.

Police said they have identified the shooter but are not yet releasing his name. He was described as a 58-year-old white male armed with a handgun. Law enforcement officials said the gunman was attending the movie alone.

The American Red Cross has met its deadline to say how it spent almost half a billion dollars in Haiti. But the charity's answers have left at least one senator unsatisfied.

Bill Coppersmith, a fisherman in Maine, might want to buy a lottery ticket. He's gotten pretty lucky lately. This week he caught a rare orange lobster while fishing with his sternman Brian Skillings, writes the Portland Press Herald.

The paper talked to Robert Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, who said that the actual odds of catching an orange lobster would just be a guess. But "it's one in several million, there's no doubt about that," he said.

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