NPR News | Blue Ridge Public Radio

On Sunday, people around the country will mark one year since the Women's March on Washington, D.C. Last year it brought hundreds of thousands of liberals to the capital, many wearing pink knitted caps in solidarity. Others marched in hundreds of cities and towns across the United States and more than 80 other countries.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

Anti-abortion-rights activists who gathered at the National Mall for the 45th annual rally known as the March for Life heard a history-making address from the man who has become an unlikely champion of their cause: President Trump.

The Justice Department late Thursday announced that it has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that prevents President Trump from ending the Obama-era program that shields certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

That program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, also grants work permits to about 700,000 immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a deal for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DON'T BE CRUEL")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) You know I can be found...

A powerful storm that brought hurricane-force winds to parts of Western Europe, causing floods, downing trees and halting public transport, has been blamed for at least nine deaths in four countries.

The Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium got the brunt of the unusual storm system. Some areas saw winds up to 126 mph.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

On Thursday, USA Gymnastics announced they will stop using the Karolyi Ranch — the site of many of the atrocities committed against Olympians by Larry Nassar, the team's former doctor. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to New York Times reporter, Juliet Macur about what happens next as Nassar faces sentencing hearings this week.

A committee of U.S. Senators has again approved a controversial pick for the Federal Bench. Thomas Farr is up for a life-time position in the Eastern District of North Carolina. He has been criticized for his work as an attorney defending recent voting laws passed by the Republican-led General Assembly – and also for his work on a Jesse Helms campaign in 1990.

A tablespoon of soil contains billions of microscopic organisms. Life on Earth, especially the growing of food, depends on these microbes, but scientists don't even have names for most of them, much less a description.

That's changing, slowly, thanks to researchers like Noah Fierer, at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Fierer think microbes have lived in obscurity for too long. "They do a lot of important things for us, directly or indirectly, and I hope they get the respect they deserve," he says.

It wouldn't make any sense to send a French-speaking refugee to a German-speaking town in Switzerland.

But under Switzerland's current system of placing refugees, that's a situation that can easily happen. This problem isn't unique to Switzerland, and it's not the only kind of mismatch that might happen.

Baltimore public schools' heating crisis earlier this month was a "day of reckoning" for the system, the city, and the state said public schools CEO Sonja Santelises. The crisis, she said in an interview with WYPR Wednesday, exposed the truth that Baltimore city school buildings are less than functional.

Over the last month, in a series of volatile swings, the price of the cryptocurrency bitcoin rose to a record high — then plunged to less than half that value.

The abrupt changes have inspired comparisons to the dot-com bubble, and underscored the extremely speculative nature of investing in cryptocurrency.

Attention Drivers: Many of those those freeways you're using may not be free for long. Several states are opening new toll roads this year and rates on many existing turnpikes and tollways are going up.

And the number of toll roads is likely to increase, as the Trump administration's infrastructure plan may force many more states to use them to fund long-standing transportation needs

Editor's note: This report includes disturbing descriptions of child abuse.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

There was a time when saying you lived in Portland, Ore., would get a response like, "That's above California, right?" Now, people not only know where the city is but also inevitably ask, "Is it just like the show?"

Researchers say they have taken a step toward developing a blood test that would detect eight common cancers, possibly even before symptoms appear.

As they report Thursday in the journal Science, they're hoping their idea would eventually lead to a $500 test that can screen for cancer and identify people with the disease when it's in its earliest stages and more treatable.

But they have a long way to go.

A strange smell had invaded my apartment. It was sour and pungent like rotting meat. Or maybe it was more like old fish. It was kind of like both of those things with a hint of spoiled milk. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, blame the English language. It's not just me; it's very difficult to describe scents in English. It's hard to do in German and Dutch and French, too.

So why aren't Westerners good at naming scents?

For decades, scientists thought perhaps smell was a diminished human sense and less valuable than other senses — like our glorious eyesight.

Moutai baijiu reigns as China's favorite brand of its favorite liquor — but the famously fiery drink is getting hard to find, as bottles are snatched up by market speculators. Renewed thirst for baijiu has sent the value of brand parent Kweichow Moutai soaring, making it the world's most valuable distiller.

Two teenage boys, struggling to make their way back to shore, were saved by a drone in Australia on Wednesday, in what officials say is a first-of-its-kind rescue mission by an unmanned aircraft — one captured by the drone's camera and later broadcast by Arab News and other outlets.

In the months since allegations of sexual harassment by major media figures took center stage in the United States, the #MeToo movement has had a ripple effect in Europe, prompting national conversations on a once-taboo topic. In some countries, the movement has been embraced.

But in Italy, the public has largely reacted with scorn and skepticism.

A developer from Utah is facing opposition from residents of four Vermont towns. David Hall has bought up 1,800 acres surrounding their farms and businesses, and says he plans to buy more, to build a utopian, self-sustainable community based on the principles expressed in the 1833 Plat of Zion city blueprint devised by Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The Trump administration had a plan to save the coal industry, but a panel headed by a Trump appointee rejected that plan. Stacey Vanek Smith co-hosts the Planet Money podcast The Indicator, where she's been reporting on the threats to the coal industry.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Pages