NPR News

AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner has cast renewed attention on the financial performance and journalistic independence of one of the media conglomerate's best-known possessions, CNN.

"You have to allow the organization to run independently," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson tells NPR. "It's not an altruistic thing either. I mean, I personally think it's a smart business thing to do. If the customer ever believes that the news is being tainted by the opinion of myself or somebody else within AT&T, that's brand damaging."

China's ruling Communist Party is pledging tighter discipline than ever for its 88 million members and no let up in a four-year anti-corruption campaign that has seen more than 1 million officials investigated for graft.

When scientists want to know what our ancient ancestors ate, they can look at a few things: fossilized animal bones with marks from tools used to butcher and cut them; fossilized poop; and teeth. The first two can tell us a lot, but they're hard to come by in the fossil record. Thankfully, there are a lot of teeth to fill in the gaps.

When parents think of the risks of flying, they usually think of turbulence, emergency landings or horrific crashes. Hot coffee probably doesn't top the list. But when children are injured on airlines, they're most likely to get hurt the same ways they do on the ground.

A federal judge has approved Volkswagen's $14.7 billion settlement over the carmaker's vehicle emissions scandal. The process of compensating affected U.S. car owners is beginning now, with the first buybacks expected to happen within the next few weeks.

Under the terms of the deal, Volkswagen agrees to either buy back or repair vehicles involved in the scandal. That means paying as much as $10.033 billion to owners. In addition, the carmaker has come to an agreement with the United States under which it will pay nearly $5 billion in environmental remediation.

Antarctica's ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating.

Antarctica is bigger than the U.S. and Mexico combined, and it's covered in deep ice — more than a mile deep in some places. Most of the ice sits on bedrock, but it slowly flows off the continent's edges. Along the western edge, giant glaciers creep down toward the sea. Where they meet the ocean, they form ice shelves.

Pope Francis met with the president of Venezuela on Monday for a private conversation about that country's acute political and economic crisis, as the Vatican announced it would be mediating a meeting between Venezuela's government and the opposition.

A statement from the Holy See, as translated by Catholic News Agency, said the pope encouraged President Nicolas Maduro "to undertake with courage the path of sincere and constructive dialogue" and "to alleviate the suffering of the people — first of all, those who are poor."

In a working-class city in southeast Michigan there's a barbershop where kids get a $2 discount for reading a book aloud to their barber.

Telecom giant AT&T has reached an $85.4 billion deal to buy media titan Time Warner. The news of this transformational merger has shaken up both industries, raising eyebrows on Wall Street and drawing criticism from lawmakers and even the presidential campaigns.

It's a familiar scene for sleep-deprived parents everywhere: They put down the baby in the bassinet to sleep, and those tiny eyes flutter shut. Then they flutter back open and the crying starts. The only thing perhaps more harrowing than those long wakeful nights of a baby's first year is the fear that one day the child won't wake up.