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Photo by U.S. Drought Monitor.
Photo by U.S. Drought Monitor.

Drought Conditions In Texas Worsen

Drought conditions in Texas have gotten worse over the past week. The latest report from the Texas Water Development Board found that rainfall deficits as high as 50 percent off normal over the past two months have left more than a third of Texas in some stage of drought.

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Scientists say they've made a device in the lab that can mimic the human female reproductive cycle.

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama ran an ad with this opening line: "The hands that built this nation can build a new economy. The hands that harvest crops can also harvest the wind."

And then it showed men working on roofs: "The hands that install roofs can also install solar panels."

In a victory for Flint residents, the state of Michigan has agreed to spend up to $97 million for new water lines in the city of Flint, which has been struggling with a crisis over lead in its water for the past three years.

A federal judge at the U.S. District Court for Michigan's eastern district approved the agreement Tuesday. Within three years, authorities must examine water service lines for at least 18,000 households and replace those made of lead and galvanized steel.

The Justice Department has joined a California whistleblower's lawsuit that accuses insurance giant UnitedHealth Group of fraud in its popular Medicare Advantage health plans.

Justice officials filed legal papers to intervene in the suit, first brought by whistleblower James Swoben in 2009, on Friday in federal court in Los Angeles. On Monday, they sought a court order to combine Swoben's case with that of another whistleblower.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee is asking a government watchdog to investigate recent remarks by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin as a possible ethical violation.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., says in a statement Mnuchin's plug for a movie he helped produce signals "a blatant disregard and disrespect to the office he serves and the power it holds."

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

One day before the U.K. is widely expected to formally begin its departure from the European Union, Scottish lawmakers took another crucial step toward voting on a departure of their own.

The number of American breweries topped 5,000 for the first time last year, with craft beer makers accounting for 5,234 of 5,301 U.S. breweries, according to new figures from the Brewers Association.

Just five years ago, there were only about 2,000 U.S. craft brewers, which the Brewers Association defines as small or independent beer makers. Last year alone, more than 800 opened for business.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET with additional reporting

The wonkiest soap opera in Washington served up yet more of its trademark plot twists on Tuesday as the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia detoured even further into partisan bickering.

The upshot of the day's back-and-forth was this: Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the previous administration whom President Trump fired on Jan. 31, is not barred by the White House from testifying in open hearings in Congress.

Celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder that prevents people from digesting gluten, affects about 1 percent of the population.

But there's not enough evidence to recommend screening everybody to find that 1 percent, an advisory panel said Tuesday.

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