KETR

National News from NPR

The U.K. plans to ban plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday at a meeting of Commonwealth nations.

"Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world," May said in a statement, in which she called the U.K. government "a world leader on this issue."

The Fearless Girl statue, which has stared down the Manhattan financial district's famous Charging Bull for more than a year, will be relocating to a spot in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

The statue was installed near Wall Street in 2017 in honor of International Women's Day, and only had a temporary permit. But now it will remain in New York City permanently, at the new location just around the corner.

Just who controls the Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump? If you guessed the president, journalist Robert Draper says you might be only partially correct.

Draper's recent New York Times Magazine article profiles White House social media director Dan Scavino — a man Draper estimates helps craft about half of the president's tweets.

The gun issue is beginning to wane in voters' minds ahead of the November midterm elections, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

While almost half of all registered voters (46 percent) say a candidate's position on gun policy will be a major factor in deciding whom to vote for, that number is down 13 points from February, when a shooting at a Florida high school sparked outrage.

President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped a pair of defamation lawsuits he filed after BuzzFeed News published the infamous Russia dossier last year.

The embattled lawyer isn't conceding anything about the substance of what was detailed in the dossier, which is unverified, but says he has too much else on his plate to proceed now that he is dealing with a federal court case in New York.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," said a lawyer for Cohen, David Schwartz.

Updated at 1:08 p.m. ET

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez has been elected president of Cuba, officially ending the Castro family's decades of domination of the country's highest office. The Communist Party formally announced the presidency's transition from Raúl Castro on Thursday, in what might better be described as a coronation than an election.

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET

Alabama has executed 83-year-old serial bomber Walter Leroy Moody by lethal injection.

Moody is the oldest inmate executed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

It's getting easier to find top-notch, handcrafted whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and other spirits made in the U.S. With more than 1,500 craft distillers across the country, the American spirits movement is on the rise, and in Vermont, the industry is booming.

Over the past 15 years, the number of licensed distilleries in the Green Mountain State has increased nearly tenfold: from just three to more than 24, according to Vermont's Distilled Spirits Council.

Incomplete questionnaires for the 2020 census, including those that leave the controversial citizenship question unanswered, will still be included in the upcoming U.S. headcount, the Census Bureau's top official confirmed Wednesday to lawmakers.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

The felony invasion-of-privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens can continue, Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled in St. Louis on Thursday. Many of Greitens' fellow Republicans have urged him to resign; he has refused.

Burlison announced he would not dismiss the case in response to a motion from Greitens' defense team, reports St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum.

Room 615 in Vladivostok's Hotel Gavan is a cramped, two-room "business suite" with green wallpaper and carpeting. Yet when former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il traveled to Russia's Pacific coast in 2002, the modest digs served as his presidential suite.

The joint alert from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last month warning that Russia was hacking into critical U.S. energy infrastructure may have shaken some Americans. But it came as no surprise to the country's largest grid operator, PJM Interconnection.

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin On Pompeo

Apr 19, 2018

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

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is not confirmed as secretary of state but is doing some diplomacy. President Trump spoke yesterday of Pompeo's previously secret mission to clear the way for a summit with North Korea's leader.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Pages