National News from NPR

It's just 15 miles south of Rome, but it looks more like ancient Jerusalem.

Welcome to the vast backlot at Cinecittà, the sprawling movie metropolis where the original Ben-Hur was filmed, and a remake is currently in production.

To discover the new frontier of urban farming, you'll have to look up — and look sharp — for hanging fruit.

The Senate has voted to limit debate on a bill that would grant the White House "fast track" negotiating authority and clear a path for the Obama administration's trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations.

Reuters says the 62-38 vote, which clears a filibuster hurdle, boosts "hopes for a deal that is central to President Barack Obama's strategic shift toward Asia."

Many Democrats oppose the Asia-Pacific treaty, saying free-trade deals cost U.S. jobs, but the White House maintains that U.S. producers need access to foreign markets.

The sales pitch for contact lenses that help kids see better by reshaping their corneas sounds futuristically appealing. Sleep overnight in the lenses, pop them out in the morning and experience perfect or near-perfect vision for an entire day.

Beth Levenson of Williamsburg, Va., thought the lenses, even at a price of $2,000, seemed ideal for her son Logan, then 9, who played on several sports teams.

African-American women can be at risk of heart disease even if they don't have metabolic syndrome, a study finds.

That's a problem, because the current thinking is that metabolic syndrome — defined as high triglycerides, bad cholesterol, abdominal fat, high blood pressure and impaired glucose metabolism — is the big risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

The picture with women appears to be a lot more complicated, especially when you compare women in different racial or ethnic groups.

In his New York Times column this week, Charles Blow discussed bikers and thugs in the aftermath of the Waco shootout on Sunday.

Citing the completion of a pretrial intervention program, a New Jersey judge has dismissed a felony assault charge that was filed against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice over a now-infamous incident in which Rice struck his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

Rice hit Palmer during an argument while they were visiting Atlantic City, N.J., in February of 2014. A month later, he was indicted on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault. He then entered into a one-year pretrial program that would allow him to avoid a trial.

Do you ever feel like communication — in this Age of Communication — is more confused and confusing than ever? Does anybody even read whole messages anymore — beyond the subject line or the first screen? Do you get tangled up in threads and bewildered by attachments? Do txt msgs n-furi-8 u?

Here's the real question: Are all these communication devices truly improving interaction between humans or just providing more opportunities for miscommunication?

Malaysia's prime minister has ordered the navy and coast guard to search for stranded Rohingya migrants in the Andaman Sea, a day after Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta agreed to take boatloads of desperate refugees who have been in limbo for weeks since fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

Following the self-declared Islamic State's capture of Palmyra, concern today is turning to the security of the ancient Syrian city's archaeological sites and fears that the Islamist extremists might try to destroy them, as they have done elsewhere.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

The Texas-based company responsible for the undersea pipeline that has leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the sea near the coast at Goleta, Calif., has a history of federal safety violations, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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When the final episode came, after weeks of accolades and tributes to his genius, David Letterman made sure he punctured the emotion of the moment with a little old-fashioned, self-deprecating sarcasm.

Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET

Protesting the soon-to-expire Patriot Act, presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul held the floor of the Senate for nearly 11 hours late Wednesday in a filibuster-like speech railing against the law and the government's continued surveillance of Americans' phone records.

"I don't think we're any safer looking at every American's records," Paul said.

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