Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a ban on some food and agricultural imports from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.

In a statement, the Kremlin said the measures were intended to "protect Russia's security."

What is not clear is which food and agricultural imports will be banned. Instead, Putin asked his government to come up with a list of "products, raw materials and food" to include on the list in a way that prevents "the rapid growth of prices."

Many people in Sierra Leone still don't believe Ebola really exists.

In response, Ebola awareness announcements are now playing repeatedly on the radio and on loudspeakers up and down the streets of Freetown — Sierra Leone's pretty but ramshackle oceanfront capital. The announcements are part of awareness campaigns to try to stop the virus from spreading.

Just a few days ago, Code Switch wrote about the use violent hip-hop lyrics as evidence in criminal cases, a practice that some critics say violates defendants' First Amendment rights and plays up jurors' misunderstandings of the use of hyperbole in hip-hop.

Just as reports surfaced that Sprint, and its corporate parent SoftBank, were ending their bid to merge with T-Mobile, the company announced it was appointing a new CEO.

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son said Marcelo Claure, who runs Brightstar, a wireless company and subsidiary of SoftBank, would replace Dan Hesse, who has been Sprint's president and CEO since 2007.

In the announcement, Son made a passing reference to Sprint's decision to forgo the T-Mobile merger.

Can the U.S. government use social media to combat anti-social behavior? Can America win the online battle for the hearts and minds of potential terrorists?

Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Midwest economy. In some states, it may even become a right.

That's what unofficially happened in Missouri on Tuesday when voters approved the so-called "right to farm" in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. (With less than a half of a percent vote differential, a recount is likely.) And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions in other big ag states.

Medicare spent more than $30 million in 2012 on questionable HIV medication costs, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in an investigation published Wednesday.

The possible fraud schemes were all paid for by Medicare's prescription drug program known as Part D. Among the most egregious:

  • In Detroit, a 77-year-old woman purportedly filled $33,500 worth of prescriptions for 10 different HIV medications. But there's no record she had HIV or that she had visited the doctors who wrote the scripts.

Hawaii is preparing for two major storms this week, beginning with Hurricane Iselle, which is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it arrives on Thursday. Hurricane Julio is expected to hit Saturday, again after weakening into a tropical storm.

Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman tells our Newscast unit that residents and tourists are getting ready for the heavy rains, rough seas and 60 mph winds expected from the storms:

After nearly a month of brutal war, Gaza was calm for a second day on Wednesday.

And as that negotiated, three-day peace took hold, diplomacy stepped front and center.

In an interview with the BBC, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said both sides should take advantage of this moment to forge a longer-lasting peace.

Kerry said the U.S. supports Palestinians' desire to rebuild and open up borders, but that will happen only under a "bigger, broader approach to the underlying solution of two states."

A day after a man dressed in an Afghan military uniform opened fire at service members from the NATO-led coalition, another insider attack is making news.

The Associated Press reports:

"An Afghan policeman turned his gun on his colleagues at a police checkpoint in the country's south, killing seven policemen, a provincial official said Wednesday.

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News and Features from APM and PRI

I took an interest in Yemen some years ago and began following events there for The World, our Boston-based radio show. Because the US has taken on a major role in the Yemen civil war — supplying weapons, logistical and intelligence support to one side in the conflict — I've become, from a distance, a conflict journalist. 

Brexit looms — either with a deal or without

Jan 11, 2019

Britain’s beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa May is facing another Brexit ordeal in parliament. On Jan. 15 she will try again to win the support of British lawmakers for her deal laying out the terms of  the U.K.’s  departure from the bloc. Prime Minister May abandoned a vote on the highly unpopular deal just before Christmas, because she calculated that she wasn’t going to get enough lawmakers in the House of Commons to support it. Not much has changed since then, so she still faces a titanic struggle.

Back in November, General Motors unloaded a big bummer of an announcement: five plant closures, about 15,000 layoffs and the dispensing of several car models. GM said all that would save $4.5 billion by 2020. Today, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company expects 2018 earnings will be stronger than previously expected and said 2019 is looking good, too.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The stock market had a rough 2018, plunging and rising hundreds of points at various times in the year. 

We know there’s chaos in the markets because we read the panicked headlines about hundred-point plunges and see the dips on a big line graph.

The last few months have been a roller coaster for stock markets. While that was nerve-wracking for most market participants, it was welcome news for big funds designed to hedge against market turbulence.

Data out this week from Hedge Fund Research show that last year, hedge fund performance on average dropped by less than the S&P 500.

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