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If you saw any people leaping over fires, grilling fragrant kebabs or holding elaborate picnics this weekend, you may have witnessed celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which marks the start of spring across large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia.

A green sea turtle in Thailand that drew international sympathy when it emerged that she had consumed nearly 1,000 coins thrown into her pool has died.

The turtle nicknamed Omsin, the Thai word for "piggy bank," had an hours-long emergency surgery to remove the coins earlier this month. But she never woke up from a second emergency surgery.

Students throughout Boston are getting a radically different view of the world, one laminated 24-by-36-inch sheet of paper at a time.

Beginning last Thursday, Boston Public Schools administrators have been sending social studies teachers in the second, seventh and 11th grades new maps for their classrooms — depictions that more accurately portray the sizes of Earth's continents.

Being a prominent Twitter personality comes with its fair share of trolls. Trolls, as the Internet describes them, are users who bait others for their own amusement. So whenever Vann Newkirk, a writer at The Atlantic with a large following, gets a provocative clap back on his tweets about race, he usually ignores it.

A few years ago, Dr. Gregory Thomas thought he had finally found the Holy Grail of heart disease. And it was even found in a tomb.

He was studying the arteries of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies, and he thought this was finally it: a culture that would be free of heart disease. Heart disease couldn't be more than 3,000 years old, could it?

Man, he was disappointed.

Exercising While Pregnant Is Almost Always A Good Idea

Mar 21, 2017

Being pregnant can sometimes feel like traversing a minefield of advice: You want to do the right thing for your baby and yourself, but conflicting input from physicians, relatives, friends and even total strangers makes it difficult to know exactly what is helpful and what is potentially harmful.

A group of researchers want women to know that when it comes to exercise, there is a strong consensus of benefit for both the mother and developing fetus.

This spring, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will host a three-day event co-hosted by a business group.

That's not unusual. But here's what is: The group's chair founded the company that paid President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lobbying work that may have benefited the Turkish government.

This mashup of money involving Turks, Flynn and Trump has concerned ethics experts who worry about a "pay to play" atmosphere in Washington. Here are the basics:

There's a sweet new test for pee in the pool

Mar 21, 2017

The artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium (ACE) can be found in everything from chewing gum, to baked goods, to the packets of sugar substitute on restaurant tables. But researchers at the University of Alberta recently made headlines with the announcement that they’d found ACE somewhere else: in 31 swimming pools and hot tubs.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

The White House says President Trump will attend a NATO meeting on May 25 in Brussels, and "looks forward to meeting with his NATO counterparts to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO, and to discuss issues critical to the alliance, especially allied responsibility-sharing and NATO's role in the fight against terrorism."

The statement follows criticism of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's announced intention to visit Russia in April, but not take part in a NATO foreign ministers meeting, which is also next month.

A friend of mine, a professor at a university in Canada, confided to me a few days ago that she thinks she might be addicted to email.

She feels compelled to check her email all the time. And she feels bad about it. She experiences anxiety if she doesn't check, and anxiety if she does. Email gets in the way of her productivity at work and makes her feel distracted from family when she is at home.

Yup, sounds like addiction to me.

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How far should scientists be allowed to go in creating things that resemble primitive human brains, hearts, and even human embryos?

That's the question being asked by a group of Harvard scientists who are doing exactly that in their labs. They're using stem cells, genetics and other new biological engineering techniques to create tissues, primitive organs and other living structures that mimic parts of the human body.

Their concern is that they and others doing this type of "synthetic biology" research might be treading into disturbing territory.

Former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, who left violence behind to choose peace — and who eventually met Queen Elizabeth II — has died at age 66. For nearly a decade, McGuinness served as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister.

From London, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports:

"McGuinness retired from politics in January, suffering from a rare genetic disease. Today, he was lauded for his crucial role in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which brought peace to Northern Ireland.

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The weapon involves smart technology, though not a smart bomb. It's actually smart water. NPR's Deborah Amos reports on people fighting extremists with a paintbrush.

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Nescafe Opens A Nap Cafe In Tokyo

Mar 21, 2017

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Good morning. I'm Rachel Martin with a personal disclosure. I'm not very good at napping. Believe me, I try. But most of the time sleep is elusive. Maybe I'm doing it all wrong. Maybe I need to curl up in a nice, public setting with a cup of coffee, and sleep will come.

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Now a story about an uncontroversial Cabinet secretary in the Trump administration running a department with an agenda that has bipartisan support. It's a rare thing these days. The Department of Veterans Affairs has suffered scandal after scandal.

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