NPR News

For only the third time in 157 years, the bell at London's landmark clock will not toll the hours.

Big Ben resides in Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament. Starting next year, the bell will go silent for a few months as part of a three-year repair plan.

At the Koforidua Regional Hospital in Ghana, Dr. Forster Amponsah is about to start an appendectomy in one of the hospital's four operating theaters. A half-dozen other patients who have been prepped for surgery lie on gurneys in the surgical ward's foyer. Amponsah is planning to do all the surgeries in quick succession — but then the entire wing of the hospital goes dark.

"The general electricity is out and our generator is broken down," Amponsah says.

When orchardist Eliza Greenman walks through a field of apple trees and gazes upon a pocked array of blemished and buckled fruits — scarred from fighting fungus, heat and pests — she feels a little thrill of joy. "I'm absolutely infatuated with the idea of stress in an orchard," says Greenman, who custom grafts and grows pesticide-free hard cider apples in Hamilton, Va. These forlorn, scabbed apples, says Greenman, may actually be sweeter.

VIDEO: Chocolate Bars With A Political Bite

Apr 26, 2016

It's often said that Washington, D.C., is a town obsessed with politics. Apparently, that obsession extends to its chocolatiers.

Former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, 23, has been indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on a misdemeanor assault charge.

Manziel's ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley has accused him of hitting her and rupturing her eardrum in January.

The Dallas Morning News describes what happened:

A Dutch dentist has been sentenced to eight years behind bars for harming patients in a rural French town. The so-called dentist of horror injured more than 100 patients and committed insurance fraud in Chateau-Chinon, which reportedly had been without a dental care provider for years.

Jacobus Van Nierop, 51, isn't allowed to practice dentistry anymore, and he has to pay about $11,900, according to the BBC.

Immunotherapy tablets are starting to edge out shots as a treatment for allergies. And it looks like the pills can help reduce the frequency of asthma attacks, too.

Scientists reported Tuesday that immunotherapy tablets for dust mite allergy reduced the risk of an attack in people with moderate to severe asthma. The results were published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

A gay rights activist and his friend were killed Monday night in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, by a group of assailants reportedly armed with machetes and guns.

Their deaths are the latest in "a series of attacks on progressive voices that has deepened anxiety about growing fundamentalism in the tiny Muslim country, which borders India," NPR's Julie McCarthy tells our Newscast unit.

Xulhaz Mannan and a man said to be a close friend were slain by a half-dozen men posing as couriers when they forced their way inside Mannan's apartment, Julie reports.

After tens of thousands of votes, the pair of eaglets born in the National Arboretum last month now have official names. Freedom and Liberty won, beating out other options such as Stars and Stripes.

The eagles have been very popular. Since February, more than 35 million people have watched them progress from eggs to hatchlings to eaglets, according to the American Eagle Foundation, which set up cameras near the birds' nest in the arboretum in Washington, D.C.

When it comes to reversing the obesity epidemic, there have been glimmers of hope that the U.S. might be making headway, especially with young children.

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