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How safe is your Uber ride? That question has dogged the company for years, as it has faced complaints from passengers and drivers alleging they have been sexually assaulted in an Uber.

Now Uber is revealing the scale of those complaints for the first time.

The company received 5,981 allegations of serious sexual assault in the U.S. over two years, according to a new report covering 2017 and 2018. The claims range from unwanted touching and kissing to rape.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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How safe is your Uber ride? That question has dogged the company for years as complaints have piled up from passengers and drivers alleging they were sexually assaulted inside an Uber. Now Uber is revealing the scale of these complaints for the first time. A new report tallies the number of sexual assaults, deaths and fatal crashes that happened during Uber rides in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018. NPR's tech correspondent Shannon Bond has more.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

How safe is your Uber ride? That question has dogged the company for years as complaints have piled up from passengers and drivers alleging they were sexually assaulted inside an Uber. Now Uber is revealing the scale of these complaints for the first time. A new report tallies the number of sexual assaults, deaths and fatal crashes that happened during Uber rides in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018. NPR's tech correspondent Shannon Bond has more.

After decades of progress against one of the most contagious human viruses, the world is seeing measles stage a slow, steady comeback.

The World Health Organization and the CDC say in a new report that there were nearly 10 million cases of measles last year, with outbreaks on every continent.

An estimated 140,000 people died from measles in 2018, WHO says, up from an all-time low of 90,000 in 2016.

And so far 2019 has been even worse.

A study designed to test the effectiveness of a controversial practice known as "abortion pill reversal" has been stopped early because of safety concerns.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, were investigating claims that the hormone progesterone can stop a medication-based abortion after a patient has completed the first part of the two-step process.

"Tail! Tail!" shouts Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, a marine biologist, before grabbing his crossbow, as we close in on a humpback whale.

Rosenbaum gets into position on the bow of the boat, stands firmly with legs apart, takes aim, and fires at the 40-foot cetacean. The arrow that he releases doesn't have a point – it has a hollow 2-inch tip to collect skin and blubber, and a cork-like stopper to prevent it from penetrating too deeply.

A comet from another star will swing by our sun Dec. 8.

Known as 2I/Borisov, it is the first comet to ever be seen coming from interstellar space. But despite its alien origins, astronomers say it actually looks pretty familiar.

"Borisov is a comet very like what we have in our own solar system," says Michele Bannister, a planetary astronomer at Queen's University Belfast told NPR's Short Wave. Whatever planetary system it formed in, "it's a lot like our own."

Scientists know that if they transfuse blood from a young mouse to an old one, then they can stave off or even reverse some signs of aging. But they don't know what in the blood is responsible for this remarkable effect.

Researchers now report that they've identified hundreds of proteins in human blood that wax and wane in surprising ways as we age. The findings could provide important clues about which substances in the blood can slow aging.

On a busy street in Miami this week, people have been lining up for a seasonal tradition—churros dipped in hot chocolate. While frigid air gripped most of the country this week, temperatures also dropped in South Florida. It was just under 60 degrees — which has people pulling out their sweaters and boots and going out for churros.

Churros, of course, are sticks of fried dough, covered in sugar, typically served with, and dipped into, a side of hot chocolate.

Updated at 1:43 p.m. ET

Federal law enforcement officials have announced criminal charges against two Russian nationals who operate a hacking organization known as Evil Corp., a group officials say is responsible for one of the most sweeping banking fraud schemes in the past decade.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Oakwood Cemetery should not be so noisy at night, but the thousands of crows encamped here this evening will not shut up.

The graveyard, perched near downtown Rochester, Minn., is alive with the creatures yelling from the trees, cutting sharp silhouettes against the gray, late fall sky.

Left to themselves, the crows will eventually make their way to downtown where — intentionally or not — they will rain down poop, creating a slimy mess for city residents as well as staff and patients at the sprawling Mayo Clinic campus.

Inside a bright red building in Redwood City, just south of San Francisco, cooks plunge baskets of french fries into hot oil, make chicken sandwiches and wrap falafel in pita bread.

If you've been in a restaurant kitchen, it's a familiar scene. But what's missing here are waiters and customers. Every dish is placed in a to-go box or bag.

Dr. Laurie Punch plunged her gloved hands into Sidney Taylor's open chest in a St. Louis hospital's operating room, pushing on his heart to make it pump again, though a bullet had torn through his flesh, collarbone and lung. His pulse had faded to nothing. She needed to get his heart beating.

She couldn't let the bullet win.

New research raises concern about the safety of permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners, especially among African American women. The study was published Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer.

An electric eel in Chattanooga, Tenn., is sparking a little holiday cheer.

Every time Miguel Wattson the electric eel releases a jolt of electricity, a festively-decorated Christmas tree next to his tank at the Tennessee Aquarium flickers and glows.

"There is a sensor directly in his exhibit that picks up when he produces electricity," Aquarist Kimberly Hurt, who cares for the electric eel, tells NPR.

Users on Instagram will soon be required to enter their birth date in order to use the social networking app. The Facebook-owned company previously only checked that the new user was at least 13 years old.

The changes are being made in the hopes of making the platform safer for younger users, Instagram said in a statement. The birth dates will be used to recommend different privacy settings and features. Birthdays will not be visible to the public.

An unprecedented mission to venture close to the sun has revealed a strange region of space filled with rapidly flipping magnetic fields and rogue plasma waves.

These surprises are among just some of the first observations by NASA's Parker Solar Probe, which blasted off last year to get up-close-and-personal with our nearest star.

Jane Fonda’s name is back in the headlines, but not for any of her work in Hollywood.

The actor and activist has been arrested numerous times in recent months as she protests each Friday against inaction on climate change

HIV Prevention Drugs Are Available For Free: How Do You Get Them?

Dec 4, 2019

The Trump administration Tuesday unveiled a plan to distribute HIV prevention medication free to individuals who do not have prescription drug insurance coverage.

Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for some food stamp recipients, a change that is expected to eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for 688,000 adults.

At a massive LGBTQ pride parade in India's capital New Delhi last month, people danced to the beat of drums. "Love is love," they chanted, waving giant rainbow flags.

But the more than 1,000 people who came out on the streets weren't just celebrating India's sexual diversity. They were there to protest proposed transgender rights legislation, which they call regressive. Many participants carried placards in light pink and light blue colors — which signify trans pride — urging lawmakers to reconsider the bill.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Every day, as many as 500 babies in sub-Saharan Africa are born with HIV. Standard practice in many of these countries is to give them treatment if they test positive, but not for weeks or even months after they're born. The concern is that newborns can't tolerate the powerful drugs.

On a soggy field in eastern North Carolina, Jason Tew and his crew of loggers are cutting trees and sorting logs into piles based on their size and the type of wood. There's a lot of pine, but also hardwoods: poplar, sweet gum, elm and oak. Some piles will go for making plywood; some will become absorbent fiber in baby diapers.

The least valuable pile is full of small hardwood tree limbs. "It's basically trash," Tew says. "We would have normally hauled that back in the woods and just left it."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Internet is mourning one of its most famous feline stars.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Please welcome the tiny cat from the tiny town of Bloomington, Ind., Lil Bub.

At Coquille Point along the remote and rugged southern Oregon Coast, the wind is tumultuous and the sea just as violent. Huge waves crash up against the giant, moss-cloaked rocks perched off the beach.

This particular stretch of the Oregon coastline is famous for being pristine and wild. But train your eyes down a little closer to the beach and sand as Angela Haseltine Pozzi so often does, and even here you'll find bits of plastic.

"I think the most disturbing thing I find is detergent bottles and bleach bottles with giant bite marks out of them by fish," she says.

Denise had no idea her student loans could be erased. In 2007, a truck rear-ended her car. The accident ravaged her legs and back, and the pain made it impossible for her to work.

"I have basically been in pain — chronic pain — every day," says Denise, who asked that NPR not use her full name to protect her privacy. "I live a life of going to doctors constantly."

When asked to start a support group for gay black men living with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, Larry Scott-Walker said no thanks. His friend raised the question in 2015, and by that point, the 35-year-old HIV program manager had accumulated over a decade's worth of experience working in the HIV field, first in Baltimore and then in Atlanta, often leading such support groups.

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