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When a robotic probe finally lands on a watery world like Jupiter's moon Europa, what do scientists have to see to definitively say whether the place has any life?

That's the question retired astronaut John Grunsfeld posed to some colleagues at NASA when he was in charge of the agency's science missions.

For more than a quarter century, two legislative districts in the state of North Carolina have been ground zero in a fight over race and redistricting. In the course of that time, Republicans have taken control of the state legislature, and the two political parties have reversed their legal positions regarding the use of race and drawing district lines.

A lawsuit on behalf of Alabama's prisoners, claiming they're being denied mental health care, begins in federal court Monday. The class-action suit states that Alabama doesn't provide adequate mental health treatment for those behind bars.

Lawyers for the prisoners argue that the state provides little other than medication, and sometimes inmates are forced to take it against their will. The plaintiffs allege prison conditions are dangerous and discriminatory, which amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Student parent.

Ever heard that term? It's used for a student who is also a parent, and there are nearly five million of them in colleges around the country. That's over a quarter of the undergraduate population, and that number has gone up by around a million since 2011.

It can be really, really expensive to be a student parent, especially if you need to pay for child care while you're in class.

President-elect Donald Trump's unprecedented call to Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen has brought all varieties of foreign policy wonks out of the woodwork. Most are critical — some are mocking — of the president-elect's break with four decades of diplomatic protocol.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key surprised his country, announcing that he would be resigning in a week's time. Key, who is also leader of the National Party, made his decision public at a press conference on Monday afternoon local time.

"Sometimes you've got to make hard decisions to make right decisions," Key told reporters. "This is the hardest decision I've ever made, and I don't know what I'll do next."

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Italian voters have dealt a serious defeat to the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. In a referendum Sunday, they rejected Renzi's proposed constitutional reforms, which would have changed the balance of power between the executive and Parliament.

The "no" vote is expected to win by a margin of nearly 20 percentage points, in what is seen as a resounding message of discontent with Renzi's government. The lopsided result also signals the strength of anti-establishment sentiment in the country.

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