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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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ELISE HU, HOST:

Scientists believe they may have new insights into why passenger pigeons went extinct, after analyzing DNA from the toes of birds that have been carefully preserved in museums for over a century.

Internet freedom is on the decline for the seventh consecutive year as governments around the world take to distorting information on social media in order to influence elections, a new report says.

The nongovernmental organization Freedom House released its annual Freedom on the Net report this week, which found that online "manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role" in elections in 18 countries, including the U.S.

The House has narrowly approved a $1.4 trillion tax overhaul, clearing the first major hurdle in Republican attempts to cut taxes and rewrite the tax code.

The vote was almost along party lines, with no Democrats voting in support of the bill and some GOP defections over provisions in the measure that would eliminate important tax deductions taken by constituents in some high tax states.

A federal judge in New Jersey has declared a mistrial in the corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.

It came after the 12-person jury told the judge for a second time that it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the bribery, conspiracy, fraud or false statements charges facing the Democrat and his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen.

Around 1 p.m., after emerging from chambers, Menendez hugged and kissed his daughter and son. Defense attorneys shook hands and patted each other on the back, as prosecutors huddled at their table.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Another prominent public figure has been accused of making unwanted sexual advances. Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden said now-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., forced himself on her and groped her while the two were on a USO tour in 2006.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

These days, Puerto Rico's monumental power restoration effort involves helicopters dropping 100-foot towers into the mountains and a "big dance" of crews, equipment and expertise from several agencies and companies. But progress has been slow and that dance has been a complicated and tedious one on the island, which is experiencing the largest outage in U.S. history.

And sometimes it's one light forward, two lights back.

Passengers on a morning train on the Tokyo region's Tsukuba Express line might not have noticed anything was amiss Tuesday. But when their train left Minami-Nagareyama station, it did so 20 seconds ahead of schedule — and when the company noticed, it issued an apology to customers.

The train was traveling northbound on the line that connects Tokyo's Akihabara station with Tsukuba to the northeast — a trip that takes less than an hour. After passengers had boarded, the crew didn't check the time, resulting in the slightly early departure "around" 9:44 a.m., the company said.

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