A medical transport plane is en route to pick up two Americans sick with Ebola in Liberia, doctors in Atlanta said Friday.
This will be the first time doctors will treat somebody for Ebola outbreak in the U.S, they said.
Both people caught the virus while treating patients in the largest and deadliest Ebola in history. More than 700 people have died in West Africa from Ebola since March.
The aid workers will fly to Atlanta in planes equipped with isolation tents, called Aeromedical Biological Containment Systems. Then they will be treated in a special unit at the Emory University Hospital.
"The first one [patient] will come in the next several days," Dr. Bruce Ribner, who directs the hospital's infectious diseases unit, said at a press conference. "A second patient will be coming a few days after that."
Both patients are in stable condition, Ribner said. He wouldn't give out their names. But he said the Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse had reached out to the hospital for help.
Last weekend, Samaritan's Purse said that two of their aid workers had caught Ebola while helping patients in Monrovia, Liberia. Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, is a general physician trained in Forth Worth, Texas, while Nancy Writebol, 59, is a missionary from Charlotte, N.C.
Writebol also works for the charity group SIM. "SIM's understanding is that they're both going to Emory," a spokesperson for the charity told NPR said about Writebol and Brantly.
So why bring these people back to the U.S. when they can get treatment in Liberia?
"We feel they deserve to have the highest level of care offered for their treatment," Ribner said. "They have gone on a humanitarian mission. They have become infected through medical care ... we have the environment and expertise to safely care for these patients and offer them the maximum opportunity for recovery from these infections."
Many hospitals in the U.S. have wards for isolating patients with Ebola. The Emory hospital is one of only four with a ward that can give these patients any and all treatment they need, including full intensive care.
The special clinic was last used during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
So what's the risk of Ebola spreading during the transport of these patients? Very low, Ribner said.
"Ebola is not spread by some magic mechanism," he said. Like HIV and hepatitis C, Ebola is not transmitted through the air. People have to contact bodily fluids, such as blood, vomit and saliva of an infected person.
"Ebola does not spread by casual contact," the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, told CNN Friday.
"I know that it [Ebola] creates fear in people," he said. "I really hope that people's fear won't outweigh their compassion.
"We have to focus on stopping the outbreak [in West Africa]," he added. "That means if people who are working on that response get sick, we take care of them."
After police in Salinas, Calif., shot and killed four Latino men since March, local authorities are rejecting demands for a federal investigation. Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin told NPR member station KQED that even though his department "has nothing to hide," a federal review would be premature since internal investigations of the shootings are still pending.
But the killings, including one captured on video on May 20, have soured police-community relations in a city that bills itself as the "Salad Bowl of the World." In that incident, 44-year-old Carlos Mejia was waving a pair of garden shears at officers before he was fatally shot.
More recently, 39 year old parolee Frank Alvarado, was shot and killed on July 11 after authorities said he approached officers pointing a cellphone. The police apparently thought it was a weapon.
Two other men, 26 year old Osman Hernandez and 42 year old Angel Ruiz were killed by Salinas police on May 9 and March 20 respectively.
The series of fatal shootings have sparked angry protests and demonstrations in a community of about 150,000 people. Salinas is also 75 percent Latino.
Calls for a federal inquiry into the killings began in May, but they were amplified recently when Oakland-based civil rights attorney John Burris announced that he has requested action by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
"We want to find out whether these shootings were a pattern of discriminatory law enforcement or four isolated incidents," said Burris. The shootings are "uncalled for, questionable, and alarming," he added.
The Justice Department had no comment on Burris' request.
Burris issued his call for an investigation on the steps of the federal courthouse in San Francisco, not Salinas. He was joined by relatives and supporters of the slain men, including community activist Margaret Bonetti.
"The community is not trusting the local police department. We're here in San Francisco because we feel we'll get more justice here then we will out of Salinas," said Bonetti.
Salinas Police Chief McMillin defends his officers and rejects accusations of racism.
"We weren't racially profiling anyone. We were responding in every case to calls for service because of the actions of these individuals. They identified themselves by acting violently and frightening, terrorizing the people around them," he said.
When Leanne Brown moved to New York from Canada to earn a master's in food studies at New York University, she couldn't help noticing that Americans on a tight budget were eating a lot of processed foods heavy in carbs.
"It really bothered me," she says. "The 47 million people on food stamps — and that's a big chunk of the population — don't have the same choices everyone else does."
Brown guessed that she could help people in SNAP, the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, find ways to cook filling, nourishing and flavorful meals. So she set out to write a cookbook full of recipes anyone could make on a budget of just $4 a day.
The result is Good and Cheap, which is free online and has been downloaded over 200,000 times since she posted it on her website in early June. A July Kickstarter campaign also helped Brown raise $145,000 to print copies for people without computer access.
So what are Brown's secrets to eating well on $4 a day? It's about stocking the pantry with cheap basics to build meals from: things like garlic, canned vegetables, dried beans and butter.
She also emphasizes flexibility, and avoids prescribing strict meals and methods. That means lots of options for substitutions, especially when it comes to the produce aisle, where prices can fluctuate based on season and availability. Each meal is priced out by serving.
Earlier this week, Deborahmichelle Sanders, 63, of San Francisco, Calif., turned to the cookbook and found an intriguing recipe: cornmeal crusted vegetables with an Asian-inspired peanut sauce for dipping.
Since she couldn't afford the suggested beans or peppers, she tried carrots. The result? "It's so wonderful," she tells The Salt.
SNAP currently provides 46.2 million low-income people like Sanders with a monthly average stipend for food of $126 in the form of a debit card. They can take it to the grocery store, pick out their food and swipe the card at the register.
SNAP has no equivalent in Brown's home country of Canada; its public assistance programs are more flexible, she says. And she wasn't impressed with what she found when she went looking for resources for people in the U.S. program on how to cook well with the benefits.
"Tons of organizations are doing amazing, useful work, but usually their recipes can sound sort of preachy, or else they're very governmental," she says. Brown thinks the cookbooks that exist try to tell people the right way live their lives — explaining what exactly they should eat and how exactly they should prepare it — and that often turns them off to the recipes.
"As much as a recipe book, [Brown's book] is an idea book," says Brenda Mahoney of Dallas, Tex., another woman in SNAP who's using the book. In fact, some of Good and Cheap's pages come with exactly that label: "ideas."
One page, titled "Leftovers," offers tips on the myriad ways to make good use of old meals, like putting the fixings you originally used to top toast in a wrap or on a pizza, or turning almost anything into a sandwich. Another called "Popcorn!" recommends livening up the familiar snack by adding spices.
Good and Cheap is also filled with beautiful photos — a visual feast especially compared to the other recipe books tailored to people in SNAP.
Take the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Tips for Healthy, Thrifty Meals. Orange lines and black bullet points fill up entire pages, with equally uninspiring sketches on the side.
And compare their Turkey Cabbage Casserole to Brown's Savory Summer Cobbler, which both Sanders and Brenda Mahoney of Dallas cite as their favorite dish. Even the name draws a reader to the recipe, which features seasonal vegetables under a peppery biscuit crust. The lush photo that accompanies it on the page doesn't hurt either.
"You choose what vegetables you want, so I used tomato and a green-striped crookneck squash, which was the cheapest I could find," says Sanders. "It is so, so good."
"My kids loved the recipe," she says.
Mahoney cooks for her two children and herself, much like Mia Pickering, who lives in Seattle with her two teenagers. Sanders, Mahoney and Pickering have all been on SNAP for a number of years, and they say Good and Cheap, which they discovered online, works better for them than anything else they've been able to find. And that's important when what they can cook determines how well they and their families can eat.
"Cooking is definitely more economical and healthier than buying premade foods," says Mahoney.
Pickering thinks so, too. For her, it's easier to cook fresh than heat up frozen meals. It means she and her children throw less food away and exercise better portion control.
"Many authors have tried hard to come up with cheap meals, but they taste so bad. Leanne is so gifted. It's just incredible," says Saunders.
Sanders has been cooking since the eighth grade, so that's not a snap judgment.
Molly Roberts is an intern with NPR's Washington Desk.
Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.
Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.
GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.
NPR's Sonari Glinton reports:
"Toyota, Ford, Nissan and Chrysler all saw their sales go up by double digits. And despite troubles at General Motors, sales at the Detroit car giant were up 9 percent over the same time last year.
Jessica Caldwell is a senior analyst at Edmunds.com. She says GM's recent spate of recalls may be helping it.
"'You have all these people coming back with these older cars into dealerships with these brand-new cars that are much nicer,' she says, 'and I think a lot of these people are leaving with new vehicles.'
"Meanwhile this month, victims of the GM ignition switch defect can begin filing claims for compensation. The company has set aside $400 million to cover the cost."
Sales of GM's cars slid by 3.8 percent from July 1013, but its light trucks and SUVs more than made up for it, spiking 17.5 percent, according to Autodata. In the calendar year to date, the company has sold 3.5 percent more cars.
Other automakers struggled. Some of the steepest sales declines were at Volvo, which sold 17 percent fewer vehicles compared to July of 2013, and Volkswagen, where sales were down 7.5 percent.
Honda also slumped, with a drop of nearly 4 percent from last July.
Super PACs let rich people, corporations and unions spend as much money as they want to try to influence the outcome of elections.
On today's show: How a Harvard professor created a super PAC to attack super PACs. He's raised millions of dollars — in part from really rich people — to reduce the political influence of really rich people.
For more on campaign finance, listen to Episode 538: I'm Calling To Ask For Your Contribution.