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Alabama lawmakers move to protect IVF; massive leak reveals Chinese hacking operations

Frozen embryos and sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen at a fertility clinic in Florida. The Alabama Supreme Court ruling stems from wrongful death cases brought by three couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic in the state.
Lynne Sladky
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AP
Frozen embryos and sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen at a fertility clinic in Florida. The Alabama Supreme Court ruling stems from wrongful death cases brought by three couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic in the state.

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Today's top stories

At least three Alabama fertility clinics have halted or restricted in vitro fertilization (IVF) services since the state's Supreme Court ruled last week that frozen embryos should be considered children under Alabama law. Legislators in the state are now pushing forward proposals to clarify the court's ruling.

  • State Sen. Tim Melson tells Troy Public Radio's Kyle Gassiott that he's sympathetic to those spending time, effort and money to have children through IVF and understands how the justices came to their conclusion. Melson has proposed a bill that deems a fertilized egg a "potential life" but does not consider it a human or unborn child until it is "successfully implanted in a woman's uterus." 
  • President Biden called the ruling "outrageous and unacceptable" and blamed the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley seemed to side with the Alabama court, telling NBC News, "Embryos, to me, are babies." 


Cybersecurity researchers are poring over a massive new leak of sensitive documents detailing one Chinese company's hacking activity, targets and marketing materials for the Chinese government. The majority of the operations from the company i-Soon were focused on surveilling and harassing critics of the Chinese government. The target lists reveal 14 government agencies, academic institutions and pro-democracy organizations.

  • "The revelations aren't exactly shocking," NPR's Jenna McLaughlin says. She speaks with John Hultquist, chief analyst at Google's Mandiant Intelligence cybersecurity firm, who tells her the most interesting part of the leak is being able to get a "really deep look at the Chinese cyber espionage contractor ecosystem." 


Space company Intuitive Machines has completed the the first commercial spacecraft landing on the moon. It's the first U.S. lunar landing since the Apollo program ended more than five decades ago. Odysseus, the robotic probe, carries several NASA experiments that will be used to study the environment around the lander and to develop some new technologies for future landings.

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. After months of stalemate, Russia saw a victory when it occupied the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops have made progress attacking Russian targets in Crimea, forcing Russia to move its Black Sea naval fleet.

  • NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports on Up First that Ukraine's progress has made the Black Sea much safer. Ukraine says its grain exports are back to pre-war levels. Kakissis spent time in Kharkiv, near the Russian border. The second-largest city in Ukraine has been building schools underground and holding classes in subway stations doubling as bomb shelters. A Ukrainian teacher tells her that students just want to play outside and they ask her every day when the Russians will stop "bothering" them. 

Picture show

Ivy Chen (left) and Clarissa Wei browse Shuixian Gong Market in Tainan, Taiwan, in January.
An Rong Xu / Photograph by An Rong Xu for NPR
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Photograph by An Rong Xu for NPR
Ivy Chen (left) and Clarissa Wei browse Shuixian Gong Market in Tainan, Taiwan, in January.

Taiwan has endured a long history of colonization. Even though 90% of the people in Taiwan have Chinese ancestry, Made in Taiwan: Recipes and Stories from the Island Nation authors Clarissa Wei and Ivy Chen believe its residents have forged a cuisine that's all their own. Wei and Chen travel with All Things Considered's Ailsa Chang to Taiwan's culinary center of Tainan for a gastronomic tour of Taiwan's cuisine.

See photos of some delectable dishes and learn about theDutch, Japanese and Chinese influences on Taiwanese cuisine. Be warned: These photos will make you hungry!

Weekend picks

Noomi Rapace plays an astronaut on the International Space Station in the Apple TV+ series <em>Constellation.</em>
/ Apple TV+
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Apple TV+
Noomi Rapace plays an astronaut on the International Space Station in the Apple TV+ series Constellation.

Check out what NPR is watching, reading and listening to this weekend:

Movies: You have less than a month to catch up before the 2024 Oscars on Sunday, March 10. Here's NPR's guide to the nominees and where to watch them.

TV: Constellation is a space drama featuring an astronaut struggling to survive and return to Earth after everything goes wrong. It's a slow build, but as the clues make more sense, the show becomes more disturbing and profound.

Books: The bestselling Japanese mystery series The Kamogowa Food Detectives is now available in English. The first novel features a collection of interrelated stories, where Nagare investigates his clients' forgotten dishes.

Music: Alynda Segarra records music under the name Hurray for Riff Raff. Their latest album, The Past is Still Alive, dives into deeply personal stories from their vagabond youth.

Quiz: Save this week's quiz for after you finish reading today's newsletter. There may be some hints in the next section

3 things to know before you go

The sun is shown in the first phase of a total eclipse in this photo taken in August 2017 from Grand Teton National Park outside Jackson, Wyo.
George Frey / Getty Images
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Getty Images
The sun is shown in the first phase of a total eclipse in this photo taken in August 2017 from Grand Teton National Park outside Jackson, Wyo.

  1. Delta's special flight that will travel along the path of April's total eclipse sold out in 24 hours. But some other flights still have a good chance of eclipse visibility.
  2. Former talk show host Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with aphasia and frontotemporal dementia. The announcement comes ahead of the premiere of her new documentary, Where is Wendy Williams?, detailing her health struggles following the end of her show in 2022.
  3. Bobi, a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo Portuguese dog, has been posthumously stripped of his title of "oldest dog ever"  by Guinness World Records. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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