Look through a series of 15th-century woodcuts, and you'll find that the leper is as much an icon of medieval art as the crown or the cross.
Leprosy was so common in Europe during the Middle Ages that it's estimated 1 in 30 people was infected with the bacteria. But by the turn of the 16th century, after the Crusades had swept across Europe, the disease mysteriously disappeared. And it never returned.
This left scientists puzzled. Did the bacteria mutate to become less harmful, or did Europeans become resistant to the germs?
The European Union is a big fan of traveling pets. It has pet passports that allow them to travel through all the member states. Still, until this week there was a limit. Travelers could only take up to five pets across the borders. Now, thanks to a pet-loving member of the EU Parliament, those who prefer to travel with herds of animals are now free to roam, as long as they're heading for a competition or a sporting event.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This summer, you can expect to be profoundly haunted by some of the best works of speculative fiction the season has to offer. The protagonists in these novels are mobbed by the ghosts of history, by the re-awakened dead, and by their recollections of traumas so formative that they transcend personal experience to become species memory. They are also, somewhat humorously, dogged by all the secret truths that have been edited out of Wikipedia entries.
NPR's business news starts with a man, a plan, a canal.
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MONTAGNE: Not Panama this time. This canal is in Nicaragua. Yesterday, the Nicaraguan congress granted a Chinese tycoon the exclusive right to develop a multi-billion dollar rival to the Panama Canal. The bill grants the investor 50 years of control over the potential shipping route - pending a study of its viability. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.