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The rate of infants dying suddenly and unexpectedly has dropped in recent years, but data show that racial disparities persist.

Mattza flickr.com/photos/27762949@N00/33602814/ / Creative Commons

Amazon’s announcement that it plans to acquire Whole Foods means we could soon see significant changes to the way people do their grocery shopping. Meanwhile, CNBC has reported that the online retailer is also considering ways it might break into the multi-billion dollar pharmacy market.

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Connecticut’s top insect expert is banking on more rain, and a fungus, to knock back populations of gypsy moths. For the past two years, those hungry pests have plagued Connecticut’s trees.

Updated at 11:46 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy added 138,000 jobs in May, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday morning.

The national unemployment rate nudged lower, to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent — a 16-year low. The 4.4 percent level had been the lowest since since 2007, before the recession hit.

Forecasters say the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Thursday, could bring "above-normal" storm activity. Residents along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are making sure they have supplies and plans in place if a storm hits.

On the heels of last week's G-7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a wake-up call for European Union nations on Sunday. At a Munich stop on the campaign trail, Merkel told supporters that Europe can no longer count on the U.S. and the U.K. as reliable allies.

The days that Europe could completely rely on others are "over to a certain extent," Merkel warned at a rally in a packed Bavarian beer tent, Reuters reports. "I've experienced this in the last few days."

The Atlantic hurricane season could see between two and four major hurricanes in 2017, according to the latest forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. There's only a 20 percent chance that this season will be less active than normal, the agency says.

Jason Cisneroz, a community service officer in Houston, is troubled. His job in the nation's fourth largest city is to forge good relations between the police and Hispanic immigrants, a population typically wary of blue uniforms.

"A couple of days ago there was a witness to a burglary of a motor vehicle," he said. "She saw the suspects run to a certain place and with items they stole from a car, but she was afraid to come to police, she was in fear they would ask for her papers."

Garry Tucker / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Connecticut's Senate recently killed a measure that would have allowed for limited hunting of black bears in the state. Now, newly published research suggests as black bear populations grow, the animals seem to prefer habitats that might put them in more backyards.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

In New England, all states except for Rhode Island and New Hampshire have bottle bills. Those are recycling programs built around a system of deposits and refunds, aimed at reducing litter and protecting the environment. But when it comes to old aluminum, it’s not just environmentalists who want to see more recycling -- there’s a real business case to be made for it, too.

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At the end of June, 26 Catholic churches in the state are set to close. Some will be sold, while others could be converted to youth centers, homeless shelters, or other types of facilities. In addition, 59 churches will merge with others as part of a restructuring plan recently announced by the Hartford Archdiocese.

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

In the last 50 years, Sunday mass attendance in the Archdiocese of Hartford has declined 70 percent, and the number of active priests is down 65 percent. So it’s not a surprise that the Archdiocese is closing down and merging churches across the state -- from 212 to 127. This hour, we talk about the local mergers with priests and parishioners. 

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One of the major ratings agencies has downgraded Connecticut’s general obligation bonds, making it more expensive for the state to borrow money. Fitch Ratings downgraded the state from A+ to AA-. 

As a neonatal intensive care nurse, Lauren Bloomstein had been taking care of other people's babies for years. Finally, at 33, she was expecting one of her own. The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy, her husband, Larry, recalled recently— "the happiest and most alive I'd ever seen her."

New England states are considering the idea of sticking with daylight saving time year 'round. Proposals to make the switch are being taken up by several legislatures, including Maine's.

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