Police in New York say preliminary tests of two threatening letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of ricin.
The anonymous letters, both addressed to Bloomberg, were opened Friday in New York at the city's mail facility and Sunday in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the nonprofit started by Bloomberg, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, according to authorities.
The American soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan last year plans to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. Lawyers say Staff Sergeant Robert Bales will plead guilty to 16 counts of premeditated murder next week and that his sentencing trial will be held in September.
Former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on May 15, 2007. NPR has learned that Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director.
There is no shortage of wonders on display at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, under way this week outside Washington, D.C. Students are easily spooling off words such as wiesenboden and machicotage. But even the Scripps Bee judges were flummoxed when 7th grader Katie Danis made this request today.
KATIE DANIS: Would you mind if I were to, like, sing the letters, it would help me. I could do that.
BLOCK: The judges conferred, and said OK. So here's Katie Danis, sing-spelling stabilimeter.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement Wednesday that she won't seek a fifth term unleashed a torrent of tweets and blog posts on the left lampooning the short-lived 2012 presidential candidate.
Yet the response — her retirement effectively dominated the news cycle — provided a glimpse of Bachmann's impact on Washington.
Move over Archaeopteryx, an older bird just landed on the evolutionary tree.
Scientists writing in Nature magazine, say a feathered, chicken-sized creature known as Aurornis xui, unearthed recently in northeastern China, challenges the "pivotal position of Archaeopteryx" — long regarded as the oldest bird.
Open a design magazine or turn on a home decorating show these days, and it's clear: Midcentury modern is hot. It first showed up in the 1950s and '60s — think low-slung sofas, egg-shaped chairs and the set of Mad Men. My first midcentury modern find was a dining set I bought on Craigslist for $75. There was something about the clean lines and gentle curves of the wooden chairs that got me.
This year, nearly 1.7 million students will graduate from college. Many of them are engaged in a new ritual of the digital age: cleaning up and polishing their online profiles. The demand is so great an entire industry has sprung up to help.
According to numerous surveys, the vast majority of hiring managers routinely Google potential job candidates. And what they see on that first page of search results matters — a lot. Just ask Pete Kistler, who was a college junior when he started applying to a bunch of computer software firms, looking for a summer job.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government forces aren't the only concern for Syria's rebels. The opposition coalition is struggling with deep and perhaps irreconcilable differences within its own ranks. Diplomats from the U.S., Europe, and Arab states have converged on an opposition meeting in Istanbul in what appears to be a last-ditch attempt to resolve some of those differences. If the effort fails, observers fear it will mean an end to efforts to convene direct talks between the opposition and Assad's government.
Another big piece of President Obama's new national security vision is a rethinking of how the U.S. uses drones. Last night, for the first time since the president laid out new stricter conditions for their use, the U.S. launched a drone attack. It appears to have killed a top military commander in the Pakistani Taliban. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports.
George Porter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, at his home in Sacramento, Calif., in 2007. Porter joined the armed forces in 1942 and served as a crew chief, squadron inspector and flight engineer with the Army Air Forces and the Air Force.
Sixteen millionmen and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR'sAll Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.
Researchers at the RAND Corporation set out to find some hard data on one aspect of the health law: Does having medical insurance protect young adults from the financial ruin that often comes with a major injury or illness?
The quick answer: Yep.
Since September 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed young adults to remain on their parents' medical insurance until they turn 26, and 3.1 million young people have taken advantage of the new rule.
The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.
Hospitals can sharply reduce the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria in their intensive care units by decontaminating all patients rather than screening them and focusing only on those found to be infected already, researchers reported Wednesday.
Since Code Switch launched, friends and people on Twitter have been sharing examples of questions they've been asked about their race or culture that they've found interesting, awkward or just plain offensive.
We were intrigued when we saw this question posted on AskReddit: "What's one question you've been dying to ask another race but never do because of the impending 'THAT'S RACIST' aftermath?"
Credit Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times/Landov
Chris Crane, president of the union that represents deportation agents, officers and employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April. Crane has been a vocal opponent of the proposed immigration overhaul.
A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.
Police in France say that a 21-year-old Muslim convert who confessed to stabbing a French soldier was apparently motivated by his religious beliefs, in an eerie echo of an attack last week in London, in which a British serviceman was killed.
Pvt. Cedric Cordiez, 25, was approached from the back and stabbed in the neck at a shopping mall in a suburb of Paris on Saturday. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday, officials said.
Tea Party favorite and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announced that she would not run for re-election to her Minnesota House seat. Bachmann was facing a tough fight, having barely beaten an unknown Democrat in a district that Republican nominee Mitt Romney carried by 15 points.
Democrats and Republicans both have a political interest in passing immigration reform as a way to appeal to the growing number of Latino voters. More than 70 percent of Latinos who voted last year backed President Obama. Well, now the president has tapped the political director of his campaign to lead the government's personnel office and if confirmed, Katherine Archuleta would be the first Latina to hold the title. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Smithfield Foods, one of the country's biggest meat producers is being sold to a Chinese company, the price $4.7 billion. If approved by regulators, this will be the biggest acquisition in history of a U.S. corporation by a Chinese company. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
If Al Capone were alive today, this is how he would be hiding his money. Those words yesterday from the head of the criminal investigation division at the IRS. He was talking about Liberty Reserve, an online currency exchange now accused of operating a $6 billion money-laundering operation. It's believed to be the largest online money-laundering case in history.
House prices are going up. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller house price index in March, prices were up nearly 11 percent over the past year in the 20 cities surveyed. That's the fastest increase in seven years.
The cities with the three biggest increases were Phoenix, San Francisco and Las Vegas. For Vegas, prices have risen over 20 percent. It reminded me of touring ample vacant housing there with realtor Terri Monroe about a year-and-a-half ago.
Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of TheTimes-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when TheTimes-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Credit Bevil Knappbevil for NPR
A year later, these friends are still gathering to talk over the paper, but it's not The Times-Picayune. From left: Sue Paraski, Sharon Morrow, Eric Hartman, Joe Mole.
Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering."
"The current statistic is that about 16,000 people a year die of overdoses involving prescription narcotics. ... It's a huge problem. The number of people dying from these drugs is second only to the number of people that die in car accidents," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.
This year, a vocabulary test with word definitions is, for the first time in the bee's 86-year history, part of the competition. Preliminary and semifinal contestants must pass the test to get to the finals of the grueling competition.
Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.