Robert Mueller became FBI director just days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, he's been the U.S. government's indispensable man when it comes to national security.
But Mueller's term has expired, and the clock is ticking on an unprecedented extension that Congress gave him two years ago.
The first time the Obama White House thought about a replacement for Mueller, back in 2011, officials threw up their hands and wound up begging him to stay. Congress passed a special law to allow it. Then Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa put his foot down.
Washington is awash in rumors this week that the White House is planning major changes in the way the U.S. donates food to fight hunger in some of the world's poorest countries.
It has set off an emotional debate. Both sides say they are trying to save lives.
America's policies on food aid are singularly generous — and also unusually selfish. On the generous side, the U.S. spends roughly $1.5 billion every year to send food abroad, far more than any other country.
Los Angeles is getting ready to elect a new mayor, and the field is down to two: city comptroller Wendy Greuel and city councilman Eric Garcetti. Now, while Garcetti speaks often of his Mexican ancestry on his father's side, neither candidate is seen as a product of L.A.'s Latino community or political establishment.
And this is notable because of all the attention paid to the current mayor's background when he came to office. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.
President Obama was in Colorado Wednesday to highlight the state's gun control efforts as a model of what is possible for the country. Obama plans to visit Connecticut next week, to highlight that state's efforts.
And today's last word in business is space memorabilia.
Heritage Auction house is selling items that have gone to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's toothbrush could be yours with the right offer.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
OK. The bidding for this toothbrush - I hope they disinfect it - it's a light blue, Lactona tooth tip brush. The bidding starting at $9,000. The auction house is actually hoping that buyers will offer more than that.
After buying the company last year, Google decided to stop printing Frommer's travel guides. The founder of the brand now says Google has agreed to sell the company back to him. Arthur Frommer says he will continue to print the travel guides — in addition to publishing them electronically.
Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, for a preview of what Friday's jobs report is likely to say about the U.S. economy. The stock market is setting records and though profits are up, wages are stagnant.
Lawyer Meredith Watts (left) visits client/patient Shirley Kimbrough at her apartment in north Akron, Ohio. Kimbrough is being helped by a program under which lawyers partner up with health providers to supply patients with legal advice.
Bank foreclosures often force people out of their homes. Some houses re-sell, and new people move in. Five years ago, NPR's Emily Harris bought a house that sold in foreclosure. An evening ring at her doorbell led her to meet the person who had lived there before.
OK. So Frommer's guidebooks will stay the same. "The Tonight Show" is changing. This is a long-running television network drama - the saga of NBC easing Jay Leno out of the chair. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, Leno will be replaced next year by Jimmy Fallon, in a show based in New York City.
An Egyptian woman carries a cooking gas canister in Cairo on Tuesday. The government just raised the price of gas as part of an energy package needed to satisfy the conditions of a $4.8 billion IMF loan. Opponents say some of the conditions disproportionately hurt the poor.
Credit Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images
Egyptian protesters hold bread along with fliers reading "Danger, no to loans that lead to poverty" during a rally Wednesday in Cairo. An International Monetary Fund delegation is in Cairo for talks on a loan needed to lift Egypt's economy out of crisis.
Two years after the revolution, Egypt is in a deep economic crisis. It's running out of money to purchase crucial imports like wheat and fuel, both of which are subsidized by the government, and an infusion of cash is desperately needed.
While a delegation from the International Monetary Fund is in Cairo continuing negotiations on a $4.8 billion loan, Egyptians are strained by the rising costs of food — and the gas needed to cook it.
South Africa says its military is done trying to police another African country. Late last night, South Africans said they would withdraw their small military force from the Central African Republic. Ten days ago, rebels advanced on the capital of that country and killed 13 South African paratroopers. That prompted many South Africans to ask why the soldiers were there at all. The question here is whether the troops were protecting business interests linked to South Africa's governing party.
A couple walks past Nassau Hall on the Princeton Unversity campus in Princeton, N.J. A letter to the editor in The Daily Princetonian urging female students to find a husband before they graduate has drawn criticism.
A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Credit Jeannie Nuss / AP
Oil covers the ground around a slide in Mayflower, Ark., on April 1, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Credit Jacob Slaton / Reuters/Landov
Spilled crude oil is seen in a drainage ditch near evacuated homes near Starlite Road in Mayflower, Ark., on March 31. An Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying Canadian crude oil was shut off after it ruptured March 29, causing an evacuation of 22 homes.
Amber Bartlett was waiting last Friday for her kids to come home from school. One of them called from the entrance to the upscale subdivision near Little Rock, Ark., to tell her the community was being evacuated because of an oil spill. Bartlett was amazed by what she saw out her front door.
"I mean, just rolling oil. I mean, it was like a river," she says. "It had little waves in it."
President Obama was in Denver on Wednesday to rally support for gun control laws. Colorado has stepped up on both background checks and ammunition magazines, and Democrats there fear backlash next year.
This undated publicity photo provided by Merchant Ivory Productions shows Oscar-winning screenwriter and award-winning novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (center) with film director and producer Ismail Merchant (left) and director James Ivory in a studio. Jhabvala, 85, died in New York on Wednesday.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and Booker Prize-winning novelist, has died at her home in New York. She was 85.
NPR's Bob Mondello reported on her career for NPR's Newscast Desk:
"With the films of Merchant/Ivory, you tend to think first of period-perfect costumes and settings, but it was Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's scripts that gave them substance. She was witty, cultivated and could be wonderfully precise about class and propriety in her adaptations of, say, E.M. Forster.
The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.
There's been increasing support for the number of H-1B visas, for highly skilled workers. Large tech companies are leading the push for the increase, but many of the visas go to workers at large consulting firms.
The tech industry wants more skilled workers — from overseas. Companies are lobbying hard for Congress to raise the limit on H-1B visas — visas for people with specialized skills — researchers, for instance, or software engineers.
Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, recently told NPR that more H-1B visas can't help but be good for the country.
Former U.S. and Russian diplomats gather at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Tuesday. From left: former Russian or Soviet ambassadors to the U.S. Vladimir Lukin, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Viktor Komplektov; Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of USA and Canada; and former U.S. ambassadors to Russia James Collins, Jack Matlock, Thomas Pickering and John Beyrle.
Credit Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP
Pickering says he heard a "willingness to explore ideas" from his Russian counterparts at the meeting.
Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.
But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.
Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.
Manufacturing in the U.S. still uses the most energy. But its share has been decreasing. That's partly because we've moved from energy-intensive manufacturing to a more service-based economy. And also partly because of a slowing population growth and improving energy efficiency.
Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (right), poses with his family and House Speaker John Boehner at the start of the new Congress, on Jan. 3. On Wednesday, Cassidy announced that he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Credit Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., on Capitol Hill in December.
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, considered among the most vulnerable of the Senate's red-state Democrats facing 2014 re-election, now has at least one potential Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, whose congressional district includes Baton Rouge.
Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 12:57 pm
With one-quarter of adults over age 45 taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, it figures that more than a few people would have trouble sticking with the program.
More than a few, actually.
A big new study of statin use in the real world found that 17 percent of patients taking the pills reported side effects, including muscle pain, nausea, and problems with their liver or nervous system.
That's a lot higher than the 5 to 10 percent reported in the randomized controlled trials that provided evidence for regulatory approval of the medicines.
Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to take a hard look at how many soldiers and sailors it needs and what types of weapons it buys. He says the Pentagon is at war with itself: There are competing and spiraling costs within the military — for aging weapons, and for health and pension benefits for military personnel and retirees.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
President Obama flew to Colorado this afternoon to rally support for national gun control laws. Colorado recently passed its own laws requiring background checks for all gun purchases and limiting the size of ammunition magazines. In Denver, the president delivered a speech and met with local law enforcement officials and community activists.
Legal troubles keep mounting for hedge fund manager Steven Cohen and his firm SAC Capital. Today, an appeals court judge in New York reinstated a lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, accusing Cohen of fraud. Last week, one of his top lieutenants was charged with insider trading and he was the fifth person with the firm to face arrest.
Still, as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, U.S. officials have so far failed to bring charges against Cohen himself.
There's been a significant shift in international aid in recent years. Less money is coming from large donor nations and more is coming from private foundations, corporations, even countries that only a few years ago were recipients of aid themselves.