At the Hillwood Estate gardens in Washington, D.C., the new norm is: "Expect the unexpected." So says volunteer coordinator Bill Johnson, who has worked on property belonging to the heiress of the Post cereal fortune for 30 years.
Like home gardeners, the horticulturalists and professional gardeners at Hillwood are confronting an unpredictable climate.
The ouster of Mohammed Morsi puts the U.S. in an awkward position: By law, the administration is supposed to cut off aid to a country after a military coup, but Egypt's military has been a key to regional stability. As the administration considers its next steps, it's come under criticism from all sides in Egypt over how it's handling the situation.
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:05 p.m. ET.)
The death toll from clashes Friday and into early Saturday in Egypt now stands at 36, authorities say. That estimate, released just before 11 a.m. ET, was up from the 30 deaths that had been reported when the day began.
Gun stores around the country have had difficulty keeping up with demand for ammunition in recent months. Fears of government tightening of gun and ammunition controls have meant that retailers, from Wal-Mart to mom-and-pop gun shops, haven't been able to keep bullets on the shelves.
Cliff Poser's gun shop, Cliff's Guns, Safes and Reloading in Boise, Idaho, is one of them. Business has been so crazy lately that he has to keep a special stash of ammunition, just so customers who buy guns from him can also buy bullets.
Cairo's emblematic Tahrir Square and nearby approaches to the River Nile are largely empty and debris-strewn today and Egypt remains on edge after deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The two sides fought overnight street battles that left at least 30 dead across the increasingly divided country.
Ismalists are enraged at Morsi's overthrow by millions of protesters backed by the country's powerful military.
Long before the Civil Rights marches of 1963 thrust Birmingham, Ala. into the national spotlight, black families along one residential street were steadily chipping away at Jim Crow segregation laws — and paying a price for it. As part of our series looking back at the seminal events that changed the nation 50 years ago, NPR's Debbie Elliott paid a visit to Birmingham's Dynamite Hill.
The Arab uprisings of 2011 produced a clear set of winners — the Islamist parties that were well-organized and prepared to swiftly fill the political vacuum left by toppled autocrats.
But the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood now points to the possibility of a countertrend: the failure of Islamist groups to govern effectively and growing public discontent with their rule.
Reporting in the Middle East and Afghanistan can be challenging enough between dodging the bullets and bureaucracy. But, equally as confounding can be figuring out how and where to have a cold one after a hard day's work. The range of alcohol laws in Muslim countries can be simply dizzying.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound. The bill also puts restrictions on doctors who perform abortions, reports Marti Mikkelson of member station WUWM in Milwaukee.
What do a reanimated deviant surgeon, a cannibalistic serial killer and a demon-plagued, vomit-spattered priest have in common? They're all characters in camp stage musicals inspired by horror films — and they're all played by the same classically trained opera singer.
His name is Jesse Merlin, and he looks a little like a young, untanned George Hamilton. But he has a bass-baritone voice that would be perfect for Gilbert and Sullivan.
Since that's not what Hollywood's looking for, Merlin had to scare up roles elsewhere.
America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The search for true relaxation can be a taxing one. You take some time off to get away thinking of paradise and then harsh reality sets in. That's the sort of experience we're chronicling this summer in a series we call...
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
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SIEGEL: ...Horror Stories.
JIM MCLAUGHLIN: Hi, my name is Jim McLaughlin, and I live in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My wife, my sister, and our combined four children...
The latest employment report is encouraging to many economists because the stronger job growth doesn't appear to be just a one-month blip. But some worry that it's so strong the Federal Reserve may pull back efforts to boost the economy.
The Labor Department's newest data released Friday shows the U.S. added 195,000 jobs in June. The prior two months were also revised upward — above 190,000 for both April and May.
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Two of the most beloved popes in recent memory - John Paul II and John XXIII - have been formally approved for sainthood. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports that in his first four months as pope, Francis has shown great personal and spiritual affinity with these two predecessors.
The immediate reaction to the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi reveals how political and religious fault lines have shifted in the region. Saudi Arabia, an Islamist theocracy, quickly praised the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Riyadh sees as a rival. Also cheering was Syria's Bashar al-Assad, whom the Saudis are trying to help force from power.
Friday saw a very tense situation in Cairo. Anti-Morsi crowds filled Tahrir Square and pro-Morsi crowds gathered on the Sixth of October bridge. There were skirmishes between the two groups but no major clashes. There was also almost no police presence in the area, except in helicopters flying above the fray. There were also confrontations in Alexandria.
Now, a story about table etiquette from our friends at Slate.com. They ask this question. Do you cut and switch? Meaning, do you hold your fork in your left hand and cut with your right and then put down your knife so you can switch your fork to your right hand before you take a bite? Contributing writer Mark Vanhoenacker writes that while the practice has origins in France, they and other Europeans long ago abandoned it.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Most people will agree that the world wants Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation, to be stable. That's not easy in a country where the Taliban and other militants are killing and maiming people every day. But ask Pakistanis what the country's biggest problem is today and they'll likely cite a different issue. Many will tell you it is Pakistan's severe energy crisis.
Newly released audio tapes capture News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch expressing contempt at the investigation that has embroiled his top-selling newspaper in corruption charges in the U.K. Murdoch was recorded saying he probably panicked by cooperating so fully with Scotland Yard — and told reporters at the Sun that paying cops for information has been a practice in the British press for more than a century.
People are often told to take low-dose aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But that preventive remedy doesn't work for a lot of people.
Researchers say they've found genetic variations that might be used to identify people who don't respond well to aspirin. If the results prove out, there could soon be a blood test to tell who benefits from aspirin, and who needs to look for other treatments to reduce cardiovascular risk.
One word came to mind this week when we saw the stories about Texas physical education teacher Dale Irby and how he had worn the same "groovy shirt and sweater vest" for every school photo in the past 40 years:
Before we explore his awesomeness, though, here's some background.
We assigned our trusty interns to document the feeling of watching fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. They focused on the crowd's reactions while basking in the warm glow of the display. The images capture the gasps and sheer amazement from spectators of all ages.
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Say you're in Midtown Manhattan at rush hour. You need to go a mile uptown, and you can't find a cab. A pedicab, a taxi-bicycle hybrid (like the one in the picture) may not be a bad option.
Riding through the middle of Manhattan on the back of a bike, dodging buses and cabs, feels like the Wild West of transportation options. The pricing feels that way too: Unlike buses or cabs, pedicabs don't charge a set fee. It's whatever the rider and the driver agree to. And, like in the Wild West, innocents often get fleeced.
Francis Collins is a pretty good scientist. He unraveled the human genome, among other parlor tricks and now he's the head of the National Institutes of Health. We started our visit with him by asking him what the heck that is.