Facebook is redesigning its front page. The News Feed — which is what Facebook's roughly 1 billion users see when they log on to the site — will be rolling out a radical new look over the coming months.
The changes are meant to increase user engagement on the site, make it easier to navigate on mobile phones and provide even more highly targeted advertising.
Some other news. The country's biggest banks are in much better shape than before the financial crisis, at least according to the Federal Reserve's third round of so-called stress tests.
NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports.
DAN BOBKOFF, BYLINE: The tests simulate a nightmare scenario: How would the banks fare if unemployment topped 12 percent, stock prices were cut in half and housing values fell 20 percent? We all know what happened five years ago when a crisis was more than hypothetical.
John Brennan is the new director of Central Intelligence Agency. He was sworn in this morning. The Senate confirmed him yesterday with a 63 to 34 vote, but as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, it did not come easy.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: John O. Brennan comes to the job as the nation's top spy with 25 years of experience at the CIA. Most recently he served as the president's top counter-terrorism advisor. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, leads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Now, the Senate Judiciary Committee here in Washington has approved a new gun control bill. It strengthens penalties for those who buy weapons for people who are legally barred from purchasing firearms themselves. This is the first federal gun law to head to the Senate floor since the Newtown massacre. We should say proposed federal gun law. And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, it's just the beginning of what looks to be a long legislative fight.
And today's last word in business is this: Lego becomes Legd'oh!
The Wall Street Journal says the Danish company Lego is interested in licensing "The Simpsons." In the long-running cartoon series, a remarkably similar toy company called Blocko makes an appearance in a couple of episodes.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
YEARDLEY SMITH: (as Lisa Simpson) I kind of want to create my own thing. Do you sell any just plain sets?
NPR's business news starts with the shuffle on the top for Pandora.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Pandora is the popular music streaming service. And the company's CEO announced, yesterday, he's stepping down. Joseph Kennedy's announcement came as a surprise to many people. The company just reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings. But Kennedy says after nine years on the job he needs to get to a recharging station. He speaking metaphorically, of course, but who knows, someday people may actually do that.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning on this Friday. Let's talk a little more deeply about the surprisingly strong jobs report that came out today. NPR's Yuki Noguchi is here with the numbers. Hi, Yuki.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.
INSKEEP: OK. So what does the Labor Department say happened in the labor market in February?
It is International Women's Day. To mark that occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama joins of Secretary of State John Kerry to recognize women around the world who have shown exceptional courage, as they put it, in advancing women's rights. The nine honorees include the 23-year-old Indian woman whose brutal gang-rape last December inspired a movement to end violence against women in India.
A formerly lost archeological treasure has made its way to the United States for the first time. It comes from Iran and dates back to the days of the ancient Persian Empire. It's called the Cyrus Cylinder. It'll be on tour across the U.S., starting tomorrow, with the Smithsonian Museum here in Washington.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The Cyrus Cylinder isn't too much too look at - made of clay and shaped kind of like a loaf of bread. What's special about it is that it's etched with writing from the time.
Thousands of Venezuelans have been filling the streets this week, listening to music and lining up to see the coffin of their leader, Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday. Leaders from around the world have also come to the capital city, Caracas, for a funeral which formally takes place today. And in keeping with his often larger-than-life persona, the Venezuelan government plans to embalm Chavez and keep his body on display under glass, in perpetuity. NPR's Juan Forero is in Caracas, following events there. Hi, Juan.
Parts of the northern Syrian province of Idlib are a U.N. World Heritage site, known for its ancient archaeological wonders. Walking along muddy, rocky ground covered in new grass and wild daffodils, we start to see remnants of Roman structures — the columns and doorways of dwellings, temples and churches that date back to the 1st century.
They're known as the Dead Cities, and they trace the transition from ancient pagan Rome to Christian Byzantium. Until recently, they were deserted, frozen in time.
Hear Brian Nayor, Julie Rovner, Yuki Noguchi and Carrie Johnson talk with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep about the many federal entities operating without permanent leadership by clicking the audio link.
Some workers may dream about how productive they'd be without a boss. But for thousands of federal employees, being without a boss is a reality. And productivity isn't necessarily the result.
Scientists say they have put together a record of global temperatures dating back to the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago. This historical artwork of the last ice age was made by Swiss geologist and naturalist Oswald Heer.
There's plenty of evidence that the climate has warmed up over the past century, and climate scientists know this has happened throughout the history of the planet. But they want to know more about how this warming is different.
Now a research team says it has some new answers. It has put together a record of global temperatures going back to the end of the last ice age — about 11,000 years ago — when mammoths and saber-tooth cats roamed the planet. The study confirms that what we're seeing now is unprecedented.
The educational division of the media conglomerate News Corp., called Amplify, unveiled a new digital tablet this week at the SXSW tech conference in Austin, Texas, intended to serve millions of schoolchildren and their teachers across the country.
Amplify promises the tablet will simplify administrative chores for teachers, enable shy children to participate more readily in discussions, and allow students to complete coursework at their own pace while drawing upon carefully selected online research resources.
There's hardly an adult anywhere in the world who wouldn't recognize at least some of the music of Motown.
The R&B label changed the course of music in the United States and made household names of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Now, the man who created Motown — Berry Gordy — is headed to Broadway to tell his version of how it all began.
When he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and other charges in 2005, Stephen Slevin had no way of knowing that an opinion about his mental state would put him on a path to spend more than 22 months of solitary confinement in a New Mexico county jail, despite never having his day in court. This week, he reached a $15.5 million settlement with Dona Ana County.
The mourning over the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez took a Lenin-eque turn today: Acting President Nicolas Maduro announced that his remains will be on permanent display at the Museum of the Revolution, "close to the presidential palace where Chavez ruled for 14 years," the AP reports.
Caught between the gritty political realities of needing cash and being linked to a political leader who has repeatedly denounced money's influence in Washington while raising record sums, former campaign aides to President Obama appeared to side with the money.
That had opened officials now heading Organizing for Action — which was formed from the Obama for America campaign committee to promote the president's second-term agenda — to charges of hypocrisy.
When the stage lights go up at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on Monday evening, more than 20 high school students will each have a moment to step into the spotlight and perform a monologue from one of the plays written by the late August Wilson. Chicago's contest is one of several regional finals that strives to introduce students to the Pulitzer Prize winner's work. It's also a lead-up to the national August Wilson Monologue Competition that will be held on Broadway later this spring.
You'd think that in telling a story whose novelty is in its veracity, retaining some semblance of that truth might be important. But wrestling history into narrative has its challenges, and things can get hazy when it comes to the facts in a historical drama. So it seems like the next logical step in telling a story with a relationship to truth might be that if you're going to fudge things, at least make it entertaining. Please, pull an Argo.
Syrian rebels celebrate in a street in the northeastern Syrian city of Raqqah after capturing the provincial capital on March 4. The government has responded with air strikes, creating a new wave of refugees.
A new flood of Syrian refugees is streaming into southern Turkey after the Syrian air force bombed the city of Raqqa, a provincial capital that the government lost control of earlier this week.
The Syrian rebels overran Raqqa, capturing several high-ranking prisoners, including the provincial governor. Many residents supported the rebels, but when the airstrikes began, they packed in a hurry and fled, believing it was safer to make a dash for the border than stay at home.
In Venezuela, thousands of mourners are paying their last respects to their larger-than-life leader, Hugo Chavez. The man who ruled Venezuela for 14 years died Tuesday, and his body is now lying in state in Caracas, the capital, as presidents and dignitaries fly in for the funeral Friday.