You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."
The Justice Department has been scrutinized this week for secretly obtaining phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors while investigating the disclosure of a CIA operation to thwart a terrorist attack. Steve Inskeep talks to Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment lawyer, about how the Constitution and the law treat press freedom.
Known or suspected terrorists who cooperated with federal investigators in at least six major terrorism investigations over two decades were granted protection under the federal witness protection program –- and two of them temporarily could not be found by federal authorities, according to a report from the Justice Department's inspector general.
On the same day House Republicans scheduled their latest symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, as part of their full-court press against the law they also took to Twitter to say, in three words, why they oppose the legislation.
Authorities in Idaho have arrested an Uzbekistan national on federal terrorism charges, the Justice Department announced Thursday evening.
Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested in Boise on Wednesday, prosecutors say. He is being charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
You've heard of the 800-pound gorilla in the room that everyone ignores? Well, here's an 800-pound alligator that's getting some attention.
The 14-foot beast, the heaviest ever recorded in Texas, was bagged by a Houston-area high school student last week at a wildlife management area near Choke Canyon State Park, about 90 miles south of San Antonio.
Braxton Bielski, 18, is credited with the kill. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials, the gator could be 30 to 50 years old.
Officials at the Department of Justice didn't share crucial information on some terrorist suspects in the federal witness protection program with the agency that maintains the "no fly" list, allowing an unknown number of them to board commercial flights, a new report says.
We're going to take a closer look now at the trove of Benghazi-related emails that the White House made public late yesterday. The emails offer a behind-the-scenes look at how various agencies within the federal government worked to craft the talking points used to describe that attack last September. The talking points were initially developed for members of Congress, but they also provided a script for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, as she made the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows, including on ABC.
A new report from the Justice Department's watchdog points to several lapses in the government's witness protection program. The most significant are that U.S. Marshals at one point lost track of two known or suspected terrorists; and that some witnesses inadvertently were not placed on a no-fly list and flew using new identities. The FBI says there are no known current threats from any witnesses.
We wanted to know more about how the IRS normally vets applications for tax-exempt status; how groups qualify and what the red flags might be.
Through the 1990s, Marcus Owens was the director of the Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS, overseeing these very issues. As he explained, 501c4 groups must prove to the IRS that their primary purpose is not politics but social welfare - the betterment of community over private interest.
What is it like to be suddenly and irreversibly thrust into the public spotlight for something truly horrible done by a relative?
"I could hear my last name being whispered in the hallway, and I heard 'murder,' just under people's breath," says Melissa Moore, daughter of Keith Hunter Jesperson, who was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of at least eight women over a five-year period.
Perhaps you've noticed a toddler's sagging swim diaper and wondered if it's really keeping the poop out of your neighborhood pool.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the answer for you: no.
Last summer, researchers at the federal public health agency collected 161 filter samples from public swimming pools in the Atlanta area. More than half of those samples, 58 percent, were contaminated with E. coli.
That, the CDC reported today, "signifies that swimmers introduced fecal matter into pool water."
Police in Albuquerque, N.M., are interviewing a man they say is a "person of interest" in the abduction of a five-year-old girl. After the girl was taken Wednesday evening, her mother chased down and rammed the car she had been in; a suspect fled on foot. Authorities say the girl is safe; she was pushed out of the car shortly after being taken.
Update at 3:30 p.m. ET. 'Person Of Interest' Found:
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program family members of both the suspects in the Cleveland kidnappings and the Boston Marathon bombings have denounced them. And that made us wonder about the family members of other people who have been accused of horrible acts. So we reached out to two of them - the daughter of a serial killer and the brother of the Unibomber will both be with us in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program we will speak with writer and scholar Mark Anthony Neal about his new book, "Looking For Leroy." It's about how black men on stage, screen and on the radio shape and reshape how we think about black men in everyday life. That's in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to spend the last few minutes today talking about some new ideas about race and ethnicity in this country. In a few minutes, we'll hear about a new book that examines how pop culture figures like Jay-Z and Denzel Washington play with and possibly change our ideas about what it means to be a black man in America.
"A massive emergency response" is underway in North Texas, where tornadoes blew through Wednesday night, The Dallas Morning News says. A twister that hit Granbury, about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, left at least six people dead, more than 100 injured and even more homeless, The Associated Press adds.
President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS."
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.
The Obama administration is doing some intensive damage control this evening. Tonight, the president announced that the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, is being pushed out over heightened scrutiny given to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.
School suspensions are a big issue in California. Last year, schools handed out 700,000 of them. But the Los Angeles Unified School District took a step to change that this week when it voted to ban suspension of students deemed "willfully defiant."
The Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into what Attorney General Eric Holder has called "a very grave leak" to the news agency has set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, but there's a lot to the AP story published a year ago that started it all.