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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An international team of researchers announced in Switzerland on Wednesday that an experiment on the International Space Station may have seen hints of something called dark matter. The finding could be a milestone in the decades-long search for the universe's missing material.
Only a tiny sliver of stuff in the universe is visible to scientists; the rest is dark matter. Researchers don't know what it is, but they know it's there. Its gravity pulls on the things we can see.
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.
The United States said it was sending its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System to Guam in the coming weeks.
The move to deploy the missile defense system comes in response to continued heated rhetoric from North Korea. The BBC reports:
"The Pentagon said in a statement the missile system would be moved to Guam as a 'precautionary move to strengthen our regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat.'
At least 53 people were killed today in Afghanistan after "suicide bombers disguised as Afghan soldiers stormed a courthouse in Farah province in a failed bid to free more than a dozen Taliban," USA Today reports.
An ancient hunting ritual is making a comeback in modern Spain: the practice of hunting wild boar on horseback with spears — and no guns. The sport dates to Roman times, and was recently approved and added to Spanish hunting regulations.
Just a 20-minute drive from Spain's capital, you're in the dehesa — oak woodlands, where wild boar, deer and mountain goats roam. Madrid's skyscrapers are on the horizon, but in the forest, ancient traditions still reign.
Within 10 days of Miguel Diaz-Canel's big promotion to vice president of Cuba in February, he was already being tapped as a stand-in for reticent, 81-year-old President Raul Castro. It was Diaz-Canel, not Raul or Fidel Castro, who gave Cuba's first public condolences when the communist government lost its best friend and benefactor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
There are two significant developments in the search for the Lord's Resistance Army chief Joseph Kony to tell you about today: Uganda announced it was suspending its search for Kony, but at the same time, the United States announced it was offering a $5 million reward for information that leads to his capture.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The president talks guns in Colorado. Hillary Clinton supporters talk 2016. And in New York City, six pols busted for talking turkey. It's Wednesday and time for a...
DAN HALLORAN: It's all about how much...
CONAN: ...edition of the political junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 12:11 pm
Researchers from University College London followed thousands of people over the age of 52 for seven to eight years to assess the effect of loneliness and isolation. Isolation, not loneliness, may actually shorten people's lives regardless of health or income.
Try to put him in a box and he'll find his way out. Still working at nearly 85 years old, William Klein has gone rogue in at least four different fields: abstract painting, photography, filmmaking and commercial copy writing.
Klein now lives in Paris but I caught up with him in New York City — the place where he was born, but no longer has much affinity for. He's just here to promote a new book, William Klein ABC.
When I ask him what he thinks about the city, he says:
In 1846, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a famous essay called "The Philosophy of Composition," in which he sounds like an interior decorator. I say that because in the essay, Poe insists that all good writing must strive for what he calls "unity of effect." For Poe, it was important that everything in his short stories — characters, setting, narration — add up to one big "color-me-terrified" impact.
Why do we imprison people who are addicted to illegal drugs instead of treating them for their addiction? That question is at the heart of David Sheff's new book Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy. It reports the latest medical and scientific research about addiction and recovery, which, Sheff says, shows that drug addicts are gravely ill, afflicted with a chronic, progressive and often terminal disease.
For decades, when broadcast television called the shots and dominated the TV landscape, the biggest event of the year was "the fall season," when networks would unveil their new shows and return with fresh episodes of old favorites. But now, because of cable and satellite TV, the fall season isn't the only game in town.