National & International News

We follow stories about America and the world, with help from NPR.

Ex-skater and former US Speedskating President Andy Gabel faces a second accusation of sexual misconduct, as first reported by member station WUWM in Milwaukee.

Former skater Nikki Meyer told the NPR affiliate that she was assaulted by Gabel in the 1990s when she was 15 and he was 26.

A bomb exploded near the Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday morning as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was visiting in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility, calling it a message to the new Pentagon chief.

Update At 10:49 a.m. ET: Hagel Not Surprised

Hagel was nowhere near the attack, but the AP reports he heard the blast:

Noma, the Danish eatery that has won fans with its innovative approach to Nordic cuisine, and won Restaurant magazine's "World's Best Restaurant" title the past three years, is getting some unwelcome press, after dozens of people who ate at the Copenhagen restaurant fell sick.

Update: Monday, March 11

A French mother was in court Wednesday for what she says was a simple birthday celebration but what the government alleges is a clear provocation, an allusion to terrorism.

The BBC reports that Bouchra Bagour, 35, has been charged with "glorifying crime" after she sent her three-year-old son — named Jihad — to school wearing a T-shirt that read "I am a bomb" and "Born on 11 September."

The BBC adds:

Update at 7:04 p.m. ET. All Votes Counted:

With all the votes in, Kenya's election commission says Uhuru Kenyatta appears to have won with the slimmest of margins. Kenyatta got 50.03 percent of the vote, the AP reports.

Reuters adds:

"Kenyatta, who faces international charges of crimes against humanity, secured 6,173,433 votes out of a total of 12,338,667 ballots cast, indicating that he had secured the more than 50 percent of votes needed for a first round win."

A week after a sweeping and controversial education bill was adopted by the Alabama Legislature, the measure is on hold, with a circuit judge and the state's supreme court reviewing separate lawsuits filed over it. Democrats say Republicans broke the rules when they inserted school choice language into a bill that was originally meant to give school districts flexibility in meeting standards.

For the first time, the Bulgarian National Assembly is expressing "regret" for deporting more than 11,000 Jews to German death camps.

The declaration passed today is truly bitter sweet, because while it calls the deportations a "criminal act," it also praises Bulgarian citizens and politicians for saving more than 48,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

The BBC explains:

The Syrian civil war keeps getting more complicated, and the seizure of 21 United Nations peacekeepers has again raised concern that the fighting could spread turmoil in the region.

The rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's regime are a mixed lot that include secular fighters calling for democracy, as well as Muslim fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law.

A rebel faction calling itself the Martyrs of Yarmouk Brigade says it seized the peacekeepers on Wednesday.

South Dakota on Friday became what's "believed to be the first state to pass a law that specifically allows teachers to carry firearms," as The New York Times writes.

During a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, John Brennan was sworn in as the director of the Central Intelligence Office by Vice President Joe Biden.

According to the White House, Brennan took his oath by putting his hand "on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington's personal handwriting and annotations on it."

The AP reports that with Brennan, President Obama's national security team is set for a second term.

The last portion of the Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge, which once connected the West Virginia towns of Nitro and St. Albans, was demolished this morning. Hundreds of people gathered to view the controlled explosion Friday morning.

Presidents and dignitaries from around the globe are gathered in Caracas this morning to pay their final respects to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

CBS News reports:

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a 2011 gun attack that left six people dead and 13 others (including Giffords) wounded, is this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who is now in U.S. custody, pleaded not guilty this morning to a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans.

On Morning Edition moments ago, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said it isn't known yet whether he may face additional charges.

Abu Ghaith, 48, appeared in a Manhattan federal court. As Dina reported for us Thursday:

Two Braddock police officers have been suspended after getting into a fight at their police station.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman said the fight started around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. The officers weren't injured in the "very short" altercation according to the mayor.

The unidentified officers have been suspended without pay.

Authorities say the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office will investigate.

Fetterman said the fight ended when the men realized they were behaving inappropriately and when another officer in the room broke up the fight.

Times were different in 1996 when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, former President Bill Clinton writes in today's Washington Post.

A woman killed by a 550-pound male lion at a conservancy near Fresno, Calif., earlier this week may have been caught by surprise after the animal escaped its cage, investigators say.

According to a preliminary autopsy, Dianna Hanson, a 24-year-old intern for Cat Haven, was killed Wednesday when the lion snapped her neck.

North Korea responded to new U.N. sanctions aimed at starving its nuclear program by vowing to cut a Cold War-style hotline and scrap a nonaggression pact with the South.

State-run media said North Korea "abrogates all agreements on nonaggression reached between the North and the South ... and also notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline."

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

(Updated at 7 p.m. ET.)

More than 150 years after they died when their ship sank during a storm, two Union sailors from the Civil War were buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Update at 11:36 a.m. ET. Starts Tuesday:

"The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013," reads a statement just sent to reporters by the Vatican Press Office. It adds that:

"A pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave."

Our original post — "Cardinals Expected To Set Date For Start Of Conclave":

Update at 8:35 a.m. ET. Things Were Better Than Expected:

"Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent."

Our original post:

Slow job growth and little change in the unemployment rate.

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.

The AP adds:

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin announced today that he would not seek reelection in 2014. Levin chairs the Armed Services Committee.

In a statement, he called the decision "extremely difficult."

It will take more than a week for Alaska's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which began Sunday, to cover nearly 1,000 miles. But every minute counts — and several mushers are trying out special pants that allow them to race without stopping for bathroom breaks.

Fed Beige Book Mentions PA Drilling Impact

Mar 7, 2013

The U.S. Federal Reserve's latest survey of regional economic trends is mentioning the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.

The Fed's latest Beige Book issued Wednesday mentions that Pennsylvania banks see customers paying down loans with natural gas royalty money. In neighboring Ohio the Fed says shale gas activity is expanding at a robust pace, but some auto dealers are worried they're lose technicians to energy companies.

After an epic filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul that lasted into the early morning hours, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm the nomination of John Brennan as the country's next Central Intelligence Agency director.

As we reported, Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, stood on the floor of the Senate for nearly 13 hours, repeatedly asking for an explanation of the Obama administration's targeted killing program.

Just before leaving for Venezuela to attend the funeral of Hugo Chávez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad penned a laudatory tribute for the late president.

"[Chavez] is alive, as long as nations are alive and struggle for consolidating independence, justice and kindness. I have no doubt that he will come back, and along with Christ the Saviour, the heir to all saintly and perfect men, and will bring peace, justice and perfection for all," Ahmadinejad wrote in a letter he sent the Venezuelan vice president.

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