National & International News

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

Talk about having a powerful hincha on your side.

As the website of Buenos Aires soccer club San Lorenzo declares, the team now has "Papa Cuervo" (Papa Crow) among its card-carrying fans.

Police: Pa. Boy Calls 911 After Dad, Grandma OD

Mar 14, 2013

NEW BRIGHTON, Pa. — Police have charged a man and his mother with endangering a 10-year-old boy who called 911 when they passed out at home while allegedly using heroin.

The Beaver County Times reports police found both adults unresponsive when they arrived Friday evening.

Online court records don't list attorneys for 34-year-old Chad Kiser and 52-year-old Ginger Ray Foust of New Brighton. The boy is Kiser's son and Foust's grandson.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's ascendency to Pope Francis has suddenly placed his Jesuit order in the spotlight.

Francis' papacy is the first for a member of the Society of Jesus, which was founded in 1540 by the Spaniard St. Ignatius of Loyola and has grown to become the single-largest Catholic order, playing a central and occasionally controversial role within the church.

Today, some 20,000 Jesuits, about three-quarters of them priests, work in more than 100 countries and are best known for the schools and institutions of higher learning they administer.

Monarch butterflies that once covered 50 square acres of forest during their summer layover in central Mexico now occupy fewer than 3 acres, according to the latest census.

The numbers of the orange-and-black butterflies have crashed in the two decades since scientists began making a rough count of them, according to Mexico's National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.

At a news conference Wednesday, the commission said the count was down 59 percent from December 2011 levels, when the insects filled 7.14 acres of fir trees in central Mexico.

If you've ever had a spousal spat over who logs more time on housework, child care, or at the office, you might want to see how you stack up against other couples.

Alabama's Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a sweeping education bill that gives tax credits to parents who want to transfer their children from a failing public school to another public or private school. The bill became law one day after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit against it was premature.

By a 10-8, party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday moved legislation that would revive the ban on assault-style weapons that expired in 2004.

The vote, while expected, remains noteworthy because it is among a handful of legislative responses so far to the mass shootings in recent years — most notably the Dec. 14 attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six educators dead.

The death of Ieng Sary, co-founder of the Khmer Rouge that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and killed an estimated 1.7 million of that nation's people in the process, has dashed the hopes "among survivors and court prosecutors that he would ever be punished for his alleged war crimes," The Associated Press writes.

"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.

Or, as it's also known, the "God Particle" (more on that moniker below).

Joe reports that:

Feds: W. Pa. Woman Collected Dead Dad's SS Checks

Mar 14, 2013

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh say a woman collected $180,216 worth of Social Security benefits meant for her father — for nearly 23 years after he died.

Online court records don't list and age or address for Roni Halsel who is represented by the federal public defender's office, which has a blanket policy of not commenting on criminal cases.

But according to charges filed Wednesday, Halsel collected and cashed the checks meant for her father, Robert Shelton, who died Aug. 26, 1989. Authorities say the alleged thefts finally ended in July.

A deadly drama in central New York State ended early Thursday when police killed the man suspected of shooting to death four people and injuring two others on Wednesday, Utica's Observer-Dispatch reports.

According to the newspaper:

The number of people filing first-time claims dropped by 10,000 last week from the week before, to 332,000, the Employment and Training Administration says.

That means claims continue to run at their lowest pace since January 2008. They've now fallen for three straight weeks.

The decision to embalm the body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez so that it could be put on permanent display in the country's Museum of the Revolution was made too late, acting President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday in Caracas.

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

Several weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the U.S. is planning what to do about Syria's vast chemical weapons program once Bashar Assad's regime falls. The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents, including sarin, one of the deadliest chemical agents. A few drops can be lethal.

So the central question is this: How can those sites be secured so they don't fall into the wrong hands?

Pope Francis goes into history as the first pontiff from the New World.

For Latin America in particular, this is a momentous occasion: It is home to 483 million Catholics, or a little more than 40 percent of the global population.

Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Italian parents. At one point, he was the archbishop of the Buenos Aires diocese, which The Wall Street Journal reports, has "the largest concentration of Catholics in the world."

As news spread that the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel was billowing white smoke to signal the election of Pope Francis, anticipation built for the new pontiff's first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

Who Is Pope Francis I?

Mar 13, 2013

The new pope, 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first Jesuit, but he appears to hold views very much in line with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Bergoglio has chosen the papal name Francis, becoming the 266th to hold the title of spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.

The world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and for the first time it is someone from the Americas.

As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter's Square — the traditional signals that the church's cardinals have chosen a new pope.

The Boy Scouts of America has sent a detailed survey about its exclusion of gay members to 1.1 million scouts.

As The New York Times reports, the survey doesn't just pose a simple yes or no question on whether the Scouts should lift its ban on gay members and leaders. Instead it seeks answers using detailed hypotheticals.

The Times explains:

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin stands to lose a sizeable state pension once she's sentenced on corruption charges in May.

Information obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press from the State Employees' Retirement System through a Right-to-Know request shows Melvin qualifies for a maximum annual pension of as much as $140,322.

The request also covered Melvin's sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, who is serving a prison sentence in a related corruption case. Based on that information, the AP calculated Orie's maximum annual pension at $37,700.

Three decades after giving the world The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden is poised to release its latest work — and it's a beer. That's the latest from the Metal Injection website, whose "Bands and Booze" section makes it uniquely qualified to present such news.

The percentage of American Catholics who identify as "strong" members of the church has declined to a 40-year low.

That's according to new analysis of the General Social Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Florida's lieutenant governor abruptly stepped down on Wednesday, two days after Florida law enforcement officials questioned her involvement with a non-profit under investigation.

Mine on Pa.-W.Va. Border Still Closed Due to Smoke

Mar 13, 2013

A Consol Energy mine on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line remains closed while officials check for a suspected underground fire that prompted the mine's evacuation.

Consol officials say elevated carbon monoxide levels in the Blacksville No. 2 mine shaft "suggest that we have smoldering or the possibility of a fire in the mine."

More than 120 day-shift workers were safely evacuated when the smoke was first spotted Tuesday afternoon.

Following up last month's news about reports that tie hackings of American defense contractors' websites to operations run — or at least encouraged — by the Chinese government, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday told the tale of a Shanghai man who used to blog about his work in a People's Liberation Army

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