Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 3:19 pm
Update at 3:09 p.m. ET. 14 Additional Interceptors:
The United States will deploy 14 additional ground-based missile interceptors (GBIs) to combat the nuclear attack threats from North Korea and Iran, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said today during a press briefing.
"The United States stands firm against aggression," Hagel said.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:03 pm
Comet Pan-STARRS is putting on a bit of a show for those in the Northern Hemisphere through the end of this month. We're seeing some beautiful photos, such as those taken this week by AFP/Getty's Stan Honda. He pointed his camera skyward near Magdalena, N.M.
The best viewing came earlier this week, but Forbes writes that if you're in the Northern Hemisphere you're not too late to see Pan-STARRS. It offers some tips:
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 1:06 pm
Scientists peering into the atmosphere of a giant planet 130 light years away believe their findings bolster one theory of how solar systems form.
The planet, orbiting the star HR 8799, is part of a solar system containing at least three other "super-Jupiters" weighing in at between five and 10 times the mass of our own Jupiter. The nearby system features a brash, young 30-million-year-old star (by contrast, our Sun is in midlife at about 4.5 billion years old).
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 3:58 am
And the Bushes just keep on coming.
In recent memory, there was George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Then there was George W. Bush, 43rd president. And now there's John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, who may want to become the 45th president.
Jeb is sending mixed signals: Tonight he is a keynote speaker at a Conservative Political Action Conference dinner, but he has asked that his name be removed from CPAC's 2016 presidential straw poll.
Does Jeb have what it takes to be the next president of the United States?
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 7:00 am
Just last week AIDS researchers were excited about a Mississippi toddler whose blood has remained free of HIV many months after she stopped getting antiviral drugs – what doctors call a "functional cure."
That's one of the questions being debated as Republicans — like all parties that have lost a national election — plot their comeback.
Some think they need to take a new tack on issues such as immigration in order to appeal to changing times and demographic changes. Others believe that the GOP's core conservative principles are still political winners, if delivered in a more convincing manner than was the case during last year's presidential race.
The NHL will shuffle its teams before next season, moving from three divisions in each conference to a total of four divisions in the Eastern and Western Conferences. The league's owners approved the plan Thursday; the players' association gave its OK last week.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 12:56 pm
A federal appeals court has rejected an effort by the CIA to deny it has any documents about a U.S. drone program that has killed terrorists overseas, ruling that the agency is stretching the law too far and asking judges "to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible."
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might've been following the long debate over whether this country locks up too many people for too little reason and for too long. It turns out something else interesting is happening that you might not heard about - the racial breakdown of the prison population is changing. More white people, especially more white women, are getting locked up. And we'll find out more about that in a few minutes.
What can you find underneath a British railroad or parking lot? These days it could be skeletons, and probably a lot of them. Last month, researchers announced the bones of a man discovered underneath a British parking lot were actually King Richard III. Today, a British rail project says some of its staff stumbled upon skeletons of people who may have died of the Black Death nearly 700 years ago, during an outbreak of bubonic plague.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 7:00 am
"The meek shall inherit the earth" — that seems to be the latest message from the United Nations Development Program.
Their 2013 Human Development Report chronicles the recent, rapid expansion of the middle class in the developing world. It also predicts that over the next two decades growth in the so-called "Global South" will dramatically shift economic and political power away from Europe and North America.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 10:43 am
Pope Francis, in his first audience with the cardinals since becoming head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, praised his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and urged the evangelization of the church's message.
Francis said of Benedict, who served as pontiff for eight years before his historic resignation last month, that he "lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers."
Last year, a federal program called the Earned Income Tax Credit took about $60 billion from wealthier Americans and gave it to the working poor. And here's the surprising thing: This redistribution of wealth has been embraced by every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.
"This program worked," says Richard Burkhauser, an economist at Cornell University and the American Enterprise Institute. "And there's not a hell of a lot of these programs where you can see the tremendous change in the behavior of people in exactly the way that all of us hoped it would happen."
Sorry to disappoint, but science writer Carl Zimmer says we're not going to bring back dinosaurs. But, he says, "science has developed to the point where we can actually talk seriously about possibly bringing back more recently extinct species."
It's called "de-extinction" — and it's Zimmer's cover story for National Geographic's April issue.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:36 am
Putting a more specific estimate that he has in the past on the issue of how long it might take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, President Obama has told Israel's Channel 2 TV that it could happen in "over a year or so" if efforts to dissuade Iran do not succeed.
The president also said that while he wants to resolve the issue diplomatically, he is keeping "all options on the table."
For its part, Iran has long said its nuclear program is only aimed a peaceful uses for that energy source.
At a hearing in Washington on March 6, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to senators why it has been hard to go after big bank executives:
"It does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:44 am
First, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu. Now, Putin is hobnobbing with the actor Steven Seagal. The star of Under Siege toured a new sports facility with Putin, who used the occasion to call for reviving a Soviet-era fitness program in which kids threw javelins, learned to ski and fired guns.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 4:42 am
Reba Williams of Columbus, Ohio, finished her last class back in 1925. But the 106-year-old didn't receive her high school diploma until Wednesday. Her daughter told the Mansfield News-Journal that young Reba, who was a good student for all 12 years, was headstrong. She refused to read a book assigned by her teacher that she'd already read and didn't like.
U.S. government pronouncements about the danger of a major cyberattack can be confusing. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, and the head of the U.S. military's Cyber Command, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, delivered mixed messages this week while testifying on Capitol Hill.
The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there's another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom.
No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there's water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.
Next week marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in which the justices unanimously ruled that defendants facing substantial jail time deserved legal representation in state courts, even if they couldn't afford to pay for it.