And now, a story from Washington state; a story about one family's unexpected odyssey. Seventy-three-year-old Kevin O'Grady had recently died in Seattle, where one of his two daughters lives. She mailed her father's ashes across the state to her sister, Katy, in Spokane. That's where their father, an Air Force veteran, was to be buried with military honors.
But after several days, Katy had yet to receive the ashes.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Among the many charges thrown at Chuck Hagel, as he seeks confirmation as defense secretary, is this one: that he received funding from a group called Friends of Hamas. That explosive claim first surfaced on the conservative website breitbart.com. It got traction and spread among conservative media.
Thing is there's no evidence that any such group exists, not to mention any evidence of a Hamas-Hagel connection.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's bloody sock and spikes are displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Schilling, whose video game company went bankrupt, is selling the bloodstained sock he wore during baseball's 2004 World Series.
Credit Mike Groll / AP
Schilling tends to his right ankle during Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in 2004.
There is no end, it seems, to revelations of corruption in Spain, exacerbated by the country's economic crisis. The latest scandal threatens to topple the pedestal on which Spain's royals have long stood.
The newest suspect is the king's son-in-law, who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds and faces a judge this weekend.
Emad Burnat, a Palestinian who co-directed the Oscar-nominated documentary<em> 5 Broken Cameras</em>, displays the cameras destroyed by Israeli settlers and security forces. The film focuses on a Palestinian village protesting Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank.
Credit Kino Lorbor Inc. / AP
With Israeli soldiers on the other side, Palestinians protest against Israel's West Bank separation barrier in the town of Bil'in in 2008.
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., confer at the start of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week on the appointments of military leaders. McCain and Graham have been among the Republicans pushing the Obama administration for answers about the Benghazi attack.
Dell's founder and another tech company have announced plans to take the computer giant private. While companies can benefit from withdrawing from the stock market, there are potential pitfalls as well.
Food doesn't matter much in novels. Years will pass in a person's life without a single description of a snack. Not a moment between adverbs for a taco. No wonder so many characters in contemporary fiction are glum: They're not hopeless; they're hungry.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block, with this accounting of the rapid pace of deal making in corporate America. This month alone, U.S. Airways and American Airlines merged, Comcast bought up NBC Universal, Warren Buffett teamed up with a Brazilian firm to buy the Heinz Company, and Michael Dell helped take the public company that bears his name private.
Students in Kabul protest violence against women in Kabul last fall. Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree in 2009 protecting women's rights, but parliament has not passed a law making the decree permanent.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree in 2009 banning violence against women. But the parliament, which is currently on its winter recess, has been unable to pass it and give it permanence as a law.
There's major disagreement on key provisions where Islamic and secular law come into conflict. And activists say the gains made in women's rights since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 are slipping away.
Masooda Karokhi, a female member of parliament, has been pushing to get the proposal through the male-dominated legislature.
There's an underground bunker at a radio station in Charlotte, N.C., where time has stopped. Built decades ago to provide safety and vital communications in the event of a nuclear attack, it's now a perfectly preserved relic of Cold War fear that's gained new relevance.
The secret bunker is part of the office lore that old-timers at WBT Radio whisper to the newbies. That's how radio host Mike Collins learned of it back in the 1980s.
The Hazara Heritage Park will be built on the edge of Abbottabad, Pakistan, set in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Credit Jackie Northam / NPR
The compound where Osama bin Laden spent his final years was torn down in 2012, about a year after he was killed. Pakistani developers say it's time to move past those events and they are planning an amusement park and an outdoor activity center on the other side of Abbottabad.
Developers in Pakistan will soon break ground on a new amusement park and outdoor activity center, a private, $30 million project billed as a state-of-the-art facility that will bring jobs to a hard-hit area.
But there's one issue that's raising some eyebrows: the site is in Abbottabad, not far from the place where Osama Bin Laden secretly lived until American forces killed him.
This does not trouble Sheikh Kaleemuddin, the project director, who is effusive about the picturesque spot where he plans to build.
As part of homecoming ceremonies at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state in January, Army Spc. Tyler Jeffries — with crutches and prosthetic legs — joins his unit in formation as the national anthem is played. The homecoming marked the first time Jeffries had seen his platoon since he lost both his legs in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan last October.
Credit Florangela Davila for NPR
Jeffries takes his first steps on prosthetic legs during what he described as an exhausting and painful physical therapy session at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., in November 2012, less than two months after the roadside bombing.
Credit Ben Watson / NPR
As family and friends welcome the returning soldiers, Staff Sgt. Michael Blair gives Jeffries a bear hug.
Credit Florangela Davila for NPR
While his unit waits for buses to take them to a gym where family and friends will greet them, Jeffries sits in a wheelchair, one of his prosthetic legs visible.
A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.
But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.
"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.
If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.
The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.
Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.
Quvenzhane Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for a role in the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 6 when she shot the movie. Now, at age 9, she is the youngest ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.
In the film, Quvenzhane plays a wild child named Hushpuppy, who lives with her sick father in a ramshackle, isolated community called the Bathtub, on the fringes of the Louisiana coast.
The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.
TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.
An update now to a story we reported last week, a story about a dramatic change in the lives of whiskey drinkers. Well, some of them at least - the ones who drink Maker's Mark bourbon, because Maker's Mark cut its alcohol content, watered it down from 90-proof to just 84. They said it was because they had to meet bigger demand.
JERRY RODGERS: People just went bananas.
BLOCK: This is Jerry Rodgers, who knows his Maker's.
People read newspaper headlines in Athens. In 2009, there were 39 national dailies, 23 national Sunday papers, 14 national weekly papers and dozens of TV and radio stations for a population of 11 million.
Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.
Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.
When Superstorm Sandy crashed ashore in October, thousands of residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult homes evacuated to various facilities, many of them overcrowded and ill-prepared for the influx.
The evacuees have slowly trickled back to those homes that can be repaired.
One group recently returned to an adult home for the mentally ill and physically disabled in Queens, but many residents weren't happy with what awaited them.
It used to be a truism among critics of British poetry that Keats and most of his fellow Romantic poets worked in the shadow of John Milton. I'm not making a perfect analogy when I suggest that most contemporary Japanese writers seem to be working under the shadow of Haruki Murakami, but I hope it highlights the spirit of the situation.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
Coming up, that's a lot of pay stubs, the 100th anniversary of the income tax. Then a Three-Minute Fiction standout. And later, he may be faster than a speeding bullet, but can Superman outrace this controversy?
But first, tens of thousands of college students and environmental activists marched around the White House today.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Hey, Obama, we don't want no climate drama. Hey.
Well, it may not be the happiest of anniversaries, but get out the candles anyway. This month marks the 100th anniversary of the American income tax.
Joining us to talk about a century of the tax we all love to hate is Joe Thorndike. He has a pretty exotic job: tax historian. He's just written a book called "Their Fair Share: Taking the Rich in the Age of FDR." He's also the director of the Tax History Project. Joe, thanks for joining us.