National News

'Snacks On A Plane' And Other #dullermovies

Jul 26, 2013

Boring movie titles may not lure audiences into theaters, but they are luring users on Twitter. The #dullermovies thread challenges tweeters to pick an enticing film title and deflate it. People have come up with must-not-see films such as Ferris Bueller Goes to School and I Speculate On What You Did Last Summer. A couple of our favorites are collected below.

More than 10,000 athletes are meeting in Cleveland for The National Senior Games. Adults older than 55 — and some older than 90 — are running track, riding bikes, playing basketball and competing in many of the sports you might see at the Summer Olympics. In fact there are a few who were Olympians themselves back in the day who say they find that competition is just as satisfying in their later years.

One of those is 82-year-old swimmer Graham Johnston. When he's not racing or getting ready to race, he's in the stands, checking out the other swimmers with an expert eye.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was not aiding the enemy when he leaked the largest cache of classified information in the history of the United States, the defense argued today during closing arguments of his military trial in Fort Meade, Maryland, today. Instead, he released the information in an attempt to spark debate about things he found troubling about war and American diplomacy.

A Tale Of Two Massive Rallies In Egypt

Jul 26, 2013

At the request of Egypt's army chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, many Egyptians took to the street Friday to give him a mandate for what he calls a "war against terrorism" on Islamists.

His call drew a huge response from those opposed to Mohammed Morsi, but it also brought out large numbers of supporters of the ousted president who is allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.

As the following photographs show, anti-Morsi protesters rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square ...

... while those allied with Morsi gathered near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who was forced to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct in the U.S., faces charges of "aggravated pimping" before a court in his native France.

A trial date has not been set.

Strauss-Kahn, 64, stepped down as head of the IMF in 2011 after he was accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid. Although those charges were later dropped, they derailed the politician's plans to run for the French presidency.

It seems like the Midwest is a hotbed for medical mysteries these days.

Earlier this week, scientists traced a brand-new virus to ticks in Missouri. Now disease detectives are hot on the trail of another puzzling pathogen in the heartland.

Sam Simon, who helped create The Simpsons and continues to earn "tens of millions" of dollars each year from royalties generated by the show, is dying from colon cancer.

Doctors say he has less than six months to live.

Here's the part of his story we especially want to pass along: When he's gone, the 58-year-old writer and producer says, his Simpsons royalties will go to charity. The donations will come on top of the millions he's given away since striking it rich as a younger man.

U.S. sanctions mean that any citizen or business wanting to buy stuff from North Korea has to send a letter to the U.S. government asking for special permission. A few months back, we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for those letters.

Our request was granted: We recently received a packet of 18 letters from Americans who wanted to do business with the most isolated nation on the planet. We've posted all of the letters online.

Nobody throws away a mason jar on Prince of Wales Island. On this rugged mass of mountain, forest, river and sea in southeast Alaska, most of the several thousand year-round residents subsist at least partially off the generous fat of the land. And much of the bounty is pressure cooked, preserved and stored away for the future.

"If it stops crawling long enough, we'll put it in a jar," says Jon Rowan, a schoolteacher in the town of Klawock, on the island's west side.



The well-being of kids in America may be tied to their race and the immigrant status of their parents. Donald Hernandez talks about the Foundation for Child Development's new report with guest host Celeste Headlee.

Jobs are the focus of this year's National Urban League Conference in Philadelphia. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with President and CEO Marc Morial, about how the League has progressed on that front, and asks about the biggest issues facing African-Americans today.

Guest host Celeste Headlee gets a wrap of the week's political news with journalist Callie Crossley and conservative commentator Lenny McAllister. They talk about President Obama's push to get the economy back on track, and the battle over the President's health care law.

The North Korea Files

Jul 26, 2013

Read letters sent by U.S. citizens and businesses, asking for special permission to do business with North Korea.

North Korea's most famous museum exhibit, the captured American spy ship USS Pueblo, has been painted and polished for display as part of Saturday's "Victory Day" ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.

Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog, and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.


"The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States," Attorney General Eric Holder has told his Russian counterpart in a letter about the "NSA leaker" who remains in legal limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

Egyptian prosecutors have opened an investigation into ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who they suspect of conspiracy and murder, raising tensions as both Islamists and supporters of newly installed military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi turn out for street protests.

The surprise announcement of the investigation against Morsi, who was removed in a July 3 coup, stem from a 2011 prison break in which Morsi escaped and at least 14 guards were killed. Hamas gunmen are said to have led the attack at Wadi el-Natroun prison, an allegation the militant group has denied.

(We updated the top of this post at 12:40 p.m. ET.)

The man who held three young women against their will in his Cleveland home for about a decade, who fathered a child by one of them and forced another to have abortions, and who is the face of a horrific crime that shocked the nation, pleaded guilty Friday to hundreds of charges.

"We are small people. What can we really do about this?" asks Surendra Prasad, perched on the steps outside the Patna Medical College and Hospital in the state capital of Bihar in eastern India.

Feel free to complete the joke in the comments thread (and we bet you can do better than this guy).

The French are famous for their insults, but traditionally they haven't taken it well when the target is the president of the republic.

A vote in parliament on Thursday has changed that. For the first time in 130 years, it's now legal to say how you really feel about the French leader.

So, if you think that French President Francois Hollande is "a ridiculous little fat man who dyes his hair," as Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly said (in private) of his successor, you're free to say so — in public.

"The chamber of the Lincoln Memorial is shut down Friday morning because of vandalism. U.S. Park Police tell WTOP the Lincoln statue and the floor inside the memorial was splattered with green paint," the radio station reported. "They think the vandalism occurred at about 1:30 a.m."

David Niven's been dead for 30 years, so he can't be behind this:

"A Bosnian from the 'Pink Panther' gang of international jewel thieves escaped from a Swiss prison in a dramatic break-out involving a fellow inmate and two armed accomplices, police said Friday." (Agence France-Presse, via GlobalPost)

Book News: Amazon Posts Loss As It Focuses On Long Game

Jul 26, 2013

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