President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS."
Astronomers said Wednesday that a reaction wheel that keeps the orbiting telescope pointed at tiny, distant patches of sky to look for Earth-like planets has failed. If they can't fix it, Kepler will be relegated to a less prestigious mission, directing its gaze much closer to home in a search for so-called "near-Earth objects," i.e., meteors and asteroids.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.
The Obama administration is doing some intensive damage control this evening. Tonight, the president announced that the acting commissioner of the IRS, Steven Miller, is being pushed out over heightened scrutiny given to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.
School suspensions are a big issue in California. Last year, schools handed out 700,000 of them. But the Los Angeles Unified School District took a step to change that this week when it voted to ban suspension of students deemed "willfully defiant."
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted some conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny have put a spotlight on a part of the tax code increasingly popular with political groups: section 501(c)(4).
But what's the benefit for organizations to get approved for 501(c)(4) status?
Two years ago on Memorial Day, Nashville songwriter Connie Harrington was driving in her car, listening to a story on the public radio program Here & Now. And she heard a father remembering his son — a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.
The Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of an investigation into what Attorney General Eric Holder has called "a very grave leak" to the news agency has set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, but there's a lot to the AP story published a year ago that started it all.
When Duan Biggs was growing up in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, he used to watch elephants and rhinos walking past his bedroom window. He left home to pursue degrees in biology and economics, and when he returned in 2011 the park looked and sounded "like a pseudo war zone," he says.
"There'd be helicopters flying overhead all the time," he says. "I remember one afternoon coming back to my home from a game drive and the bush was crawling with people with assault rifles, from the army, from the police, and from National Parks. They were looking for poachers."
A new rifle goes on sale on Wednesday, and it's not like any other. It uses lasers and computers to make shooters very accurate. A startup gun company in Texas developed the rifle, which is so effective that some in the shooting community say it should not be sold to the public.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The President of the U.N. General Assembly said today that at least 80,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-year civil war, and that most of those casualties were civilians. The assembly also approved a resolution today calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. But that vote was largely symbolic; the resolution is unenforceable.
The competition for your ears — and dollars — just got a little tougher. On Wednesday, Google launched a paid music subscription service that will put it in direct competition with other streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. The announcement may just be the beginning for Google.
Hundreds of condolences are appearing online for Richard Swanson, the Seattle man whose plan to dribble a soccer ball all the way to Brazil to raise money for charity ended Tuesday after he was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Oregon. Many see his story as an inspiration, and say they'll continue his charity work.
"It is with a heavy heart to notify you that Richard Swanson passed on this morning," reads an update announcing Swanson's death on the Facebook page for his project, Breakaway Brazil, yesterday.
When 23-year-old Solomon "Sully" Omar felt the music scene in his native Denver wasn't giving him what he was looking for, he made a radical move. He headed for Kabul, capital of the war-torn country his parents had fled decades ago.
"I came here to continue my education and at the same time see what's in the music scene here and bring some of the skills and abilities that I have to the music scene," says Omar.
A scholarly publisher has issued a warning to Jeffrey Beall, a librarian who writes about what he calls "predatory" practices in the scholarly publishing industry, threatening him with a $1 billion lawsuit for his blog posts criticizing the company.
Beall is an academic librarian at the University of Colorado; he writes about the journal industry on his personal blog, Scholarly Open Access.
Wal-Mart says it has drafted its own plan for improving safety at garment factories in Bangladesh rather than join other Western retailers in a legally binding agreement to pay for improved conditions for workers in the South Asian country.
The Arab world was aflame in March 2011. Longtime rulers in Tunisia and Egypt had been toppled. NATO was poised to attack Libyan government forces. The Syrian uprising was just beginning. And on the small island nation of Bahrain, the government was cracking down on pro-democracy protesters.
Across Bahrain, protest leaders were rounded up and some were quickly tried, convicted and sentenced to prison. The writing was on the wall for the leaders of the movement, including Ali Abdulemam.