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Matamoros, which sits across the bridge from Brownsville, Texas, used to be a laid-back border town famed for margaritas and manufacturing.

But for at least the past five years, it's grown more and more violent: first, when the Zetas broke away from the Gulf Cartel, and more recently as a new feud has broken out between two factions within the Gulf.

Eleven of 12 former public school employees in Atlanta were found guilty of racketeering in what is thought to be the biggest cheating scandal in American education, NPR member station WABE reports.

One defendant, teacher Dessa Curb, was acquitted of all charges, according to WSB-TV's Richard Elliot.

The U.S. wants to slap sanctions on cybercriminals. President Obama issued an executive order Wednesday creating the nation's first sanctions program to combat "malicious" cyberattacks and cyberspying.

President Obama said cyberthreats pose one of "the most serious economic and national security challenge" to the U.S., and that the executive order offers a "targeted tool" for countering that threat.

"It's my brother's car." That's what Leona Chin told four instructors about her high-powered sports car. She then stalled the stick-shift car in first gear and randomly turned the wipers on — before unleashing the skills she has honed as a professional driver. Havoc, and some panic, ensued.

Looking back on the clunky desktops of home offices, smartphones have expanded the definition of what it means to "go online." With all of the apps and mobile capabilities available to us now, it's no surprise that smartphone ownership has grown.

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has approved a request from the country's junta to lift martial law.

The announcement, which was made on television Wednesday, goes into effect immediately. But, as reporter Michael Sullivan is telling our Newscast unit, while the lifting of martial law is good news, critics say what it's being replaced with is worse.

We've been following the story of the criticism directed at South African comedian Trevor Noah, who was named this week to succeed Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

If you thought more experience with the heath insurance marketplaces would cut down on confusion about them, you'd be wrong. The questions about how they work keep pouring in. Here are answers to some of the latest queries.

I purchased health insurance in Ohio through the marketplace in April. I then moved to Missouri and applied for marketplace coverage there that began in October. I had assumed that the Ohio marketplace would cancel my coverage there, but that didn't happen. What should I do?

The culture wars are always percolating beneath the surface in presidential politics — until something or someone pushes them to the surface.

Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he has asked the state's lawmakers for changes to the "religious freedom" bill passed Tuesday.

Critics of the measure say it allows businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians. Supporters say it advances religious freedom.

After being found found unconscious in her home Tuesday afternoon, folk music icon Joni Mitchell has been hospitalized in Los Angeles. "She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits," according to her website.

Mitchell "regained consciousness on the ambulance ride," her website says.

She was born in 1898. And now comes word that Japan's Misao Okawa has died at age 117. She had been the world's oldest person since 2013, according to Guinness World Records.

(This post was last updated at 3:12 p.m. ET.)

A day after the self-imposed deadline passed for reaching a framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program, negotiators are still working.

By evening in Switzerland, the State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry would remain in Lausanne until at least Thursday morning.

"We continue to make progress but have not reached a political understanding," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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Top executives of Lufthansa and Germanwings airlines visited the site of last week's plane crash that killed 150 people. Speaking with reporters, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr did not respond to questions about the co-pilot's medical history.

Spohr said that while his airline is learning more about the crash, "it will take a long time for all of us to understand" how the tragedy occurred.

From Berlin, Esme Nicholson filed this report for our Newscast desk:

The latest figures on the California drought are expected to be released on Wednesday. The state's snowpack, a major source of water for the rest of the year, is at the lowest level on record.

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This is the first in a two-part story about Wal-Mart. Listen to Part 1 above, and tune into Morning Edition Thursday to hear Part 2.

The corner of First and H streets in downtown Washington, D.C., is a reflection of the changing face of the nation's capital. From here, you can see the Capitol dome, while across the street are a concrete public housing complex and a hip new Peruvian chicken restaurant.

You can also see a new Wal-Mart.

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Copyright 2015 WSHU Public Radio Group. To see more, visit http://www.wshu.org/.

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No school wants to be on this list.

It was just released by the Department of Education. On it are the names of 556 colleges and universities that failed the department's "financial responsibility test."

Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell says that each school's finances are now being placed under a microscope because the government "had serious concerns about the financial integrity of the institution or its administrative capacity."

This story is part of an occasional series about individuals who don't have much money or power but do have a big impact on their communities.

Almost 70,000 refugees — victims of war, hardship and persecution — are allowed into the U.S. each year. But settling into their new homes can be a challenge, from learning English to figuring out how to turn on the dishwasher.

The Food and Drug Administration is weighing whether to allow a tobacco company to do something it's never done before — claim that one of its products is less risky than cigarettes.

The company, Swedish Match of Stockholm, has applied to the FDA to designate its General brand of snus (rhymes with "loose") as safer than other versions of tobacco.

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