NPR Staff

Baseball's opening day is upon us. Sunday is the first official day of Major League Baseball's 2016 season. Starting things off will be two afternoon games as the Cardinals face the Pirates and the Blue Jays take on the Rays. The day will be capped off by a night match between the 2015 World Series contenders the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets.

When a man claiming to have on a suicide vest demanded to be flown to Cyprus this week, it wasn't terrorism as we know it. Instead, it was reminiscent of the skyjackings once commonplace in the U.S.

In his book The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking, Brendan Koerner writes that from 1961 to 1972, nearly 160 planes were hijacked in the U.S. Those early hijackings all had one thing in common: Cuba.

This story is part of NPR's podcast Embedded, which digs deep into the stories behind the news.

In the spring of 2015, something was unfolding in Austin, Ind.

The much-hyped consumer virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, is finally hitting the market. The reviews have been mixed. As The Wall Street Journal put it, "the first totally immersive home virtual reality rig is a pricey, awkward, isolating—and occasionally brilliant—glimpse of the future of computing."

Opioids are becoming the latest serious addiction problem in this country. Among these drugs manufactured from opium, heroin is the most serious, dangerous, cheap and available everywhere.

In April's edition of Harper's Magazine, Dan Baum has examined a new response to this latest addiction problem: the legalization of drugs.

Over the past few years, pop songs have come to play so consistently in advertising that there are smartphone apps designed to listen and help you name that tune, and the word "sellout" has lost a lot of its bite.

As President Obama touched down in Cuba over the weekend, Cuban artists were making waves at the SXSW music festival in Austin.

If you'd like to major in jazz — or classical music, or voice performance — you have plenty of options. Music programs at schools from the Berklee College of Music in Boston to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, to the Julliard School in New York, all offer bachelor's degrees in these styles.

But if you want a degree in gospel music, well, your choices have been far more limited. You could study gospel music history, or you could get a classical voice performance degree — but nothing quite like what you'd be looking for.

There are 11.3 million people in the U.S. who have immigrated illegally. And as you have probably heard, the presidential candidates have different opinions about how to handle them. Most notably, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump wants to deport them.

Albert Woodfox has spent more time in solitary confinement than any man alive in the U.S. today — 43 years. He and Robert King are the surviving members of a group known as the "Angola Three."

Together with the late Herman Wallace, they spent more than 100 years in solitary confinement for the 1972 death of a prison guard, Brent Miller, at the maximum security Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola. No forensic evidence tied the Angola Three to Miller's killing, and they always maintained their innocence.

Communities all over Europe are struggling to manage the refugee crisis. In France, chaos broke out earlier this month when the government began demolishing the squalid refugee camp in Calais known as "the Jungle." Estimates of the number of people in the camp ranged from 2,500 to 6,000.

For three generations, Tanya James' family has worked the coal mines of West Virginia. James is no different. She began working in the mines in 1979, when only about 1 in 100 coal miners were women — and she didn't begin under the happiest of circumstances.

Her father died when she was 17, leaving her mother to take care of the family. Out of necessity, Tanya's mother took a mining class, and Tanya would go down with her every day — so the instructor invited Tanya to join the class.

Six months later, Tanya was working in the mines as well.

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing, for the first time, privacy regulations for Internet service providers. The goal is to let consumers weigh in on what information about them gets collected and how it's used.

As they connect us to the Internet, ISPs have insight into our lives — websites we frequent, apps we download or locations we visit — and may use that data for their own promotions or sell it to data brokers to be used for marketing or other purposes.

Donald Trump's planned rally in Chicago on Friday was canceled, but not before ugly scenes played out between Trump supporters and people who had come to protest the event.

Jedidiah Brown was there. He was the young man who was shown on television yelling as he was pulled from the event stage. He's part of an organization called Young Leaders Alliance.

While combing through various Civil War files at the National Archives, a volunteer recently discovered a letter written by poet and essayist Walt Whitman on behalf of a Union soldier dying in a hospital far from home.

The National Archives is the repository of the nation's most important documents, including some they didn't even know they had, like said letter.

Washington, Jan. 21, 1865(6)

My Dear Wife,

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Women sportscasters are heartened by the jury verdict this week that awarded their colleague Erin Andrews $55 million.

Andrews was secretly videotaped while naked by a stalker through the peephole in her hotel room door. Both the stalker and the hotel owner were found liable.

Last week, Izaic Yorks, a senior at the University of Washington, ran a mile in 3:53 — the fastest college mile ever by an American. The effort qualifies him for the Olympic trials this summer.

So why isn't Yorks running in the mile at this weekend's NCAA championships in Birmingham, Ala.?

Turns out, he had to make a decision: run that mile alone, or run with his team in the distance medley relay or DMR.

We here at The Salt like to bring you serious journalistic tails from the world of food. But hey, we like to unleash our silly side, too — and like the rest of the world, we've got a soft spot for man's (and woman's) best friend.

So of course, we're howling with delight at the latest food images charming the Internet: Meme-meister Karen Zack's clever Twitter photos highlighting the eerie resemblance between mutts and meals. In some cases, it takes dogged determination to separate the canines from the cuisine.

Before Black Lives Matter was a hashtag, before it was a slogan chanted by protesters in cities across the country, before it was a national movement, it was a Facebook post by an Oakland-based activist named Alicia Garza. She wrote it after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The Apple-FBI standoff, where Apple is refusing to write special software that would help investigators crack into an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, is largely viewed as a battle between privacy and security.

If you've been following the presidential campaign, you have probably heard some talk about the power of the evangelical vote.

Pastor Max Lucado is a prominent evangelical pastor and a prolific best-selling writer who almost never writes about politics. And that's one reason millions found a recent essay of his so interesting.

Lucado took to his website to describe all the reasons he says Republican front-runner Donald Trump's tone and decorum fail the decency test, in a blog post titled "Decency for President."

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