For the past decade, al-Qaida has been a top-down organization.
Letters seized at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan showed that he was a hands-on manager, approving everything from operations to leadership changes in affiliate groups.
But there's early intelligence that al-Qaida may have had a small role in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11.
If al-Qaida involvement is confirmed, it may signal that al-Qaida has changed.
Brenda Clubine is a platinum blonde with focused blue eyes and a no-nonsense demeanor.
She spent 26 years in prison for killing her husband. After enduring beatings and emergency room visits, she says, it finally ended in a locked motel room where he told her to give him her wedding rings.
"I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Because tomorrow they won't be able to identify your body without them,' " Clubine says.
The pressing energy issue in the 2008 presidential campaign was how to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming. Four years later, the drive for "green energy" has been replaced by a new imperative: the need to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by 2020," Mitt Romney declared during a campaign speech in August. "That means we produce all the energy we use in North America."
He reiterated that goal in the opening minutes of the presidential candidates' debate in Denver this week.
If you want to vote in the November elections and you aren't registered yet — you'd better hurry. The registration deadline in five states is this weekend. By the following weekend, the deadline will have passed in more than half the states.
The Major League playoffs begin tomorrow, spinning off a dizzying last day of the regular season, and there's a ton of drama to talk about with Joe Lemire, baseball writer for Sports Illustrated. Welcome, Joe.
JOE LEMIRE: Thanks for having me.
BLOCK: That dizzying last day featured a remarkable finish by the Oakland A's. They won the American League West, but they were all but dead three months ago. They were 13 games behind the Texas Rangers. What happened?
And finally this hour, it's time for a literary take on one of our top stories today. Reporters step aside. Spin doctors drop those talking points. We've asked two writers to reflect on last night's debate in poetry. One from the right and one from the left. This is still politics, after all. First up, conservative commentator Mark Steyn, author of the book, "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon." He was inspired by the fact that last night's debate coincided with the president's 20th wedding anniversary.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Today, a long legal battle came to an end. On one side, Google; on the other, book publishers. The two have reached an agreement to resolve a lawsuit that's dragged on for seven years. But this does not end Google's legal trouble, as it tries to digitize the world's books. An even more important lawsuit remains unresolved - with thousands of authors of those books that Google has scanned. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.
The story of the birth of accounting begins with numbers. In the 1400s, much of Europe was still using Roman numerals, and finding it really hard to easily add or subtract. (Try adding MCVI to XCIV.)
But fortunately, Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) started catching on, and with those numbers, merchants in Venice developed a revolutionary system we now call "double-entry" bookkeeping. This is how it works:
How much extra would you pay for local food? It's a familiar question. We face it practically every time we shop for groceries, either at the store or at the farmers market. But what about food that can save the lives of severely malnourished children?
If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it's that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens — smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like — are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology.
But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.
Guitarist Ernest Ranglin is an elder statesman of Jamaican music. A self-styled composer and improviser, he has traveled and collaborated widely during his 80 years. In California last year, he teamed up with three much younger musicians from South Africa, the U.S. and Israel. The four musicians bonded and quickly recorded an album, named for the San Francisco street where they rehearsed: Avila.
Love songs are like the meat and potatoes of most rock and pop music, but sometimes you need something different. For the band Delta Rae from Durham, N.C., inspiration for new material comes from stuff like graveyards and being stuck in the wrong job.
Delta Rae is a six-piece band that includes three siblings: Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes. Their music is like a kind of modern folklore.
Parliamentary elections in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, delivered a resounding defeat for the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday. Preliminary election results showed the opposition winning 57 percent of the vote.
A day later, the president conceded defeat. In a televised address, Saakashvili said he respected the decision of the voters, and that he would clear the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government, a move that would install opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.
Certain truths about life in a neighborhood are readily apparent to people who live there, but less obvious to city and state officials. The Justice Mapping Center uses data to help bridge that gap with information about the prison system. By mapping the residential addresses of every inmate in various prison systems, Eric Cadora and his colleagues have made vividly clear a concept they call "Million-Dollar Blocks." In some places more than a million dollars are being spent every year to incarcerate the residents of a single Census block. Audie Cornish talks with Eric Cadora.