Eliot Ness, the famed Prohibition-era agent often credited with bringing down the empire of Chicago mobster Al Capone, is perhaps best known to many from fictional portrayals on the big and small screens.
Although Ness is a legendary figure, some politicians are debating whether the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington should bear his name.
Ness began his career as a Prohibition agent in 1926. Four years later, he was the special agent in charge of going after Capone's bootlegging operation.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:58 pm
With 20 days left for people to sign up for private health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the number of people who have completed that task rose to 4.2 million through the end of February, the Obama administration reports.
Three years ago today, a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed thousands of people. It also triggered the meltdown of reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cleanup is ongoing and has been problematic, with power failures and leaks of contaminated water. And the technical difficulties involved in closing the facility are compounded by serious labor issues.
This week, Pope Francis marks the first anniversary of his papacy. In his first 12 months, Francis has achieved the rank of a global pop star. His message of humility and proximity to the poor has won admiration from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He's attracting bigger crowds than his predecessor and, as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, he is now the focus of a new fan magazine.
Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
It's the brainchild of actor and comedian Zach Galifinakis. He plays an unprepared host who fumbles through awkward conversations with celebrities. But the guest of his latest episode, released today, was a little different.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel.
In Washington today, a remarkable dispute between the CIA and the lawmakers who oversee its operations. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein accused the agency of thwarting a Senate investigation into the torture of detainees by snooping on her staff's computers.
The next evolution of science is not happening in a lab, but in a basement in a rural Florida county. Thanks to online crowdsourcing, thousands of non-scientists can visit a site called Notes From Nature and lend a hand to university researchers cataloging their collections, from bark to bugs.
A plan in New York state to eliminate all wild mute swans there by 2025 has drawn protests and petitions on all sides. While some see elegant white birds gliding across the water, others see a dangerous aggressor destroying the local ecosystem.
A dramatically different version of events is emerging about the path of Malaysia Airline's Flight 370. Malaysian authorities now say the jetliner made a sharp change in course, heading from northeast to west, and they say the last sign of the plane came an hour later than previously stated. The Boeing 777 disappeared early Saturday morning local time en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Journalist and bestselling author Joe McGinness has died. The author of classic books about politics and true crime was 71 years old. He suffered from complications due to inoperable prostate cancer. As NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik recalls, McGinness courted controversy throughout his career.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:41 pm
In a story yesterday [Monday] about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, David Ison, assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, had this to say:
"In this day and age, having no ability to pinpoint these aircraft is really not acceptable. We have technology to make it happen. We really need to do something ... so we can prevent the loss of aircraft."
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 7:06 pm
Oh, no, not the escargot!
A vicious little worm with an appetite for snails has made its European debut. And that has some scientists worried about the future of France's famed mollusk appetizer.
The New Guinea flatworm (Platydemus manokwari) is the lone worm on the Global Invasive Species Database's list of 100 of the world's most dangerous invaders. And last November, it was discovered in a greenhouse in Caen, Normandy.
Weeks after its financial troubles forced it to file for bankruptcy protection in Japan, Mt. Gox has obtained similar protection in the U.S. The Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange suffered a collapse after a reported theft of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mt. Gox had been the most active bitcoin exchange before it announced the loss of hundreds of thousands of units of the cryptocurrency in an attack by hackers. The company said its own bitcoins were stolen along with those of customers.
Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:50 pm
An angry fat cat first allegedly scratched a baby and then allegedly penned an Oregon family in their bedroom.
No, seriously. The Oregonian reports that owner Lee Palmer says he kicked the 22-pound house cat to get it away from his 7-month-old son. Then, he says, the cat became so angry, the family had to call police. The 911 call is priceless. Take a listen:
Perhaps just as priceless, this graphic tweeted by KPTV-TV in Oregon: