Last year, a snapshot of a frowning feline went viral, emblazoned with captions like, "Of all the 9 lives I've lived, this is the worst." Within months, "Grumpy Cat" - that's her nom de plume -had a book deal. Now, the feline face that launched a thousand memes has a movie in the works.
So how does a cat make it into the pictures? Turns out she has a great agent - the same one who represents another online star, "Keyboard Cat."
It's not every week you get to hear me go full-on fan-crazy. (Okay, it's some weeks, but usually not about the people who are in the studio.) But this week, I am extra-excited because Stephen Thompson and I are joined for our pop-culture roundtable podcast by Gene Demby and Kat Chow, both from NPR's race, ethnicity and culture team that writes the Code Switch blog.
"Authorities, including the FBI, questioned a New Boston, Texas, man Thursday night in connection with an investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to government officials, including President Barack Obama," KSLA-TV in Shreveport, La., reports.
NPR's Kelly McEvers has also been reporting on the fight, and the involvement of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. She sends this report.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: So, we're just on the other side of the border from where Steve just was. We're in Lebanon. We're standing on top of an unfinished house. It's basically bare concrete with rebar sticking up. And I can see into Qusayr. Just beyond a berm that forms the border between Lebanon and Syria is the city of Qusayr.
With the Olympics set to begin in Russia this coming winter, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the preparations, quote, "a monstrous scam." That language comes from a report just released that alleges massive theft and corruption. It estimates that contractors and government officials may have already stolen as much $30 billion dollars as they build Olympic venues in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
NPR's Corey Flintoff joined us on the line with us from Moscow. Good morning.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
While there are many signs that the American economy is picking up steam, in much of the European Union, the opposite is true. Austerity programs aimed at reducing national debts have been blamed for crushing growth and sending unemployment in the eurozone nations to a record high of 12 percent.
A Syrian soldier walks through the hotly contested city of Qusair on May 22. The Syrian army, backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, has been waging a fierce fight with rebels in the key western city for the past two weeks.
Credit Mahmoud Zayyat / AFP/Getty Images
Relatives of a Lebanese Hezbollah fighter grieve at his funeral in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon on May 22. Hezbollah fighters have been supporting the Syrian army in its battle against rebels just across the border in Qusair, Syria.
Syria's government appears to be making gains this week in a battle against rebel forces in the key city of Qusair, along the border with Lebanon. NPR's Steve Inskeep traveled to the edge of the city, and we hear from him first, followed by Kelly McEvers, who reports from just across the frontier in Lebanon.
A Syrian provincial governor told us this week that the government army has largely retaken Qusair, though a battle continues for the airport. We asked to see for ourselves.
Houston, Texas provides a dramatic example that it's possible to make great strides in reducing air pollution. Our story yesterday talked about how that came about, but Houston still does not quite meet the federal smog standard. So, the question for the nation's fourth largest city is what's next. NPR's Richard Harris explores that question as part of our series Poisoned Places.
When Congress voted on federal relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey earlier this year, five of the seven Oklahoma representatives and senators voted no. Rep. Tom Cole, one of the two who voted yes, warned that someday Oklahoma would be asking for help — and that day came last week after a massive tornado.
The storm ripped through the city of Moore, in Cole's home district, killing 24 people and destroying thousands of homes.
The state of Massachusetts is suing the Obama administration over fishing regulations. Ocean-going commercial fishermen say new limits on the amount of codfish they can catch will put them out of business.
Curt Nickisch reports from member station WBUR in Boston.
CURT NICKISCH, BYLINE: Generations of fishermen have hauled cod, halibut and flounder into the port of Gloucester, where today Joe Orlando runs a 65-foot trawler, the Padre Pio.
JOE ORLANDO: I've been fishing with this boat almost 38 years.
If you're trying to grow a business in Nigeria and you want investors, you want Nigeria's economy to look as big as possible.
Bayo Puddicombe and Zubair Abubakar own a company called Pledge 51, which creates applications for Nigeria's low-tech cellphones. One of their most popular games lets players pretend to drive the notoriously wild buses crisscrossing the Nigerian city Lagos. It's called Danfo, after the buses.
Brazil is a paradise for birds; the country has more than 1,700 species. Among them is the colorful toucan, a bird with an almost comically giant bill that can be half as long as its body. There are lots of different types of toucan — red-breasted, channel-billed, keel-billed, saffron toucanet — each with its own color-scheme and distinctive call.