It's an old story: The straightest and surest path to becoming a big-time comedy star is by becoming a cast member or writer on Saturday Night Live. That was proved true again this week when Seth Meyers, SNL's head writer, was tapped to be the new host of NBC's Late Night, the show currently hosted by Jimmy Fallon (SNL cast member, 1998-2004), who took over that gig from Conan O'Brien (SNL writer, 1988-1991).
Billionaire investment legend Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has had its credit rating lowered from AA+ to AA by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.
In a statement, S&P says that even though Berkshire Hathaway has an "excellent business profile," the lower credit rating "better reflects our view of BRK's dependence on its core insurance operations for most of its dividend income." (S&P's statement is posted on its website, but you have to register to view it.)
-- There were 360,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up 32,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 360,000, the pace was the fastest since the last week of March. But it remained well below the 400,000-and-higher rate that lasted from mid-2008 into 2011.
"The head of Saudi Arabia's religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis," the BBC reports. "Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites — and especially Twitter — 'has lost this world and his afterlife.' "
Early casualty reports indicate that a powerful suicide car bombing Thursday in Kabul killed at least seven Afghan civilians, four foreign civilian contractors who were working for international forces and two members of the international military force.
Dozens more people were reportedly injured by the blast in Afghanistan's capital city.
Some novelists interest us because they turn the light of a style we enjoy on whatever subject they take up. Some novelists we enjoy because they have found a great subject and work it well and lovingly. John le Carre seems to belong to the latter group, having found his vein of fiction gold in the world of Cold War espionage.
Religious authorities responded after Saudis used Twitter to show images of human rights activists on trial. The BBC reports the kingdom's most senior cleric called Twitter users "fools." The head of the religious police says any social media user will lose the afterlife.
How often do you find Iran, Russia and the United States united behind a single message? Well, representatives from all three countries were in New York City yesterday rallying support for the sport of wrestling, which could be excluded from the upcoming Olympic Games. It was quite a show of sportsmanship and diplomacy. Of course, there was time for some conflict among the wrestlers. It took place at New York's Grand Central Terminal, that's why they called it the Rumble on the Rails.
Japan's economy is finally getting a lift. The stock market is soaring there. Companies like Toyota and Sony are seeing a surge in profits. And today, Japan's government reported the economy grew a three-and-a-half percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, a significant improvement.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets President Obama at the White House on Thursday. Their talks will focus on the Syrian conflict. Erdogan has been pushing the U.S. to do more to resolve a conflict.
Syrian government troops are besieging the western town of Qusayr, a stronghold of rebel forces. For civilians and rebel fighters injured in the fierce clashes and intense aerial bombing campaigns in and around that Syrian border town, the nearest hospital is in another country: Lebanon.
Scientists have discovered water that has been trapped in rock for more than a billion years. The water might contain microbes that evolved independently from the surface world, and it's a finding that gives new hope to the search for life on other planets.
The water samples came from holes drilled by gold miners near the small town of Timmins, Ontario, about 350 miles north of Toronto. Deep in the Canadian bedrock, miners drill holes and collect samples. Sometimes they hit pay dirt; sometimes they hit water, which seeps out from tiny crevices in the rock.
On a sunny spring day in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province, Afghan officials and U.S. troops and civilians gather inside the ancient mud fort in the center of Forward Operating Base Gardez. They're attending a ceremony marking the formal end of the work of the provincial reconstruction team, or PRT.
President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS."
Whether its members see it as blessing or a curse, Vampire Weekend's early success placed the band squarely under a microscope. Since even before the release of its first album, Vampire Weekend's clever lyrics and use of worldly rhythms have commanded attention; fortunately, the group's fame hasn't waned as its music has become more dynamic and confident.
As part of NPR's series The Changing Lives Of Women, our fearless female journalists are answering tough questions about their careers and offering insight into what it means to "have it all." Nina Totenberg, Audie Cornish and others responded in online essays and some took their best mantras to social media as well.