National News

From left, Bruce Jenner, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian attend FOX's "The X Factor" Season 2 Top 10 Live Performance Show on Nov. 21, 2012 in Hollywood, California.

Jenner: 'For All Intents And Purposes, I Am A Woman'

Bruce Jenner, a former world-renowned track and field athlete better known in recent years from the reality TV shows of his step-daughters, the Kardashian sisters, described a lifelong struggle with gender identity in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer on Friday night.

"For all intents and purposes, I am a woman," Jenner said. "I was not genetically born that way ... as of now I have all the male parts. As of now we're different, but we still identify as female."

Apprehensions Along Southern Border Drop Dramatically In 2015

The Department of Homeland Security says there has been a sharp drop in the apprehension of illegal crossers at the U.S. southern border.

NPR's John Burnett reports that the first six months of fiscal year 2015 saw a 28 percent drop compared to the same period of 2014. John filed this report for our Newscast unit:

The magazine <em>Audio Kultur</em> printed this poster, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians, using blood.

A Most Indelible Ink: A Magazine Printed Using Blood

"Written in blood" is usually hyperbole. Not so in the case of the latest issue of a Lebanese music and culture magazine.

Audio Kultur used real blood to publish the magazine commemorating the 100th anniversary of the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians.

Beginning in August, a newly formulated aspartame-free Diet Pepsi will hit the shelves, the company says.

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

If you like the idea of zero or low-calorie sodas, but you're turned off by the artificial sweetener aspartame, you're not alone.

Sales of diet soda have fallen off significantly in the U.S. And when PepsiCo started asking consumers what they didn't like, aspartame was at the top of the list.

"It's literally the number one complaint we've heard from diet-cola consumers as to why they're drinking less and less diet cola, " Seth Kaufman, a senior vice president for PepsiCo, tells The Salt.

#NPRreads: Rube Goldberg Machine's Dark Origins And Spalding Gray's Last Days

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we bring you four reads:

From Ina Jaffe, a correspondent on NPR's National Desk:

Forgotten Bacon, Steaks and Turkey: We bring you photos of livestock breeds on the Livestock Conservancy's Conservation Priority List. First, Ankole-Watusi cattle, which have a population that is recovering in the U.S.

These Animals Might Go Extinct Because No One Wants To Eat Them

The Steller's sea cow, the passenger pigeon and the New Zealand moa all went extinct because people developed a taste for their meat.

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts speaks about the investigation into Freddie Gray's death at a news conference on Friday in Baltimore.

Baltimore Police: Freddie Gray Should've Gotten Medical Help At Scene Of Arrest

Police officials in Baltimore admitted that their officers should have provided medical attention immediately following the arrest of Freddie Gray.

Instead, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said during a press conference, police officers put handcuffed Gray and put him in the back of a police van without ever buckling him in.

The van went on to make three different stops across town. At the first, Gray was shackeled, but at no point said Commissioner Anthony Batts was Gray ever buckled into the van.

Callery pear trees in Pittsburgh. The smell of the invasive trees has been compared to rotting fish and other stinky things.

What's That Smell? The Beautiful Tree That's Causing Quite A Stink

It's springtime in Pittsburgh, and throughout the city, Callery pear trees are sprouting beautiful, white blossoms.

But that's just the problem. Simply put, these trees stink.

"This whole place smells like dead fish," says Sheila Titus. "I mean everywhere. Everywhere you see one of these trees with the white on them."

Titus has lived in her home in the now-hip neighborhood of Lawrenceville for 49 years. Two decades ago, her grandson and his 7th grade class planted a row of Callery pears across the street from her house.

One of the first homes going up on land bought and sold as part of a Canadian-Palestinian investment firm's effort to properly register plots. Much land in the West Bank is not registered and has no title deed, creating problems for economic development.

Clearing The Tangled Path For Land Ownership In The West Bank

High on a West Bank hilltop, the extended Dissi family gathered on a recent weekend for a day out in the Palestinian countryside.

Aunts, uncles and cousins came to see the half-built weekend home of Taysier Dissi, an electrician and father of three. The concrete-block shell, with windows set and stairs roughed in, is placed just right for the view.

This will be the family's getaway from their home in the cramped confines of Jerusalem's often tense Old City. Dissi paid about $30,000 for one-third of an acre here, bought from a Palestinian-Canadian company, UCI.

LGBT Activists Push States To Expand Anti-Discrimination Laws

Same-sex marriage is legal in most states but so is discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation.

Gay-rights activists say this creates a contradiction because in many states someone can legally marry a person of the same gender and then get fired for being gay. They are lobbying state legislatures to add LGBT people to anti-discrimination laws that already include things like race, age, religion and disability.

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