National News

Frito-Lay reformulated Flamin' Hot Cheetos, a perennial favorite among school kids, to meet new federal "Smart Snack" rules for schools.

Guess What Makes The Cut As A 'Smart Snack' In Schools? Hot Cheetos

Flamin' Hot Cheetos might conjure a lot of descriptors: spicy, crunchy, unnaturally fiery red. But it's a good bet that "healthy" didn't exactly spring to mind.

Yet it turns out that those fiery Cheetos beloved by school children (some kids even made an epic rap paean to Hot Cheetos a few years ago) actually qualify as a "Smart Snack" under revised federal nutrition guidelines for schools.

#NPRreads: Leaving Guantanamo, And Why Black People Don't Call Police

#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 share with you four reads.

First, one from Camila Domonoske, a producer for NPR.org:

Russell Moore preaching during the first plenary address, "Black, And White And Red All Over: Why Racial Reconciliation Is A Gospel Issue."

Southern Baptists Don't Shy Away From Talking About Their Racist Past

Southern Baptist leaders were supposed to be talking about bioethics this week at a summit in Nashville, Tenn. That changed in December after a New York grand jury declined to return an indictment in the police choking death of Eric Garner.

When Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, sent out tweets expressing his shock, there was pushback. Should the church get involved in a divisive political issue?

Jury Rules Against Ellen Pao, Clearing Kleiner Perkins Of Discrimination

A California jury has ruled against Ellen Pao by finding that Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers did not discriminate against her because of her gender nor did the venture capital firm deny her a promotion because of her gender.

Pao's lawsuit was the highest-profile gender discrimination case to come out of Silicon Valley.

USA Today reports:

A worker kicks up dust as he drives a tractor at a farm on Aug. 22, 2014 near drought-stricken Firebaugh, Calif.

Calif. Governor Can't Make It Rain, But Can Make Relief Money Pour

Can you spend your way out of an historic drought? Not really, but the consensus in Sacramento these days seems to be that money certainly helps.

Just days after it was introduced, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed his sweeping $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill today.

Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview on Jan. 31, 2014.

Italy's Highest Court Overturns Amanda Knox Conviction

Italy's highest court has overturned a murder conviction in the case of Amanda Knox.

The court's decision puts an end to a story that began in 2009 when Knox was found guilty of murdering 21-year-old Meredith Kirchner two years earlier. The verdict was overturned in 2011. But a year later, the Court of Cassation overturned the acquittal and sent the case back to an appeals court in Florence. Last year, that court reinstated the original guilty verdict against Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

The hood ornament of a 1955 Chevy Belair. Under new more liberal policies instituted in Cuba the past few years, the owner, Julio Alvarez, started a restoration shop and named the car Nadine. Its baby-pink counterpart is named Lola.

Nostalgic Cars: Sour Automotive Fruit Of Cuban Embargo Gets New Life

In Havana, Cuba, the old cars that crowd the streets used to symbolize a stagnant nation. Now enterprising Cubans have begun renting cars out to tourists who are hungry for the cars of their youth.

During my reporting trip to Havana, I spoke with Julio Alvarez, the owner of Nostalgicar in Havana.

He joked that one thing Cubans should thank Fidel Castro for is all the old, majestic American cars that are now making him money.

You can listen to the story using the player above.

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha attending the East Asia summit plenary session at Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, in November.

Thai Ruler Says He's Prepared To End Martial Law

Thai leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army general who seized power in a coup last year, says that after 10 months of martial law, he's prepared to end it in favor of an equally draconian constitutional provision.

Prayuth says he's "thought it through" and will replace martial law by invoking a part of the the interim constitution that grants his government the same broad powers to suppress free speech and try civilians in military courts.

"[I] am prepared to use [the clause] to replace martial law. When it will be enforced depends on the situation," he says.

Yemenis walk past near oil tankers that were burnt during clashes between Shiite Houthi rebels and their opponents in the capital, Sanaa, in September. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes this week to counter the Houthis' offensive.

Yemen's Turmoil Sparks Big Swings In The Global Oil Market

The current upheaval in Yemen is a sharp reminder of the fragility of the global oil market. Airstrikes by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen has stoked fears of a disruption to the supply market.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, share a long border. While Yemen is only a small producer of crude oil, it controls the Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.

Carlos Varela, a Cuban protest singer, poses for a picture at the bar of the historic Hotel Nacional in Havana.

LISTEN: A Cuban Protest Singer On The State Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Over the past couple of weeks — on All Things Considered, over at Parallels, on Tumblr and on this blog — we've been reporting on Cuba.

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