National News

Cuban refugees float in heavy seas 60 miles south of Key West, Fla., in 1994. The Obama administration is ending a two-decades-old policy of allowing Cuban refugees to stay in the U.S. if they can make it to U.S. soil.

Obama Administration Ends Refugee Policy That Favored Cubans

The Obama administration is ending a two-decade-old policy that allowed Cuban refugees to enter the United States without visas.

Known as the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, it began in 1995 under then-President Bill Clinton in response to a wave of Cubans fleeing the island in boats. The U.S. turned away those who were intercepted at sea ("wet-foot"), while permitting Cubans who managed to get to U.S. soil ("dry-foot") to stay and eventually become legal residents.

The highly rated variety of medical marijuana known as  "Blue Dream" was displayed among other strains at a cannabis farmers market in Los Angeles in 2014.

Marijuana's Health Effects? Top Scientists Weigh In

So far, more than half of all U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and eight (plus the District of Columbia) have legalized the drug for recreational use. Varieties of cannabis available today are more potent than ever and come in many forms, including oils and leaves that can be vaped, and lots of edibles, from brownies and cookies to candies — even cannabis gummy bears.

HUD nominee Ben Carson testifies at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Carson, Trump's Pick For Housing Agency, Won't Rule Out Grants To Trump Properties

Ben Carson, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would not say that housing properties owned by Trump won't benefit from HUD programs at his confirmation hearing Thursday.

The former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate was pressed on the matter by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who asked Carson for assurance "that of all the housing grants he [has] the ability to bestow," not one dollar will go to benefit either the president-elect or his family.

American soldiers are pictured during a welcome ceremony at the Polish-German border in Olszyna, Poland on January 12, 2017. U.S. troops are being deployed in Poland under Operation Atlantic Resolve. The troops will be followed by 87 tanks, 144 Bradley fighting vehicles and 2,500 vehicles being transported by land from Germany.

U.S. Troops Arrive In Poland, But Will Trump Keep Them There?

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo., has begun moving into Poland as part of the biggest U.S. military deployment in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

It's part of an Obama administration effort to deter perceived growing Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. The Kremlin isn't happy.

"These actions threaten our interests, our security," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It's not even a European state."

Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres (center) makes a statement Thursday. He is flanked by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (left) and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades (right) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Could The Divided Island Of Cyprus Reunite?

The U.N. Secretary-General said today he was hopeful that peace talks on Cyprus, being held in Geneva, could lead to a breakthrough, though he cautioned that "we are not here for a quick fix."

Flanked by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Secretary-General António Guterres said a breakthrough is what the world needs now.

The puffy taco with beef from Rays Drive-In in San Antonio is a standout for Sutter, but the year has just begun.

This Food Critic Will Take The Taco. Again. And Again. And Again.

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, about his "365 days of Tacos" series, in which he eats at a different taco joint every day for a year. He's done it before, in Austin, where he ate more than 1,600 tacos in 2015. But now he's moved to San Antonio, and he's finding that the taco scene there is a bit different, and in fact is tied to a cultural identity that spans back many decades.

President Obama presents a teary-eyed Vice President Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday.

In A Surprise Send-Off, Obama Awards Biden Presidential Medal Of Freedom

President Obama awarded outgoing Vice President Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday afternoon.

Calling the former longtime Delaware senator "the best vice president America's ever had" and a "lion of American history," Obama gave his White House partner the surprise award in an emotional ceremony, initially billed as a farewell.

Shoppers exit the L.L. Bean retail store in Freeport, Maine.

Trump Urges People To 'Buy L.L.Bean' Amid Boycott Threat

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter again Thursday morning, this time to urge his followers to "Buy L.L.Bean," and support one of his campaign backers.

"Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage," he tweeted Thursday. "People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean."

Journalists gather outside the London headquarters of Orbis Business Intelligence, the company co-owned by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, on Thursday.

Ex-Spy Who Reportedly Assembled Trump Dossier Appears To Be In Hiding

In the closing weeks of 2016, an explosive document was floating around in media and security circles. Reporters tried, and failed, to verify the claims it contained — that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the Kremlin held lurid blackmail material as leverage over Trump. Reporting on the document, which was first compiled as opposition research, was rare and carefully vague.

Helen Dahlke, a scientist from the University of California, Davis, stands in an almond orchard outside Modesto that's being deliberately flooded. This experiment is examining how flooding farmland in the winter can help replenish the state's depleted aquifers.

As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground

Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy.

He went out to a nearby river, which was running high because of recent rains, and he opened an irrigation gate. Water rushed down a canal and flooded hundreds of acres of vineyards — even though it was wintertime. The vineyards were quiet. Nothing was growing.

"We started in February, and we flooded grapes continuously, for the most part, until May," Cameron says.

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