National News

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, addressed the media Wednesday along with the head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Swiss President Didier Burkhalter.

Putin Tells Separatists In Ukraine To Postpone May 11 Referendum

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine should wait to hold a referendum on secession, Russia's President Vladimir Putin says.

The vote is currently planned for this Sunday. Putin's comments coincide with discussions he had today with the leader of the European group that has stationed military observers in Ukraine.

Being able to insert the two man-made letters into DNA, alongside the usual four-letter alphabet, could teach old cells new tricks and lead to better drugs, researchers say.

Chemists Expand Nature's Genetic Alphabet

For the first time, scientists have expanded life's genetic alphabet, by inserting two unnatural, man-made "letters" into a bacterium's DNA, and by showing that the cell's machinery can copy them.

The advance means that scientists have a new tool for exploring how life encodes information, which could help them understand life's origins.

What's more, this is a step towards giving living cells new abilities, like being able to make more and better medicines, cheaper and faster.

Oregon Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby, right, talks to supporter Marvin Hausman in Lake Oswego, Ore. Wehby has drawn national attention and money in her effort to win her party's nomination.

Surgeon, Mom, Republican — But Conservative Enough?

Monica Wehby is the Senate candidate Republicans have been waiting for: a camera-ready pediatric neurosurgeon, mother of four, in a party that desperately needs to elect more women.

Make that a candidate some Republicans have been waiting for.

Rebels leave in green buses from the old city of Homs. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23GhassanNajjar&src=hash" data-query-source="hashtag_click" data-scribe="element:hashtag"><strong></strong></a>

A Symbol Of Syria's Uprising, Homs Reverts To Assad's Control

The beginning of the end of the two-year siege of Old Homs came as green buses full of fighters bounced down uneven streets Wednesday — a scene that was captured in a photo that was retweeted hundreds of times.

Daniel Paduano's Pekin ducks search the grass for slugs, snails and insects, which make up a big part of their diet.

Move Over Chickens, Here's Something Duckier For The Backyard

When we did our egg taste test back in April, comparing chicken, quail, duck and goose eggs, I confessed to how partial I've become to the duck egg. Ever since I tasted the eggs at Abounding Harvest Mountain Farm in Los Gatos, Calif., in March, I've been extolling their custardy texture and flavor to anyone who will listen.

DEA Raids Target Synthetic Drugs' Makers And Sellers

Makers and sellers of synthetic drugs were targeted in at least 25 states Wednesday, as federal agents made arrests and conducted searches. Authorities say profits from the synthetics could be aiding terrorist and criminal groups in the Middle East.

Stanford University's trustees says the school will rid itself of any investments it has made in coal-producing companies. A 2013 file photo shows coal being loaded onto a truck at a mine near Decker, Montana.

Stanford University Says No To Coal Investments

Stanford's trustees say the school will no longer invest in companies that mine coal, joining about a dozen other colleges that have taken the step. The decision cited alternate energy sources that emit less greenhouse gases.

Stanford will liquidate any current holdings in coal-producing companies, the school says. Of the schools that have divested, it's by far the largest.

"Stanford wouldn't say how much it currently invests in coal companies," NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports. "Its total endowment was just shy of $19 billion last year."

People protest outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, over the country's Shariah law penal code in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Monday.

Brunei's Shariah Law Spurs Boycott Of Beverly Hills Hotel

The Beverly Hills City Council voted last night [Tuesday] to ask the government of Brunei to divest itself of the famed Beverly Hills Hotel.

At issue: Shariah, or Islamic, law. Last week, Brunei, a tiny oil-rich kingdom in southeast Asia, adopted Shariah as part of its penal code. The law, which will be introduced in phases, makes abortion, adultery and gay relationships punishable by flogging and stoning.

A satellite image depicts a beachfront estate that reportedly sold for $147 million in East Hampton, N.Y.

Reported $147 Million Home Price Would Set New U.S. Record

The stock market has been on a winning streak — and that means these are busy times in exclusive U.S. housing markets. How else to explain three homes that each reportedly sold for more than $100 million in the past three months?

News that hedge fund founder Barry Rosenstein is buying an East Hampton, N.Y., property for $147 million prompted Bloomberg News to declare, "The U.S. trophy-home market is shattering price records this year."

In the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, 26 percent of high school seniors scored at or above grade level in math compared with 38 percent in reading.

Nation's Report Card Shows Stagnant Scores For Reading, Math

The government released the latest national test scores on Wednesday, and the news isn't good: 12th-graders are headed toward graduation, but many don't have the skills they need to succeed in college or work.

The test is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as "the nation's report card."

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