National News

Adreanne Lewis signs up for a photo ID at a senior center in Arlington County, Va., with the help of Bill Sands, outreach coordinator for the county registrar.

Rules For Provisional Ballots All Over The Map

The fail-safe for many voters who run into problems at the polls — such as a lack of ID or an outdated address — is called provisional voting. The person votes and their ballot only counts after the problem is resolved.

But many of these ballots never do count, raising questions about how good a fail-safe they really are.

The broadcast tower at Alexanderplatz looms over the city center. A crossing point of tourists, commuters, shoppers, lovers, artists and bums, Alexanderplatz was rebuilt by the communist authorities of former East Germany in the 1960s. Today, it's a popular gathering place in the reunified city.

In Berlin, Remaking The City Can Rekindle Old Frictions

Berlin is an on-again, off-again capital with a darker history than most cities in Europe.

It served as the epicenter of Hitler's Third Reich and was nearly wiped off the map at the end of the last World War. Berlin was also the flashpoint of the Cold War between the United States and Russia. Their conflict split the city into two, leaving residents on either side cut off from each other in every way imaginable for a generation.

A "Mass mob" fills St. Florian Catholic church in Detroit. It seats 1,500 people, but normally only about 200 people attend noon mass.

'Mass Mobs' Aim To Keep Pews Full At Old Churches

In Detroit, a group of Catholics borrowed the idea of flash mobs for "Mass mobs" to help revitalize urban churches.

Every month, a group called Detroit Mass Mobs picks a church, spreads the word on Facebook — and just like that, it fills up and buzz with the energy it once had.

A student of Guerrero State carries a portrait of a disappeared person, during a protest in Mexico City, on Wednesday.

In Mexico, Protesters Demand Return Of 43 Missing Students

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Mexico to demand the return of 43 students who went missing after a confrontation with police. As we reported, authorities later found 28 bodies in a mass grave near the town of Iguala.

Officials said the graves were connected to the missing students, but they have not been able to identify the bodies.

Reporting from Mexico, NPR's Carrie Kahn filed this report for our Newscast unit: employees pack copies of the new book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" for shipment in July 2007 at an Amazon fulfillment center in Fernley, Nev. Workers at the center filed a suit in 2013, seeking compensation for time spent in a mandatory security line after their shifts.

Justices Will Decide Whether Workers Must Endure Unpaid Inconvenience

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a case that could affect millions of low-wage hourly workers across the country. At issue is whether federal law requires employers to pay workers for significant amounts of time spent in security screenings.

This scale shows the tiniest things you can see with a light microscope.

How To Take A Nobel Prize-Winning Picture

The Nobel Prize for chemistry just went to a team that discovered a better way to take a picture. Really.

Cindy Minnix waits for a bus in a flooded street on Oct. 18, 2012, in Miami Beach. A changing climate is making floods related to high tides more frequent, scientists say.

Climate Change Worsens Coastal Flooding From High Tides

A wave of high tides is expected to hit much of the East Coast this week. These special tides — king tides — occur a few times a year when the moon's orbit brings it close to the Earth.

But scientists say that lately, even normal tides throughout the year are pushing water higher up onto land. And that's causing headaches for people who live along coastlines.

As Bob Dylan might have put it, the tides, they are a changin'.

A map showing a good weather across most of the United States.

Some Good News: Near Perfect Weather For Most Of The Country

Here's a lovely mid-week sighting:

That map shows that this afternoon there were no significant weather warnings issued across the Lower 48.

The only issue? A small stream flooding advisory in southern Arizona.

I asked John Hart, the lead forecaster for NOAA's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, what someone who focuses on severe weather does on a day like this.

Not taking the bait, he said: "Well, actually, we keep looking at the weather."

He said that they keep looking at areas that could develop into threats.

FBI Director James Comey says new encryption features allow people "to place themselves beyond the law."

Apple Says iOS Encryption Protects Privacy; FBI Raises Crime Fears

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are up in arms about new technology now available from Apple and soon to be released by Google.

The software encrypts the data on smartphones and other mobile devices so that not even the companies themselves will be able to access the information.

Love Pine Nuts? Then Protect Pine Forests

A colleague accosted me at the coffee machine the other day with an urgent question. "Why are pine nuts so expensive?"

I promised to find out. And I did. But along the way, I discovered something remarkable about pine nuts.

They connect us to a world of remote villages and vast forests, ancient foraging traditions that are facing modern threats.

Pine nuts don't generally come from orchards, or fields, or plantations. They come from pine forests. (And pine nuts are expensive because most of these areas are so remote.)