National News

Construction workers build a commercial complex in July, in Springfield, Ill. On Friday, the government said the unemployment rate had fallen below 6 percent for the first time in more than six years.

Unemployment Falls To 5.9 Percent, Lowest In 6 Years

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The U.S. unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent for the first time since July 2008, with nonfarm payrolls adding 248,000 new jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

VIDEO: Glimpse The History Of Life In A Beer

Beer is a collaboration between two species — a multicellular animal called a human and a single-celled fungus called yeast. Both descended from the same single-celled organism.

It took time for each of them to evolve — more than a billion years — but once they did, it wasn't long before they teamed up to create beer. Now, fossil hunter Jason Osborne has added a little extra flavor to this family reunion by brewing beer with yeast taken from the remains of a 35-million-year-old whale.

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobani, seen from near the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Friday.

Kurds In Syria Warn Of Massacre If ISIS Seizes Border Town

Fierce fighting is reported today near the border between Syria and Turkey as Islamic State militants step up their efforts to capture the Kurdish city of Kobani.

Kurdish fighters defending the town have warned of a likely massacre if the extremist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, succeeds in seizing the encircled city.

Reuters reports:

Ah, the good old days.

Take The NPR Ed Visitor Survey

I'ts been more than four months since we officially launched NPR Ed, and now it's your chance to tell us how we're doing.

Pro-democracy protesters (left) stop an anti-Occupy Central protester from going near their tent on a main street at Hong Kong's Mongkok shopping district on Friday.

Anti-Protest Mob Attacks Hong Kong Student Camp

Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

Several hundred pro-Beijing demonstrators opposed to a weeklong protest led by Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong have broken through police lines, smashing the pro-democracy protesters' tents and scuffling with student activists.

A worker cuts slabs of steel at a mill in Cleveland in 2004.

U.S. Manufacturing: A Remembrance And A Look Ahead

If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.


A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.

But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?

The answer is complicated.

Students line a busy intersection and overpass  in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., on Sept. 25, protesting a Jefferson County School Board proposal to emphasize patriotism and downplay civil unrest in the teaching of U.S. history.

School Board Wants Civil Disorder De-Emphasized; Students Walk Out

Hundreds of Colorado high school students have walked out of class in the past two weeks to protest proposed changes to the Advanced Placement history curriculum.

The firestorm of protest was sparked by a resolution in August from Jefferson County school board member Julie Williams. When she heard that conservatives across the country were upset about the new AP history curriculum, she proposed a committee to review the district's courses.

Political signs separate Sen. Mitch McConnell's and Alison Lundergan Grimes' camps at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in Kentucky in August.

NPR Poll: Senate Battleground Tilts Republican, But Still Anybody's Game

With fewer than five weeks until election day, the political landscape continues to be tilted against President Obama and his party. The battle for control of the Senate — the biggest prize this year — remains close and could tip either way.

Those are the findings of NPR's latest bipartisan poll of likely voters, conducted by Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic and Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps.

Displaced demonstrators from the minority Yazidi sect demonstrate outside the United Nations offices in Irbil, Iraq, on Aug. 4 in support of those held captive by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

ISIS Captives Tell Of Rapes And Beatings, Plead For Help

When militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State swept through the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in August, they killed hundreds and kidnapped unknown numbers of men, women and children.

The fate of most of them is still unknown, but activists and those who have escaped recount horror stories of rapes and beatings. They're trying to focus international attention on those still being held.

The details in a homeowners insurance policy are amazing

Bedbugs, Lava And Bowling Balls: Inside My Homeowners Insurance Policy

My homeowners insurance policy reads as though somebody took all of the bad things that can happen in the world and divided them into two buckets: stuff that is covered and stuff that is not covered.

I'm covered for damage from fire, lightning and malicious mischief. I'm covered if a volcano spews lava onto my house. It's right here under "Additional Coverages." Paragraph 10. "Volcanic Action."

But there's this other section, "Losses Not Insured," that tells you how insurance really works. For example, Paragraph 2, Subparagraph e: