National News

Attendees line up to enter the Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco in May 2013.

Big Questions Now That Europeans Can Edit Google Search Results

In case you missed it, Europe's highest court has set a new precedent: Individuals in 28 European countries can now request the removal of search results they consider harmful. Is this ruling a big win for the individual? Or does this break the Internet?

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi during a news conference in Geneva.

International Envoy To Syria Lakhdar Brahimi Will Step Down

Without making any progress toward ending Syria's civil war, Lakhdar Brahimi will step down as the international envoy to Syria.

Brahimi's nearly two years in the post ends in much the same way that it did for his predecessor Kofi Annan, who stepped down in the summer of 2012 after his peace plan failed to take hold.

Swiss artist H.R. Giger, seen here at his "Dreams and Visions" exhibition in 2011, died Monday after a fall in Zurich. Giger's work includes designs for the 1979 film <em>Alien</em>.

Artist H.R. Giger, Creator Of Surreal Biomechanics, Dies

You might not know the name, but you probably know the work: H.R. Giger created some of the most powerfully creepy visuals in Hollywood's history, including animals and props that forced some viewers of 1979's sci-fi film Alien to watch the film through their fingers.

Hans Rudolf Giger was 74; he died in Zurich from injuries suffered in a fall, a representative of the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland, tells the AP.

Among other courses, the China Executive Leadership Academy in Shanghai teaches public relations to government officials, including mock TV shows and mock press conferences. NPR's Frank Langfitt took this photo from a control room, because the presence of a foreign reporter in class rattled some of the participants.

China's Communist Party Learns The Fine Art Of Public Relations

Openness doesn't come naturally to China's Communist Party. After all, China is an authoritarian state where people have little right to know how they are governed. But Communist Party schools have been trying to change that over the years by teaching officials how to deal with the news media.

Earlier this month, Qin Chang, a host at Shanghai People's Radio, taught a class on the art of the press conference at China Executive Leadership Academy in Shanghai's sprawling Pudong district and I was invited to watch.

Employees pay directly for their health insurance in "defined contribution" plans.

Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a "defined contribution" for employees has been around for years. It's one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

This handout photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Robert Campbell.

Texas Set For First Execution Since Oklahoma's Botched Attempt

Texas is scheduled to put a man to death this afternoon, marking the first time the death penalty is exercised in the United States, since Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Lockett.

Attorneys for Robert Campbell have argued his execution should be delayed, because Texas refuses to reveal the provenance of its execution drug.

A 2011 photo shows a replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria, off the Portuguese island of Madeira. The location of the Santa Maria has been a mystery; an explorer says he might have found it.

Christopher Columbus Ship The Santa Maria May Have Been Found

It's been missing for more than 500 years. But now there are reports that the Santa Maria, the largest ship among the trio that made Christopher Columbus' first expedition to North America, may be found. Undersea explorer Barry Clifford says he thinks he has found the ship in waters off of Haiti's coast.

There are more than three-dozen polyphenols in red wine that could be beneficial. But resveratrol may not have much influence on our health.

Resveratrol May Not Be The Elixir In Red Wine And Chocolate

If you've come to treat that daily glass of wine as your fountain of youth, it may be time to reconsider.

A screenshot from a video posted to YouTube on April 11, 2014 shows substantial yellow coloration at base of the cloud over Keferzita, Syria.

Group Says There's 'Strong Evidence' Syrian Regime Used Chemical Weapons

Human Rights Watch says evidence "strongly suggests" the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people in mid-April.

The group, which investigates allegations of human rights abuses, says the rebels do not have the helicopters used to drop the barrel bombs used on three northern cities.

Each page of the new "Drinkable Book" from the organization WaterisLife can be used to treat water for bacteria.

Book News: Each Page Of 'A Drinkable Book' Kills Bacteria In Drinking Water

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Pages