National News

Mayor Annise Parker of Houston speaks at a press conference in September.

Houston Narrows The Scope Of Controversial Subpoena Of Pastors' Sermons

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced on Friday that the city would narrow the scope of a controversial subpoena that asked five local pastors for copies of some of their sermons and communications.

The subpoena — which sits at the uncomfortable intersection of church and state — drew immediate ire from conservatives across the country.

Oscar Pistorius' Sentencing And The Classic True Crime Novel

Twenty years after 0.J. Simpson's "Trial Of The Century," another murder trial featuring a global sports star has taken its place in the spotlight.

The crime in question is that of double amputee and superstar Oscar Pistorius, who shot and killed his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. Pistorius escaped a murder charge, but he was convicted of culpable homicide. His sentencing hearing has been going on all week.

Sales of traditional hybrids, plug-ins and all-electric cars are down about 5 percent in 2014 — while truck and SUV sales have jumped.

As Gas Prices Drop, Hybrid Sales Shift Into Low Gear

The recent drop in gas prices may be good for consumers, but it's not such good news for hybrid car sales.

Even before gas prices started to slide, hybrid sales were falling — all while sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury sedans have been on the rise.

That relationship between gas prices and sales is "rather remarkable," says John Krafcik, president of the website TrueCar. "During months when gas prices are low, less fuel-efficient cars tend to take a greater share of the market and vice versa. It's a fairly one-to-one relationship."

Email Just Can't Compete With Heartfelt 'Letters Of Note'

Perhaps it's a sense of intimacy brought on by the physicality of the paper, the added weight of words presented in ink. Whatever it is, receiving a personally addressed letter in the mail — especially in today's digital age — can be undeniably affecting.

This fan at the base of the lectern for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist Wednesday delayed the gubernatorial debate between Crist and Governor Rick Scott. The Scott campaign believed the fan violated the debate rules.

How The Florida Governor's Debate Became #Fangate

If there's one thing Charlie Crist is afraid of, it's sweating in public.

Understand that, and what happened on a Fort Lauderdale governor's debate stage this week before a live television audience might make a bit more sense.

Avian influenza, or bird flu, causes an infectious and contagious respiratory disease. In the lab, several scientists have made the H5N1 strain more contagious, a controversial line of research.

U.S. To Temporarily Halt Funding For Controversial Virus Research

The federal government will temporarily stop funding any new studies that could make three high-risk infectious diseases even more dangerous. The government is asking all scientists involved in this research now to voluntarily halt their current studies.

The unusual move comes after a long controversy over experiments with mutant forms of a bird flu virus.

A rendering for the planned 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., Pitches New Bridge Park As A 'Model For Social Equity'

Washington, D.C., moved a big step closer this week toward building its own "bridge to the future." Two well-known design firms — OMA and OLIN — were selected as the winners of a competition to conceptualize the 11th Street Bridge Park.

Ebola Virus, Transmission Electron Micrograph Of The Ebola Virus, Rna Virus, Cause Of Hemorrhagic Fever.

Why Won't The Fear Of Airborne Ebola Go Away?

How many times do top officials have to say that the Ebola virus is not airborne?

A lot, apparently.

Here is President Obama Thursday: "This is not an airborne disease. It is not easy to catch."

And the day before: "It is not like the flu. It is not airborne."

And today, a reporter asked the inevitable question about airborne Ebola when Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, held a press briefing about nurse Nina Pham's transfer to the National Institute of Health.

Members of the California Nurses Association rallied in Sacramento, Calif., in May, in anticipation of contract negotiations with Kaiser Permanente that began in this fall.

California Nurses' Union Pulls Ebola Into Contract Talks

The powerful California Nurses Association has put Ebola on the bargaining table in its negotiations for a new contract with Kaiser Permanente.

Contract talks have been going on for months, and the nurses' most recent demands are focused on Ebola — better training, more staffing, protective gear that goes beyond what's recommended by federal officials and even a special life insurance policy.

A notice in a store window in New York City announces a retail job opening. Now that unemployment has slipped below 6 percent, there's renewed interest in what the Federal Reserve's target for joblessness should be.

Drop In Unemployment Raises Debate On Optimal Rate

The U.S. unemployment rate has been falling steadily over the years. Down from the recession peak of 10 percent in 2009, it reached 5.9 percent in September.

That's getting close to what economists call the natural unemployment rate — the normal level of joblessness you'd expect in a healthy economy.

But a lot of economists are asking whether the old rules about full employment still apply.

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