National News

A review panel says changes are needed at the Secret Service — along with a better fence at the White House. Here, members of the Secret Service Uniformed Division stand in front of the White House.

In List Of Changes For Secret Service, A New Fence Comes First

The Secret Service must both change the way it trains agents and hire more of them, according to a panel that reviewed the agency that has endured a string of embarrassing lapses in recent months. The panel says its suggestions are "a road map for reform" under a new director.

Some of those suggestions are inherently practical — such as one that states "the fence around the White House needs to be changed as soon as possible to provide better protection."

U.S. Announces Protections For Transgender Workers

The Justice Department is broadening a civil rights law to include protections for transgender workers, a reversal from how the Bush administration interpreted the measure.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the law, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, will now ensure that workers who sue over discrimination in the workplace will get fair and consistent treatment.

A surge in popularity of L.L. Bean boots has the Maine company scrambling to fill orders.

New Popularity Of L.L. Bean Boots Sparks Scramble To Fill Orders

L.L. Bean's iconic rubber and leather boots — long worn by practical and preppie New Englanders — have swung back into fashion with young people and are more popular than ever.

The recent surge in demand has the company scrambling to fill orders, upgrading its manufacturing equipment and adding a third shift at its Maine boot factories.

Adnan Syed

Sarah Koenig On Serial: 'I Think Something Went Wrong With This Case'

It's hard to believe that not only was there no Serial six months ago, there was no Serial three months ago. The hugely popular podcast, a spinoff production of This American Life, didn't even premiere until early October, but since then, it has made its way with great speed into worlds from Sesame Street to Funny Or Die.

Administration Won't Rule Out Raul Castro Visit To White House

The White House today said it "wouldn't rule out a visit from President Raul Castro" to Washington, a day after President Obama announced the U.S. and Cuba would begin talks to normalize relations and open embassies following more than five decades of hostility.

Navy Petty Officer Jimmy Dial (left) sits with his daughter, Kimberly, beside U.S. Army soldier Henri Blandon and his daughter as the men's wives and the girls' mothers become U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony last month in Ontario, Calif.

Immigration Is Driving Broad Demographic Shifts In U.S., Report Says

Native-born Americans are making up a smaller percentage of those living in some areas of the U.S. as immigration moves to become the key factor in population growth within the next quarter-century, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examined county-level census data.

Cuba's President Fidel Castro, left, and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Barinas, Venezuela, in 2000. The two formed a close partnership, which has continued with their successors. However, the prospect of normal ties between the U.S.-Cuba may also have an impact on relations between Cuba and Venezuela.

In Latin America, Not Everyone Is Thrilled With The U.S.-Cuba Thaw

Latin American governments have long viewed Cuba as the region's David facing off against the Goliath of the United States. So from Mexico to Argentina, leaders are endorsing Wednesday's announcement that the two nations intend to normalize relations.

But this could prove awkward for Venezuela, which has been Cuba's closest ally and a fierce critic of Washington.

In public, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is praising the rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba.

The "Rusty Radiator" award for most offensive or stereotypical portrayal of the developing world in a fund-raising video went to Feed A Child South Africa.

And The Award For Most Offensive Fund-Raising Video Goes To...

A pretty blonde lady gives a crumb of food to a black child who sits begging by her feet.

That's one of the images in a fund-raising video from the nonprofit group Feed A Child South Africa, which depicts the youngster in the role of a dog to make the point that some animals in South Africa are better fed than some children.

The video has now won an award — though it's a dubious honor.

Obama shakes hands with Castro during a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, on Dec. 10, 2013. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says his brother introduced himself to Obama in English, telling him, "Mr. President, I'm Castro," as the two leaders shook hands.

5 Defining Moments In The U.S.-Cuba Relationship

1. Obama, Raul Castro Announce Normalization Of Relations

President Obama said Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba will normalize relations, which have been strained since being severed in 1961. He spoke to Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday to finalize details of the announcement.

White House Says Any Response To Sony Attack Needs To Be 'Proportional'

The White House says the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures was done with "malicious intent" and was initiated by a "sophisticated actor" but it would not say if that actor was North Korea.

Spokesman Josh Earnest says the matter is still under investigation.

"Regardless of who is found to be responsible for this, the president considers it to be a serious national security matter," Earnest says.

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