National News

Firefighters search for survivors at a West, Texas, apartment building in April 2013. The breadth of destruction in West has raised questions about what, if any, new state laws should be passed to help prevent similar accidents in the future.

A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast

When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, with (from left) Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., at a March 25 Capitol Hill news conference.

John Boehner Foe Targets 'Electile' Dysfunction

An erectile dysfunction ad isn't the kind of thing most politicians would typically gravitate toward.

OK, there was former Sen. Bob Dole pitching Viagra years ago. But he was already out of office when he became a spokesman for the virility drug.

Now comes long-shot candidate J.D. Winteregg, a Tea Party-oriented primary challenger to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who's running a Web ad inspired by those unavoidable erectile dysfunction ads that have created awkward moments for millions of parents watching TV with their children.

Michael Phelps swims in the men's 200-meter individual medley heat at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Swimming Superstar Michael Phelps Emerges From Retirement

Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, is coming out of retirement.

Patrick Sandusky, the U.S. Olympic Committee public affairs officer, tweeted this morning: "It is official, Michael Phelps is back.... competing next week in Arizona."

Phelps, who will be 29 in June, has already competed in four Olympic Games, winning 22 medals, including 18 gold. There is no word yet on whether he's looking to compete in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

A Philadelphia Gas Works employee replaces old steel and cast-iron pipes with new plastic pipes that are less likely to leak.

After Deaths, Renewed Focus On Leaky Gas Pipelines

After a gas explosion last month in New York leveled two buildings and killed eight people, an old issue received new attention: aging natural gas pipelines that leak.

It can take decades and billions of dollars to replace old steel and cast-iron pipes with plastic ones, but some utilities are making that a priority.

In the time of Exodus, the Hebrews had to travel the desert without reading material.

Sandwich Monday: The Passover Sandwich

Why is this Sandwich Monday different from all other Sandwich Mondays? In honor of Passover, I introduced my non-Jewish colleagues to the wonders of the Passover lunch.

It's not the Seder meal, but what I might have brought to school for lunch back in the 1970s, when the affluent Jews of suburban New Jersey ate tasteless food to remind themselves that thousands of years ago, they didn't have nice professional jobs like being an lawyer, or maybe a CPA. That's a steady living. I know David Birnbaum does nicely as an accountant; maybe you could look into that?

Nevada Ranch Dispute Ends As Feds Back Down — For Now

Suspected Kansas Shooter Had Ties To KKK

Defiant Of Deadline, Pro-Moscow Occupiers Persist

Courtney Cranch tends bar at The Red Hen in Washington, D.C., where she estimates at least half her customers have smartphones out at mealtime.

Restaurants: The Modern-Day Lab For Our Smartphone-Obsessed Ways

When we asked you about the changing norms for smartphone use in public spaces, hundreds of stories poured in.

Journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald helped <em>The Guardian</em> win a Pulitzer Prize for public service along with <em>The Washington Post</em> Monday, for their stories based on NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden.

Pulitzer Prizes Are Out: 'Washington Post,' 'The Guardian' Win For NSA Stories

Months after lifting a veil of secrecy from the National Security Agency's surveillance operations, The Washington Post and The Guardian won a Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday. The two papers broke the story in tandem, relying on NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden.

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