National News

A Tesoro Corp. refinery is shown Friday, April 2, 2010, in Anacortes, Wash., after an explosion and fire that killed eight people.

New Animation Details What Went Wrong In 2010 Plant Explosion

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released its draft report into the causes of a devastating 2010 explosion at a Tesoro refinery on Puget Sound. The accident killed seven workers, and the community has been increasingly upset by how long the investigation has dragged on.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was founded in the South African town of Ladysmith in 1964. While on their latest U.S. tour, they stopped by NPR studios for a performance chat.

'Spirit Of Family' Unites Ladysmith Black Mambazo

For fans of world music, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo need no introduction.

The group have been singing a capella together for 50 years, brought together by Joseph Shabalala, a young farmhand turned factory worker from the town of Ladysmith. He had a dream of tight vocal harmonies and messages of peace.

That dream developed, and the band came to the attention of Paul Simon who had them record "Homeless" on his album Graceland. It introduced them to the world.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

U.S. Will Seek Death Penalty In Boston Bombing Case

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will seek the death penalty in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man charged in connection to the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

"The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision," Holder said in a statement.

As we've reported, the 20-year-old Tsarnaev has been charged with 30 counts, including killing four people and using weapons of mass destruction.

The snowy owl that has been spotted recently in the Washington D.C. area was brought to the Smithsonian's National Zoo for care on Thursday.

Snowy Owl That Enchanted D.C. Is Hit By A Bus

A snowy owl that stopped pedestrian traffic — and the presses, when it found a spot outside The Washington Post's building — in Washington, D.C. could not escape the city's danger.

According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, the bird was apparently hit by a bus on Thursday. Police jumped into action and drove the owl to the zoo. They report:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

New York City Agrees To Reform Stop-And-Frisk Tactics

Making good on a campaign promise, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will drop an appeal challenging a judge's opinion that found the city's controversial "stop and frisk" practices violated the civil rights of thousands of black and Latino residents.

Lake Michigan, now partially frozen, as snow and clouds blow over.

This Photo Of Lake Michigan Will Make You Shiver

A photo posted by our friends at Michigan's Interlochen Public Radio is so cool we just had to know more about it and about what's going on with the Great Lakes during this extra-frigid winter.

As you'll see, the satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows clouds and snow blowing across the now partially ice-covered Lake Michigan.

Justice Dept. Seeks To Expand Clemency For Some Drug Offenders

The Department of Justice is looking to expand the number of low-level, nonviolent drug offenders considered for presidential clemency.

As The New York Times reports, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole told lawyers at a meeting of the New York State Bar Association on Thursday to flag potential candidates.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California speaks during a 2011 hearing in Washington, D.C. The 20-term Democrat was among the "Watergate babies" elected in 1974.

Rep. Henry Waxman, Ferocious Liberal, Says He Will Retire

Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), a key architect of the Affordable Care Act and for four decades a ferocious liberal voice on matters of health and the environment, revealed Thursday that he plans to retire at the end of the year.

Waxman's news comes on the heels of a similar announcement from another liberal California "Watergate baby" elected in 1974, Rep. George Miller. Both are top allies of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also of California.

Palestinian girls read the Koran at a camp in Gaza City, June 2012. In poor countries, boys are 20 percent more likely than girls to enroll in school, UNICEF says.

Access To Toilets And Books Improves Life For Kids Across The Globe

The world is in the midst of a porcelain revolution.

Nearly 2 billion people have gained access to clean toilets, or at least a decent outhouse, since 1990, the nonprofit UNICEF reports Thursday.

That rise in sanitation has led to big health improvements, the agency says, because contaminated drinking water is still a major cause of disease and death for children.

Charles, Prince of Wales, smells before tasting some ice cream during a visit to Gloucestershire. Maybe he was sniffing for fat?

Your Nose Knows Which Foods Are Fattiest

A lot of us can agree that low-fat ice cream is a sad substitute for the real deal. It's not as creamy, and it just doesn't taste as good.

Now researchers are saying it may even smell different.

Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center have found that people can actually smell differences in dietary fat in food.

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