National News

An American Suicide Bomber In Syria

Spelling Co-Champs Beat The Bee, Leaving Judges Without Words

Mike Cassidy stands in front of the grain elevators his family has owned since 1921.

Oklahoma's Extreme Drought Has Wheat Farmers Bracing For Worst

Rainfall totals in southwest Oklahoma are more than three inches below normal. And that means that the wheat crop grown in brothers Fred and Wayne Schmedt's farm is several inches shorter than normal as well.

Laughter is key to surviving as a farmer here. Fred Schmedt looks out on his field, then down at his legs and laughs at how short the wheat stalks are.

"What would you call that, high shoe-top high?" he says. "In a normal year — a really good year — it'd be thigh-high. So we're looking at plants that are 6 to 8 inches tall versus 24 to 30 inches tall."

U.S. Confirms American Carried Out Suicide Bombing In Syria

The State Department on Friday confirmed that a U.S. citizen took part in a suicide truck bombing in Syria earlier this week.

Reports that a Syrian rebel calling himself Abu Hurayra al-Amriki (Abu Hurayra the American), had carried out the May 25 attack on a Syrian government complex in western Idlib province have been circulating on social media for several days.

"I can confirm this individual was a U.S. citizen involved in a suicide bombing in Syria," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a news briefing on Friday.

An anti-coup demonstrator in Bangkok, earlier this week. The country's new military leader says those opposed to the putsch lack an understanding of democracy.

Thailand's Military Ruler Says No Elections For At Least A Year

The leader of Thailand's military junta says it could take a year or more before new elections in the country, as he repeated warnings to protesters opposing last week's coup, saying they lacked a "true understanding of democracy."

Left, grey squirrel. Right, crostini with squirrel meat, white mulberry, goat cheese, hazelnut and purslane.

How A Food Stylist Made Squirrel And Earthworm Look Appetizing

Communities around the world are increasingly overrun by invasive critters. Gray squirrels, which are native to North America, are an ecological nuisance in England. And nutria — or swamp rats — from South America are destroying wetlands in the Gulf Coast states.

Scientists have said that one way to deal with these creatures is to eat them up. The problem is, they don't seem very appetizing. While some of these critters might be perfectly edible, they can't really compete with hamburgers or cupcakes.

Techies, White House Take Part In National Day Of Civic Hacking

This weekend, software developers, entrepreneurs, and local governments from around the world are coming together to design and build tools for the common good.

Using publicly released data, participants in the National Day of Civic Hacking will work together to integrate new technology tools to solve community problems.

Todd Khozein is one of the organizers of #HackForChange. He is the co-founder of SecondMuse, a collaborative innovation lab that helps find technological solutions to everyday issues.

President Obama gives White House press secretary Jay Carney a hug after announcing that Carney will step down next month.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney To Step Down

Jay Carney, who fielded reporters' tough questions for more than three years as White House press secretary, will resign.

President Obama interrupted the Friday media briefing to make the announcement.

"Jay's had to wrestle with this decision for quite some time," Obama said, announcing the move.

"Jay has become one of my closest friends," he said.

Carney said he'd asked to leave in April and that he would depart officially in mid-June.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki addresses the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington, D.C., Friday, shortly before he resigned under bipartisan pressure.

VA And Military Health Care Are Separate, Yet Often Confused

Delays in health care for veterans led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Friday. And the health system for active duty military has also come under the microscope for lapses in care.

Currently, half of all products served in the school lunch program must be "whole-grain rich," which USDA defines as products made of at least 50 percent whole grain. According to the new standards, by the start of the next school year, schools must use only products that are whole-grain rich.<strong></strong>

Health Advocates Lament GOP Move To Relax School Lunch Rules

We told you about lawmakers' proposal to give some school districts a way to temporarily opt out of the new, federal healthy school lunch standards.

The waiver provision was put forward by Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, who says he supports healthy meals for school kids, but has heard complaints from schools in his district about the challenges of mandating kids to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains at lunch.

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