National News

A vehicle inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi is engulfed in flames after an attack on Sept. 11, 2012. "There is no evidence whatsoever that al-Qaida or any group linked to al-Qaida played a role in organizing or leading the attack," says <em>New York Times</em> correspondent David Kirkpatrick.

In Benghazi, U.S. Intelligence Wasn't Focused On 'Homegrown Militants'

On Sept. 11, 2012, an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Who led this attack and why have been the subject of much controversy in Washington. Republicans have charged that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton's state department were at fault for not stopping what the Republicans claim was a carefully planned attack by international terrorists, including al-Qaida.

Blair Roberts, a 22-year-old sales associate at Colorado E-Smokes, "vapes" with an electronic cigarette in the Aurora, Colo., store. In the absence of federal rules, Colorado is among states that considered its own age requirements for the nicotine-delivery devices.

Lobbyists Amp Up Efforts To Sell Washington On E-Cigarettes

In a scene from the new season of the popular Netflix political drama House of Cards, the elegant Claire Underwood catches her soon-to-be vice president husband puffing an e-cigarette.

"You're cheating," she says, referring to their efforts to quit smoking.

"No, I'm not," Congressman Francis Underwood replies. "It's vapor....addiction without the consequences."

A Washington-based drama with an implicit endorsement of "vaping" – the practice of partaking in nicotine without burning tobacco?

Still using Apple's iOS 6? You may be counting on luck to protect your iPhone from a serious security flaw.

iOS 6 Users Left In The Lurch After Security Flaw Discovered

As has been widely reported, Apple recently discovered a critical bug in its iOS and OS systems.

This image was taken on Jan. 30 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. North Korea is the large dark patch in the middle. The only significant light is from its capital, Pyongyang. The next photo adds reference points.

North Korea's Still In The Dark, As Photos From Space Show

Pictures really do tell the story about how far behind economically North Korea is compared with its neighbors.

In 2002, as Eyder has said, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a satellite photo to illustrate how in-the-dark the communist nation was.

Pope Francis, left, and former Pope Benedict XVI at a Vatican ceremony on Saturday. It was their first public appearance together in the year since Benedict resigned.

Benedict Dismisses Renewed Rumors About Why He Left The Papacy

Almost one year to the day since Benedict XVI stepped down as spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the former pope has issued his first public comment on recurring rumors in the Italian media that he didn't resign of his own will.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin Flexes Moscow's Muscles; Kerry Says This Isn't 'Rocky IV'

We retopped this post at 12:25 p.m. ET.

Responding to the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his army on alert in what seems to be a bid to influence events in Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. is "not looking for [a] confrontation" with Moscow.

And, in a reference to the Cold War days of the past when the rivalry between two superpowers would find its way into popular culture, Kerry tried to cool things down.

"This is not Rocky IV," he said, during an MSNBC interview.

Thar's gold in them thar cans: One of the eight cans discovered by a California couple. They were stuffed with gold coins minted in the 1800s. The cache's estimated value: $10 million.

What A Rush! California Couple Finds Gold Coins Worth $10M

If you've ever dreamed about finding buried treasure, this story's for you:

A California couple who say they had walked by the same spot on their Sierra Nevada property many times over many years are an estimated $10 million or so richer after digging up eight rusty old cans containing 1,427 very valuable gold coins. It's thought to be the most valuable discovery of such coins in U.S. history.

Activists protest Uganda's anti-gay legislation in Nairobi, Kenya, this month. LGBT status has been grounds for asylum in the U.S. since 1994, but winning refugee status can be difficult, particularly for people who are unable to obtain visas to the U.S. before applying.

Gays And Lesbians Seeking Asylum In U.S. May Find A Hard Road

Even through a long-distance line from Uganda, you can hear the fear and anxiety in the young man's voice. Nathan, 19, is gay. NPR is not using his surname because he fears arrest.

"Right now we are not safe," he says. "Because we are hearing some people say ... 'If we get you, we will kill you. If we get you, we'll do something bad to you.' "

Soldiers march during a graduation ceremony for recruits of the Libyan army in Tripoli, the capital, on Jan. 16. The military, gutted by years under Moammar Gadhafi and by NATO attacks, faces multiple challenges as it tries to rebuild.

Outmanned And Outgunned, Libya Struggles To Fix Its Broken Army

In Libya, disputes are settled by guns.

On a recent day, just west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, gunfire erupts, a battle between two families. It builds for hours; people run for cover. No one intervenes — even though a Libyan army base is just a mile away.

Inside that military camp in a town called Zawiya are 230 young men from across the North African nation, part of the government effort to address the country's most glaring problem: an almost nonexistent security force.

The San Diego Coalition of Reason opened this booth in Balboa Park to support the atheist community and to evangelize nonbelief to religious people.

Ardent Atheists Spread Their Reverence For Disbelief

Stroll through the plaza of Balboa Park in San Diego, and you'll pass religious groups spreading their beliefs and looking for converts.

But you'll also see a table draped with a large banner that reads, "Relax, Hell Does Not Exist." Approach, and you'll hear evangelical atheist Rob Hudson engaged in religious arguments.

"If you're an atheist, you don't believe in heaven or hell," a teenager tells him.

Hudson responds by saying the concept doesn't make sense. "Who in their right mind would choose to go to hell?" he asks.

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