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More than 13,000 years ago, hairy elephant-like creatures with giant tusks roamed North America. These mastodons were hunted by some of the earliest people to live here, and scientists recently learned a bit more about those mysterious cultures by taking a new look at an old mastodon bone.

Mitt Romney's current run for the White House has not included a big presence in the first state that will actually vote: Iowa, which holds its caucuses on Jan. 3.

He failed to meet expectations at the Iowa caucuses in 2008. So for 2012, his campaign has focused instead on New Hampshire as the key to a series of primary victories that, they believe, will result in the former Massachusetts governor winning the GOP nomination.

Moammar Gadhafi was killed in the crossfire of a battle between his supporters and fighters loyal to the opposition that topped the dictator's regime, Libya's interim prime minister told NPR this afternoon.

"Nobody can tell if the [fatal] shot was from the rebel fighters or from his own security guard," Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.

Is Herman Cain In Trouble With Social Conservatives?

Oct 20, 2011

Part of Herman Cain's appeal to GOP presidential primary voters was that he seemed to have more street cred with social conservatives than the putative front runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Doubts about Romney have helped fuel Cain's recent rise in the polls, putting him in a virtual dead-heat with Romney.

It's been a few decades since Americans were engaged in a back-of-the-bus controversy. Now a popular bus route between two New York City neighborhoods is reviving the issue.

Last Wednesday, Melissa Franchy boarded the B110 from Williamsburg to Boro Park, two Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She was accompanying her friend, Sasha Chavkin, a reporter for The New York World, a Columbia Journalism School publication. Their mission: Find out what would happen if Franchy sat at the front of the bus.

France's First Family Welcomes Baby Girl

Oct 20, 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, the chanteuse Carla Bruni-Sarkozy welcomed a baby girl yesterday.

France's first family has been very secretive about the pregnancy, so the AFP reports Elysee Palace released few details.

The AFP says government sources did say that Sarkozy was able to see his baby girl in between "talks on the eurozone sovereign debt crisis."

And Sarkozy said both mom and baby are "doing very well."

A year ago, President Obama just said, "the notion of a free Libya" seemed far-fetched.

But today, with the death of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the "dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted" in that North African nation, the president added.

Nelly Lambert is a PhD student in English at Catholic University. She's writing her dissertation on Emily Dickinson's poetry.

Poet Emily Dickinson withdrew from society for most of her adult life. And yet, she was known to lower a basket full of cakes from the window of the home she rarely left to crowds of expectant children on the street below. Dickinson probably never met these children, yet she connected with them through her baking.

Gadhafi's Death: The View From The Arab World

Oct 20, 2011

The killing of Col. Moammar Gadhafi will most certainly go down as one of the important chapters of what's come to be known as the Arab Spring, or the popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East that have deposed three dictators.

In the region, one big question that will be answered in the coming weeks is how Gadhafi's killing will affect the opposition movements firmly in place in Syria and Yemen.

NPR's Ahmed Al-Omran, a production assistant on NPR's social media desk, has been sifting through social networks to gauge reaction from the region.

Retirement can be an endless golf game or constant trips to the doctor, depending on a whole host of factors, including luck. But either way, it's a stage of life that's usually more difficult and expensive than people expect.

Tell Me More's series on end-of-life issues continues today, with a roundtable discussion at a retirement home in Washington, D.C.

Planet Money has obtained a secret government report outlining what once looked like a potential crisis: The possibility that the U.S. government might pay off its entire debt.

It sounds ridiculous today. But not so long ago, the prospect of a debt-free U.S. was seen as a real possibility with the potential to upset the global financial system.

We recently obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act Request. You can read the whole thing here. (It's a PDF.)

As news of the killing of Col. Moammar Gadhafi spread, politicians, world leaders and dignitaries have been issuing statements. We've collected some them on this post and we'll add more as we get them:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this in a statement at U.N. headquarters in New York:

The Labor Department said today that claims of unemployment insurance dipped by 6,000 to 403,000. That brings the monthly average to to its lowest point in six months.

But careful, says The Wall Street Journal, the number still remains above 400,000, "indicating the labor market still is weak."

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A year after cholera burst upon earthquake-weary Haiti, plans are afoot to begin vaccinating people against the highly contagious disease.

Nearly half a million Haitians — about 5 percent of the population — have already been afflicted and more than 6,500 have died.

But the goal of the vaccinators isn't to stop cholera in its tracks. They can't do that in Haiti with just 200,000 doses — enough for only 100,000 people — that's all the manufacturer can offer.

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