News From NPR

Twenty-five years ago this week, four Los Angeles policemen — three of them white — were acquitted of the savage beating of Rodney King, an African-American man. Caught on camera by a bystander, graphic video of the attack was broadcast into homes across the nation and worldwide.

Fury over the acquittal — stoked by years of racial and economic inequality in the city — spilled over into the streets, resulting in five days of rioting in Los Angeles. It ignited a national conversation about racial and economic disparity and police use of force that continues today.

Researchers in Southern California say they've uncovered evidence that humans lived there 130,000 years ago.

If it's true, it would be the oldest sign of humans in the Americas ever — predating the best evidence up to now by about 115,000 years. And the claim has scientists wondering whether to believe it.

A U.S. missile defense system that's now being installed in South Korea will be operational "in the coming days," says Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

For more than four decades, Jonathan Demme threaded a diverse path through the film industry — beginning as a publicist, filming everything from documentaries to comedic sendups, and finally earning the status of Oscar-winning elder statesman. He was 73.

The director died Wednesday in Manhattan from complications of esophageal cancer. His publicist, 42 West, confirmed Demme's death to NPR.

Demme made films such as The Silence of the Lambs and Stop Making Sense that have helped define their respective genres.

If all goes to plan, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will beam new images of Saturn and its rings to Earth early Thursday, sharing data collected Wednesday from its first dive through the gap between the planet and its striped belt of ice and rock particles.

Today's dive also marks the start of the final phase in the craft's 13-year visit to Saturn. Days ago, it used the gravity of Saturn's moon Titan to bend its path toward its eventual destruction on the planet.

Chinese officials smashed a bottle of Champagne on the bow of their second aircraft carrier Wednesday, launching what the Defense Ministry calls the country's first "homemade" carrier — which took less than four years to build.

The as-yet-unnamed carrier joins the Liaoning, a repurposed 1980s-era Soviet ship that was bought from Ukraine and launched in 2012. Together, the Chinese ships represent a new dimension in the increasingly crowded waters in and around Asia, where claims and counter-claims have been made on islands and shipping routes.

Appliance manufacturers and home builders are in Washington, D.C., today to celebrate a popular energy efficiency program, even as it's slated for elimination in President Trump's proposed budget.

You probably know the program's little blue label with the star — the Environmental Protection Agency says 90 percent of U.S. households do.

The festivities at this month's third annual Qingyuan marathon, in southern China's Guangdong province, begin at 7 a.m.

On one side of the starting line, there's a traditional Chinese music troupe in robes and long, flowing beards; on the other, there's a stage full of dancing girls wearing skimpy marathon attire, gyrating their hips in unison to a rap song.

Stuck in the middle are more than 23,000 runners, itching to start. The music stops, a gun is fired, and for the next half-hour, runners jostle with one another to cross the starting line

In the summer of 1945, John F. Kennedy traveled across Europe working as a journalist. He kept a diary during those months on the road, which reveals a future president trying to make sense of a rapidly changing postwar world.

The leather-bound diary will be put up for auction Wednesday, after sitting quietly for nearly six decades in the hands of a former campaign worker. Bidding is expected to top $200,000.

In the cool mountains of the Upper Yangtze region, Chinese villagers clamber up dogwood and maple trees to gather what Dr. Oz has called a "miracle anti-aging pill." The small, red schisandra berry has a peculiar taste — five tastes, in fact, because it's considered to be at once sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent.

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The White House is banging the drums that President Trump is doing something big again ahead of his 100th day in office — unveiling a tax "plan."

"This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country," Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a panel Wednesday morning.

Researchers in Germany have found that getting drunk is associated with abnormal heart rhythms.

Their study was conducted in a place teeming with potential research subjects.

Just six years after Portugal's 2011 financial bailout sparked protests and sent the country's young people abroad in search of work, the country is experiencing an economic revival.

Mario Mouraz was one of those who left Portugal looking for work. Now, after three years abroad, he's back, selling his own software to Lisbon hotels in the middle of a tourist boom.

Baby humpback whales seem to whisper to their mothers, according to scientists who have captured the infant whales' quiet grunts and squeaks.

The recordings, described in the journal Functional Ecology, are the first ever made with devices attached directly to the calves.

President Trump's campaign rallies were defined by three slogans, three syllables each, which the candidate led the crowd in chanting: "Build the wall," condemning illegal immigration; "Lock her up," attacking Democratic rival Hillary Clinton; and "Drain the swamp," all about cleaning up Washington.

Terrill Thomas, 38, an inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail, was found dead in his cell on April 24, 2016.

Prosecutors say Thomas had been left alone for seven days without water, and the medical examiner's office says he died of "profound dehydration."

The District Attorney's Office is holding an inquest to determine whether a member of the jail staff should be charged in Thomas' death.

Cellphones and other electronic devices are not permitted inside the courtroom where Supreme Court justices hear cases.

Even lawyers arguing cases before the justices are forbidden from bringing in their cellphones.

Before entering the courtroom, visitors must leave their phones in lockers and pass through metal detectors.

During Tuesday morning's arguments in the case of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, the ring of a cellphone could be heard.

A liberal watchdog group says Jared Kushner, who is both President Trump's son-in-law and an adviser with far-reaching duties, should recuse himself from working on a sweeping array of tax, financial and foreign policy issues.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that could end up shrinking — or even nullifying — some large federal national monuments on protected public lands, as established since the Clinton administration.

President Trump has chosen Randolph "Tex" Alles to lead the U.S. Secret Service, turning to an outsider to head the beleaguered agency tasked with protecting the president and his family.

A retired Marine Corps general, Alles is currently acting deputy commissioner of customs and border protection. He is the first Secret Service director in recent history not to come from within the ranks — a step many congressional critics have said is necessary to remake the service's culture.

Updated 11:45 p.m. ET

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal funds from jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities, commonly known as sanctuary cities.

The Cherokee Nation is suing top drug distributors and pharmacies — including Wal-Mart — alleging they profited greatly by "flooding" communities in Oklahoma with prescription painkillers, leading to the deaths of hundreds of tribal members.

For the first time in more than a decade, Mexicans no longer make up the majority of immigrants staying in the U.S. illegally, according to new estimates by the Pew Research Center.

TV and film writers resumed contract negotiations Tuesday with Hollywood producers with a powerful bargaining tool. Late Monday, the Writers Guild of America said members had overwhelmingly authorized a strike if an agreement is not reached by May 1. That's when the current contract runs out.

More than 90 percent of eligible writers voted to authorize a strike, even though the last strike a decade ago cost some writers their jobs and shut down TV and movie production.

In November, young boxer Amaiya Zafar traveled from Minnesota to Florida to fight her first competitive bout.

But before Zafar even had her gloves on, officials called off the fight – they told the 16-year-old she had to remove the hijab she wore or forfeit the match. A devout Muslim, Zafar refused, and her 15-year-old opponent was declared the victor.

Two years ago, life was good for Sheryl Sandberg. The Facebook senior executive and mother of two had a best-selling book (Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead) and she and her husband, Dave Goldberg, decided to take a vacation. But on that vacation, Goldberg collapsed at the gym from heart failure and died. He was 47 years old.

One of NASCAR's most popular drivers — and one of its most famous names — is leaving the racetrack. Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced Tuesday that he's retiring at the end of the season.

Earnhardt recently took a long break to recover from a series of concussions.

Just a few weeks ago, he told NPR he wasn't sure when he'd be leaving the sport.

It's been a tough three years for an already troubled city. When Flint, Mich., switched to using the Flint River for its drinking water as a cost-saving measure, then failed to properly treat it, lead pipes corroded and contaminated the water with lead.

But Flint residents are fighters, and many are beginning to see signs of hope for a better future.

The most visible are changes are in the city's downtown. There are coffeehouses and restaurants along Saginaw Street where 10 years ago there were almost none.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who's already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

People around the world use more than a trillion plastic bags every year. They're made of a notoriously resilient kind of plastic called polyethylene that can take decades to break down.

But the humble wax worm may hold the key to biodegrading them.

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist and beekeeper Federica Bertocchini was frustrated to find that her beehives were infested with the caterpillar larvae of Galleria mellonella, commonly known as a wax worm.

Pages