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The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., is sometimes called the second most important court in the country, regularly delivering the final word on major environmental, labor and national security cases.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has a whopping four vacancies, the most in the nation, including one opening that dates all the way back to 2005, when John Roberts moved to the U.S. Supreme Court.

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition. You can find hundreds of six-word submissions and submit your own at www.theracecardproject.com.

Michael Ellison has a tough assignment. He's the associate dean of admissions choosing the first class of a brand new medical school, the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

"We have over 1,600 applicants, and we will interview 400 for 60 spots," Ellison says.

The school has a very specific mission: minting doctors who want to go into primary care practice.

When it comes to claiming Social Security benefits, there is no magic age. Today's boomers can begin collecting full benefits at 66, tap in early for a modified benefit at 62 or delay receiving benefits until 70.

But the importance of making a smart decision on how and when benefits are claimed can't be underestimated, says Mary Beth Franklin of Investment News.

States Propose Crackdowns On Copper Theft

Apr 2, 2013

The price of copper remains at near historic highs, and that means so, too, does the amount of copper getting stolen.

Everything from telephone wire to plumbing is a target, and lawmakers in nearly half the states are considering legislation aimed at making it harder for thieves to sell the stolen metal.

James City County in southeastern Virginia has seen a spate of recent copper thefts. Maj. Steve Rubino with the county police department says there have been six major incidents since January.

We told you in February about Aereo, a service that allows its users to watch TV over the Internet. As we said at the time, the service was attracting waves of lawsuits.

Borscht and vareniki are on the menu at Taras Bulba, a restaurant named after Nikolai Gogol's Ukrainian folk hero. It's one of many Russian-owned businesses in Limassol, Cyprus.

Approximately 30,000 Russians live in this city — about a quarter of the population. There are Russian hair salons, supermarkets, schools and even a radio station.

Limassol's mayor, Andreas Christou, studied mechanical engineering in Moscow and speaks Russian fluently. He says Russians came to the city in droves after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

We've all heard that eating fish is good for us. Regularly eating fish has been linked to a host of health benefits – for our hearts, our eyes, and our brains.

Several years ago, when Nora Ephron handed Tom Hanks an early draft of Lucky Guy, her play about tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, he had a pretty strong reaction.

"I said, 'Well, that guy's sure a jerk!' I used another word besides jerk — I know what you can say on NPR," he says. "And she laughed and she said, 'Well, he kinda was. But he was kinda great, too.'"

Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?

To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer — embedded in literature.

Several years ago, more or less on a lark, a group of researchers from England used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from every year of the 20th century — close to a billion words in millions of books.

Opposition research exists mostly in the political shadows. So perhaps it's fitting that this boot camp is in an generic conference room in a generic airport hotel outside of Washington, D.C.

It's run by private investigator Larry Zilliox, who specializes in opposition research. He allowed me to attend a session, but not to take pictures.

Zilliox is cagey about his clients: "As a general rule, it suits me best not to comment on who I've worked for. Everybody is better off that way."

A small herd of European bison will soon be released in Germany's most densely populated state, the first time in nearly three centuries that these bison — known as wisents — will roam freely in Western Europe.

The project is the brainchild of Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. He owns more than 30,000 acres, much of it covered in Norwegian spruce and beech trees in North Rhine-Westphalia.

For the 78-year-old logging magnate, the planned April release of the bull, five cows and two calves will fulfill a decade-old dream.

The newly elected pope's focus on the poor and the marginalized has instilled great faith among many Catholic women. They hope the papacy of Pope Francis will promote a leading role for women in the church.

A group of American nuns and Catholic women recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to make their requests heard.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein ruled Monday on the most important question facing Stockton, Calif. — whether it could enter into federal bankruptcy protection.

Klein agreed that the city is, in fact, broke.

But he didn't decide the question of whether the city must renegotiate its pension obligations, as some of its creditors had hoped.

Star Of MTV's 'Buckwild' Found Dead

Apr 1, 2013

One of the stars of the MTV reality show Buckwild was found dead Monday in an SUV along with his uncle and a third, as-yet-unidentified person, the Kanawha County, W.Va., Sheriff's Office said.

The bodies of Shain Gandee, 21, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and the third person were inside a 1984 Ford Bronco in a wooded area near Sissonville, W.Va., about 15 miles from Charleston. A statement from the Sheriff's Office said there was no sign of foul play.

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