News Archive - June 26, 2013

As People Head Into Space, PayPal Says It Will Follow Them

Many people know how to buy things in cyberspace. But what about doing business in outer space? That's the question PayPal wants to answer. Citing the looming era of space tourism, the company is starting the Galactic project with the SETI Institute, to "make universal space payments a reality."

NPR Special Coverage: Court Issues Opinions On Major Cases

NPR special coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings this week that had major impact on the issues of same-sex marriage, affirmative action and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

After Drifting For Hours On Arctic Ice Floe, 20 Tourists Are Safe

Tuesday morning, the tourists' guides woke up to realize their group was camping on top of an ice floe that had become disconnected from the shore and was drifting away.

Man Indicted In Scheme To Blackmail Romney Over Tax Returns

The indictment says Michael Mancil Brown of Franklin, Tenn., "falsely stated that he had stolen tax documents for Willard M. Romney and Ann D. Romney for tax years prior to 2010." Brown now faces federal charges of fraud and extortion.

Same-Sex-Marriage Fight Shifts Back To States

The dual victories the Supreme Court handed to same-sex-marriage supporters Thursday mean Washington will no longer be the focus of the fight. The next gay-rights battles will be over state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The Wendy Davis Rocket Ride

The Texas lawmaker whose filibuster helped block passage of sweeping abortion restrictions became a national political star overnight. It's an impressive ride for a former single mom who once lived in a trailer park.

Texas Legislators Called Back For Special Session On Abortion Bill

Gov. Rick Perry calls for a special session to take up a controversial bill to restrict abortion in Texas, after an attempted filibuster and crowd noise combined to keep a vote on the bill from occurring before midnight Tuesday.

Higher Maryland Gas Tax Could Help Fund Widening Of I-270

Some Maryland residents want revenue from the state's increasing gas tax to go to widening I-270 north of Germantown, but smart growth advocates aren't so sure.

Wagshal's Opens Second D.C. Location

Wagshal's, a D.C.-based supermarket that has operated since 1925, has opened its second location near American University.

How The End Of DOMA Will Affect Obamacare, Federal Employees

Once the dust settles and new policies can be drawn up, federal employees in same-sex marriages will be able to enroll their partners in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. For lower-income people seeking coverage under Obamacare, marriage may not provide a financial advantage.

Ultramarathoners: Faster, Higher, Stronger And Sleepier

An experiment with runners in the Italian Alps finds that extremely long races don't always lead to more muscle fatigue than those that were merely very long. Smart pacing and strategic naps help ultramarathoners cope with the challenges.

Federer Loses In Wimbledon's Second Round As Upsets Continue

Roger Federer, who last year won his seventh Wimbledon title, is out of the 2013 tournament after falling to Ukrainian Sergei Stakhovsky. Maria Sharapova also lost. The upsets come two days after Rafael Nadal, who was in the same side of the bracket as Federer, was upset in the first round.

NFL Tight End Aaron Hernandez Charged With Murder

State and local police arrested Aaron Hernandez, 23, at his North Attleboro, Mass., home Wednesday. He was arraigned in Attleboro District Court on charges of first-degree murder and five gun-related crimes.

Can You Be Addicted To Carbs? Scientists Are Checking That Out

Researchers are trying to figure out if it really is possible to be addicted to food. A study of brain activity finds there's more going on in areas linked to reward and addiction after people drink a shake with lots of refined carbohydrates. But it's not clear how that factors into overeating.

NIH Takes Another Step Toward Retirement Of Research Chimps

The vast majority of the animals are used in studies of things like genetics and behavior. But in recent years, the scientific community has begun to feel even these studies are unnecessary.

Thanks, But No: Social Media Refuses To Share With Turkey

In its latest effort to rein in the country's vibrant social media, Turkey says it has requested cooperation from Twitter and Facebook; they're not playing ball. Protesters are embracing social media — and the government has complained that such outlets won't share user data with law enforcement.

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

Labor-starved farmers are now eyeing lettuce-picking robots to help with the harvest. But more robots on the farm could also spell trouble for smaller producers that can't afford them.

Black Bear Roams In D.C., Days After Red Panda's Jaunt

First there was Rusty, the red panda. Now there are reports that a bear was captured in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, prompting (mostly unserious) concerns of a possible ursine siege on the nation's capital.

Justice Kennedy At Center Of Gay Rights Decisions For A Decade

Justice Anthony Kennedy has now written two landmark gay rights decisions, emerging as cautious but pivotal voice in advance of same-sex marriage.

Black Bear Caught In Northwest D.C.

A 100-pound black bear was caught this morning in Northwest D.C. and will be relocated to the National Zoo.

WATCH: Reactions To Gay Marriage Rulings

There were cheers and jeers when the court handed down two landmark rulings.

Revised GDP Numbers Weaker Than Projected

Gross domestic product expanded at a rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter, down from the 2.4 percent pace previously reported.

Angry Chinese Workers Resort To Direct Action

The U.S. executive of a Chinese factory was prevented by workers from leaving the facility following a decision to shut down part of the business and move the some jobs to India where wages are lower. The story shows how widespread labor-related strife is in the world's most populous nation, and how the bottom line dictates where jobs go.

The U.S. Wants Snowden. Why Won't The World Cooperate?

The world has been thumbing its nose at the U.S. government as it seeks the extradition of Edward Snowden, who's accused of espionage for revealing U.S. surveillance programs.

Men Pick Robotic Surgery For Prostate Cancer Despite Risks

Men with low-grade prostate cancer are choosing robotic surgery and other expensive treatments, even though they probably don't need treatment at all, a study says. Less testing and waiting before deciding to treat would reduce harmful side effects in many cases.

After DOMA: What's Next For Gay Married Couples

With the Supreme Court declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the next move will likely be executive action by President Obama to equalize federal marriage benefits.

Laughing Gas Gets A Safety Check

There have been nagging questions about whether nitrous oxide during surgery raises the risk of heart attacks and other problems. Now, there's some reassurance, though no definitive answer, from a study that looked at the widely used anesthetic.

Read The Rulings: Inside The Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are now entitled to the same federal benefits as married opposite-sex couples. They also weighed in on California's same-sex marriage ban. Read annotated versions of the rulings.

Cuccinelli Asks Supreme Court To Void Lower Court Ruling On Anti-Sodomy Law

The Virginia attorney general says that a lower court misinterpreted the scope of the commonwealth's anti-sodomy law, which he says allows him to prosecute the worst types of sex offenders.

National Cathedral To Hold Prayer Service For LGBT Families

The prayer service comes on the same day that the Supreme Court is expected to rule on two same-sex marriage cases.

Beachgoers Make Explosive Discovery On Assateague Island

Over 100 World War II-era explosives washed up on a beach on Assateague Island on Monday, causing military personnel and rangers to scramble to detonate them.

Court Overturns DOMA, Sidesteps Broad Gay Marriage Ruling

A pair of 5-4 Supreme Court rulings struck down as unconstitutional a federal law denying benefits to same-sex couples and cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California.

D.C. Promises That Long-Awaited Northeast Bike Trail Will Be Completed

The eight-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail from downtown D.C. to Silver Spring remains unfinished, but D.C. officials are promising progress in the coming year.

Are HBCUs in Trouble? An Evergreen Question

Some tough news about several historically black colleges has prompted folks to wonder if they're viable and necessary — questions that sometimes simplify their strengths and challenges.

WATCH: Teary Paula Deen Says She's No Racist

"I believe that every creature on this earth... was created equal," Deen said in an interview with the Today Show.

Fruity With A Hint Of Bologna: A Slacker's Guide To Wine Tasting

Science is a beautiful thing — especially when it helps you impress your foodie friends. Here we present five easy party tricks — based on science, natch — that will make you look like a wine tasting pro. Do try this at home.

Prime Minister Julia Gilliard Ousted By Kevin Rudd

Gillard was Australia's first female prime minister. She said her gender doesn't explain everything, but it "doesn't explain nothing."

Supreme Court Expected To Issue Historic Rulings On Gay Marriage

The high court is considering challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a voter-backed law banning gay marriage in California. The outcome of the two cases could shape the future of same-sex marriage in the country.

Clock Runs Out On Controversial Texas Abortion Bill

After a dramatic evening that included a filibuster, procedural back-and-forth and the crowds of chanting protesters in the Capitol, Texas lawmakers failed to pass sweeping abortion restrictions before a midnight deadline.