Robert Mueller became FBI director just days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, he's been the U.S. government's indispensable man when it comes to national security.
But Mueller's term has expired, and the clock is ticking on an unprecedented extension that Congress gave him two years ago.
The first time the Obama White House thought about a replacement for Mueller, back in 2011, officials threw up their hands and wound up begging him to stay. Congress passed a special law to allow it. Then Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa put his foot down.
Washington is awash in rumors this week that the White House is planning major changes in the way the U.S. donates food to fight hunger in some of the world's poorest countries.
It has set off an emotional debate. Both sides say they are trying to save lives.
America's policies on food aid are singularly generous — and also unusually selfish. On the generous side, the U.S. spends roughly $1.5 billion every year to send food abroad, far more than any other country.
President Obama was in Denver on Wednesday to rally support for gun control laws. Colorado has stepped up on both background checks and ammunition magazines, and Democrats there fear backlash next year.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and Booker Prize-winning novelist, has died at her home in New York. She was 85.
NPR's Bob Mondello reported on her career for NPR's Newscast Desk:
"With the films of Merchant/Ivory, you tend to think first of period-perfect costumes and settings, but it was Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's scripts that gave them substance. She was witty, cultivated and could be wonderfully precise about class and propriety in her adaptations of, say, E.M. Forster.
An international team of researchers announced in Switzerland on Wednesday that an experiment on the International Space Station may have seen hints of something called dark matter. The finding could be a milestone in the decades-long search for the universe's missing material.
Only a tiny sliver of stuff in the universe is visible to scientists; the rest is dark matter. Researchers don't know what it is, but they know it's there. Its gravity pulls on the things we can see.
Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.
But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.
Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.
The middle-income housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village sit on an 80-acre patch of Lower Manhattan. In 2006, they came to epitomize the lunatic excess of the housing boom when their 11,232 apartments sold for $5.4 billion. They were bought at a competitive auction by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty.
Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to take a hard look at how many soldiers and sailors it needs and what types of weapons it buys. He says the Pentagon is at war with itself: There are competing and spiraling costs within the military — for aging weapons, and for health and pension benefits for military personnel and retirees.
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, considered among the most vulnerable of the Senate's red-state Democrats facing 2014 re-election, now has at least one potential Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, whose congressional district includes Baton Rouge.
With one-quarter of adults over age 45 taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, it figures that more than a few people would have trouble sticking with the program.
More than a few, actually.
A big new study of statin use in the real world found that 17 percent of patients taking the pills reported side effects, including muscle pain, nausea, and problems with their liver or nervous system.
That's a lot higher than the 5 to 10 percent reported in the randomized controlled trials that provided evidence for regulatory approval of the medicines.