When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose in February, the New York City medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of "acute mixed drug intoxication." Heroin, cocaine and a widely prescribed class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos, were found in his system.
On Lisbon's cobblestone lanes, the Portuguese economy is hobbling along as it always has — in cash.
In a tiny, 100-year-old bar, Nuno Goncalves pours out glasses of ginja — a Portuguese sweet cherry liqueur — for his customers, mostly old men in flat caps. A small shot-glass full costs 50 cents — cash only. There is a cash register, but it doesn't print receipts.
Freight trains roll through the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Ill., every day, many pulling older tank cars known as DOT-111s. They're known as the "soda can" of rail cars, says village President Karen Darch, because their shells are so thin.
Many of the DOT-111s are full of heavy Canadian tar sands crude oil. Some carry ethanol. And more and more of them are loaded with light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.
When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.
Traditionally, pawn shops have been the last stop for people desperate for cash. But now there's a small but growing group of pawn shops for the wealthy.
Actor and model Regi Huc needed $75,000 in a hurry last year. He was making his first feature film, and needed to do re-shoots before the deadline to enter this year's film festivals.
On paper his finances look good. He owns some buildings in Philadelphia and has a stake in a family business, but he needed that money within a week. He didn't have the cash in his bank account. He didn't have time to apply for a loan.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
A standoff between federal agents and a Nevada rancher is over for now. Over the weekend, the Bureau of Land Management released about 400 head of cattle it had rounded up, fearing a violent confrontation. Militia members, including many with guns, had rallied in support of the rancher, Cliven Bundy, and his family. NPR's Ted Robbins has the story.
The war in Syria, now in its fourth year, has created a massive humanitarian crisis. More than 2 million Syrians have left the country in an attempt to escape the conflict. Millions more have been displaced inside Syria, forced to leave their homes to survive.
In March, the United Nations World Food Programme reported that a potential drought in the area could significantly hurt food production in Syria:
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. Arun Rath is away. I'm Tess Vigeland. The crisis in Eastern Ukraine seems to be worsening. The government in Kiev says it is prepared for a large-scale assault on separatists who have taken over government buildings in cities near the Russian border. Clashes between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian government turned deadly in the City of Slavyansk. NPR's Ari Shapiro is in Donetsk and he joins us now with the latest. Ari, tell us what happened overnight.
Encryption software meant to protect users online had a giant hole in it. Researchers found the Heartbleed bug Monday but Jordan Robertson from Bloomberg Businessweek tells guest host Tess Vigeland says it's been around for a while.
The 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is almost upon us, but the celebrations began this week at the Johnson presidential library. A speech by President Obama referenced "doors of opportunity" swung open by the passage of this piece of landmark legislation. But for those of us who remember when the doors were tightly shut, other images come to mind. No, it's not the soft, grainy black-and-white images of well-dressed men and women marching nobly to end the evils of segregation. What we see is churches on fire, smoke and violence.
Many of Don Kluemper's management students at the University of Illinois at Chicago have had this experience: After going on a job interview, they sometimes receive "friend" requests from their interviewers.
It puts the students in a bind, he says. They fear that not accepting the request might hurt their job chances, but they also feel compelled to scrub their profiles before accepting.
"They didn't know why they were being friended," Kluemper says. "If it was some personal request or if the person was going to be screening their profile."
The General Motors recall puts its dealerships in an uncomfortable spot, having to placate customers as both parties wait for replacement parts to arrive. Brian Bull of WCPN reports that many are reconsidering whether they'll ever buy a GM car again.
Some things in life are just too painful to accept, and the same is true in novels. Family Life is the story of the Mishras, who immigrate to the U.S. in the late 1970s from India. Their departure is such a big deal that townspeople gather around just to have a look at their airplane tickets. Expectations of the life that awaits them start to build. "Americans clean themselves with paper, not water," says a classmate of the younger Mishra brother, Ajay, who narrates the novel. "In America, they say 'yeah' not yes," the boy goes on. To which Ajay replies, "That's nothing.