NPR News

President Obama says he plans to pick a Supreme Court nominee following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, setting up a confrontation with Republicans who control the Senate.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the leading voice of uncompromising conservatism on the nation's highest court, was found dead Saturday, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed. Scalia, who had been staying at a luxury ranch in West Texas, was 79 years old.

Overall, natural gas is by far the most popular source of home heating in the U.S. But in the Northeast, homeowners are much more likely than in other regions to use heating oil.

Many homeowners are smiling this winter, because fuel prices are down 50 percent from two years ago.

But not everyone is happy. Buying heating oil is a little like playing poker: Bet on the wrong price and it'll cost you.

On Tuesday night, President Obama will give his final State of the Union address. It's the last big speech many Americans will watch him deliver, and he wants to leave a good impression.

Here are five things to watch for.

1. How different will this speech be from his past State of the Union addresses?

Leaders from around the world are converging on Paris for the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference. The two-week event is designed to allow countries the chance to come to an agreement on stifling climate change.

NPR's Ari Shapiro hosts a 1-hour special, with the help of NPR reporters, as well as experts from science, government, and business, to explain what's at stake and how it may — or may not — change the world's energy economy.

The room at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester had 400 seats set out for Bernie Sanders’ town hall meeting on Saturday; all of them were full and people were standing in the aisles. They’ve come for the message Sanders has been delivering with the consistency of a jackhammer for his whole political career.

Saying it wants to join an international treaty banning anti-personnel land mines, the U.S. announced today that it will no longer make "or otherwise acquire" them. The new policy was announced at a conference on the Ottawa Convention, a 1999 treaty that outlaws the mines.

The country's stronger stance on mines is part of a push "to end the use of all nondetectable mines and all persistent mines, which can remain active for years after the end of a conflict," according to a White House news release issued this morning.

Iraq's most-revered Shiite cleric called on the country's political blocs to agree on a prime minister in the next four days, putting pressure on a government that is struggling to address the growing security crisis.

The call Friday by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani came as Human Rights Watch said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Sunni extremist group that now controls large parts of Iraq, likely executed at least 160 unarmed men when it took the city of Tikrit.

Giorgio Chiellini, the Italian defender whose shoulder bore teeth marks after a clash with Uruguay's Luis Suarez during a World Cup match Tuesday, says FIFA's four-month ban of Suarez is too harsh. Chiellini released a statement on his website saying his thoughts are with the star striker and his family.

A free-trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union takes another step toward reality today, as the nation that's under pressure from pro-Russian separatists signs an economic agreement with the EU. The deal also includes two other former Soviet states, Moldova and Georgia.

The trade pact comes as a tense cease-fire is set to expire Friday in Ukraine, where government forces and militants have been locked in a confrontation for weeks. It also promises to push Ukraine firmly toward Europe, and away from Russia's influence.

Iraq is in chaos, but the country's ethnic Kurds might come out ahead.

They rule a semi-autonomous area in the north that is fairly prosperous and safe, and as the Iraqi army crumbled before militants this month, Kurdish forces moved in to take long-sought areas that had been under the central government in Baghdad.

The Kurds are now talking about their generations-old dream of independence, but they still face many dangers.

The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was fired a hundred years ago this weekend.

The assassination in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, triggered World War I and changed the course of the 20th century. The consequences of that act were devastating. But the beginning of the story sounds almost like a farce — complete with bad aim, botched poisoning and a wrong turn on the road.

Time is running out for Myanmar's opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in her bid to become president.

The long-serving political prisoner and democracy activist is now 67. If she wins general elections next year, she could become Asia's most famous politician.

As Pig Virus Spreads, The Price Of Pork Continues To Rise

Jun 27, 2014

If you're bringing home the bacon, you may have noticed a price tag inching upward.

Consumers are paying nearly 13 percent more for pork at the supermarket than they were this time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A deadly pig disease is partially to blame.

General Motors has issued an order to stop selling 2013 and 2014 model years of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car because of air bags that might not inflate properly. The automaker has identified 33,000 vehicles, mostly in the U.S. and Canada, with the potential problem and is expected to recall those already sold.

Howard Baker, who died Thursday at age 88, was a former Senate majority leader and chief of staff to President Reagan. Both his father and stepmother served in Congress; one of the Senate's office buildings is named for Baker's father-in-law, Everett Dirksen.

Perhaps we should have expected that the contradictory stories about a middle-aged man's heart attack would lead to a vigorous conversation about whether the doctors and nurses or the patient and his wife were right in their descriptions.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Let's go now to Massachusetts where staffs at abortion clinics are scrambling to adjust their plans after that ruling. From Boston, NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: The rules of the game have changed, as one abortion-rights activist put it, and protesters agree on that point. Ray Neery, who's been demonstrating outside Boston-area clinics for years, says he can do a better job now inside the 35 foot buffer zone than he could from the outside.

President Obama has asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels who are seeking the ouster of Bashar Assad.

If Congress approves the plan, it would supplement a covert training and assistance program already being run by U.S. intelligence agencies, The Associated Press says.

The White House says in a statement that the rebels would be vetted before providing assistance, to ensure that U.S. equipment doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

Scientists from many areas of biology are flocking to a technique that allows them to work inside cells, making changes in specific genes far faster — and for far less money — than ever before.

Pages