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A scientist who worked for the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and who pleaded guilty two years ago to promising to build nuclear weapons for Venezuela, has been sentenced to five years in jail.

Argentina-born Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, a 79-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, told undercover FBI agents posing as Venezuelan officials that he could design and supervise the building of 40 nuclear weapons for Caracas, including one targeted on New York City, in exchange for an unspecified amount of money.

Cuban President Raúl Castro seemed to throw some pretty big hurdles in front of efforts to establish normal diplomatic relations with the United States.

In a speech at a summit of Latin American countries, President Raúl Castro said a rapprochement with its northern neighbor would not make sense without three conditions: 1. The lifting of the U.S. embargo on Cuba. 2. The return of the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay. 3. Compensation for "human and economic damage" the Cuban people have suffered.

The government of Malaysia has now officially declared the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident.

The aircraft is thought to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean in March 2014, but search crews haven't found a trace of it.

The BBC reports:

When President Obama meets with House Democrats tonight during their retreat in Philadelphia, officials say he'll lay out the details of his budget proposal, which will include reversal of large cuts to federal spending instituted in 2013.

With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gasoline prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

The ouster of Bryan Stockton from his perch as CEO at Mattel this week came as the toymaker's best-known brands like Barbie stagnate and it loses business to Web-based games.

Stockton himself said last year that Mattel lacked an innovative culture and blamed it in part on something specific: bad meetings. That's a common and persistent corporate ailment.

Scott Ryan-Hart is a cartographer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, where a typical meeting can last more than two hours.

After the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act first went live in late 2013, Lori Lomas started combing the website of Covered California on a hunt for good deals for her clients. Lomas is an agent at Feather Financial, in the Sierra Nevada town of Quincy, Calif.; she's been selling health policies in rural communities for more than 20 years.

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig's single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they're not recyclable. And that's created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally.

As war rages in eastern Ukraine, European Union foreign ministers are preparing to meet Thursday to consider drastic new sanctions against Russia.

The EU and the United States say Moscow's troops and weapons are directly involved in an offensive by anti-government militias in Ukraine's eastern provinces.

The offensive is the latest phase in a war that has racked the region since last April — and it's grinding hard on the civilians who are caught in the middle.

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

McDonald's President and CEO Don Thompson is retiring and will be replaced by Steve Easterbrook, the fast-food giant said in a statement.

We wrote about dogs today and so, in the interest of bipartisanship, this story is about cats – one cat in particular: Bart.

Bart's owner, Ellis Hutson, 52, of Tampa, Fla., said he found the 1 1/2-year-old feline last week in the middle of the street. The cat was lifeless and lying in a pool of blood after apparently being struck by a car.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Robert Siegel talks to Steven Chercover, a research analyst who studies the paper and forest industries, about the trend of shrinking toilet paper rolls. The old standard square sheet of 4.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches long has been getting increasingly smaller.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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