NPR News

Homegrown rebels have done most of the fighting against the Syrian government troops. But Islamist militants from abroad, including some with links to al-Qaida, are now joining the fight against the government in growing numbers.

The local rebels are not pleased with this development, and there is growing tension between the groups that share a desire to oust President Bashar Assad but little else.

Until a few weeks ago, the border crossing at Bab al-Hawa on Syria's northern frontier with Turkey was the site of a training camp for a militant Islamist group.

So you're minding your own business when all of a sudden, a nuclear bomb goes off, there's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction and you, having somehow survived, need a drink. What can you do? There is no running water, not where you are. But there is a convenience store. It's been crushed by the shock wave, but there are still bottles of beer, Coke and diet soda intact on the floor.

So you wonder: Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down? Or is it too radioactive? And what about taste? If I drink it, will it taste OK?

(This post was updated at 10:05 a.m. ET.)

In the morning's second sign of strength in the housing sector, the National Association of Realtors reports that sales of existing homes rose 7.8 percent in August from July and were 9.3 percent above the pace of August 2011.

The End Of WASP-Dominated Politics

Sep 19, 2012

Just looking at Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, you might not think of them as cultural pioneers. But the Republicans make up the first presidential ticket in history not to feature a Protestant.

Romney is Mormon, Ryan, Catholic. That might not seem like such a big deal — especially when you consider they are running against the first African-American president.

But all of these individuals are emblematic of an enormous shift in both American demographics and political power.

Hearing about the 18-inning, 5 hours and 44 minutes-long game between the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners that stretched from last night into today set us off in search of news about Major League Baseball's longest games.

Spanish-language network Univision will broadcast the first part of its presidential forum Wednesday night. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will be the first candidate to appear, and President Obama follows Thursday night.

The presidential interviews came after a dramatic clash that would rival any of the network's famous telenovelas. Univision confronted the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit group that organizes the candidate debates, after it announced an all-white lineup of moderators.

Space shuttle Endeavour has taken off on its farewell tour across the country.

The third of the retired fleet of four to head off to a retirement home, Endeavour is being ferried from Florida to Los Angeles — with a stop on the way in Houston. It is perched atop a 747.

A French magazine's publication today of "crude caricatures" depicting the Prophet Muhammad has that nation on alert and preparing to close 20 of its embassies in Muslim nations.

Congress is set to make a brief appearance in Washington this week, then recess until after Election Day. That means a farm bill is likely to be left undone, just one of the many items on lawmakers' "to-do" lists that won't happen anytime soon.

Pages