Last year, Joss Whedon put the blockbuster in summer blockbuster. He's the writer-director of "The Avengers," that crew of Marvel Comics superheroes whose story led to a super box office: one and a half billion dollars worldwide. It offered action and also repartee, like this moment of confrontation between Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man and Thor.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE AVENGERS")
CHRIS HEMSWORTH: (as Thor) You have no idea what you are dealing with.
Now let's take a look at the woman nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when Susan Rice steps down. Samantha Power has been working behind the scenes in the Obama administration on U.N.-related issues. Before that she was an activist and author of an influential book about preventing genocide.
As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Power's supporters see her as the conscience in the White House.
From southern Virginia to New England, lots of people are being treated to a cicada serenade. If these insects sound loud to you, that's because they are. They're so loud that some Navy engineers are trying to borrow their technique.
When the Transportation Security Administration recently said it was changing the rules to allow small knives and sports equipment as carry-on items on planes, that sparked an outcry over safety. The TSA is backing down and will require travelers to check those items after all.
Attorney General Eric Holder has been a lightning rod for the president's fiercest critics during his four years in office. Lately, he's been back on the hot seat with a crisis of his own making: the Justice Department's aggressive stance toward reporters in national security leak cases.
Holder heads to the Senate on Thursday, where lawmakers are sure to demand an explanation.
German Garcia-Velutini got into his car and left work one day. It took him 11 months to get home.
Kidnappers had nabbed the Venezuelan banker. His abduction is part of a problem that's been getting worse every year for the past decade in Venezuela, which belongs to a region riddled with crime and the most violent cities in the world.
Gracia-Velutini tells his story at an outdoor table at a hotel in Caracas, the capital, with a view of a mountainside that climbs into the clouds.
The International Monetary Fund has admitted "notable failures" in the Greek bailout, saying in a report Thursday that despite the steps Greece's recession and unemployment problem were more severe than anticipated.
The report said the program had succeeded in keeping Greece within the eurozone and mostly prevented the country's economic troubles from spilling over to the rest of the region. "However," it said:
Tropical Storm Andrea, the first named storm of the new hurricane season, has formed in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters expect the storm to bring heavy rains to Florida before moving up the East Coast.
The origin of the first primates — the group that includes humans, apes and monkeys — is thought to lie in the deep past, about 55 million years ago.
Fossils from that period are rare. But now, there's an exciting new one. It's called Archicebus achilles, roughly meaning "beginning long-tailed monkey." Actually, this creature lived before the monkeys we know of today, a mere 10 million years after the dinosaurs died out.
Andrea Sanderlin, a mother who drives a Mercedes SUV and lives in a large Scarsdale, N.Y., home, is facing serious drug charges after federal investigators accused her of being the mastermind behind an operation growing nearly 3,000 marijuana plants in a warehouse in Queens.