ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
Document prep technician Carol Sine (left) and tracer Debra Barrett process firearm transaction documents at the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) processes firearm transaction documents from firearms dealers no longer in business, no matter the condition of the documents, such as this fire-and-water damaged ledger at their National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.
A pilgrim walks the Way of St. James outside Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, on July 21, 2010. The ancient religious pilgrimage is also attracting the nonreligious these days.
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
"I always wanted to do this pilgrimage for the adventure and spiritual growth," says Pascal Begin, a 55-year-old French parish priest. "But whether you're religious or not, everyone is looking for simplicity and getting to know themselves and meeting others. It's just human."
Credit Xurxo Lobato / Cover/Getty Images
A pilgrim prays before a crucifix in Somport, France, along the Way of St. James. Last year, nearly 200,000 pilgrims walked the journey.
A 1,200-year old European pilgrimage route is experiencing a revival. Last year alone, some 200,000 followed in the footsteps of their medieval forebears on the Way of St. James, making their way some 750 miles from Paris across France to the Spanish coastal city of Santiago de Compostela, and the relics of the eponymous apostle.
A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday A tornado as much as a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.
A massive tornado ripped through the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, according to the state medical examiner's office.
The death toll was expected to rise.
Helicopter images showed large tracts of Moore, Okla., completely leveled by what the National Weather Service says was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles.
Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr could be considered a bargain compared with its other big-dollar bets. The company's history is dotted with pricey purchases of once-hot Web properties that had more promise than eventual purpose. A look back:
When movie stars become unbankable, they're no longer a slam dunk at the box office. When investments become unbankable, they're relegated to the Wall Street's junk pile. For ordinary Americans deemed unbankable — those who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.
And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?
Iranians choose a new president next month, and one thing Iran's leaders are intent on avoiding is a repeat of the massive street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in 2009.
The sponsors of those protests, known as the Green Movement, have been effectively silenced inside Iran, but not online. The heroine of a graphic novel about the violent suppression of dissent in 2009 is now launching a virtual campaign of her own.
William von Schneidau, an intrepid butcher in Seattle, is giving a whole new meaning to "potbelly pig." Lately, he's been feeding marijuana refuse to the pigs he turns into prosciutto for BB Ranch, his butcher shop in the city's famous Pike Place Marke
For years, one of the pieces of advice we've been ignoring is that we should really cut back on our salt intake. Now, a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine says limiting salt below a certain amount may not really do us any good. Around here, we take this to mean: Eat as much salt as you can or you'll die.
Beijing has long been about the closest thing to an ally that Pyongyang enjoys, but the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat by unidentified North Koreans has threatened to put an already tenuous relationship on even shakier ground.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was quoted by The New York Timesas making it fairly clear that his government was not happy about the development.
After uproar over some lesson plans some conservatives deemed un-American, a Texas company has decided scrap a curriculum system used by 877 school districts that were too small or too poor to produce their own.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, when you think about poverty in this country, you might think about certain people living in certain places. It turns out that some of those old assumptions are wrong. For example, more poor people now live in the suburbs. We'll talk about why that is in just a few minutes.
The union that represents 12,000 officers who process immigration applications said they will oppose a bipartisan bill that seeks to overhaul the nation's immigration policies.
As Fox News reports, The National CIS Council is the second union to oppose the bill being discussed in Congress. The National ICE Council, which represents Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, has expressed its opposition to the bill for a while now.
Yahoo confirmed early Monday morning that it is buying Tumblr in a deal worth about $1.1 billion. "Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business," Yahoo added.
In its statement announcing the deal, Yahoo says that:
Protesters participate in a rally near the federal courthouse March 18 in New York. Lawyers for four men who say they were illegally stopped said many of the 5 million people stopped, questioned and sometimes frisked by police in the past decade were wrongly targeted because of their race.
Closing arguments are set to take place Monday in the federal class action trial involving New York City's stop-and-frisk policy. The trial has been going on for two months in Manhattan.
Plaintiffs in Floyd v. City of New York claim the New York Police Department, its supervisors and its union pressured police officers to stop, question and frisk hundreds of thousands of people each year, even establishing quotas. They argue that 88 percent of the stops involved blacks and Hispanics, mostly men, and were in fact a form of racial profiling.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Germany paid a price for asserting its financial power. Germans, more than others, had to finance bailouts for countries like Greece, and imposed austerity measures in return. Those who disapprove may have struck back. People across the continent and beyond watched the Eurovision song contest.