As soon as new French President Francois Hollande was sworn in on Tuesday, he observed a postwar custom and reached out to Germany, in a move intended to underscore European solidarity and the importance of the alliance.
But it wasn't a relaxing social visit. Hollande's plane was struck by lightning en route to Berlin and had to return to Paris as a precaution. He then took another plane.
Time now for a home viewing recommendation from our film critic Bob Mondello. This time Bob urges taking the plunge from the seven-and-a-half-th floor into the Criterion Collection's Blu-ray release of Being John Malkovich.
When Facebook goes public this week, the company will be valued at roughly $100 billion.
It will be the highest valuation ever for an initial public offering of a tech company. Is Facebook really worth this much money?
One way to frame the question is to consider a single fraction.
The number on top of the fraction is the total value of the company. The number on the bottom is the company's profits over the past year. This fraction is called the price-to-earnings ratio. It's widely used by investors in stocks.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I've ever walked in my sleep. There's a family story that I'd like to label fiction about a somnolent bathroom run that ended in a closet. But if it ever happened, I don't remember it.
Carlos Fuentes, one of the most prolific and best known Spanish-language authors, has died. His death was reported on Twitter by Mexican president Felipe Calderon. The Mexican daily Reforma, which Fuentes often wrote for, reports the author died after experiencing heart problems.
He was 83.
"I am profoundly sorry for the death our loved and admired Carlos Fuentes, writer and universal Mexican. Rest in peace," Calderon wrote on Twitter.
Living in the middle of a natural gas boom can be pretty unsettling. The area around the town of Silt, Colo., used to be the kind of sleepy rural place where the tweet of birds was the most you would hear. Now it's hard to make out the birds because of the rumbling of natural gas drilling rigs.
The land here is steep cliffs and valleys. But bare splotches of earth called well pads are all over the place.
"That's the one I'm worried about because it just went in," says Tim Ray.
Lisa Marie Presley is a curiosity. Famous from birth, she is rock's only real princess. Her face is a stunning combination of her parents' best features. Her marriages have been, well, unusual. Who could forget her awkward television kiss with then-husband Michael Jackson? Or the few months of wedded bliss to actor and Elvis fanatic Nicolas Cage? She has led a colorful life — one that overshadowed her music career when she started making records in 2003.
Fans of the Chicago Cubs come up with all kinds of explanations for the team's epic ineptitude: the curse of the Billy Goat, Steve Bartman's 2003 foul ball catch, and generations of incompetent management. In the Wall Street Journal today, Rich Cohen comes to a different conclusion: Wrigley Field. Destroy it, annihilate it, he wrote. Implosion or explosion, get rid of it, not merely the structure but the ground on which it stands.
The New York City police reported that its officers stopped and frisked almost 700,000 people last year, which prompted a fresh round of protests over the controversial policy. In today's Washington Post, Richard Cohen writes that these questionable tactics have to be measured against their effects. New York City is heaven on earth, he wrote, possibly because it is a certain kind of hell for young black and Hispanic men. Do results justify questionable police tactics?
Over his long academic career, Bernard Lewis has arguably become the world's greatest historian of the Middle East. Now, at 96, Lewis turns his attention inward in a memoir that looks back on his life, work and legacy.
The linguist and scholar's career began before World War II, and in a new memoir he covers more than a few sensitive areas, from race and slavery in Islam, to the clash of civilizations and his long argument with scholar Edward Said, to his role as an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
"Many black women are fat because we want to be." With those words in a New York Times op-ed, novelist Alice Randall sparked a controversy. Touching on flashpoints of race, weight, politics and gender, her contention prompted a debate and raised serious questions about health, culture and race.
NATO has just asked the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the May 20-21 summit in Chicago. The AP says the overture signals that the rift between NATO and Islamabad may be coming to a resolution.
To the average observer, they look like ordinary pigeons, caged into a balcony in a high-rise Beijing apartment. But make no mistake. These cooing birds, according to breeder Yang Shibo, are like top-of-the-line sports cars.
"These are the Ferraris of the bird world," he says. "They're the most expensive, and the fastest."
The price of racing pigeons is soaring sky-high, pushed up by wealthy Chinese buyers.
Americans Elect, the nationwide effort to launch a credible third-party presidential campaign, has money, media attention and — most importantly — access to the ballot in dozens of states.
What it doesn't have is a candidate for president.
So if it follows its own rules, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization won't field a presidential candidate alongside President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Nov. 6, it announced Tuesday.
But the group also left the door open to bending those rules.
Two soundbites from CEO Jamie Dimon at today's shareholders meeting
The Justice Department has begun looking into JPMorgan Chase's $2 billion-and-counting loss from a hedge account, The Wall Street Journal reports. It cites "a person familiar with the matter" as its source.
The Journal adds that "the probe is at an early stage and it isn't clear what possible legal violation federal investigators may be focusing on."
With the economic troubles of the past few years, it's no surprise that the number of people using food stamps is soaring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that an average of 44 million people were on food assistance last year; that's up from 17 million in 2000.
What might be surprising, though, is one subgroup that's taken a particularly hard hit.
The school year is winding down, and lots of young people are in the market for a summer job. But finding one in this economy can be hard, especially for teenagers. Host Michel Martin speaks with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis about what the Obama Administration is trying to do to help.
Republican Ron Paul is not shuttering his presidential campaign, his chief strategist says in a memo sent this morning to supporters and the news media.
"Let me be very clear," said Jesse Benton, "Dr. Paul is NOT dropping out or suspending his campaign."
"As Dr. Paul has previously stated, he is in this race all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August," Benton said. The campaign will, though, be "maximizing our resources" by not investing in remaining primary states, he said.
Audra McDonald has starred in stage classics and on TV, where she played a leading role on the ABC drama Private Practice for four seasons. But the actress might be better known for her stunning voice and for her performances in the Broadway productions of Carousel, Master Class and Ragtime, which helped her rack up three Tony Awards before the age of 30. She won a fourth Tony for her performance in A Raisin in the Sun, putting her in the company of Broadway greats Gwen Verdon and Mary Martin.
Already in the spotlight over whether it executed one innocent man — Cameron Todd Willingham — in 2004, the state of Texas now faces questions about whether another man may have been wrongly condemned to death.
If you've got cancer, chances are you'd rather take a pill to fight the cancer cells than sit for hours hooked up to an IV line as the chemotherapy drips slowly into you.
The difficulty is, many of the new cancer pills, which often target cancer cells for destruction but leave healthy cells intact, are pricey, costing tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. And how some insurers pay for treatments means that pills can wind up costing a patient more than chemotherapy given by IV.