NPR News

Two thieves. Thirteen pieces of art. Twenty-seven years of mystery.

And now, a $10 million reward — for anyone who can bring those missing masterpieces back to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Two men disguised as police officers made off with the paintings and sketches in 1990. It is still the largest property crime ever carried out in America, and the biggest heist from an art museum anywhere in the world.

I often get asked what an "expanding universe" really means.

It's confusing, and for very good reasons. So, if you are perplexed by this, don't feel bad. We all are, although cosmologists — physicists that work on the properties of the universe — have figured out ways to make sense of it. In what follows, I'll try to explain how to picture this.

In the next few weeks, we will address other bizarre cosmic questions, such as the meaning of the Big Bang and the future and material composition of the universe.

Newly arrived from Moscow, just hours after cutting short his diplomatic visit to Russia, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stepped behind a lectern to explain his decision to declare martial law in the southern island of Mindanao.

With his right hand raised, Duterte made a stark pledge.

"If I think you should die, you will die. If you fight us, you will die. If there's an open defiance, you will die. And if it means many people dying, so be it," Duterte said at the news conference Wednesday. "That's how it is."

Sleek, high-tech wristbands are extremely popular these days, promising to measure heart rate, steps taken during the day, sleep, calories burned and even stress.

The year was 1945, and 2-year-old Lindy Thomson had been given a few weeks to live. She suffered from diarrhea and projectile vomiting, and she was so thin and weak, she could no longer walk. Her parents had taken her from doctor to doctor. Finally, Dr. Douglas Arnold in Buffalo, N.Y., offered a most unusual prescription: She was to eat bananas.

"At least seven bananas a day," recalls the patient, who now goes by her married name, Lindy Redmond.

It was in May 1986 that Top Gun brought the need for speed — and beach volleyball — to American movie theaters.

Melania Trump accompanied the president to the Vatican on Wednesday, wearing a black veil and a long-sleeved black Dolce & Gabbana dress.

African-American students say they matriculated to Duke Divinity School expecting to enhance their calling with top-notch theological training at a prestigious program. But instead, they say, they entered a racial nightmare seemingly from another era, with students being called the N-word and other slurs in class, consistently receiving lower grades than their white colleagues.

Taiwanese laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying violate their personal freedom and equal protection, the island's Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday. The justices called sexual orientation an "immutable characteristic that is resistant to change."

"The judges have today said yes to marriage equality," said Amnesty International's Lisa Tassi, who directs campaigns in East Asia. "This is a huge step forward for LGBTI rights in Taiwan and will resonate across Asia."

Prodigiously talented musician Sarah Jarosz returns to Mountain Stage this week with songs from her new album Undercurrent. Here she performs "House of Mercy" on a show that also features Robbie Fulks, Over the Rhine, The Black Lillies and Steve Forbert.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's a simple, frequently recurring phrase: "The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack." But it raises some questions: Is the claim credible or just an empty assertion, and if it's true, what does "responsibility" actually entail?

Experts who closely follow the Islamic State say that in general when it comes to attacks in the West, an ISIS claim of responsibility usually means there was some sort of connection. But the attack might have been planned, funded and directed by ISIS — or it could just have been inspired by the group's propaganda.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The father and younger brother of suspected Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi have been arrested in Libya.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The 'No Fun League' Relaxes End Zone Celebration Rules

May 24, 2017

The National Football League announced three changes to the game on Tuesday, but the one getting most of the attention has to do with end zone celebrations.

For years, the league has limited how players could celebrate following touchdowns, and for how long.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's the big question for British authorities. Why would one of their own citizens stage an attack that killed more than 20 people?

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, more Americans graduate high school and go on to college than ever before. But as the country becomes more diverse — the Census Bureau expects that by 2020 more than half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group — are colleges and universities ready to serve them?

Thousands of people in Manchester, England, defied a terror warning and poured into the streets Tuesday for a vigil honoring the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

A bombing the night before at an Ariana Grande concert killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens more. Authorities identified the attacker as 22-year-old Salman Abedi and have arrested several people in connection with the blast.

Conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa are putting over 24 million children at risk, according to alarming new research by the U.N. Children's Fund.

"Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, countless children are dying in silence from diseases that could easily be prevented and treated," says Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

His staff put together some staggering statistics.

Whales are the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been giants. Fossil records show that ancient whales were much smaller than the currently living behemoths.

So when did whales get so big, and how?

A new study suggests it might be due to changes in climate that affected the food that some whales eat: krill and small fish. Instead of being spread throughout the ocean, lots of krill started being packed into a small area. Bigger whales were simply more efficient at eating the dense pockets of krill, and they beat out their smaller cousins.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A large crowd gathered today in the center of Manchester, a gathering of solidarity, as the shock of last night's attack is still raw. The bishop of Manchester, David Walker, addressed the thousands in attendance from the crowd.

Pages