NPR Staff

After he won a National Book Award, and one of the MacArthur Foundation's so-called genius grants, no one anticipated Ta-Nehisi Coates' next move.

"What's the good of getting a MacArthur genius grant if you can't go and write a comic book for Marvel?" Coates tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "I don't know. There are things that people consider to be genius, and then there are things that deep in my heart I've always believed to be genius."

The city of Reggio Calabria in southern Italy is home of one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the world.

'Ndrangheta, as it's known, is a brutal mob funded largely by drug trafficking and it's been tied to corrupt local officials. For the past four years, Judge Roberto Di Bella has taken a new approach to try to deplete the ranks of the group.

Judge Di Bella presides over juvenile court and he's is trying to prevent the children of 'Ngrangehta members from joining the family business.

In the ongoing investigation into the Brussels terrorist attacks, most of the attention is on one neighborhood called Molenbeek. Many of the terrorists responsible for both the attacks in Brussels, and in Paris last November, lived in Molenbeek.

If you've been following any of the big news stories on food fraud lately, you'll know that it's tough to know what exactly is in our food — and where it's been before it makes it onto our dinner plates.

Baseball's opening day is upon us. Sunday is the first official day of Major League Baseball's 2016 season. Starting things off will be two afternoon games as the Cardinals face the Pirates and the Blue Jays take on the Rays. The day will be capped off by a night match between the 2015 World Series contenders the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 100th birthday earlier this year. In a performance of Ravel's Boléro, the orchestra presented a few members of a new generation of players eager to take the music into a new century. They were members of the BSO's OrchKids program, onstage at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall to play right alongside regular orchestra musicians.

Meet Yetta Bronstein, candidate for president.

At least, she was a presidential candidate — kind of. In the 1960s, a pair of professional pranksters, husband and wife Alan and Jeanne Abel, orchestrated an election-year hoax with Bronstein, a politician as much as she was a fiction.

"Yetta Bronstein lives in the Bronx. She has a boy named Marvin. He plays the drums, badly," recalls Jeanne. "And one day she decides to run for president!"

When a man claiming to have on a suicide vest demanded to be flown to Cyprus this week, it wasn't terrorism as we know it. Instead, it was reminiscent of the skyjackings once commonplace in the U.S.

In his book The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking, Brendan Koerner writes that from 1961 to 1972, nearly 160 planes were hijacked in the U.S. Those early hijackings all had one thing in common: Cuba.

This story is part of NPR's podcast Embedded, which digs deep into the stories behind the news.

In the spring of 2015, something was unfolding in Austin, Ind.

The much-hyped consumer virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, is finally hitting the market. The reviews have been mixed. As The Wall Street Journal put it, "the first totally immersive home virtual reality rig is a pricey, awkward, isolating—and occasionally brilliant—glimpse of the future of computing."

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