These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.
New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.
A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.
But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.
"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.
Quvenzhane Wallis was just 5 years old when she auditioned for a role in the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 6 when she shot the movie. Now, at age 9, she is the youngest ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.
In the film, Quvenzhane plays a wild child named Hushpuppy, who lives with her sick father in a ramshackle, isolated community called the Bathtub, on the fringes of the Louisiana coast.
Violinist Joshua Bell has followed the lead of symphony orchestra conductors since he turned 7 and made his orchestra debut. But now he's the one waving the baton — or at least waving his violin bow. Bell recently took over the music directorship of the venerable Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.
Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.
When Superstorm Sandy crashed ashore in October, thousands of residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult homes evacuated to various facilities, many of them overcrowded and ill-prepared for the influx.
The evacuees have slowly trickled back to those homes that can be repaired.
One group recently returned to an adult home for the mentally ill and physically disabled in Queens, but many residents weren't happy with what awaited them.
Winston Yellen didn't start singing until he was 18 — he's 23 now — but he's already got one of 2013's most arresting new voices. As the singer for the country-rock group Night Beds, Yellen often performs a cappella, with tremendous soul and nuance.
"I just got the phone call one day," is how poet Richard Blanco describes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross how he learned he had been selected to write and read the inaugural poem for President Obama's second swearing-in on Jan. 21.
Formed in 2008, Pickwick members Galen Disston, Michael and Garrett Parker, Cassady Lillstrom, Alex Westcoat, and Kory Kruckenberg forged a path toward neo-soul and in 2011 released a compilation of music from three of their EPs. The result was Myths, released one single at a time on 7" vinyl, which put the band on the map and became one of the most popular albums of the year in Seattle.