Mississippi River water levels are reaching near-record lows. Sections of the middle Mississippi River may become obstructed in December by rock outcrops in southern Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers plan to remove the rock pinnacles in February, but river navigation industry leaders say that's not soon enough.
Superstorm Sandy sparked a lot of interest in rising sea levels when it swept across the Northeast last month and flooded parts of the coast. Over the next century, more water — and higher sea levels — could come from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica. How much has been unclear.
But now scientists have developed a much clearer view of how quickly that ice has been melting over the past two decades. And that will help researchers forecast the rate of sea-level rise in the years to come.
Facebook has a long history of upsetting its users by suddenly announcing a change to its privacy settings. In 2009, as a way to quiet the critics, Facebook set up a system for its customers to vote on changes. If enough of them were unhappy, the company would back down. Now, Facebook wants to get rid of the voting.
A new draft constitution will be unveiled in Cairo on Thursday, but it is far from clear whether the move will help resolve or deepen the crisis between President Mohamed Morsi and Egypt's judges. Robert Siegel talks with Leila Fadel, who is in Cairo.
Early Thursday morning, the Internet in Syria went dark. Technology analysts suspect the Syrian government was behind the action, perhaps as part of an effort to blunt advances by rebel forces. Governments in recent years have become more mindful of the potentially subversive power of the Internet and also more knowledgeable about how to shut it down. The outage in Syria underscores the importance of current disputes over who should control the global Internet. That issue is the focus of a major international conference next week in Dubai.
There was celebration in Palestinian territories tonight after Palestinians won an upgrade in their status at the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly voted today overwhelmingly in favor of making Palestine a non-member observer state. That's the same status as the Vatican. The vote was 138 in favor, nine against, with 41 abstentions. The U.S. and Israel argue this will make peace negotiations even more difficult. The Palestinians say it's simply a move toward a more level playing field. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
At least two international airlines have cancelled flights to Damascus amid reports of heavy fighting along the Syrian highway that links the airport to the capital. There were also reports on Thursday that the Internet was down virtually throughout the country. Some land lines have also been cut off. Melissa Block talks to Kelly McEvers.