NPR News

Waffle House Founders Die Less Than 2 Months Apart

5 hours ago

In 1949, Thomas Forkner Sr. was in the real estate business when he helped Joe Rogers Sr. buy a house.

Rogers was working for the Toddle House restaurant chain and he convinced Forkner to join him in starting their own restaurant.

The two opened the first 24-hour Waffle House on Labor Day in 1955 in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates.

By the time they sold the business in the late 1970s, the chain had grown to 400 restaurants.

The Atlanta-based company that owns the chain now has more than 1,500 locations.

The final member of President Trump's Cabinet — secretary of labor — was confirmed by the Senate Thursday in a bipartisan vote of 60-38.

Alexander Acosta, 48, will be the Cabinet's first Latino member. Acosta is dean of the Florida International University College of Law in Miami.

Acosta was assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush, who later appointed him U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Fox News has been under fire in the past year for sexual harassment. First Fox chair Roger Ailes, then the network's favorite pundit, Bill O'Reilly, were forced to leave after multiple women complained of unwanted advances—and the blocked advancement they experienced when they didn't put out.

Arkansas Executes 4th Inmate In 8 Days

8 hours ago

Arkansas has put to death convicted murderer Kenneth Williams. His was the last of a series of executions accelerated because the state's lethal-injection drugs were about to expire.

Williams was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. Central time after the execution began at 10:52 p.m., Arkansas Public Media reports.

State officials initially scheduled eight condemned inmates to die over 11 days — the fastest pace of executions in decades. Some executions were blocked by the courts.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration is open to direct talks with North Korea as long as the agenda is right — that is, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

As he prepared to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on the subject, Tillerson sat down with NPR's Steve Inskeep to explain his approach. The secretary says North Korea has to come to the table willing to talk about giving up its nuclear weapons.

President Trump is set to sign an executive order Friday that aims to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas, and possibly reverse the designation of some marine sanctuaries. In a briefing with reporters at the White House Thursday night, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, "This will cement our nation's position as a global energy leader."

West Virginia State University announced Wednesday that it is suing Dow Chemical Co. for allegedly contaminating the groundwater beneath its campus. The school has accused the multinational chemical manufacturer of introducing three hazardous chemicals into the water in the community of Institute, near the city of Charleston.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Competing demonstrations in support of and against conservative commentator Ann Coulter's controversial speech, which had been planned for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, were held amid a heavy police presence. Despite some shouting and harsh words, both groups were peaceful.

Coulter's planned appearance had been canceled Wednesday after school officials said they wouldn't be able to adequately secure the site and sponsors pulled out.

Looking back at the 1992 Los Angeles riots, people often remember tensions between African-Americans, white law enforcement officers and Korean small business owners. That story gets even more complicated when you step into Pico-Union — a neighborhood that was, and still is, predominantly Latino.

Borders. Fences. Walls.

They run deep in our nation's culture and our sense of self. They signal who belongs and who doesn't.

San Diego is part of a thriving border economy, where tens of thousands of people cross into the region each day and more than $40 billion worth of trade takes place each year.

Yet drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal immigration take place here, too. Some say we need to tighten the border, to build a higher wall.

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