News From NPR

News From NPR

Forest Lawn is a big name in the funeral business, and it has funeral homes all across Southern California. Most are stately, sprawling estates. But the Glendale location is a little different.

First off, it's tiny — the size of a typical funeral home bathroom. Second, there aren't any coffins or headstones for sale. There is an attendant, but he can't sell you anything: The urns are only on display. The place feels pretty inconspicuous. It could as easily be marketing homemade pottery as end-of-life planning.

It's also right in the middle of a shopping mall.

Wayne Warren shakes wet dirt out of a plastic bucket and into a metal chute, tossing aside bigger rocks. For him, California's drought is golden.

Yes, golden. Warren is knee-deep in the San Gabriel River, an hour outside of Los Angeles. That chute next to him is a sluice box. The water washes away the dirt in a muddy cloud, and he leans over the box. Out of the creek, he taps his findings into a green, plastic gold pan and gives it a few swirls. What's left ...

"Sure is pretty in the sun, huh?" he says.

In Sochi this week, athletes are competing in a display of human grace and skill. Many will win. Many more will lose, and many tears will be shed.

In New York on Saturday night, athletes of a different breed competed in a display of canine finesse and dexterity. Many won. If any lost, none knew it. Not one shed a tear.

At the Westminster Dog Show's Masters Agility Championship, 225 exuberant dogs dove through tunnels, flew through hoops, leaped over hurdles and wove in and out of poles with the focus of the highest-level Olympic champion.

More than 600 people have left rebel-held areas of the besieged Syrian city of Homs, according to the local governor.

Talal Barrazi gave the figure for the number of evacuees as of Sunday evening.

The Associated Press says:

Swiss voters narrowly approved a referendum to impose strict quotas on immigration, effectively ending a "free movement" agreement with the European Union.

The measure passed by just 50.5 percent of the vote. Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, nonetheless has adopted many of the union's policies.

A coalition led by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) spearheaded the "yes" vote.

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