The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

American Confirmed Dead In Algerian Hostage Crisis

Jan 18, 2013
Originally published on January 18, 2013 8:56 pm

(We updated the top of this post at 8:55 ET.)

An American worker has been confirmed dead at the natural gas complex in eastern Algeria where Islamic extremists seized hostages, the U.S. State Department said Friday evening in a statement.

The State Department identified the man as Frederick Buttaccio, a Texas resident, but did not provide additional details on the circumstances.

The Associated Press reported that "the Obama administration confirmed that Americans were still being held hostage, even as some U.S. citizens were being flown out of the country for recovery in Europe."

As we reported earlier, 10 Americans were believed to be at the gas plant when it was attacked on Wednesday.

Many details remained unclear, including the overall death toll for the hostages and the kidnappers.

The Algerian state news agency has reported that 12 hostages have been killed.

Our Original Post:

The crisis continues at a remote desert gas plant in eastern Algeria, where Islamic militants seized a large number of hostages on Wednesday, government forces fought to free them on Thursday and a number of deaths — among both hostages and their captors — were being reported on Friday.

Though it was being reported that some of the hostages, who officials say included Americans and other foreigners, had either escaped or been freed, there was also word early Friday that some militants and captives were still somewhere in the sprawling facility.

Much remains unknown. As The Associated Press writes, "Algeria's government has kept a tight grip on information, but it was clear that the militant assault that began Wednesday has killed at least six people from the factory — and perhaps many more."

The militants reportedly seized the hostages in retaliation for France's military intervention in neighboring Mali. Islamist extremists have taken control of parts of Mali, and it's feared they will use the country as a base to launch terrorist attacks elsewhere.

As we did on Thursday, we're focusing on stories from news outlets with reporters who have sources that should have knowledge about what's happening. There will still be a great deal of conflicting information, however. We'll keep sifting through it and updating as the day continues.

Update at 1:35 p.m. ET. 10 Americans Were There, U.S. Officials Believe:

U.S. officials who are monitoring the situation tell NPR's Tom Bowman that, to the best of their knowledge, there were 10 Americans at the site when it was attacked Wednesday. Five of the Americans may have been able to flee the area. Two others, the officials say, were reportedly able to hide. Three Americans, the officials believe, were taken hostage. They have reports that one American may have been killed.

The officials also tell Tom that the U.S. is positioning aircraft to evacuate the injured.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET. Americans Believed To Still Be Held Hostage:

Americans are among the hostages still believed to be held, the State Department says. There's no word on how many people that includes.

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Foreign Companies Report More Than 20 People Unaccounted For:

Keeping track of how many how many people are at the gas plant and how many might still be hostages continues to be difficult. The Washington Post passes along this information: "The companies whose workers were taken hostage by Islamic militants at a gas compound in Algeria on Wednesday say they have evacuated some employees and confirmed the whereabouts of others, but the status of more than 22 individuals is still unknown."

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. More Hostages Than Thought; Many Released?

"The bloody three-day hostage standoff at a Sahara natural gas plant took a dramatic turn Friday as Algeria's state news service reported that nearly 100 of the 132 foreign workers kidnapped by Islamic militants had been freed," The Associated Press says.

The wire service adds that the "number of hostages at the remote desert facility was significantly higher than any previous report, and still meant that the fate of over 30 foreign energy workers was unclear. Yet it could indicate a potential breakthrough in the confrontation that began when the militants seized the plant early Wednesday."

Please keep in mind, as we've been saying, there's a great deal of conflicting information. We're trying to sort through it.

Some of the early reports:

-- Other Nations Not Alerted Before Raid. "The U.S., Britain, Japan and other nations [whose citizens are among the hostages] say they were not consulted by Algeria or alerted about Thursday's raid on the gas facility by that nation's security forces," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Mali. "Algeria says it responded with force to prevent the hostage-takers from leaving the remote facility with foreign hostages, which could have escalated into an ever greater crisis."

-- Algerian Officials Defend Action. "The Algerian government, which fought a civil war with Islamist militants that killed more than 100,000 people in the 1990s, sought to justify its raid on the gas complex at In Amenas, which is run by BP; Statoil, a Norwegian firm; and Sonatrach, the Algerian national oil company," writes the Los Angeles Times. " 'Those who think we will negotiate with terrorists are delusional,' Mohamed Said Belaid, Algeria's communications minister, told state media. 'Those who think we will surrender to their blackmail are delusional.' "

-- Higher Death Estimates "Exaggerated." "Estimates of the foreign casualties ranged from 4 to 35, though one Algerian official said the higher figure was 'exaggerated,' " The New York Times reports.

-- It's An "Ongoing Operation." "In a statement to the House of Commons, British prime minister David Cameron said the Algerian mission to rescue the ... hostages was an 'ongoing operation,' " says The Guardian.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.