Andrew Rosenkranz says at least two or three times a week, he finds himself sitting across from an employee at his market research firm near Seattle, listening to some complicated personal problem.

Just last week, an employee described how her daughter and baby granddaughter were assaulted by a boyfriend. The daughter wanted to come back to Washington state but didn't have money for a plane ticket. And so, Rosenkranz says, the employee "was coming to ask, 'Hey, is there anything you can do to help us here?' "

The Cory Monteith that most Americans knew wasn't Cory Monteith at all. He was Finn Hudson, the high school football star turned Glee club member, whose singing talents were discovered in the shower during the musical comedy's pilot episode on Fox TV.

But outside of a love for drumming, Monteith said, the character on the hit show wasn't him.

Nelson Mandela remains hospitalized, but his health is reportedly improving after spending five weeks in a Pretoria hospital with a lung infection.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela, the country's first black president, says that the former anti-apartheid and Nobel laureate could be discharged soon.

Mandela has been in critical condition since June 8 when he was hospitalized with the recurring infection, which he first contracted during his 27 years as a political prison.

Pennsylvania's voter ID law will be back in state court Monday after more than a year of legal limbo. A state judge will decide whether the 2012 law — which hasn't been enforced — violates the state's constitution.

The measure requires voters to show a particular state-issued photo ID before casting ballots. Last week, civil rights advocates like the NAACP's John Jordan railed against the requirement.

"It's a ploy to take votes away from people who deserve them — veterans, seniors, students, people with disabilities, people of color and hard-working folk," Jordan said.

President Gerald R. Ford, the only American to serve as both vice president and president without ever being elected to either office, was born 100 years ago Sunday.

Ford will be remembered for his role in the turbulent post-Watergate era. But a little-known story from his college days might also serve to define Ford's character.

The Gerald Ford We Know

In 1973, Ford was a congressman from Grand Rapids, Mich., who had risen through the ranks to become House minority leader. In those days before C-SPAN, Ford was barely known to most Americans.

Amazon describes Robert Galbraith's best-selling novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, as "a brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein." But as brilliant and classically inclined as it might be, the real mystery until now has been all about the author.

It turns out that Robert Galbraith is the nom de plume of none other than J.K. Rowling, the famous creator of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter books.

At least 200 people are trapped inside a mosque in the Syrian capital, Damascus, as government forces rain artillery on rebel-held areas.

Rasha Elass, in Beirut, reports for NPR that the Syrian opposition has pleaded with the United Nations to intervene.

An Australian restaurant owner-turned-innovator has created a character to replace the word "the" in the English language. Similar to how the ampersand replaces "and" and the "@" symbol replaces the word "at," Paul Mathis' character looks to simplify the most common word in the English language.

Hundreds of thousands of people in southeast China have been evacuated after a powerful typhoon barreled into the region, packing strong winds and heavy rain.

Typhoon Soulik made landfall in China's Fujian province Saturday afternoon after sweeping across Taiwan.

The typhoon comes as China is already battling torrential rainfall across large parts of the country, especially in Sichuan province. Some 200 people have been killed in floods, the worst in some areas of Sichuan in 50 years.

Civil rights groups reacted with disappointment to the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial.

After the outcome became known late Saturday, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said it would push for the Department of Justice to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman, who was accused in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old black youth Trayvon Martin.

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