Volkswagen's use of a "defeat device" to fool U.S. regulators has resulted in a federal lawsuit against the company. Volkswagen has acknowledged that millions of its diesel cars worldwide relied on a ruse to skirt emissions controls.

The civil complaint was filed in federal court in Detroit, with the Department of Justice acting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency — which says it hasn't yet reached an acceptable agreement with Volkswagen over how to handle a recall.

The sale of the Block Island Times is expected to become final on January 1st. The weekly’s owners for the last decade, Fraser and Betty Lang, are selling the paper to Michael Schroeder, who owns several Connecticut newspapers, including the New Britain Herald.

Once he takes over, Schroeder says he plans to spend one or two weeks a month on Block Island.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud said he will give back a $20,000 raise that neither the mayor nor the city council remembers approving.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Frustrations over a lack of media transparency, New England-naysayers, and negativity made the list of year-end grievances for panelists on WNPR’s weekly news roundtable last week.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The publisher of two small newspapers in Central Connecticut is receiving national attention as his ties to Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson are being called into question.

City of Hartford

Add Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s name to the list of elected officials who didn’t know that Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud got a $20,000 raise.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud has just gotten a $20,000 raise, but not one member of the city council remembers approving it.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford City Treasurer Adam Cloud took the stand in the federal criminal trial of former insurance executive Earl O’Garro Wednesday. Afterwards, Cloud said he had been betrayed by his former friend and maligned by the media. 

kyz / Creative Commons

New bio-technology is making gene editing easier and more accurate than ever before, but it's also raising a number of ethical questions. 

Alphaville / Flickr Creative Commons

Justin Lifflander wanted nothing more than to become a spy for the CIA. Growing up during the Cold War, he practiced spying on friends, family, and schoolmates in preparation for what he thought would be a career full of high-tech gadgetry and secret rendezvous. When Lifflander was finally assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1987, he thought his dream was coming true.

What followed was something Lifflander could never have predicted. He was a mechanic at the embassy, then an inspector of Soviet missile sights, and then a suspected American agent followed at every turn by the KGB. Lifflander found himself living in a world which very much resembled his childhood dream -- but he was never a spy.

A story about a deadly terrorist attack briefly inspired a frenzied media scrum Friday morning in Southern California when dozens of reporters and TV news crews entered the home of the two shooters in the San Bernardino massacre.

The Placebo Effect

Dec 1, 2015
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Seeking to calm growing criticism about his administration's handling of police misconduct cases, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed a new "police accountability task force."

In a press release, the mayor's office said the task force "will review the system of accountability, training and oversight that is currently in place for Chicago's police officers."

Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

Some companies are trying to keep ahead of negative online reviews by suing or threatening consumers. 

Back9Network flickr.com/back9network / Creative Commons

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission wants to know more about the relationship between Hartford Treasurer Adam Cloud and the off-the-air, state-funded golf channel called the Back9Network. 

Jiří Nedorost (Wikimedia Commons)

An effort to curb eastern Long Island's deer population through sterilization has angered animal lovers who say veterinarians are botching the surgeries.

The East Hampton Group for Wildlife filed a lawsuit on November 6 seeking to halt the sterilization program, according to Newsday.

Lawrence OP / Flickr

According to Yale Philosophy Professor Shelly Kagan, many of today's political issues are actually philosophical ones. Kagan says no one ever asks philosophers to weigh in.

Wouldn't a deeper understanding of the day's news -- including why people think what they think and hold the positions they hold -- be beneficial?

One reason for the lack of philosophical commentary in the media might be the relatively short attention spans many Americans have for absorbing information. Who has time for philosophy? And are political debates real outlets for philosophical argument?

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The Back9Network has been on life support since February, having burned through the millions of dollars it raised from the state and private investors. Now another group of people is being squeezed by Back9’s demise: unpaid contractors who built the network’s downtown Hartford studio. 

Today Deadspin published 47 graphic photos of a woman's bruised body.

The body belongs to Nicole Holder, the site says. The man who allegedly left the bruises? Dallas Cowboys star pass rusher Greg Hardy.

Uber has shaken up what it takes to get from point A to point B in cities across the country with a simple premise: If you need a ride, a driver nearby could pick you up within minutes.

Behind that idea is an algorithm, which promises to keep supply and demand in constant balance, encouraging drivers toward busy areas and tempering customer requests by increasing the price of each ride. It's called surge pricing.

Volkswagen admitted it intentionally cheated on federal emissions tests. The German automaker now faces billions of dollars in fines and litigation, plus the cost of fixing some 11 million diesel cars worldwide.

That's just the company. The scandal is costing owners, too — at least those who are trying to sell their VW diesels. Not surprisingly, resale prices for the affected cars have been falling.

Back9Network flickr.com/back9network / Creative Commons

Hartford’s Ethics Commission has begun a search for disparities between state and city rules that restrict the use of public office for personal gain.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford's development director has resigned amid an investigation into allegations the city was overbilled on a project to redevelop a soccer stadium. 

On Thursday, German authorities issued a mandatory recall of all Volkswagen diesel cars outfitted with emissions-cheating software.

Shortly after the German Federal Motor Transport Authority ordered the recall of 2.4 million diesel cars in Germany, Volkswagen announced it would be recalling 8.5 million cars across Europe.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The president of Hartford's City Council is calling for the termination of the city's development director, after a deal to build a new professional soccer facility collapsed and the city apparently overpaid for work at Dillon Stadium.