Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.
"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."
From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.
The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.
The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "But the only way I can protect these places during this period is to shut them down."
Palestinians inspect trucks loaded with iron arriving from Israel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on Sept. 22. The delivery of the materials to the private sector is a first since the Hamas takeover in 2007.
Credit Ahmed Abu Hamda / NPR
Untreated sewage from Gaza flows directly into the Mediterranean Sea. This has long been a problem, but authorities say the amount of untreated sewage being dumped into the sea had been falling before the current fuel crisis.
People get information on California's health exchange at a table at Union Station in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the exchange's opening day.
Credit Sarah Varney
Pardit Pri was excited to learn the new health insurance exchanges could help her.
Credit Sarah Varney
Pardit Pri had health insurance until she quit her job as a legal administrative assistant to stay home with a new baby. Now that baby is 20 months old, and the Orange County, Calif., resident still hasn't found a job with insurance coverage.
Pardit Pri had health insurance until she decided to quit her job as a legal administrative assistant and stay home with her newborn son 20 months ago. She thought she'd have coverage by now. But it didn't work out that way.
"I knew that I wasn't going to be working for a while because I decided to stay home with my son, and I thought ... 'OK, fingers crossed. Nothing will happen during that time,' " she says, as she plays with her son in their Orange County, Calif., apartment.
After more than two decades in city government, Bill Averill has a pretty impressive mental inventory of Milwaukee real estate. He started in the city assessor's office when he was 34, after leaving a private sector job that paid better but had no retirement benefits.
"That was one of the main reasons I went to work for the City of Milwaukee," he says. "And so I knew the pension at some time, way out in the future, would be a benefit to me."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses outside the West Wing of the White House after meeting Wednesday with President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
As the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid has been in a lot of fights — but this one may be different, in that Reid has drawn a line.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the shutdown, through four votes in the Senate with not a single defection from the Democratic caucus, and once again after the meeting at the White House, Reid has rejected any of the changes in the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans have demanded as a condition for funding the federal government.
It's not every day federal authorities get to bust a case like this. It involves millions of dollars, illicit drugs and a would-be assassin, all of which allegedly were bought and sold on the Internet, in a shadowy online marketplace known as the Silk Road. On Tuesday, federal authorities shut down that site and arrested 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, the man they say is its mastermind.