Numbers don't lie
March 6, 2014

Pope Francis is popular among American Catholics, with 83 percent of them viewing him favorably — including 51 percent who have a "very favorable opinion" — according to a Pew poll released Thursday. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. Catholics said that a year into his papacy, Francis represents a major, positive change for the Catholic Church (2 percent said a major, negative change). But there appears to be little of the "Francis effect" in American churches: While a quarter of Catholics are more excited about their faith and 40 percent have been praying more often, the same 40 percent said they are going to mass each week (and some 42 percent at least once a year) as before Francis was elected.

Pope Francis also seems to inspire hope that the Catholic Church will change on some major issues, Pew found, despite the pope's suggestions otherwise. American Catholics, it turns out, are a fairly liberal bunch: 77 percent want the church to allow contraception, 73 percent support priests getting married, 68 percent support the ordination of women priests, and 50 percent want Rome to recognize same-sex marriages. Those numbers all drop slightly when Pew screened for weekly church attendance. Not that you'd want to take those numbers to the bank: Pew talked to a grand total of 351 Catholics for the survey — the size of a small parish. Peter Weber

No justice no peace
7:55 a.m. ET
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Baltimore police on Saturday arrested 12 people after a dwindling protest over the police custody death of Freddie Gray descended into violence.

An estimated 2,000 people marched peacefully for hours hours before a small splinter group began hurling rocks, smashing windows, and scuffling with police. Protesters also tangled with bystanders and police outside Camden Yards during a game between the Orioles and Red Sox, prompting the city to ask fans to remain inside the venue until authorities cleared the scene.

"I am profoundly disappointed to see the violence in our city this evening," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The city has suspended six officers while investigating how Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Jon Terbush

Develop
April 25, 2015
Omar Havana / Getty Images

A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, leveling historic structures, causing widespread damage, and killing at least 1,457.

The quake struck around noon about 50 miles from the capital, Kathmandu. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers pick through the rubble in search of survivors.

"We never imagined that we would face such devastation," Minister of Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said.

The quake also triggered a fatal avalanche on Mount Everest that killed at least a dozen climbers while injuring or trapping several more. From Romanian climber Alex Gavan:

The U.S. said it would send a disaster response team and pledged $1 million in aid. Jon Terbush

Ongoing investigation
April 25, 2015
Monica Schipper / Getty Images

An internal review of NBC anchorman Brian Williams' reporting has found several more alleged exaggerations, according to multiple reports. The New York Times on Friday reported NBC found a half-dozen such instances; CNN and The Washington Post later upped the tally to 10 and 11, respectively.

In February, NBC suspended Williams as it launched an investigation following his apology for embellishing details of his wartime reporting from Iraq. When completed, the investigation is expected to form the basis of NBC's decision to keep or cut ties with Williams. Jon Terbush

Watch this
April 25, 2015
Screenshot / White House

President Obama and Bill Nye sat down Friday for an Earth Day chat in the Everglades where they discussed America's lagging interest in, and understanding of, science.

After discussing ways to get American kids excited about science again, the conversation turned to Washington's inability to reach a consensus on climate change. And on that front, Obama lamented the way some lawmakers are "being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts — and not rebutting them with other facts, but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive."

'"Oh, I'm not a scientist,'" Nye chimed in, mocking the standard defense climate change skeptics employ when pressed on their beliefs. —Jon Terbush

Watch this
April 25, 2015

A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday, causing substantial damage and killing at least 1,000 people, according to government estimates. Via the BBC, here's some footage of the quake and the immediate aftermath. —Jon Terbush

Smoke if you've got em
April 25, 2015
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Hawaii on Friday passed a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 21 while also banning the sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes for anyone under that age limit. If Democratic Gov. David Ige signs the bill — he has yet to indicate whether he will — Hawaii would become the first state in the nation to raise its smoking age to 21.

"The activities we've engaged in over the years to manage smoking — our additional efforts in education, the raising of cigarette taxes — this is a continuation of those policies," Democratic state Senator Rosalyn Baker told Reuters. Jon Terbush

No justice no peace
April 25, 2015
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Baltimore's police commissioner on Friday conceded that officers made mistakes in their handling of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black man who died last weekend of a severe spinal injury while in custody.

"We know that police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner," Commissioner Anthony Batts said, adding that 30 investigators are probing the incident.

"If someone harmed Freddie Gray, we will have to prosecute him," Batts said.

As they have all week, demonstrators took to Baltimore's streets Friday to protest the incident. Jon Terbush

See More Speed Reads