Sam Sanders

Sam has worked at Vermont Public Radio since October 1978 in various capacities â

On Monday, Google CEO Larry Page announced the formation of a new parent company for Google called Alphabet. Page describes Alphabet as a collection of companies including Google, Life Sciences (which focuses on medicine and health issues), and Calico (a company that claims to tackle aging), among others.

Last Tuesday, Netflix announced it would begin offering employees who are new parents unlimited paid leave for a year, allowing them to take off as much time as they want during the first 12 months after a child's birth or adoption.

The news drew praise from people who said it would be good for working parents, and would help America catch up to most other developed nations, where paid time off for a new child is mandatory.

Several activists groups celebrated the release of Mazen Darwish, a Syrian journalist and human rights activist, from prison on Monday. In a statement, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, which Darwish helped found, said, "After an arbitrary arrest that lasted three years, five months, and 23 days, Mazen Darwish has been released from prison today."

The AP reports Darwish was imprisoned for his reporting on President Bashar Assad's crackdown on protesters during the early days of an uprising against the presidency, which later became a full-blown civil war.

Netflix maintains a network of DVD distribution centers across the country. Workers there typically report for their shifts at 2:00 a.m. and according to job postings, the work in these centers can be physically demanding and repetitive. It involves lifting, sorting and inspecting thousands of DVDs for damage.

These employees are offered vastly different benefits than are their white-collar colleagues.

Updated at 8:45 p.m.

Jonathan Pollard, who has served almost 30 years in prison after being convicted of espionage, will be granted parole on Nov. 21, according to his attorneys.

The former civilian Navy analyst was arrested in 1985 and charged with passing classified information to Israel. He pleaded guilty and received a life sentence.

"But under laws in place at the time, that meant he could get parole after 30 years," NPR's Carrie Johnson says. "Now, that term is nearly up — and the Justice Department did not stand in the way of his release."