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Here! Now! In the moment! Paddling in the middle of a fast moving stream of news and information. Here & Now is Public Radio's daily news magazine, bringing you the news that breaks after "Morning Edition" and before "All Things Considered."

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NPR Story
1:40 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Toys Abound, Batteries Needed

Americans buy and throw away billions of batteries each year. (tomblois/Flickr)

If there are Hot Wheels, Furby Booms, or Lionel train sets under the tree this year, you have probably stocked up on batteries to power them.

Americans buy – and throw out – billions of batteries each year.

Philip E. Ross of IEEE Spectrum joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain the difference between AA and AAA batteries, and advises when to use rechargeable batteries.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Music From The Show

  • Serail East, “Lickets”
  • Beach House, “Wild”
  • Four Tet, “Slowjam”
  • Pinback, “Fortress”
  • The Ventures, “Sleigh Ride”
  • Daedalus, “Madlib Bonus Beats”
  • Heimweg 78, “Couch”
  • Chvrches, “The Mother We Share”
  • The Mariachi Kings, “Deck The Halls”
  • Stone Temple Pilots, “Press Play”
  • And Keep Smiling, “The Rachels”
  • Loose Fur, “Apostolic”
  • Washed Out, “New Theory”
  • Calexico, “Crumble”
  • Tame Impala, “Apocalypse Dream”
  • The Ventures, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
  • C.S.S
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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

DJ Sessions: Christmas Edition

(Jacob Whittaker/Flickr)

This week, we bring you a special installment of the DJ Sessions: Christmas oldies.

This week, Mike Haile, who is more commonly known by his DJ moniker, “Mike in the Morning” at WHMS in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to share his favorite Christmas music and reflect on his many decades as a DJ.

This is a special session for Jeremy, who hails from Champaign-Urbana, and grew up listening to Mike in the morning.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Late Wife's Christmas Wish For Her Husband

[Youtube]

David Schmitz was more than surprised when a local Des Moines, Iowa, radio show invited him to their studios. The program was in the habit of giving surprise Christmas gifts, but this was particularly special.

Schmitz’s wife, Brenda, had died two years earlier at age 46 of ovarian cancer. She had instructed a friend to give a letter to the radio station once David fell in love again.

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NPR Story
3:17 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A Neighborhood Stalwart Remains Unchanged

The storefront of Irving’s Toy & Card Shop in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)

If you’re one of those last minute, down-to-the-wire, deadline-defying holiday shoppers — you better get going. Time is running out for you and hoards of like-minded procrastinators.

But today, we’d like to take a trip to a store not too far from our studios where time has largely stood still. In an age of big box chain stores, this little store really stands out.

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NPR Story
3:17 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

HIV Positive Extra In 'Philadelphia' Reflects On Film's 20th Anniversary

Unable to work because of fatigue and pain, Suellen Kehler says her dogs give her a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Kehler was an extra in the 1993 film, "Philadelphia." (Emma Lee/NewsWorks)

Twenty years ago, today, a film that changed the conversation about AIDS in America opened in theaters.

“Philadelphia” starred Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, and it won box-office success and critical acclaim.

It netted two Oscars, including one for Hanks who won a Best Actor award for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett, an HIV-positive lawyer who sues his former law firm after he’s unjustly fired.

“Philadelphia” also featured actors whose real lives mirrored the movie: several dozen extras were HIV-positive Philadelphians.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Tom Perrotta Returns to the Short Story

2013 has been a pretty big year for author Tom Perrotta: his novel “The Leftovers” has been picked up by HBO as a T.V. series, and he published “Nine Inches,” his first short story collection in nineteen years.

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NPR Story
2:39 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Mr. Cohen's Choir Music For Christmas

Ron Cohen, Robin's former choir director at the J.F.K. High School Choir in Plainview Long Island. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

Here & Now’s Robin Young is joined by her former high school choir director Ron Cohen, who brings his picks for choral music for the Christmas season.

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NPR Story
2:39 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Target Fallout Continues After Security Breach

The fallout continues for Target Corporation, whose 1,797 stores have suffered one of the largest-ever credit card breaches in the U.S.

A class-action lawsuit was filed last night by a California shopper — the first of what lawyers expect to be a torrent of similar suits.

In addition, Target is likely to be subject to fines by card issuers for non-compliance with payment card security standards. And then, there are the fraudulent charges to consumers, which banks may also try to recoup from the Minneapolis-based company.

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NPR Story
2:39 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

US Economy Expands At 4.1 Percent Rate

The U.S. economy grew at a solid 4.1 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest pace since late 2011 and significantly higher than previously believed. Much of the upward revision came from stronger consumer spending.

The Commerce Department’s final look at growth in the summer was up from a previous estimate of 3.6 percent. Four-fifths of the revision came from stronger consumer spending, primarily in the area of health care.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

From Hollywood Stardom To The Cloistered Life

Dolores Hart was a rising star in Hollywood in the 1950s and early 1960s. She appeared opposite Elvis Presley in the film "Loving You." In 1963, she chose the life of a nun. (Ignatius Press)

Dolores Hart was a rising star in Hollywood during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

She made her film debut opposite Elvis Presley in 1957′s “Loving You,” was nominated for a Tony Award for “The Pleasure of His Company” and co-starred in the spring break classic “Where the Boys Are.”

But in 1963, she stunned the film world when she entered the Abbey of Regina Laudis to become a cloistered Benedictine nun.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

The 'Affluenza' Defense

Ethan Couch, 16, was sentenced to 10 years probation after admitting to driving drunk in a crash that killed four people and injured several others. (Screenshot from WFAA-TV video)

On Tuesday, the Tarrant County district attorney’s office announced that it is seeking additional charges against 16-year-old Ethan Couch.

There has been widespread public outrage that Couch did not receive any jail time after he admitted to driving drunk in a crash that killed four people. A judge sentenced him to 10 years of probation and a year of in-patient treatment at a California rehab center that costs $450,000 per year — to be paid by his parents.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Target: Problem Is Fixed, But Customers Should Check Charge Accounts

Target Corp. said information from some 40 million Target shoppers' credit and debit cards was stolen in the three weeks after Thanksgiving. (Jay Reed/Flickr)

Target says it’s fixed the problem that allowed credit and debit card information on as many as 40 million accounts to be stolen. It says credit card holders can continue to shop at its stores.

But the chain also says customers should check their statements carefully for unauthorized charges.

Customers who see suspicious activity in their accounts are being told to call Target at 866-852-8680.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

The Man Who Inspired 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Armed with guitar, mike and enthusiasm, folk singer Dave Van Ronk performs at the Gaslight coffee house in New York's Greenwich Village on Nov. 8, 1963. (AP)

The new Coen brothers’ movie “Inside Llewyn Davis” has brought new attention to the folk scene in New York’s Greenwich Village prior to the emergence of Bob Dylan.

The brothers took inspiration from the real-life folk singer Dave Van Ronk, who released the album “Inside Dave Van Ronk” in 1963 and died in 2002.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Sunday Assembly: A Look At Organized Non-Religion

A Sunday Assembly in London celebrates "Mythmas." (Jack Davolio)

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 9:12 am

Sixteen percent of people around the world say they have no religious affiliation. But even those who aren’t connected to a religion may still be looking for community.

That’s where the Sunday Assembly comes in.

In London earlier this year, stand-up comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones founded the godless congregation that they say has many of the elements of church, but without religion.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

USDA Pullout From Mexico Has Economic Consequences

Cattle move up a ramp following inspection in Presidio, Texas. (Lorne Matalon)

A little over a year ago, the federal government banned USDA inspectors from entering Mexico at five Texas border crossings to inspect cattle headed to the U.S.

That decision has had a huge economic impact on small border towns in Texas and now cattle producers and border politicians are asking for relief.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Lorne Matalon of Fronteras Desk has the story.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

An Unusual Way To Teach Math: Miming

Tim and Tanya Chartier present a classic mime stance. They have found a way to teach math through miming. (Ari Daniel)

According to the latest data from the Program for International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranks 26th in the world in math attainment.

Not so great for the world’s richest country, especially when you consider that 46 percent of all jobs require at least level 3 math skills — enough so that you can make change.

About 36 percent of all jobs require a level 4 math proficiency to do simple averages — something about 76 percent of Americans can do.

Beyond that, math skills drop off quickly.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

What The US Can Learn From Canada Ending Door-To-Door Mail Delivery

Canadian Stamps on mail. (Flооd/Flickr)

The financially-strapped Canada Post is phasing out home mail delivery over the next five years, replacing the door-to-door service with community mail boxes in central locations.

Canada Post will also cut 6,000 to 8,000 jobs in the postal industry, and raise the price of the postage stamp by 22 cents.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Tech Giants Invest In Internet Infrastructure

Google, Facebook and other major technology companies are boosting their efforts to control Internet transmission networks. They’re building private fiber-optic cables across the world, rivaling telecom companies like Verizon and Sprint.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google began to build its network in 2008, long before the National Security Agency data mining scandal broke.

Tech executives say they’re building their own cable fiber networks to keep costs down and improve services as online traffic continues to grow.

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NPR Story
3:05 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Renee Graham's Guide To South Korean Cinema

The sci-fi action thriller "Snowpiercer," directed by Bong Joon-ho and based on the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige," comes to the U.S. next year.

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:35 am

Spike Lee’s remake of the Park Chan-wook movie “Oldboy” has brought more attention to the South Korean film maker.

Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham tells host Robin Young that it’s about time — there is a lot of exciting work coming out of South Korea.

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NPR Story
3:05 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

NY Financial Firm Settling 9/11 Suit With Airline

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:35 am

Financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which saw 658 of its 1,000 employees killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, has nearly completed a settlement with American Airlines and insurance carriers, according to documents filed in federal court.

A final signed agreement may be ready by Tuesday, Cantor Fitzgerald attorney John Stoviak told Judge Alvin Hellerstein in a Thursday proceeding.

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NPR Story
3:05 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Fed May Decide To Trim Stimulus Program At Meeting

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:35 am

The Federal Reserve will have its last 2013 policy meeting this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Economists and investors are watching closely to see if the Fed will cut back, or taper, the gigantic bond purchase program that helped stimulate the economy.

Financial Times reporter Cardiff Garcia, joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss his predictions for this final meeting.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Making Music For 'The Hobbit'

Composer Howard Shore (howardshore.com)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:38 am

Composer Howard Shore has written dozens of film scores. He’s worked with directors Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorcese, and he’s a frequent collaborator with David Cronenberg. But he’s probably best known for his work with Peter Jackson.

Shore wrote the scores for all three “Lord of the Rings” movies, as well as the two “Hobbit” films, including “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which opens today. He’s won three Oscars for his work on “The Lord of the Rings” films.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Friend Remembers Nelson Mandela

Padraig O'Malley from the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies of University of Massachusetts who was involved in the Iraq meeting last week in Finland gave a short statement in Helsinki, Sept. 4, 2007, after the secretive four-day talks between representatives of Iraqi political parties and others linked to a range of groups close to the conflict ended in Finland late on Monday. (Seppo Samuli/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:38 am

Padraig O’Malley spent more than 10 years tracking South Africa’s transition to democracy, working with whites and blacks, including the man who would eventually become the nation’s first democratically-elected president: Nelson Mandela.

Ahead of Mandela’s funeral on Sunday, O’Malley joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to a reflect on a man who brought people of very different perspectives together.

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NPR Story
3:15 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

'Survivor' Renewed Through 30th Season

The latest cast of "Survivor" anticipates someone being voted off the show. (CBS)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:38 am

Survivor,” the reality TV show that sets up groups of strangers to compete in remote locations, is being renewed for its 29th and 30th seasons.

That makes it the longest-running reality competition show in television history. It’s also one of the first-ever reality series.

Since launching “Survivor” in 2000, executive producer Mark Burnett has gone on to produce other popular competition programs, including “The Voice” and “Shark Tank.”

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Newtown Priest: 'Respect Each Other' On Anniversary Of Shooting

Monsignor Robert Weiss sits in a pew at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Conn, Nov. 13, 2013. (Jessica Hill/AP)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:41 am

Monsignor Robert Weiss has been pastor of St. Rose of Lima church in Newtown, Conn., for 13 years. Half of Newtown attends his church, so he knew many of the children who were killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting last December 14th.

He was the first religious person on the scene that day. Weiss, known as Father Bob in Newtown, still remembers the sound of shattered glass under his feet, and he still can’t sleep at night.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Life After An Other-Than-Honorable Discharge

Michael Hartnett was a Marine during the Gulf War and served in Somalia. He received a bad conduct discharge for abusing drugs and alcohol. His wife, Molly, helped him turn his life around. (Quil Lawrence/NPR)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:41 am

This week, NPR’s Quil Lawrence has been reporting on veterans who served their country, but for one reason or another, received an other-than-honorable discharge.

This label has affected more than 100,000 in the last decade. Some were discharged for misconduct, others for drug use, and some for committing crimes. As a result, they no longer receive VA health benefits.

He joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the special project.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Spotify To Offer Mobile App For Free

(Johan Larsson/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:41 am

Spotify, the music streaming service, announced it will allow anyone on an Android or iOS device to use its app free of charge, starting immediately. The service lets listeners pick and choose songs, and is hoping the move will expand its user base.

The company also announced that it’s adding 20 new countries to its roster. Spotify will now reach 55 global markets. Spotify currently has about 24 million active users and 6 million paying subscribers. Its competitor Pandora has about 72 million active listeners.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Tribal Fishery Opposes Washington Coal Terminal

Tribal treaty fishing rights give Washington tribes the opportunity to weigh in on, and even block, projects that could impact their fishing grounds.(Ashley Ahearn/KUOW Photo)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:51 am

About a quarter of all the coal the U.S. exports goes to Asian markets. To meet the demand, there are plans to build what would be the largest coal terminal in North America at a place called Cheery Point in the far northwestern corner of Washington state.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Big Parts For Actresses In This Season's Movies

The all-star cast of "August: Osage County" is led by Meryl Streep (center) and Julia Roberts (right). (The Weinstein Company)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:51 am

Ty Burr, film critic for the Boston Globe, gives Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti a rundown of the latest releases.

He says the recent movies released feature meaty and varied parts for actresses, and some great performances.

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