Here and Now

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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
1:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

On Stage: Broadway Shows From Vampires To Vegas

Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson star in "Constellations" at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 13, 2015 in New York City. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

This Friday we go on stage, the ultimate stage perhaps, Broadway. January and February are usually considered the “zombie months” on Broadway, says New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley. However, this season is a “surprisingly good one,” he tells Here & Now’s Robin Young. Even better, tickets are still available for some of Brantley’s favorite shows this winter. He shares his four top picks.

Ben Brantley’s 4 Broadway Picks

1. Constellations

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NPR Story
1:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Boyish Engineer-Turned-Protester Could Be Next Greek Prime Minister

Opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras leaves a news conference in Athens January 23, 2015. (MIlos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Greeks will elect a new government on Sunday, and the new prime minister could be a charismatic leftist named Alexis Tsipras, a boyish engineer-turned-protester.

He’s promised to end painful austerity measures while stimulating the country’s ravaged economy, but he may be on a collision course with the Europeans who have lent Greece billions in bailout loans. Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

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NPR Story
1:15 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Ebola Denial Still A 'Huge Problem,' Despite Few New Cases In Guinea

A Guinean student gets his temperature checked on January 19, 2015 as he enters at the Oumou Diaby school in the Ratoma area of Conakry as students head back to school after nearly four months of school recess due to the Ebola outbreak. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of new Ebola cases in Guinea is dropping steadily. According to the World Health Organization, there were a total of 20 confirmed cases this week, down from 45 last week, the lowest number since August of last year.

The government is shooting for zero Ebola cases by mid-March, and schools are back in session for the first time since July of last year.

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NPR Story
1:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

The Playwright Behind 'Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike'

Marcia DeBonia, Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, and Tyler Lansing Weaks in Christopher Durang’s smash-hit Broadway comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, directed by Jessica Stone, based on the Broadway direction of Nicholas Martin, playing January 2 – February 1, 2015 at the BU Theatre / Avenue of the Arts. Photo: Jim Cox

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 3:23 pm

Playwright Christopher Durang‘s Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is currently being performed in 27 regional theaters across the U.S.

Here & Now’s Robin Young sat down with Durang in front of an audience at Boston’s Huntington Theater, after a performance of the show.

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NPR Story
1:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Longtime New York Assembly Speaker Arrested On Corruption Charges

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is transported by federal agents to federal court, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 in New York. Silver, who has been one of the most powerful men in Albany for more than two decades, was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges. (Mark Lennihan/AP)

The FBI today arrested one of the most powerful men in New York, longtime State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, on federal corruption charges.

Chief among the charges: that he used the power of his office to solicit millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Just yesterday, even with the news of his imminent arrest swirling, Silver had a prominent seat on the stage at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address.

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NPR Story
1:37 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Yemen President Resigns Under Pressure From Rebels

Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is pictured on Jan, 21. 2014, in Sanaa, Yemen. Hadi submited his resignation Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, over a standoff with Shiite rebels who control the capital. (Yemen's Defense Ministry via AP)

Yemeni officials say the president has resigned under pressure from Shiite rebels who seized the capital in September and have confined the embattled leader to his home for the past two days.

Presidential officials said Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned after being pressured to make concessions to the rebels, known as Houthis. He had earlier pledged political concessions in return for the rebels withdrawing from his house and the nearby presidential palace, but Houthi fighters remained deployed around both buildings throughout the day.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

What Happens When Your Sibling Makes More Than You?

(adwriter/Flickr)

President Obama in his State of the Union talked a lot about income inequality. But what happens when that income inequality occurs within one’s own family: one sibling is significantly richer or poorer? How does that affect family dynamics?

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Sen. John Thune Criticizes President Obama's Agenda

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) is pictured on November 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In his State Of The Union address, President Obama outlined a program to boost the middle class, in part by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Republican Senator John Thune blasted the president’s plan, calling it an “agenda of top-down policies of the past to tax, spend and regulate.”

He joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with more reaction to the speech.

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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Wal-Mart To Issue Cash Tax Refunds In Stores

Wal-Mart will offer cash tax refunds to taxpayers this year at all of its stores. And the big box retailer won’t charge customers to pick up their refunds.

Wal-Mart is touting the “Direct2Cash” program as more convenient than cashing a check, but of course it also conveniently puts customers in Wal-Mart with cash in hand.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Moroccan-Dutch Novelist On Growing Up Muslim In Europe

Moroccan-Dutch novelist Abdelkader Benali, pictured here in 2011, recently wrote a New York Times op-ed about the anger of Europe's young marginalized Muslims. (Matěj Baťha/Wikimedia Commons)

The Charlie Hebdo attacks turned a spotlight on a part of France tourists don’t often see: the suburbs or banlieues that ring Paris, many of which are home to high concentrations of young Muslims.

After the attacks, an association representing 120 French mayors issued a statement warning that the economic disparities these young Muslims face must be addressed. Young Muslims were quoted saying they feel like they live in another country, and want to be regarded as truly French.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

New NCAA Policy Hands Over Some Power

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks with reporters during a news conference at the NCAA Convention in Oxon Hill, Md., Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. (Cliff Owen/AP)

The organization that governs college sports is allowing five major athletic conferences to make some of their own rules. It’s a major change for an association that’s not known for change.

The conferences approved a new policy at the recent NCAA Convention, which will allow those conferences to fully fund athletic scholarships, because right now those scholarships do not really cover the full cost of attending college.

The NCAA also allowed athletes to participate in the convention for the first time.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

China's Economy Grows At Slowest Rate In 24 Years

A Chinese customer rests as he stands in a store in a shopping district on January 20, 2014 in central Beijing, China. China's economy is still growing, but at its weakest rate in 24 years. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, new data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 7.3 percent in the last quarter of 2014.

Most countries would welcome growth like that, but for China it represents a slowdown. In fact, according to the new data, China grew at its slowest rate in 24 years last year.

Jason Bellini of the Wall Street Journal discusses the details of the downturn with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

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NPR Story
1:35 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Revisiting Boris Fishman's 'A Replacement Life'

Boris Fishman‘s “A Replacement Life” comes out in paperback this week. The debut novel was named one of the “100 Notable Books of 2014″ by The New York Times.

“A Replacement Life” centers around Slava, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. Though Slava wants to forget his roots, his grandfather pulls him into a scheme of writing fraudulent petitions for Holocaust reparations.

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NPR Story
1:35 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Fox News Apologizes After Guest Calls U.K. City 'Totally Muslim'

In an interview with Fox host Jeanine Pirro, Steven Emerson called Birmingham, England, a "totally Muslim" city. (Screenshot from Fox News)

Fox News has apologized for an interview in which the guest called Birmingham, England a “totally Muslim” city, where non-Muslims don’t go.

Fox terrorism expert Steven Emerson used that description about the United Kingdom’s second largest city in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. Emerson said there were areas in many parts of Europe where non-Muslims simply don’t go.

The comments were widely ridiculed, and that led Fox host Jeanine Pirro to interrupt a recent broadcast with an apology.

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NPR Story
1:35 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

A Story Of Kindness In Venice, Italy

View from a Venice footbridge. (Courtesy Sonia Michaels)

As Parkinson’s disease worsened for Bernard Michaels, his family took him on a final trip to Europe. Early in the trip, a slip in Venice, Italy landed him in the hospital.

His daughter, Sonia, set out with a collapsible wheelchair to meet him, but 17 staired footbridges, slick with rain, stood between them. Fortunately, others took notice.

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NPR Story
1:15 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Cheap Gas And Innovation Bring Optimism To Detroit Auto Show

Toyota shows off its FT-1 concept car during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Saturday marks the public opening of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

Following a particularly good year for automakers and the continued drop in gas prices, the mood is optimistic for automakers like Ford, GM, Chrysler and foreign brands across the board. Innovation, both on fuel economy and in tech are also making a splash.

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NPR Story
1:15 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Is The World Ignoring Nigeria?

This photo combo of images provided by Amnesty International, on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, shows infrared satellite images of the village of Doron Baga in northeastern Nigeria. The top image shows the village on Jan. 2, before it was allegedly attacked by members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. The bottom image, taken on Jan. 7, 2015, shows Doron Baga after the alleged attack. Amnesty International said that in the infrared images, where bright red indicates healthy trees and vegetation, more than 3,700 structures were damaged or destroyed. Boko Haram fighters seized a military base in Baga on Jan. 3 and, according to witnesses, and killed hundreds of civilians in the ensuing days. (DigitalGlobe via Amnesty International, Micah Farfour)

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 2:58 pm

Many people have been asking: Why has there been so much coverage of Paris, and so little coverage of Nigeria, where maybe many hundreds died in attacks over the last couple of weeks?

There has been some coverage of new satellite images showing the aftermath of the assault on the town of Baga by Islamic militants from Boko Haram, as well as some coverage of suicide attacks carried out by young girls in the same region.

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NPR Story
1:15 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Will Supreme Court Weigh In on Four Same-Sex Marriage Cases?

A view of the Supreme Court, January 16, 2015 in Washington, D.C. On Friday, the Supreme Court is meeting in closed conference to decide whether it will take up cases on the issues of same sex-marriage and marriage recognition from several states. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee challenging bans on same-sex marriages. Earlier this week, the court declined to take a same-sex marriage case from Louisiana because an appeals court has not yet ruled on that case.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Wisconsin VA Hospital Investigated For Overprescribing Narcotics

Adam Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting writes that some veterans and staff call Dr. David Houlihan (pictured) the "Candy Man" because of how freely he prescribes narcotic painkillers. (Facebook photo via Center for Investigative Reporting)

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 1:46 pm

The chief of staff at a Wisconsin VA hospital has been temporarily reassigned while the facility is investigated for the overmedication of veterans.

This comes after the Center For Investigative Reporting published a story about the overprescribing of narcotic painkillers at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The facility has gained the reputation of “Candy Land” because of its generous dispensation of drugs. The man in charge of the hospital, Dr. David Houlihan, is called the “Candy Man” by veterans and staff.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

NASA's Pluto Probe Begins Observations

An artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its three moons in summer 2015. The craft's miniature cameras, radio science experiment, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments would characterize the global geology and geomorphology of Pluto and large moon Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. The spacecraft's most prominent design feature is a nearly 7-foot (2.1-meter) dish antenna, through which it will communicate with Earth from as far as 4.7 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) away. (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons officially began its six-month approach to Pluto on Thursday, which is expected to be the first close flyby of the dwarf planet.

After a 3-billion-mile journey that began in 2006, New Horizons is finally collecting scientific data that may shed light on Pluto, its five known moons and the solar system’s “third zone,” known as the Kuiper Belt. The closest approach is expected in July.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Pre-Diabetes Support Groups Aim To Stem The Epidemic

Myriam Coenegrachts, left, listens as group coach Susan Walden talks about the negative metabolic effects of skipping meals. (Carrie Feibel/Houston Public Media)

Almost one in 10 Americans has diabetes. That’s a startling statistic, but not as alarming as the forecast: if present trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But it’s not inevitable.

There’s a new national program to slow down the epidemic by rolling out hundreds of support groups across the country. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Feibel of Houston Public Media reports.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

The Real People Who Inspired The Film 'Spare Parts'

Fredi Lajvardi (left) and Cristian Arcega are pictured at the Los Angeles Premiere of Pantelion Films' "Spare Parts" at Arclight Cinemas on Thursday, January 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Todd Williamson/Invision for Pantelion FIlms via AP)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 5:51 pm

In 2004, a team of high school students from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona, defeated college teams, including MIT, in an underwater robotic competition.

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NPR Story
2:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Seattle Zoo Ponders Where To Send Its Elephants

Chai, the Woodland Park Zoo's 35-year-old Asian elephant, browses for treats thrown by her keeper in the zoo's elephant enclosure. The zoo is looking for a new home for Chai and other remaining elephant, Bamboo. (Deborah Wang/KUOW)

Officials at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle are in the process of looking for a new home for their two Asian elephants.

In November, they announced they would close their exhibit and send their elephants to another facility to allow them to be part of a larger social herd.

But there is still an active debate in Seattle about where the elephants should go next. Deborah Wang from Here & Now contributor station KUOW in Seattle reports.

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NPR Story
2:01 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Orangutan Speaks? Google Translates!

[Youtube]

There’s news this week about an orangutan that’s doing something very unusual: she is making noises that sound like human noises. Human speech patterns have been heard in monkeys before, but not in the so-called great apes, such as gorillas and orangutans, which typically grunt.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

DJ Sessions: From Traditional To Virtual Choirs

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir ‘Lux Aurumque’ was launched in March 2010 and featured online performances by 185 singers. (Screenshot via Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir)

For this edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, Steve Staruch, a host at Classical Minnesota Public Radio, joins Jeremy Hobson to survey a range of choral music.

Staruch takes us through older classics — including one from the late Swiss composer Frank Martin — to the virtual choir created by Eric Whitacre.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

26 Measles Cases Tied To Disneyland Outbreak

Health officials say 26 people have been diagnosed with measles, part of an outbreak that originated at Disneyland last month. (Hector Mata/AFP/GettyImages)

Health officials in California are saying seven more people have come down with measles, part of an outbreak that originated at Disneyland last month.

That brings the total up to 26 people diagnosed with measles, most of them in California, at least two in Utah, and one in both Colorado and Washington State. These diagnoses come after public health officials announced the elimination of measles fifteen years ago.

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NPR Story
3:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

USDA Hunts For Avian Flu In Pacific Northwest

Randy Wilson, with the USDA, holds a duck just after testing it for avian flu at a press event in Kennewick, Washington. (Anna King/Northwest News Network)

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 7:58 am

In a setback for U.S. poultry producers, China has joined the list of more than thirty countries that have banned all imports of American poultry, poultry products and eggs.

The action comes after discoveries of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in the Pacific Northwest. The same strain killed thousands of birds on two farms in British Columbia.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state officials are testing flocks near the latest outbreaks in southeast Washington state.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Hilarious And Unforgiving: Fey and Poehler At The Golden Globes

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted their third and final Golden Globes Awards January 11, 2015.(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Last night, the Foreign Press Association awarded the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards. The evening began with the highly anticipated opening monologue from comedy duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It was the pair’s third and reportedly final time hosting the awards, and no star was safe from Fey and Poehler’s biting humor.

From affectionately labeling the star-studded audience as “despicable, spoiled, minimally talented brats” to reviving national headlines such as North Korea and the Bill Cosby scandal, laughs and gasps rose from the crowd.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Good Samaritan Provides Free Roadside Assistance

Walt Brinker provides roadside assistance on a horse trailer tire. (Roadside Survival)

A North Carolina man has made it his mission to offer free roadside assistance to broken-down drivers all over the state.

With a trunk full of tools, reflective vests and air compressors, Walt Brinker is not only a good Samaritan, but he also teaches drivers how to change their tires and jump their cars so they won’t have to call AAA.

With over 2,000 free roadside assists under his belt, he has amassed decades of experience in quick solutions to get people back on the road.

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NPR Story
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Congress Focuses On Homeland Security Amendments And Keystone

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 1:01 pm

Republicans begin their second week in control of Congress with the Senate tonight kicking off debate on approving the Keystone XL pipeline, even though the GOP lacks the votes right now to override a presidential veto.

Also this week, the House will take up a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September, debating whether to add amendments to the funding bill that would block President Obama’s most recent executive actions deferring deportations for some immigrants.

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