Here and Now

Monday through Thursday at 1 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One

 

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."

The past year saw significant debates and changes in the technology sector.

There was the Ellen Pao gender discrimination lawsuit which amplified the wider conversation about diversity in Silicon Valley. And the tech industry ended 2015 with a re-hash of debates over privacy and encryption.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Steve Henn of NPR for his view of the year in technology.

On the Monday before Christmas, retailers are offering a lot of deals to get the business of people who still have some shopping to do.

For example, Best Buy is offering a $100 discount off its nearly-$400 Apple Watch Sport – that’s double the store’s Black Friday discount. According to the National Retail Federation, as much as 40 percent of holiday shopping happens in the 10 days leading up to Christmas.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks with Jill Schlesinger of CBS News about the last-minute shopping season.

The winter holidays can be a really tough on your wallet, so we thought we’d return to one of our popular personal finance interviews from 2015. It was with two experts: Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff, and PBS Newshour business and economics correspondent Paul Solman.

Closing out a tumultuous year, President Barack Obama sought to lay the groundwork Friday for his last year in office by vowing not to fade in the background but instead use his remaining months to push longstanding goals to fruition.

“In 2016, I’m going to leave it all out on the field,” he said. “Wherever there’s an opportunity, I’m going to take it.”

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English weather presenter Sian Welby paid tribute to the opening of “Star Wars: Episode VII” with a pun-filled forecast on Britain’s Channel 5. The video has now gone viral, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson explains.

Most of us are are at least vaguely familiar with this story – Mary and Joseph head to their hometown of Bethlehem to pay taxes to Caesar Augustus. There’s no room at the inn and their baby, a boy named Jesus, is born in a stable among the animals.

What the biblical story doesn’t say much about is life in Bethlehem a few thousand years ago. What did people there do? What did they wear? Wow did they spend their time?

Season 5 of “Homeland” eerily echoes the topics that dominate today’s news: privacy of information, tensions between the U.S. and Russia, terrorist attacks in Europe, and more. The season finale of “Homeland” airs this Sunday, and fans will see whether or not the CIA and German intelligence can stop the threatened attack in Berlin by Muslim extremists.

NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that he thinks “Homeland” might be one of the most overlooked TV series rebounds in 2015.

Volkswagen is further shaking up its senior management team in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal. It’s part of an ongoing effort by VW to overhaul what analysts see as a dysfunctional corporate culture.

The company also announced it has retained lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to “design and administer” a claims resolution program for aggrieved VW diesel owners. The European Parliament said today that it will investigate whether European Union regulators were too lax in their oversight.

Exec Who Jacked Up Price Of A Life-Saving Drug Is Arrested

Dec 17, 2015

Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager vilified in nearly every corner of America for buying a pharmaceutical company and jacking up the price of a life-saving drug more than fiftyfold, was arrested Thursday on securities fraud charges unrelated to the furor.

On Thursday, the House plans to vote on a huge tax package, and then on Friday, vote for a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. That appears to take the budget off the agenda until there is a new president.

Who are the winners and losers? NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax joins Here & Now’s Eric Westervelt with details.

The losers include people who wanted meat labels, debt relief for Puerto Rico and restraints on new Department of Labor regulations involving financial advisors.

DJ Session: Best Music Of 2015

Dec 17, 2015

Travis Holcombe, DJ at KCRW, joins us to share his favorite music of the year, including “Lean On,” by Major Lazer featuring MØ and DJ Snake, and “Here” by Alessia Cara.

“In the past year we’ve seen a lot of blurring of the lines between the underground and mainstream,” Holcombe told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. He says he expects the trend to continue next year.

Best Cookbooks Of 2015: Kathy Gunst's Picks

Dec 17, 2015

Looking for a gift for the chef in your life? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst sifted through piles of this year’s cookbooks and has come up with a list of her favorites.

A judge declared a hung jury Wednesday after the panel couldn’t reach a decision in the manslaughter trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, whose injury in police custody sparked weeks of protests and fueled the nation’s scrutiny of how police treat black suspects.

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates after seven years of record lows. But it’s signaling that further rate hikes will likely be made slowly as the economy strengthens further and muted inflation rises.

The Fed’s move Wednesday to lift its key rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent ends an extraordinary seven-year period of near-zero rates that began at the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. Consumers and businesses could now face modestly higher rates on some loans.

While Force Friday was months ago, toys continue to fly off the shelves for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which comes out this week. More than 70 companies are profiting from their Star Wars toy sales and business is good.

Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt speaks with Juli Lennett, toy analyst for the NPD Group about merchandise sales surrounding the film.

Howard Stern’s voice will continue to ring out on Sirius XM satellite radio. Today, the company announced a new contract with Stern, where he’ll continue to host The Howard Stern Show for five years, and also to develop a new video streaming app.

Jason Bellini, senior producer with The Wall Street Journal, speaks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about what Stern has meant for Sirius XM.

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More than half a million students, from the country’s second largest school district, are out of class today after the Los Angeles Unified School District canceled classes because of a bomb threat.

At a news conference today, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck stressed to reporters how big an action closing down school for more than 600,000 students is.

Meanwhile, officials in New York City say they received a similar threat today and decided not to cancel classes.

The Global Threat Of The MERS Virus

Dec 15, 2015

This past spring, when an outbreak of MERS — the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome — sickened 186 people and killed 37 in Seoul, South Korea, global public health officials saw this as evidence of the danger of a virus that many see as underestimated so far. In Seoul, the illness was spread from a single person who had come home ill from the Middle East.

Bittersweet Reunion For Pakistani Family

Dec 15, 2015

On Nov. 23, we brought you the story of a terminally-ill Houston teenager desperate to see her parents. Qirat Chappra, an 18-year-old who has spent most of her life at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, hadn’t seen them in 13 years.

In 1977, former NPR movie critic Tom Shales reviewed “Star Wars,” later renamed “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” That was back in the day when the first Apple II computers went on sale and Space Mountain was opening at Disneyland.

This Thursday, “Star Wars” returns to the big screen for its seventh episode and the first to be directed by J.J. Abrams.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced new regulations today requiring anyone owning a drone between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds to register with the government. With consumer analysts predicting up to one million drones purchased this holiday season, the new rules could affect a lot of people.

But the rules do not include anyone flying for reasons other than recreation – reasons that include business operations – and that is raising question about technology laws across the board and how governments may lag behind the accelerated pace of the technology sector.

In Season 2, Fargo Is Still Fresh

Dec 14, 2015

“Fargo,” the FX show based on the Coen Brothers classic film, will air its second season finale tonight. The show has garnered acclaim from critics with a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans speaks with Here & Now‘s Eric Westervelt about what made “Fargo” so successful and how different it is from the film from which it was derived.

Hard Work Ahead To Forge A Peaceful Syria

Dec 11, 2015

Syrian rebels are a small step closer to a peace agreement that would strip Syrian President Bashar Assad of power. Yesterday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, leaders of the Syrian opposition agreed upon a statement of principles that calls for a pluralistic regime to represent all sectors of the Syrian people.

As part of that deal, president Assad and his aides must step aside. That is highly unlikely, which means peace is still a distant reality.

As the climate summit in Paris wraps up, Washington Republicans continue to press their battle against the Obama administration’s climate change policies.

Even as the Paris conference was underway, Senate Republicans held a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill to challenge the climate change science. Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz ran the hearing.

But many of the GOP’s old allies in corporate America believe climate change is real and action is needed. NPR’s Peter Overby reports.

DuPont, Dow Chemical Announce Merger Plans

Dec 11, 2015

The giant chemical companies Dow Chemical and DuPont have announced plans to merge. The resulting company could be worth about $130 billion. Wall Street Journal financial editor Dennis Berman joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson to explain how the move shows us something about the bigger economy, and its possible national impact.

This morning, the Golden Globes rolled out this year’s nominees. Netflix garnered eight nominations, putting it ahead of all other networks. The film “Carol” earned five nominations, including Best Actress nominations for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans joins Here & Now’s Eric Westervelt to discuss what what this year’s nominations indicate about the ever-evolving television and film industry.

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For this installment of the Here & Now‘s DJ Sessions, host Jeremy Hobson speaks with Marcia Campbell of the show “The WSM All Nighter” on WSM 650 AM in Nashville for a look at the latest rising stars in country music.

Most Americans Are No Longer Middle Class

Dec 10, 2015

Most Americans are no longer in the middle class, according to the Pew Research Center. The country has about 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households, a new Pew study found. That compares with the 121.3 million who are living in either upper- or lower-income households.

The two San Bernardino shooters were radicalized at least two years ago – a year before one of them came to the U.S. on a fiancée visa – and discussed jihad and martyrdom as early as 2013, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday.

Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee investigators believe that Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were radicalized even before they began their online relationship and that Malik held extremist views before she arrived in the U.S. last year.

As the U.N. Climate Change Conference winds down this week in Paris, people in the city can still go see a big, outdoor art installation outside the Pantheon that’s been up since the talks began: 88 tons of Arctic ice, trucked in from Greenland, arranged in the shape of a clock, slowly melting into the cobblestones. A visual, tangible representation of what’s at stake as the climate changes.

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