National/World

Jon Batiste On Piano Jazz

15 hours ago

Pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste hails from Louisiana, the cradle of jazz.

The Justice Department slapped the city of Ferguson, Mo., with a civil rights lawsuit this week after the City Council voted to change a proposed settlement agreement to reform the police and courts.

When Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the suit on Wednesday, she said Ferguson police disproportionately targeted black people for traffic stops, use of force and jail sentences.

The U.S. and Cuba will sign a civil aviation agreement in Havana on Tuesday, re-establishing air service between the two countries for the first time in more than 50 years, the U.S. Department of Transportation said.

The signing formalizes the arrangement that was reached Dec. 16, stating that a certain number of flights would be allowed to fly from the U.S. to Cuba every day. As the Two-Way previously reported:

Abraham Lincoln trended on Twitter this week. Wait, what? Honest Abe proved what's become a hipster creed: Everything old becomes new again.

Friday would have been the 16th president's 207th birthday — as good a time as any to bring him back with a party hat on him (like the House Republicans did):

There were also memes of Lincoln holding pizzas, stereos and cellphones. But the memes also quickly became about the presidential candidates, with the hashtag #ThingsLincolnDidntSay. Talk about putting words in someone's mouth.

President Obama has designated three desert areas in California as national monuments.

The move permanently protects "nearly 1.8 million acres of America's public lands," the White House says in a news release.

All three areas lie east of Los Angeles. Two of the new monuments — Castle Mountains and Mojave Trails — are near California's border with Nevada.

I'm not sure there's ever been a record release as confounding as the one for Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo. He's changed its title and track listing several times in as many weeks, and even up until the very moment I'm writing this, it's not 100 percent certain what will be on that final album, whenever and wherever it comes out.

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The Danish entry in the foreign language Oscar sweepstakes, A War, begins in Afghanistan, deep in Taliban territory. A Danish patrol is walking single file across a field. Each man steps where the previous man stepped ... alas, to no avail. A land mine explodes, killing the baby-faced last soldier in the line.

A far-right group that calls itself the Soldiers of Odin is patrolling the streets of Finland dressed in leather jackets, saying people need protection from the influx of migrants.

But not all Finns feel the same. Clowns calling themselves the Loldiers of Odin (think LOL – laugh out loud – plus soldiers) is responding.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Helsinki-based reporter Ilpo Salonen about the colorful activists.

[Youtube]

Earlier this month, a Saudi court overturned the death sentence of a Palestinian poet named Ashraf Fayadh. Fayadh was accused of renouncing his Muslim faith through his poetry.

After international outrage broke out over his sentencing, the Saudi government modified his punishment to eight years in prison and 800 lashes. He will also have to publicly renounce his poetry on Saudi state media.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Mona Kareem, a poet and friend of Ashraf Fayadh who is translating his controversial book of poetry.

Remembering Ballet Great Violette Verdy

17 hours ago

French ballerina Violette Verdy died on Monday at the age of 82. She was an acclaimed star of the New York City Ballet, dancing more than 140 ballets with the company during the 1960s and 1970s.

Verdy originated roles in works by legendary choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. After she retired, she went into teaching and eventually became a professor at Indiana University Bloomington.

Find your binoculars and fill up the bird feeders, because the Great Backyard Bird Count starts today.

The annual event invites bird-watchers of all levels to count the birds in their backyards, wherever that may be, and submit the data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, which launched the project in 1998.

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Now that the primary battle has arrived in South Carolina, we wondered about the state's reputation for dirty politics. Here's NPR's Susan Davis, Ron Elving, Sarah McCammon and Sam Sanders taking that on in NPR's Politics Podcast.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill came face to face Friday in Havana — the first time leaders of the two churches have met since a schism 1,000 years ago divided Christianity.

The religious leaders "embraced and kissed one another three times on the cheek as they met in a wood-paneled VIP room at the Havana airport," The Associated Press reports. The news service adds that Francis said, "Finally!" when he embraced Kirill, and "We are brothers." Through an interpreter, Kirill told the pope, "Now things are easier."

On Thursday, researchers announced the discovery of gravitational waves --wrinkles in the very fabric of space-time.

But behind the headlines and news conferences were decades of hard work, hundreds of scientists and more than a billion dollars in taxpayer funds.

Tell her how you really feel: Dr. Julie Holland is asking women to embrace their inner "moody bitches."

Let me back up.

The Manhattan-based psychiatrist has noticed a shift in her female patients. Twenty years ago, when Holland started her practice, she says, patients came to her because they were having trouble sleeping, were crying frequently or generally not feeling well — "but not really understanding what was going on with them and not really knowing what to do about it."

In India, Facebook has a program to give people free Internet access — just to use Facebook and a handful of other services. Earlier this week, regulators in that country ruled that the program is discriminatory to other websites and is illegal. A Facebook board member took to Twitter to criticize the ruling. And in so doing, he sparked a global controversy.

It got ugly.

"I am outraged and tremendously disappointed in the behavior displayed by a group of students," says Texas A&M University President Michael Young, after a group of students from an inner-city high school were called racial slurs and told, "Go back where you came from."

Penalty For Home Birth: A Chicken Or A Cow

20 hours ago

How do you solve a problem like health? That's the question experts from around the globe asked earlier this year in Salzburg, Austria, at Schloss Leopoldskron — where parts of The Sound of Music were once filmed.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I’m FRESH AIR TV critic David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BETTER CALL SAUL")

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm TV critic David Bianculli in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BREAKING BAD")

What The Heck Is Natural Wine? Here's A Taste

21 hours ago

If you follow the vast world of fermented grapes, you may have noticed an influx of so-called natural wines. I fell under their spell a few years ago. Apparently, I'm not alone. There's something of a natural wine cult blooming in shops, bars and restaurants around the U.S.

Money May Not Buy You Love, But It Sure Helps

22 hours ago

A candlelit dinner, a bottle of bubbly Champagne and a beautiful date. You tear your gaze away for a second to glance at the check your waiter just gave you. Your heart skips a beat at the sight of the three-digit number. But never mind, the stunning smile across the table is worth it.

Right?

Relationships come with sweet romance and accelerating heartbeats, but money, unfortunately, is often a crucial ingredient in the mix as well. Think about it: Weekly date nights, vacations, wedding, honeymoon and even divorce ring up bills of all sorts.

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