National/World

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/.

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

Feb 12, 2016

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:

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

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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")

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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

Feb 12, 2016

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

Feb 12, 2016

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.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced late Thursday that they had agreed to push for a "nationwide cessation of hostilities" in Syria within one week.

The communiqué backed by major world powers also vowed to work toward getting humanitarian aid into hard-to-reach areas such as the city of Aleppo.

Exactly 15 months after it completed a seemingly impossible journey to land on the surface of a comet, the Philae lander now faces "eternal hibernation," as officials at the European Space Agency say the craft doesn't get enough sunlight to power its batteries.

In September 2014, Glen Weldon (a great recommendation engine for podcasts) talked in our What's Making Us Happy This Week segment about Pitch, a show I'd never heard of about which I said with some interest, "I'd listen to that." Hit your little fast-forward button and jump about a year and a half, during which we adopted Pitch as one of the things we think is nifty and befriended its producers, Alex Kapelman and

A natural gas leak that has poured methane gas into the air since October has been "temporarily controlled," according to a utility company in Southern California. Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes in an upscale section of the San Fernando Valley.

"Many residents of the Porter Ranch community complained of headaches, nosebleeds and other symptoms," Danielle Karson tells our Newscast unit from Los Angeles. "State regulators need to inspect the broken pipe before cement is poured into the well to permanently seal it."

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A jury in New York has convicted NYPD Officer Peter Liang of manslaughter over his shooting of an unarmed black man in a dark stairwell in 2014. Liang, who was a rookie at the time, was also faulted for not aiding his victim.

The verdict was announced Thursday night; soon after, the NYPD announced that Liang has officially been fired from the police force.

Here's how member station WNYC describes the events of Nov. 20, 2014:

Like many romance readers, I have a list of authors whose new releases are always on my shopping list. But this winter I've been looking for new (to me) novels that reflect the people I see around me. I wanted to read books by authors of color. I also looked for interracial relationships, protagonists from different cultures, and class differences without power imbalances (the Women of Color in Romance website was a great resource). Here are a few that I found.

Just 48 hours after his landslide win in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders was in Milwaukee, Wis., reminding everyone how far he had come in his quest for the presidency — and perhaps realizing how far he still has to go.

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

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

In September of last year, a Flint pediatrician released stark findings about her city: The percentage of children age 5 and under with elevated levels of lead in their blood had nearly doubled since the city switched its water source a year and a half earlier.

The superintendent of Flint Community Schools, Bilal Tawwab, was listening. Even small amounts of lead can affect children's behavior and intelligence over time. With that in mind, he decided to keep the city's water out of his schools.

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