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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Plan To Save Astrodome Tops $240 Million

The Urban Land Institute's report outlines a $243 million plan to renovate the Houston Astrodome. (BarkingCat5000/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 2:33 pm

A report out this week outlines a $240 million plan to renovate and save the iconic Houston Astrodome. When it first opened in 1965, some people called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

But time caught up to the world’s first domed stadium. In 1999, the Houston Astros found a new home, the stadium fell into disrepair, and Harris County has been looking for a way to save it now for years.

Voters rejected a bond initiative in 2013, but the latest plan calls for a mix of public and private funding.

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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Using Poetry To Expose The Power Of Money, Class And Gender

Alissa Quart is an author, a journalist and most recently, a poet. (alissaquart.com)

Alissa Quart is a journalist, a keen observer of our culture and a believer in the power of poetry to cut to the heart of issues around us: money, class, gender and the environment.

She has just released her first book of poetry that is both personal and universal – inspired by work and research she has done as a journalist.

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NPR Story
1:28 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Oil Prices Jump After Saudi Strikes In Yemen

People search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. (Hani Mohammed/AP)

The price of Brent crude jumped 5 percent yesterday as Saudi Arabia began airstrikes in Yemen. It was the biggest spike in oil prices since February. The benchmark settled near $60 a barrel.

Saudi involvement in Yemen’s growing unrest has led to fears of instability in the oil market, even though a global supply glut was a primary reason why oil prices have been so low.

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NPR Story
12:51 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

WWII Veterans Return 'Good Luck Flags' To Japanese

Obon 2015 co-founder Rex Ziak at Monday's Returning Ceremony in Astoria, Oregon. (Tom Banse/Northwest News Network)

The 70th anniversary of the end of WWII will be marked later this year. In the meantime, some veterans of that war are embarking on one more mission.

In some cases, wives or children are taking on the mission if the veteran has passed away. The object is to return Japanese flags taken as war souvenirs from Pacific battlefields.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Tom Banse reports from Astoria, Oregon on an emotional gesture of peace and reconciliation.

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NPR Story
12:51 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Noah Baumbach On Middle Age And 'While We're Young'

Naomi Watts and Ben Stiller star in "While We're Young."

In writer-director Noah Baumbach‘s new film “While We’re Young,” Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts play a documentary filmmaker and his wife who live a reasonably content life in New York City. They befriend a younger couple whose free-spirited ways first energize them and then cause them to question themselves and their marriage.

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NPR Story
12:51 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Trying To De-Radicalize French Prisons

French prisons have come under the spotlight in the past two months, as a key recruiting ground for Islamist extremists. January’s attacks in Paris by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi and Ahmedy Coulibaly, in which 17 people were killed, led to fresh questions about the links they made in prison.

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Giving Up The Concert Stage To Teach

Piano instructor Seymour Bernstein, left, poses with actor Ethan Hawke. Hawke made a documentary about Bernstein called "Seymour: An Introduction," which has won raves on the festival circuit. (Robin Holland/IFC Films via AP)

Seymour Bernstein fell in love with the piano at an early age and built a stellar concert career. But when he was 50, Seymour decided to give it up to devote his time to writing and teaching.

Now 88, Seymour Bernstein is the focus of the documentary “Seymour: An Introduction,” directed by actor Ethan Hawke. Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to Bernstein about his life and the film.

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

U.S. Universities Accept Record Number of Foreign Students

International students are pictured at Purdue University, which ranks second in the U.S. for its population of foreign students. (purdue.edu)

A new report released today by the Department of Homeland Security, says the number of international students being accepted by American universities is at an all-time high of 1.13 million. The number accepted is up 14 percent from last year, and nearly 50 percent from 2010.

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NPR Story
12:06 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

A Crisis In Slow Motion: California Enters Fourth Year Of Drought

Low water levels are visible at Lake McClure on March 24, 2015, in La Grange, California. More than 3,000 residents in the Sierra Nevada foothill community of Lake Don Pedro who rely on water from Lake McCLure could potentially run out of water in the near future if the severe drought continues. Lake McClure is currently at 7 percent of its normal capacity and residents are under mandatory 50 percent water use restrictions. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Today the California State Senate will take up an emergency $1.1 billion water management bill. That legislation has the support of the governor and the leaders of both political parties, and is expected to pass easily.

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

James Corden Is The New Face of 'The Late Late Show'

Actor/host James Corden puts up his own billboard for CBS Television Network's "The Late Late Show" on March 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 4:01 pm

James Corden is the new face of CBS's “The Late Late Show.”

Corden is virtually unknown in the U.S., aside from those of who know him as the baker in Disney's screen adaptation of "Into The Woods."

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans stayed up late, late last night to watch Corden's first show and now shares his impressions with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

[Youtube]

Guest

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Britain's 'Greatest Complainer' Doesn't Get Mad, He Gets Even

John Cleese (R) reprises the famous Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch on Saturday Night Live. He is a customer trying to register a complaint: he was sold a dead parrot. (Screenshot)

Has your car ever broken down the day after you bought it? Are your flights constantly delayed and overbooked? Did your barber give you the wrong haircut for your wedding day?

You might need the help of the man who’s been called “Britain’s Greatest Complainer.”

Jasper Griegson is a complaint expert and wrote over 5,000 complaint letters on behalf of readers of the British newspaper, The Daily Express.

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NPR Story
1:39 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Americans' Love Of Diet Soda Fizzing Out

Diet Coke sales are down according to one firms research. (Niall Kennedy/Flickr Creative Commons)

New data from the market research firm Euromonitor finds that sales of low calorie soft drinks in the United States fell almost 20 percent over the last five years.

By 2019, sales are projected to fall off by a third since their peak in 2009. Diet Coke has seen its sales fall off by 15 percent in the past two years.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson looks at what’s happening in the soda business with Jason Bellini of the Wall Street Journal.

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NPR Story
1:02 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

U.S. Skaters Aim For Gold At Worlds

Ashley Wagner of USA performs her routine in the exhibition during ISU World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena on March 30, 2014 in Saitama, Japan. She finished 7th. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The World Figure Skating Championships begin this week in Shanghai, China.

American skaters like Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds, Jason Brown and Josh Farris may stand a chance at getting on the podium, but they are not favored to win gold.

It’s been eight seasons since an American woman won a singles medal at the world or Olympic level, and four for the men.

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NPR Story
1:02 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Redesigned PSAT Shifts Preparation Efforts For High School Students

Students taking the PSAT in the fall of 2015 will see a newly designed test. (Sam UL/Flickr Creative Commons)

It’s that time of year: the high school class of 2015 is now receiving college decision letters.

At the same time, current high school freshmen and sophomores will face a revised version of the preliminary SAT or PSAT in the fall of 2015.

The PSAT is an important step before taking the actual SAT but the announced changes may change the way students go about preparing.

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NPR Story
1:02 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

China's Top Weather Official Warns Of Climate Change Risks

A man wears a mask amid heavy smog on the Bund in Shanghai on November 12, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images)

China’s top weather official is warning people about the potential impact of climate change.

China’s Xinhua news agency reports that Zheng Guoguang, chief of China’s Meteorological Administration, said climate change could reduce crop yields and lead to “ecological degradation.”

The statements are considered rare, even though China is the world’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

“As the world warms, risks of climate change and climate disasters to China could become more grave,” Zheng said.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

From Texas, A Supreme Court Case For Confederate Flag License Plates

This image provided by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles shows the design of a proposed Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate. . (Texas Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)

There are more than 300 specialty plates in Texas, paying tribute to things like wild turkeys, Dr. Pepper and the fight against terrorism.

But when one group submitted a plate design with their logo — a Confederate flag — it was rejected by Texas officials. On Monday, the constitutionality of that rejection will be considered by the Supreme Court.

At issue is whether the license plates constitute government speech or an individual’s private speech.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Local Sports Become Lucrative Market

Regional sports broadcasters have become a big source of revenue for local teams. Pictured, the Arizona Diamondbacks play a game against the Oakland Athletics on March 10, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If you’ve been watching March Madness, you’ve probably been watching on CBS, TNT, TBS or Tru-TV. Those networks have the TV rights to the games until 2024.

But if you’re a local sports fan, chances are you do a lot of your sports TV viewing on regional sports networks.

Those networks have become an important source of revenue for the teams whose games they broadcast, and if you pay for cable — you’re probably paying more for your regional sports network than almost any other channel.

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NPR Story
1:19 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

People Fleeing Islamic State-Controlled Areas Flood Baghdad

Baghdad’s neighborhoods are home to increasing numbers of people who have fled areas controlled by the so-called Islamic State militants.

Many of those displaced come from Anbar province, west of Baghdad. They need aid, and it’s a struggle for the government and international community to get it to them, as the BBC’s Ahmed Maher reports from Baghdad.

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NPR Story
1:38 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

2,000 Snow Geese Die In Idaho

2,000 snow geese in Idaho died this month as a result of avian cholera. (hjhipster/Flickr)

Wildlife experts say avian cholera is responsible for a mass die-off of snow geese in Idaho this month, which left 2,000 of the migratory birds dead. Wildlife officials say they are taking precautions so that it doesn’t spread.

Jeff Knetter, a waterfowl biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game tells Here & Now’s Robin Young about how spectacular it is when tens of thousands of snow geese at once take off in flight.

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NPR Story
1:38 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Protests Breakout At University of Virginia After Violent Arrest

UVA students protest the bloody arrest of a junior by Virginia police officers. (Hawes Spencer/WVTF)

Photos of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson laying on the ground with a bleeding head and police holding his hands behind his back have led to protest on the university’s campus.

Johnson, a third year honor student, was taken in to custody yesterday in front of a bar near the university. Video of him yelling “how did this happen” and calling the arresting Alcohol and Beverage Control officers racists, has prompted the university president to request an administrative review of the incident.

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NPR Story
1:38 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

DJ Sessions: Sam Cooke Fans - Listen Up

KCRW's Aaron Byrd says Sam Cooke fans might really enjoy Leon Bridges. (Leon Bridges/Facebook)

Aaron Byrd of KCRW in Santa Monica has a lot of new music to share with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson, including an artist that Sam Cooke fans will want to hear — he’s talking about Leon Bridges.

Byrd also shares music from the Los Angeles artist Kelela and disco-funk group Tuxedo — which has a less explicit take on a Snoop Dogg classic.

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NPR Story
1:40 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Report: New Yorkers Have Longest Commute Time In Country

A report from the New York City Comptroller finds New Yorkers have the longest workweek, because they have the longest commutes in the country. (xymox/Flickr)

A new report from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer finds that New York residents with full-time jobs spend more time commuting than residents of other large U.S. cities, with average commutes of 6 hours and 18 minutes a week.

That translates into 49 hours a week that New York workers spend working and commuting, compared with 42 hours for Los Angeles.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Midwest States Push To Legalize Raw Milk

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control warns that one sip of unpasteurized milk can cause serious illness because it’s a fertile breeding ground for harmful germs like salmonella and e. coli. (Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media)

Federal health officials say drinking unpasteurized raw milk is unsafe and poses a threat to public health.

But, raw milk is gaining popularity in some circles, so several Midwest states are actually looking to legalize the sale of raw milk in order to regulate it.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harvest Public Media’s Abby Wendle has more about the push to legalize raw milk.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Changing The Conversation With #IAmAStatistic

(L-R) Neil Osborne, Max Tilus,Tyler Holness, and Jack McGoldrick are behind "Statistic" -- to change the conversation about African-American men. (Robin Lubbock/Here & Now)

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 10:19 pm

Over the past few months, a light has been shined on the African-American man’s experience, especially in relation to law enforcement.

Throughout the conversation, much attention has been given to statistics: how many African-American men go to jail, graduate high school and go to college.

Many of these statistics reflect African-American men’s experiences in a negative light, but what if the statistics focused on their positive accomplishments?

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NPR Story
12:38 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Scientists Discover More About 'Feel-Good' Gene

A genetic mutation found in about 20 percent Americans makes them less anxious and more resilient. (Moyan Brenn/Flickr)

Can one particular genetic mutation explain why some people are more anxious and less resilient than others?

Scientists at the Weill Cornell Medical College studied a gene mutation discovered about 10 years ago that only about 20 percent of Americans have. It bathes the brain in a sort of ‘natural cannabis.’

The New York Times is calling it the “feel-good gene,” because of the correlation between the mutation and a lack of anxiety, and an ability to bounce back.

The Cornell researchers wanted to know if there was more than a correlation.

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NPR Story
12:38 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Is It The End For Benjamin Netanyahu?

An Israeli ultra-orthodox Jewish man casts his ballot at a polling station in Jerusalem on March 17, 2015. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

As voters in Israel head to the polls today, Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life. His once implausible challenger Isaac Herzog has risen in the public opinion polls and could end up the winner in today’s election.

Jerusalem Post’s deputy managing editor Tovah Lazaroff joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to take a look at what’s motivating voters, and what a change in leadership in Israel would mean.

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NPR Story
12:22 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Kathy Gunst Does Breakfast

(vastateparkstaff/Flickr)

Do you skip breakfast? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst used to. But then she worked on a book about breakfast and became a convert.

Gunst brings us recipes for granola bars, smoothies, and an open face smoked salmon sandwich for Jeremy Hobson to sample.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Netanyahu Trailing Slightly Before Israel’s Election Tomorrow

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trailing ever so slightly behind his opponents in the Labor Party, just before tomorrow’s parliamentary election. That’s according to the latest and last poll before voters cast their ballots tomorrow.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

States Scramble To Comply With Fed ID Cards

Increased enforcement of the federal REAL ID Act means Idaho driver's licenses may soon be unacceptable as ID at airports. (Idaho Transportation Department)

If you have a driver’s license you probably use it for more than driving: you verify your credit card, you prove your age if you want to buy a beer, you prove your identity to get on a plane.

But what if you showed your driver’s license and it was no good?

That’s starting to happen to people in a number of states that have yet to fully comply with the federal government’s REAL ID Act.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jessica Robinson reports from Idaho.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Combating Bait And Switch In The Seafood Industry

The plan to stop seafood fraud will create a system to detect black market fishing and seafood fraud, and a system to track seafood from its harvest, all the way to U.S. port for market. (Bill Dickinson/Flickr)

Fish is a slippery business. Managing and policing the seafood industry has proved challenging through the years with reports of over-fishing, controversies about fish farming, and issues of oceanic pollution. Now, we can add seafood fraud to that list.

On Sunday, a task force convened by the Obama administration released an action plan to stop seafood fraud.

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