Here & Now

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General Electric is moving its global headquarters from Connecticut to Boston.

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said Wednesday that the Boston area has a diverse, technologically fluent workforce that fits with its aspirations.

Several states have been competing to lure the company from Fairfield since GE announced in June that it was unhappy about legislative tax proposals and thinking about a move.

The very first challenges President Obama raised in the his final State of the Union address last night were criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse.

It’s well known by now that in the last 15 years or so, sales of prescription opioids – painkillers – have risen by more than 300 percent. And the number of people dying from overdoses of prescription opioids or heroin has also shot up, by 200 percent.

More than two million people in the United States have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which can be a difficult illness to treat effectively. In the past few years, some states have adopted a new approach to treating schizophrenia, and the results are encouraging so far.

These programs focus on those who’ve experienced their first psychotic break, involve patients in their own treatment decisions, provide family support and help with school and work. One such program is called OnTrackNY.

In a special edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, music editor Lyndsey Parker remembers the wide-ranging work of David Bowie. The 69-year-old musician died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Bowie left behind many different styles of sound, played out through personas as diverse as the late-1960s trippy Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke in 1976. His final voyage into an experimental jazz sound was “Blackstar,” his album released Friday.

Are Squirrels Getting Fatter?

Jan 11, 2016

You may have seen images on Facebook or Twitter of squirrels looking a little huskier than usual. Social media has noticed that squirrels appear to be a bit heavier this year because of the warm weather and more access to food.

But is something really going on, or have people just turned to “fat shaming” the furry mammals? Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Vicki Croke, host of WBUR’s The Wild Life, about the chunky squirrels appearing on social media.

Fugitive Drug Lord 'El Chapo' Recaptured

Jan 8, 2016

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced Friday that fugitive drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was recaptured seven months after he escaped from a maximum security prison.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted by name said Guzman was apprehended after a shootout with Mexican marines in the city of Los Mochis, in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa.

Security Plans For Super Bowl 50 Underway

Jan 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50 is just weeks away but the security preparations have been going on for more than two years. Ever since Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium won the Super Bowl bid, it has been planning began for the weeklong celebration throughout the Bay area.

Beth Willon from Here & Now contributor KQED reports that recent terrorist attacks have added even more pressure to make sure the security is as airtight as possible.

It has been seven days since armed protesters seized control of several buildings on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward met face-to-face with the group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, on Thursday to try to bring a peaceful end to the occupation.

Bundy, who lives in Arizona, maintains that his group will not leave until two locals convicted of setting fire to federal land are released and the government relinquishes its control of that land so people can “reclaim their resources.”

Building A Better Honeybee

Jan 7, 2016

Honeybees have almost become an annual crop. In fact, honey bee die-offs are so common now that beekeepers generally just order more bees in the spring when they lose a hive over the winter.

This has put a lot of pressure on bee breeders to raise more and more bees. And that is only bringing the quality of bees down. But researchers and backyard beekeepers are now teaming up to build better honeybees that are real survivors. And not through genetic engineering—through good old-fashioned selection.

KCRW’s Anthony Valadez joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson for the first installment of DJ Sessions in 2016.

A Florida Atlantic University professor who repeatedly suggested that the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012 was a government hoax has been fired. But he’s is a part of a bigger group of people in the country who think a number of mass shootings have been orchestrated by the Obama administration to push for tougher gun control.

Now that the year is six days old, have you given up a resolution to eat healthier? Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says: don’t despair! She’s had to modify her own eating habits, due to an acid reflux diagnosis.

But as she tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson, “you have to focus on what you can eat, as opposed to what you can’t eat, so you always want to balance color and texture.” Kathy brings us recipes that not only work for her, but can also fit into a low-fat or low-meat diet.

There is good news for some college graduates in New York: if you graduated after December 2014 from a school in the state, make less than $50,000 a year and fit some other criteria, you can now apply to have the state pick up your student loan payments for up to two years. It’s called the Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program.

Lumosity, the company behind a number of brain training games, will pay $2 million to settle federal allegations that it deceived customers with false advertising, promising that playing Lumosity games could boost their performance at work and even delay dementia.

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About half a million people of Persian descent could soon taste the fruits of the recent nuclear deal with Iran. The United States is set to lift longtime bans on the imports of food and carpets once Iran meets certain obligations under the recently negotiated nuclear deal.

Sara Hossaini from Here & Now contributor KQED finds the new possibility of trade has piqued the interest of some Iranian entrepreneurs in California.

All American Boys” is a powerful new novel by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Reynolds is black and Kiely is white. Their book examines race and police violence, chapter by chapter, from the perspectives of a black teen and a white teen.

It’s been January for nearly a week, which means that Christmas is now a distant memory. But for many people, one vestige of the holiday remains: the Christmas tree. So when is the right time to take it down?

For some, there are religious reasons to keep it up. Today, January 5, is traditionally the 12th day of Christmas, and therefore, the final day for the tree. Others wait to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6. And there are those who commemorate Jesus’ baptism on January 10. But for some, resolving when to take down the Christmas tree is an annual enigma.

Seattle poet Merna Ann Hecht says right now Americans are worried about what they have to lose by admitting more refugees. She wants to change the conversation to what refugees are giving back.

Hecht has been working with teenage refugees at Foster High School in Tukwila, Washington helping them write poetry in a new language. Amy Radil from Here & Now contributor KUOW explains.

Ursula Gauthier has lived in China since 2009 as the Beijing correspondent for the French magazine, L’Obs. But this past December, after writing a story suggesting that China was using the terrorist attacks in Paris to crack down on its Uigher population, her visa was not renewed.

For Markets, A Bad Start To The Year

Jan 4, 2016

Stock markets started the New Year with some steep drops. In China, stocks fell more than 7 percent, forcing the market to shut down early.

Bloomberg reports it was the worst start to the year for China stocks ever. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 400 points or 2.4 percent in the morning, the S&P down 2.1 percent and Nasdaq down 2.7 percent.

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti looks at what’s happening with Jill Schlesinger of CBS News.

Helen Macdonald has had a longtime love of falconry and training birds for years. But she had yet to attempt training what’s known as a goshawk, known as a vicious predator. When Macdonald’s father died suddenly one year, she decided to try.

Rare Sighting Of A Giant Squid In Japan

Jan 1, 2016

[Youtube]

Giant squid can get as big as 45 feet in length, and inhabit the deeper regions of the ocean. They rarely surface, and so scientists often must study the species through the examination of dead squid which have washed ashore.

In the wake of several recent mass shootings, Joe Arpaio, the controversial Sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona is calling for citizens who carry concealed weapons to take action in the event of an attack.

But as Jimmy Jenkins from Here & Now contributor KJZZ reports, not all law enforcement officials think Arpaio’s call to arms is the best course of action.

“So,” “manspreading,” and “giving me life” made this years’ “Annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness,” released today by list compilers at Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to John Shibley, who works in the school’s public relations department and teaches communications.

Opioid Epidemic Hits Neonatal ICUs

Dec 31, 2015

This week we’ve been looking at how the headlines of 2015 have hit home.

The opioid epidemic is certainly one of the top stories of 2015, new numbers from the CDC show that deaths from overdoses reached an all-time high of 47,000 in 2014, the latest figures available. And hospital neonatal intensive care units across the country are seeing a corresponding rise in the number of babies born dependent on opioids.

Taking This Week Off? You're Not Alone

Dec 31, 2015

Here at the offices of WBUR and Here & Now, there are tumbleweeds in the hallway, as most employees are off for the whole holiday week. And it turns out, we are not alone.

Almost a third of U.S. office workers are taking a break from the workplace between Christmas and New Year’s, according to a survey for the staffing firm Robert Half, and human resources experts predict that that might grow in the future as more and more offices see benefits in closing up shop.

During his end-of-the-year press conference, President Obama said he has some “unfinished business” to take care of during his final year in office.

That got us thinking: what have other presidents done in their “lame duck” years? Here & Now’s Robin Young asks one of our favorite historians, Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer.

2015: The Year In Cars And Trucks

Dec 30, 2015

It’s been a remarkable year for vehicle owners – hard for those with Volkswagen TDI diesel cars, but generally for drivers, increasingly easy at the pump. Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd looks back at the automotive highs and lows of 2015 with Patrick George, editor-in-chief of Jalopnik.

Is A $250,000 Annual Income Middle Class?

Dec 30, 2015

In an ad, Hillary Clinton says the deck has been stacked against regular people and she wants to “do everything [she] can to get that reshuffled, so that being middle class means something again.”

Her tax plan classifies households of four earning up to $250,000 a year as middle class. When President Obama was running against Mitt Romney, each of them also picked that number. But both people who make that much and people who don’t have cried foul.

With only a few days left on the calendar year for 2015, next year is already on the collective mind of Washington. It’s obviously a year that will feature a presidential election, but many races in the senate are going to be worth watching as well.

NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti about 2016 government priorities and how those impending elections will play into Congress’ ability, or inability, to compromise and pass legislation.

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