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Here & Now

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NPR's midday news magazine.  

House Republicans have dropped plans to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics after widespread criticism and questions from President-elect Donald Trump about GOP priorities.

Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti discusses the reversal and what it means with NPR’s Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR).

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most well-known technology conferences in the world.

The event, which is expecting between 165,000 and 175,000 attendees, will officially begin Thursday, with companies large and small showing off the latest updates for smart TVs, drones and cars, as well as some more unusual additions — internet-connected vacuum cleaners, washing machines and consumer robots.

If you are looking for a new taste sensation for the New Year: consider a small-batch soft drink from Squamscot Beverages. It’s a New Hampshire-based, family-owned New Hampshire company that’s been selling old-time sodas for generations.

New Year’s Eve is only a day away. There will be lots of celebrations to ring in the New Year — and with celebrations come toasts.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Maureen Zappala (@mzappala10), distinguished toastmaster with Toastmasters International, about how to give a great toast this holiday season.

In 1924 a Connecticut prosecutor saved a suspect from the gallows, in a case of justice that’s taught today in law books. The movie “Boomerang” was based on the case.

Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins looks back at the case, and how it resonates today in the debate of over sentencing and overzealous prosecutions.

Why Self-Driving Cars Won 2016

Dec 29, 2016

The automotive industry had a good year in sales. It had an even better year in innovation.

The Replacements remain one of rock’s best-loved bands. But they also lived up to the title of a biography released this year — “Trouble Boys: The True Story Of The Replacements.”

“Opportunity disregarded,” is the way author Bob Mehr (@bobmehr) describes the band’s career, which started when they formed in Minneapolis in 1979 and ended when the broke up in 1991.

For more than 30 years, several dozen developmentally disabled men were consigned to work in a turkey processing plant in a small Iowa town.

They lived in an abandoned schoolhouse in increasingly decaying conditions, were paid next to nothing for their work, had to pay for their own medical care and were often abused. They were virtually prisoners and for decades, almost no one did anything to help them even though the men were well-known in town.

African-American neighborhoods in Chicago are on edge as another holiday weekend approaches. Last weekend seven people were killed on Christmas Day alone — some of them at family gatherings — in violence that’s thought to be gang-related.

Chicago pastor Corey Brooks (@CoreyBBrooks) joins Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss ways to break a cycle of violence.

Secretary of State John Kerry outlined a vision for how peace in the Middle East can be achieved in a farewell speech in Washington on Wednesday. The speech comes less than a week after the U.S. abstained from a U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, angering Israel.

Kerry defended the move, saying the U.S. couldn’t “stand in the way of a resolution at the United Nations that makes it clear that both sides must act now to preserve the possibility of peace.”

Actress Carrie Fisher, who found enduring fame as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars,” has died. She was 60.

Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, released a statement through her spokesman saying Fisher died Tuesday just before 9 a.m PST. Lourd said her mother was “loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly.”

This year, the artist Christo (@xtojc_tweet) was finally able to present “The Floating Piers,” an ambitious project he and his wife and artistic partner the late Jeanne-Claude had begun to envision after completing “The Wrapped Coast” in Australia in 1969.

Charles “Wick” Moorman took over as president and CEO of Amtrak in September.

Moorman tells Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti about his plans to chart a course for Amtrak’s future growth, and what Donald Trump’s infrastructure spending plan might mean for improving and modernizing the railroad network.

The BBC’s Paul Gambaccini speaks with Here & Now‘s Robin Young about his friend, singer George Michael, who died on Sunday at the age of 53.

Michael rose to fame as a member of the duo Wham! in the early ’80s, and debuted solo with the album “Faith” in 1987. He sold over 100 million records worldwide.

From a fantastic documentary on the beginnings of hip-hop, to a British comedy about the intersection of sexuality and religion, 2016 featured a lot of quality television that didn’t gain mainstream attention.

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans (@Deggans) talks with Here & Now‘s Meghna Chakrabarti about the shows that are still worth watching even though they won’t be on anyone’s top-10 list this year.

Eight years after the financial collapse that sparked the Great Recession, two more major banks have reached a settlement with U.S. authorities for their role in creating and selling toxic debt.

Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the resignation of President Mikhail Gorbachev and the end of the Soviet Union.

In 1966, a teenage mother and her boyfriend abandoned their baby in a random car. Her pregnancy, and the episode that followed, were kept hidden, and later the young couple married and had other children.

One of their kids found out he had a brother, and decided to search for him. Thanks to DNA testing, the brothers — and family — were reunited.

Two men with notorious reputations have led Syria for the past 45 years — the late Hafez al-Assad and his son, Bashar.

The lower chamber of the Russian Parliament today called for heightened security measures for the country’s diplomats after the ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in Ankara this week.

The Man Behind Atari's 'Secret Room'

Dec 21, 2016

The Atari video game console was king in the 1980s, and one of the most popular games was called “Adventure.” The medieval quest game was designed by Warren Robinett, but after he did not receive credit, he became angry and created a “secret room” or “Easter egg,” which hid his name within the game.

Tim Skoog from Here & Now contributor WBUR profiles Robinett, who revealed details about his secret message in “Adventure.”

As families gather for the holidays, some parents want their adult children to leave with more than new memories. They’re hoping to pass down antique furniture, collectibles and family heirlooms they feel have sentimental or financial value.

Climate scientists say polar bears have been showing up more frequently in villages along Alaska’s North Slope, looking for food as warming temperatures cause ice to melt in the Beaufort Sea.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Todd Atwood, research wildlife biologist with the United States Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center.

Interview Highlights

On what makes polar bears come ashore

Russia is boosting security at its embassies around the world after its ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated by an off-duty Turkish police officer at an art gallery in the capital, Ankara, on Monday.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says the assassination, “benefits those who want to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey” and derail peace talks for Syria.

The gunman who killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition in Ankara shouted in Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

The man then yelled: “Stand back! Stand back! Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.”

While stories of “rogue electors” have been swirling in the media for weeks, there’s no evidence to suggest Monday’s Electoral College votes will result in anything other than a Trump presidency.

NPR’s Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNPR) joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to talk about precedent, and how Russia’s meddling has affected what is normally a ho-hum process.

China has agreed to return an underwater U.S. drone Beijing seized in the South China Sea last week.

The Pentagon says it was conducting routine operations. But Beijing says the drone was linked to American efforts to contain China.

Laughing is something most people do every day, but chances are we don’t really understand why we do it.

Robert Provine, a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, explains the science of laughter to Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson. Provine’s most recent book is “Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping and Beyond.”

Do Tax Cuts Bring About Economic Growth?

Dec 12, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has said he plans to cut taxes for individuals and corporations in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush also cut taxes with the same reasoning during their time in office. But cutting taxes doesn’t necessarily guarantee economic growth.

Cold temperatures and wet weather are spanning the country today after big snowstorms hit the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and other northern regions over the weekend.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Dean DeVore (@DeanPSUpa), a meteorologist for AccuWeather, about the winter weather impacting the country, and what to expect later in the week.

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