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NPR Story
1:54 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Clive Owen Gets Wordy In New Romantic Comedy

British actor Clive Owen, who stars in "Words and Pictures," is pictured here on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

British actor Clive Owen is known for his roles in thrillers such as “Killer Elite,” the dystopian “Children of Men” and Spike Lee’s heist drama “Inside Man.” But for his latest film, he goes into academia.

In “Words and Pictures,” Owen plays a poet turned prep school English teacher. His job is in jeopardy: he drinks too much and his teaching has become lackluster.

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NPR Story
1:54 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

California Counties Sue 5 Narcotics Makers

The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed in 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, Mass. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Two counties in California — Orange and Santa Clara — are suing five major drug companies, accusing them of causing the growing prescription drug epidemic across the country.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the state of California, accuses the companies, which make painkilling drugs such as Oxy­Con­tin, of deceptive marketing. The lawsuit seeks financial damages.

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NPR Story
1:54 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Americans Are Working Less, So Why Are We So Stressed Out?

Americans are working less hours overall, but among the white-collar crowd, time spent working is at a high, while leisure is at a low. (Phil Whitehouse/Flickr)

The amount of hours worked in the U.S. is considerably less than it used to be. And we’re not alone — every other advanced economy around the world is working less, too. But single parents are working more, as are the highly educated and wealthy.

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss some of the reasons why it seems like we all have less leisure time.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Natasha Trethewey Ends Her Tenure As U.S. Poet Laureate

As her tenure as U.S. Poet Laureate comes to an end, Natasha Trethewey reflects on her work and poetry in our country today. (W.T. Pfefferle/Flickr)

The role of the United States Poet Laureate is to raise the country’s consciousness about poetry and to spark passion for the craft.

At the conclusion of her two-year tenure as the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey has done that and more.

As her term comes to an end, she joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to reflect on her work, her unique past and the state of poetry today.

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NPR Story
1:13 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Fare-Dodging Movement Strengthens In Sweden

A fare dodger is pictured in this 2011 photo on Planka.nu's Flickr. (Planka.nu/Flickr)

They’re the nemesis of public transportation agencies across the world: fare dodgers. But a growing number say they’re not bandits, rather participants in an important social movement.

Case in point: a group in Stockholm, Sweden, that wants fares to be abolished altogether and transport to be 100 percent tax-funded (it’s currently 50 percent tax-funded).

Alex Berthelsen is a longtime member of that organization, called Planka.nu (roughly translated to “Free-Ride.Now”).

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NPR Story
12:51 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Pennsylvania Becomes Latest Gay Marriage State

Peg Welch, center left, and her wife Delma Welch gather with others at a gay marriage rally on the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa. Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage was overturned Tuesday by a federal judge in a decision that makes same-sex marriage legal throughout the Northeast. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 1:28 pm

Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett says he won’t appeal yesterday’s ruling from a federal judge striking down a state law that banned gay marriage.

Hundreds of gay couples are rushing to get married in the state, which as of today has become the 19th state where gay marriage is legal.

On Monday, a federal judge in Oregon struck down a voter-approved ban on gay marriage and a federal judge in Utah ordered state officials to recognize more than 1,000 gay marriages performed there in the two weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency stay.

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NPR Story
1:08 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Catching Up With Michelle Chamuel Of 'The Voice'

Michelle Chamuel is pictured in the cover photo for her single "Go Down Singing." (Courtesy)

Tonight is the season finale of NBC’s hit singing competition, “The Voice.” That means it’s been about a year since Michelle Chamuel came in second, after her breakout run on the fourth season of the show.

Chamuel was a huge fan favorite, with her big black-framed glasses that inspired the hashtag #foureyesontheprize.

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NPR Story
1:08 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

NIH: Scientists Must Include Female Animals In Testing

The National Institutes of Health will soon begin requiring scientists to test new drugs on both male and female animals. Researchers now tend to use mostly male animals in pre-clinical tests, even for drugs that will also be used by women.

But that has had some major consequences for women.

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NPR Story
1:08 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

How Saudi Arabia Is Responding To MERS Crisis

The World Health Organization is seriously worried about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). It has killed 126 people in Saudi Arabia since it was first identified two years ago.

The BBC’s Zubeida Malik brought us this report about how the country is responding to the crisis.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Why Walking Matters

(Montse PB/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 11:24 am

A recent study out of Stanford University found that walking for at least 10 minutes enhances a person’s creativity.

Psychiatrist and author John Ratey is not surprised. Ratey has written several books about how the brain is improved by exercise.

He says when his patients stopped exercising, many not only became depressed, by some actually developed adult ADHD.

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NPR Story
12:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Primary Election Campaigns Focusing On Family Ties

Dad, father, daughter, son and husband are all common words popping up in election ads this year, as family seems to be the theme in political campaigns this year.

Here & Now media analyst John Carroll discusses the trend with Here & Now’s about the familial trend.

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NPR Story
12:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Recently Ousted Jill Abramson Delivers Commencement Speech

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson made her first public comments since being fired, when she spoke to graduates of Wake Forest’s class of 2014.

She had agreed to deliver today’s commencement address several months before her very public fallout with the newspaper last week.

Abramson’s abrupt ouster has raised questions about her management style, her compensation and whether gender bias plays a role in any of the controversy.

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NPR Story
2:23 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

U.K., France Compete For China's Tourists

People from China are considered the world’s top tourists. Studies show that on average they spend more money than people from other countries do.

This is a relatively new development because China’s economy has boomed and government restrictions on travel have been eased. The middle class now has money. They want to see the world and of course there are millions of them.

The BBC’s China correspondent Carrie Gracie reports on what Britain and France are doing to attract them.

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NPR Story
2:23 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

How A Quarrel In Panama Is Making Waves In Miami

Epic Endeavor: Building the Panama Canal's wider locks. (Panama Canal Authority)

The brand new PortMiami tunnel is set to open next week. It’s a billion dollar project that’s been in the works for more than four years. The tunnel will take trucks and cruise passenger traffic under Biscayne Bay, rather than through downtown Miami.

It’s the centerpiece of the $2 billion makeover of the Port of Miami, which was done largely so the city can capitalize on another major expansion going on more than 1,000 miles to the south: the widening of the Panama Canal, to accommodate bigger ships carrying more cargo.

But the Panama Canal project is now in limbo.

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NPR Story
2:23 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Woman Organizes Against Police Killings In Brazil Ahead Of World Cup

Riot police stand near the Arena Corinthians stadium during a protest of the Workers Without a Roof Movement (MTST) against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Sao Paulo on May 15, 2014. The Arena Corinthians will host the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 on June 12, between Brazil and Croatia. (Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

The World Cup kicks off in Brazil in less than a month, and preparations are still ongoing — three stadiums are still under construction.

Boston resident Liz Martin is worried that part of the preparations for the World Cup will include more violence by the police.

Amnesty International reports that Brazil’s police are responsible for about 2,000 deaths each year, one of the highest rates in the world.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

TV 'Upfronts' Preview Next Season's Shows

Fox's "Gotham" is among the new shows airing this fall. (Fox)

This week, big TV broadcast networks released their fall schedules at an event in New York City.

The “upfronts,” as the event is called in the industry, draws in a huge crowd of advertisers, media executives, actors, agents and producers. It also serves as a chance for big networks to woo over advertisers.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

FCC Vote Could Open Internet Fast Lanes

People demonstrate for net neutrality in the neighborhood of Bel-Air outside a USC Shoah Foundation fundraiser to be attended by President Barack Obama on May 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

With a three-to-two vote today, the FCC released a controversial set of proposed rules on Internet openness.

A leaked draft version had provoked protests among many who worried that the FCC was shirking its responsibility to protect open access.

Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler struck an emphatically reassuring tone, saying the proposal does not authorize paid prioritization. But numerous observers claim that that’s exactly what it does.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

What Happens To The Junk Donated To Charity

Every morning St. Vincent de Paul auctions off donations that won't sell at the store. (Peter O'Dowd/KJZZ)

Donations of unwanted clothes keep hundreds of millions of pounds of trash out of local landfills. But, in the end, a lot of the contributions that charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army receive are basically garbage.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Peter O'Dowd of KJZZ tells us what happens to the stuff that doesn’t sell in thrift stores.

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NPR Story
12:18 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

DJ Sessions: Future Soul And Beyond

Brooklyn-based DJ and producer Taylor McFerrin is one of the artists Aaron Byrd is listening to in this week's DJ Sessions. (Horng Yih Wong/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 12:52 pm

KCRW DJ Aaron Byrd joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about what he’s listening to — including some future soul, a combination of soul and R&B, and sounds influenced by ’70s disco.

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NPR Story
12:18 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

U.N.'s Syrian Envoy Steps Down As Civil War Continues

Lakhdar Brahimi will step down at the end of this month from his post as United Nations Special Envoy to Syria. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Lakhdar Brahimi will resign at the end of the month from his post as Syrian international envoy, after a failed two-year effort to end the conflict that has claimed more than 150,000 lives in Syria.

Earlier this week, the forces of President Bashar al-Assad took full control of the city of Homs, which had been considered the capital of the revolution against him. Assad is also running for re-election next month, so there are questions about the future of the revolution.

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NPR Story
12:18 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Real-Time Global Flight Tracking On The Horizon

The International Civil Aviation Organization held two days of meetings in Montreal this week to discuss flight tracking, which has come front and center since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Airline and aviation regulators say that they agree that tracking all planes around the world is now a priority. But global standards for doing it now need to be developed, and it’s unclear how quickly that will happen.

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NPR Story
12:48 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

EU Court Rules Google Must Delete Links When Requested

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:49 am

Europe’s highest court says Google users in Europe have a right to ask the company to remove links about themselves. The surprise decision by the European Union’s highest court comes as regulators are trying to tighten online privacy protections.

Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Bellini tells Here & Now’s Robin Young about the ruling, and the implications for Google and other search engine operators.

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NPR Story
12:48 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

The Anatomy Of A College Rape Accusation

Lexie Brackenridge at her new college, Columbia University, on Monday (Courtesy Sara Romano)

Amid increasing scrutiny nationwide of college administrators’ response to sexual assault cases, a former Williams College student and her parents have accused leaders at that college of mishandling her assault case.

Lexie Brackenridge and her parents also oppose the expected return to campus this fall of the alleged assailant.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Fred Thys of WBUR reports.

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NPR Story
12:33 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Man From War-Torn Africa Turns Wine Glasses Into Song

Dan Newbie plays popular songs with wine glasses and a frying pan as his instruments. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 1:54 pm

Arkansas resident Dan Newbie is behind several popular YouTube videos, in which he uses wine glasses and a frying pan to play popular songs such as “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. His version of the “Game of Thrones” theme song was posted only six days ago and has already been viewed more than 800,000 times.

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NPR Story
12:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Web Series ‘Thug Notes’ Puts A Hip-Hop Spin On Classic Literature

Comedian Greg Edwards presents brief book reports of classic literature using a hip-hop vernacular in the popular web series "Thug Notes," created by Jared Bauer. (Screenshot)

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 2:20 pm

[Youtube]

Note: This video contains language that some viewers may find offensive.

Students of literature have long used SparkNotes and CliffsNotes to help them navigate the tricky plot-lines of the classics. Now, there’s a new web series that students can turn to for literary help: “Thug Notes.”

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NPR Story
12:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Big Weekend In Sports: Sterling Apologizes, NFL Drafts First Openly Gay Player

Newly drafted NFL player Michael Sam, standing alongside his boyfriend Vito Cammisano, becomes emotional as he learns he will be playing for the St. Louis Rams. (Screenshot)

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologized over the weekend in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. It’s the first time Sterling has spoken publicly since a recording of him making racist comments was leaked more than two weeks ago.

And in other big sports news, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL.

Here & Now sports analyst Mike Pesca joins Jeremy Hobson to talk about the significance of these events in the world of sports.

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NPR Story
12:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

FiveFingers Shoe Company Pays $3.5 Million For Misleading Customers

Vibram's FiveFinger running shoes have developed a strong following among runners who believe minimal cushioning in shoes provides a better running experience, but the company recently settled a lawsuit claiming there was no science backing up their claims. (Patrick Yodarus/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 3:05 pm

Vibram USA — the maker of those shoes that look more like rubber gloves with separate compartments for each toe — has agreed to pay $3.5 million settlement in a class action suit for allegedly misleading their customers.

The lawsuit was brought by a woman who says the shoe company claimed to decrease foot injuries and strengthen foot muscles, but had no scientific research to prove it.

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Video Chats With Mom Become Popular Web Series

Film director Joshua Seftel turned his FaceTime conversations with his mom Pat Seftel into a popular YouTube series called "My Mom On Movies." (Phillip Toledano)

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 8:34 am

In 2009, after filmmaker Joshua Seftel‘s father passed away, he and his sisters worried about staying in touch with their mom, so they bought her an iPad, and even though she was nervous about it at first, they convinced her to start using it.

First they sent emails back and forth, but soon Seftel and his mom started talking on FaceTime. Seftel says that around this time he remembered his mother said she had always wanted her own show. So he thought, why not?

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Speaking Exchange: Brazilian Students Connect With Elderly Americans

A Brazilian student speaks with an American senior in this screenshot from a video about the program. (Screenshot)

A language school in Brazil is connecting its students to the elderly in Chicago, so the students can practice their English online. The promotional video for the “Speaking Exchange” program has gone viral because the kids and seniors are developing relationships.

[Youtube]

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

New Space Fence Could Prevent Real Life 'Gravity'

A computer image generated by NASA shows objects orbiting Earth, including those in geosynchronous orbit at a high altitude. The objects are not to scale. (NASA)

In the blockbuster film “Gravity,” astronauts became stranded, floating in orbit after “space junk” hit their mission at a heart-racing speed. While the film is more science fiction than fact, there are huge concerns about all the debris in the Earth’s orbit, and how that could affect satellite systems.

Sixty years of activity in space have resulted in about 500,000 pieces of space debris. The detritus ranges from left-over pieces of rockets to a glove that an astronaut dropped in 1965. All of that material has the potential to collide with the 1,100 satellites over the Earth.

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