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NPR Story
12:23 pm
Wed June 3, 2015

Inside America's Secret Network Of Space Planes, Satellites

A ULA Atlas V rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The rocket is carrying the X-37B space plane for the U.S. Air Force as well as 10 CubeSats and the Planetary Society's LightSail Mission. (United Launch Alliance/AP)

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 12:53 pm

It has been two weeks since the U.S. Air Force launched its secret X-37B space plane, carried by an Atlas V rocket into orbit for its forth mission. Most of the details about the flight were classified, but some astronomers have been making an effort to track the plane and are speculating on what it is doing.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

The Challenges Of Unincorporated Cities

Both St. Louis and Baltimore are independent cities – they’re not incorporated into counties like most cities are. Those cities have struggled with some major problems in the past year.

Joseph Heathcott, professor of urban studies at The New School in New York City, joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to look at whether the fact that they’re independent cities is related to the problems.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

In 1915, San Diego Hired A Rainmaker And Floods Ensued

In California, rainmaker Charley Hatfield caused a flood in oldtown. (Courtesy of San Diego Public Library)

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 6:12 am

In the midst of California’s historic drought, the San Diego Library opened an exhibit that reminds us of the measures communities used to take to get the rain they needed.

In late 1915, San Diego hired a “moisture accelerator” named Charles Hatfield during a drought. He was said to have delivered on his promise to deliver enough rain to fill the empty reservoirs, but there was too much rain, causing a deadly flood.

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NPR Story
1:31 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

Transgender Bathroom Access At Work: New Federal Guidelines

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new guidelines for businesses, saying transgender employees should have access to the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, which may be different from their gender by birth.

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NPR Story
1:48 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Supreme Court Weighs In On Facebook Threats, Religious Discrimination In Hiring

The Supreme Court this morning ruled in favor of a young Muslim woman after Abercrombie & Fitch refused to hire her for wearing a head scarf. The court also threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man, Anthony Elonis, who was prosecuted for making threats on Facebook.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Emily Bazelon, staff writer at New York Times Magazine and Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, about the impact of these decisions.

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NPR Story
1:48 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

San Diego Water Cops On Patrol

In San Diego, the city sends inspectors out on the streets to look for violations. (Robin Young)

Amid the drought in California, public workers are being pressed into service to enforce water restrictions.

San Diego is urging residents to water their lawns and gardens no more than two days a week, for five minutes per watering station on a weekly schedule organized by home address.

The new state mandate aims to cut 25 percent overall, but every community is setting its own levels, and some have already implemented cuts.

In San Diego, the goal is a 16 percent reduction and the city has inspectors out on the streets to check violations.

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NPR Story
1:48 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Consolidation In Computer Chip Industry: Intel Agrees To Buy Altera

Intel, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, agreed to buy Altera, which makes programmable chips, for $16.7 billion in cash. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Intel has agreed to buy Altera for $16.7 billion in cash. Intel is a powerhouse maker of processor chips, and is expected to use Altera, which makes programmable chips, to give it more strength in making chips for server systems.

The Altera chip technology has been increasingly popular as a way for companies to increase the speed of their servers, and by buying Altera, Intel will have more control of this market. The bid comes amid consolidation in the semiconductor industry.

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NPR Story
1:04 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Cigar Smoking Championship Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

(Darren Cioffi via Facebook)

Cigar smoking aficionados from around the world will descend on Copenhagen this weekend, for the next round of the Cigar Smoking World Championship.

Last year’s winner, Darren Cioffi, became the first American to win the world championship, and he also owns the Nashville cigar maker Principal Cigars. He talked about cigars and competitive smoking with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

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NPR Story
1:04 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

What A Nuclear Arms Deal Will Mean For Iran

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he thinks a nuclear deal can be reached with the U.S. and other world powers by the June 30 deadline. This deal would freeze Iran’s nuclear program for a decade, and the sanctions against Iran would end.

But many are skeptical that this deal will actually work. Eliot Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, discusses the deal with Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins.

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NPR Story
1:04 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Commerce Department: U.S. Economy Contracted In First Quarter

Clothing is offered on sale at a department store in Manhattan on March 12, 2015 in New York City. For a third straight month in February U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell according to a report by the Commerce Department released on Thursday. The report said that retail sales dropped 0.6 percent, with receipts falling in almost all categories. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter of this year, according to new numbers from the Commerce Department, which reported that the U.S. GDP shrank at a 0.7 percent seasonally-adjusted annual rate in the first quarter.

Bad weather and a strong dollar that hurt U.S. exports are thought to be contributing factors. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Mike Regan of Bloomberg News about the report, and also about the latest on negotiations over Greece’s debt.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Big Decisions Still To Come From U.S. Supreme Court

There are only a few weeks left for the U.S. Supreme Court to announce its decisions in some pretty hefty cases they heard this term. Same-sex marriage, healthcare reform and the death penalty are just a few of the issues the justices will weigh in on.

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg talks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about impending Supreme Court decisions.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Summer TV Preview From NPR's Eric Deggans

It used to be that summer was a time for reruns on television, but networks are now taking summer television seriously, premiering new shows and limited series.

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans joins Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins with recommendations on what to watch in the summer months.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

A 'DREAMer' Goes To College

Barbara Olochea just graduated from Alhambra High School in Phoenix. (Courtesy)

It’s graduation time around the country, and many high school seniors are making plans to head off to college at the end of the summer.

Barbara Olachea, a recent graduate of Alhambra High School in Phoenix and the daughter of Mexican immigrants, tells us in her own words about how growing up in two cultures helped her prepare for the big move. Her story comes to us from Here & Now contributor KJZZ’s Spot 127 Youth Media Center in Phoenix.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

In India, Heat Kills As Monsoon Season Approaches

The front page of the Hindustan Times carried this photo of asphalt melting in Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)

A heat wave in India has left over 1,100 people dead over the past month. In the capital New Delhi, 113 degree Fahrenheit temperatures have melted roadway crosswalks.

The sweltering heat will continue for at least another week when the annual monsoon rains begin. The BBC’s Delhi correspondent Zubair Ahmad joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Parched Rivers, Grasslands Choke California Wildlife

The giant kangaroo rat plays a big role in California’s ecosystem. (John Roser/University of California at Berkeley)

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 1:14 pm

Torrential rains this week in Texas have helped ease the drought in that state, but in California there is no relief in sight. Ranchers in San Luis Obispo County have sold off 75 percent of their cattle in the past four years. There’s not enough water or food to sustain them. And as Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd reports, in the wild, other animals important to the state’s economy and ecosystem are dying off.

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NPR Story
12:29 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Texas Lake Slowly Recovers From Drought

This photo taken by John Williams' daughter Tiffany Jowers shows the creek bottom, where the water is normally 20 to 25 feet deep. Right now, it's about 6 inches deep, but John says "we're glad it is flowing." (Tiffany Jowers)

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 2:07 pm

It continues to rain today in South Central Texas, which was hit hard by devastating flooding this week. The heavy rains have brought an end to the extreme drought there, which began in 2010.

In September 2013, John Williams, who owns Thunderbird Lodge and Resort on Lake Buchanan in Central Texas, spoke with Here & Now. The lake had shrunk to about one-third capacity.

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NPR Story
2:29 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Department Of Justice Unveils Settlement To Reform Cleveland Police

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder holds a roundtable meeting with law enforcement, local officials, and community leaders to discuss the U.S. Department of Justice's report on excessive police force and violence in Cleveland, Dec. 4, 2014. Today, Cleveland waits for the Department of Justice's police statement. (Tony Dejak/AP)

The Department of Justice is announcing a settlement to reform the Cleveland police department’s policing tactics, months after a scathing DOJ report found unnecessary and excessive use of force by patrol officers.

The settlement is expected just days after the acquittal of a white Cleveland police officer accused of manslaughter in the deaths of two unarmed black suspects in 2012.

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NPR Story
2:29 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Bounce Houses: The Dangers Lurking Within

(jaarons/Flickr)

If you thought bouncy houses were completely safe, think again. Here & Now has reported on the children’s play houses taking flight before, and on Monday three children in Florida were injured when a waterspout came ashore and lifted the inflatable house they were in.

NPR Story
2:29 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Simon Rich's 'Spoiled Brats'

If you’re looking for light fun read for an upcoming vacation, Simon Rich‘s collection of short stories “Spoiled Brats” is out in paperback today.

Rich is a former writer for Saturday Night Live, and he’s also the creator of the FXX series “Man Seeking Woman,” which has been renewed for a second season. Though he’s had a lot of success in television, he still enjoys writing short stories.

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NPR Story
1:07 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Debate Over Seal Hunting In Greenland Resumes

The Inuit people of Greenland are trying to get a ban on the sale of seal products overturned.

The European Union imposed that ban five years ago, and the Inuit say it has destroyed their livelihoods because it has wiped out the export of seal fur.

The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant reports.

NPR Story
1:07 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Not Your Mother's Pot Brownie

Karin Lazarus' bakery in Boulder, Colo., specializes in marijuana-infused baked goods. (Ally Bruschi)

Twenty-three states now allow marijuana for medical use and several others are considering doing the same. Two states including Colorado now allow recreational use of the drug as well.

For people who are sick and use pot to relieve symptoms related to pain, seizures or depression, smoking is often not an option.

The so-called edible market is becoming big business in Colorado, where patients can buy cannabis-infused brownies, truffles and ice cream at their neighborhood dispensary.

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NPR Story
1:07 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Under Pressure In Europe, Amazon Changes Tax Strategy

Amazon is no longer routing its European sales through the low-tax country of Luxembourg, in an effort to cut costs. Instead the American company will pay taxes in individual European countries.

The move comes amid numerous EU investigations into how companies, including Amazon, pay their taxes on the continent.

As Al Jazeera’s Ali Velshi tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins, it could significantly increase Amazon’s tax bill.

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NPR Story
11:26 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Dr. Beach Reveals His Top 10 U.S. Beaches For 2015

Waimanalo Bay Beach Park on the Hawaiian island of Oahu won the #1 spot on Dr. Beach's top 10 beaches list for 2015. (Ryan Ozawa/Flickr)

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which for many people marks the first real beach weekend of the year. Just in time, a new list of the top 10 public beaches in the U.S. is out, ranked by a man who goes by the name “Dr. Beach.” Taking this year’s top honor: Waimanalo Beach in Oahu, Hawaii.

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NPR Story
11:26 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Oregon Looks To Raise Wages For People With Intellectual Disabilities

Workers with All Seasons Grounds Care at the City of McMinnville Water Reclamation Facility. (Chris Lehman/Northwest News Network)

As the national debate on whether to raise the minimum wage continues, some adults in Oregon with developmental disabilities are still paid as little as 25 cents an hour.

Now, a group of Oregon lawmakers is trying to change that. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Chris Lehman reports.

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NPR Story
11:26 am
Mon May 25, 2015

ISIS Gains Ground In Iraq And Syria

A view of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra one day after the self-proclaimed Islamic State fired rockets into the city on May 17, 2015. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

ISIS is expanding its control of territory in Iraq and Syria. The militants have now seized the last Syrian-controlled border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

There are also reports that ISIS has overrun another town in Iraq’s western Anbar province, less than a week after taking control of Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Concerns are mounting about the famous archaeological site at Palmyra in Syria, which ISIS seized a couple of days ago.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

YouTube Sensation Publishes Her First Cookbook

YouTube cooking sensation Maangchi is out with her first cookbook, "Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking." (maangchi.com)

Kwangsook Kim was always interested in food and cooking, first in her native South Korea, then later in Canada and the United States.

In 2007, her son suggested she take up a new hobby: posting videos on YouTube of her making Korean dishes. She did, adopting the name “Maangchi” that she used in her other hobby, online gaming.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Rookie Drivers Get A Pass On Parallel Parking In Maryland

"Driver education" sticker on the back of a car. (minidriver/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 6:32 pm

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has eliminated the parallel parking requirement on its driving test. A spokesman says it’s about redundancy. The test still requires a “reverse two-point turnabout.”

But driving instructors in Maryland say that too many people were failing the test, and the right of passage in driving is still an important skill to learn. Georgena Ewing, owner of Perry Hall Driving School in Nottingham, MD., shares her view with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Jailed Journalist Goes On Trial In Iran Next Week

In this photo taken on April 11, 2013, Jason Rezaian, right, an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian correspondent for the Abu Dhabi-based daily newspaper The National, smile as they attend a presidential campaign of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

For nearly a year, The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian has been held in custody. He goes on trial next week, and the trial may not be open to the public or his family.

Rezaian’s lawyer says Iran accuses him of spying, but his editor at The Washington Post defends Rezaian and says he was merely doing his job as a journalist.

Douglas Jehl, foreign editor of The Washington Post, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

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NPR Story
12:20 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Becoming A Cop, As Police Protests Dominate Headlines

The squad of six, including Stephanie Schendel, pose after being pepper-sprayed. Instructor Russ Hicks said the recruits bond after that unpleasant experience. (Isolde Raftery/KUOW)

What motivates someone to become a police officer these days? And what is it like to be a recruit as images of police protests dominate the news? Amy Radil of Here & Now contributor station KUOW met some of Washington state’s newest recruits.

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NPR Story
12:20 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

'Finding The Good' Through Obituary Writing

About 2,000 people live in Haines, Alaska, where Heather Lende has been writing obituaries for 20 years for the Chilkat Valley News. (Andrei Taranchenko/Flickr)

Journalist Heather Lende lives in the small town of Haines, Alaska, where the population is about 2,000. She’s written obituaries for almost 20 years at the Chilkat Valley News.

In doing so, she’s learned to “find the good,” as she says, not only in the lives of people she writes about, but also in her own life. Lende told Here & Now’s Robin Young that a portrait of the town she lives in also comes through her work.

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