Here & Now

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NPR's midday news magazine.  

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally snapped out of their 21-year losing streak and have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

In their game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday, the Pirates won 2-1, allowing them to advance to the playoffs, something the team hasn’t done since 1992.

Lanny Frattare experienced that day all those years ago. Frattare was the play-by-play announcer for the Pirates for 33 years.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has won her third term as Germany’s top leader.

But Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats party fell five seats short of an absolute majority in the German Bundestag — the national parliament.

This may change some economic policies in the eurozone’s largest economy, including a softening towards bailed-out nations like Greece.

Financial Times reporter Cardiff Garcia joins Here & Now to explain.

NPR Music’s writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings Here & Now a new song each week to jazz up our play lists.

This week it’s a song from the upcoming album from Los Campesinos!. The album is called “No Blues” and the song is “What Death Leaves Behind.”

Thompson says the punctuation in the band’s name isn’t just casual.

Asian carp, an invasive and destructive fish, have spread through the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri rivers. In total, the fish are affecting more than 20 states from Louisiana to South Dakota.

Under the right conditions, it could take as few as a dozen Asian carp to establish a population in the Great Lakes. That’s according to a report published this month by scientists in Ontario.

If they’re correct, the risk of even just a handful of Asian carp escaping into the Great Lakes could be more significant than officials had planned.

China’s biggest political scandal in decades reaches a conclusion this weekend.

A verdict is due in the trial of Bo Xilai, one of China’s rising political stars. He’s accused of corruption and covering up the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo’s wife has already been found guilty of poisoning Heywood, with whom she had a business dispute. Bo remains a popular figure.

13 Injured In Chicago Park Shooting

Sep 20, 2013

Thirteen people were wounded in a shooting in Chicago late Thursday night, including a 3-year-old boy.

The shooting took place in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

Police are still interviewing victims to determine a motive for the shooting, but a police spokesman said it appeared to be gang-related.

Chicago had more than 500 homicides in 2012, more than any other city in the United States.

Bill Rauch graduated from Harvard University in 1984 and co-founded the Cornerstone Theater Company, which made a point of bringing theater to underserved places.

He’s since moved on to become artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Now, he returns to Cambridge, Mass. to direct “All the Way” at the American Repertory Theater.

Revisiting The Fire That Killed 19 Hotshots

Sep 19, 2013

The Yarnell Hill fire that swept through Arizona in late June and early July burned more than 8,000 acres, destroyed 129 buildings and killed 19 firefighters — members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew from nearby Prescott, Ariz.

An independent investigative team has been looking at whether or not human error contributed to the deaths of almost the entire team. Their findings are expected out in the next few weeks.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose the difference in pay between the company’s CEO and its employees.

The rule is applauded by unions and labor advocacy groups that think the transparency would help investors “identify top heavy compensation models,” according to Reuters. However, business groups oppose the measure.

There are some familiar faces coming to the syndicated talk show line-up this fall.

Already, Arsenio Hall has made his return to late night after a 19-year hiatus. On Monday, Queen Latifah made her return to daytime with “The Queen Latifah Show.” Reality star Bethenny Frankel is also hosting her own talk show this fall.

A North Carolina police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Officer Randall Kerrick of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fired 12 shots, ten of which hit 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, according to authorities.

Ferrell, who had played football for Florida A&M University, was seeking help after crashing his car, according to authorities.

When he knocked on a woman’s door, she called 911 — alarmed to find Ferrell on her doorstep.

Next month, 140 nations will sign the United Nations’ Minamata Convention.

It’s a treaty that aims to regulate the use of mercury worldwide, and is named after the Japanese community that witnessed the world’s biggest mass mercury poisoning 60 years ago.

Today, contamination with mercury is a particular problem in countries where small-scale gold miners operate. Mercury is used to separate fragments of gold from the rock or earth.

A Tribe Called Red is an Ottawa-based trio of First Nations DJs who remix social powwow music with electronic dance beats.

The group’s music has put them at the forefront of a First Nations political and cultural renaissance.

Flood Cleanup Begins In Colorado

Sep 17, 2013

The rain has stopped and the flood waters are beginning to recede in Colorado.

Many communities are now trying to figure out how to move forward, the how to begin cleaning up and returning home.

Kate Rauch is spokeswoman for the city of Estes Park, Colo., one of the hardest-hit areas.

She told Here & Now that the cleanup process has already begun.

A recent story in the Boston Globe caught our eye: A Dunkin Donuts restaurant increased its business by a whopping 50 percent by moving to a location a couple hundred yards away.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is meeting with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate today to let the public know how they are responding to massive flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending two 80-person search-and-rescue teams to assist with continuing rescues in Larimer County and providing aid to other communities following massive flooding that began Wednesday along the Front Range.

The Week Ahead In Washington

Sep 16, 2013

President Obama addressed the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard before speaking on the fifth anniversary of the financial collapse.

In the week ahead, Congress will return to budget talks as the Obama administration considers its choice for who will lead the Federal Reserve.

Una Noche” is documentary filmmaker Lucy Mulloy‘s first feature film and also her graduate thesis.

The film tells the story of three Cuban teens — brother and sister Elio and Lila, along with friend Raul — who embark on a journey from Havana to Miami on a makeshift raft after Raul is wrongfully accused of a crime.

Tomorrow in Las Vegas, two undefeated boxers — Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez — will duke it out for the super welterweight title.

The highly anticipated fight is also setting a record as the highest paid fight in history. It could garner as much as $200 million in sponsorships and pay-per-view fees.

Ex-felons often have difficulty transitioning back into society. It’s tough for them to find a job, and the label “ex-felon” alone can close even more doors.

For example, in Louisville, Kentucky, many parents have been blocked from volunteering at their children’s schools because of prior crimes they’ve committed. In most cases, the convictions involved non-violent offenses and didn’t involve children.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Devin Katayama of WFPL has more.

The 65th International Motor Show in Frankfurt is one of the biggest in the world. A wide array of the latest and greatest vehicles and technologies is on display in Germany and open to the public through September 22nd.

There are some 70 new or concept vehicles on display at the show, and just about every manufacturer is introducing a vehicle with electric battery technology.

There was big news this week for Chicago Cubs fans.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with the Cubs, edging out the beloved Old Style beer at Wrigley Field.

The partnership between the Cubs and Old Style, which is made by Pabst Brewing Company, dated back to the 1950s.

Rethinking Childhood Food Allergies

Sep 12, 2013

There has been a change in thinking about childhood food allergies.

Yesterday, we reported that in the coming months, the federal government will finalize contracts — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — for new surveillance technology to be deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Immigration reform — if it passes — will likely include new funds for security and border enforcement.

And that’s generating a buzz among defense contractors and private tech companies that see border security as a lucrative business venture.

In the coming months, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars will be finalized for new surveillance technology along the Southwest border.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jude Joffe-Block of Fronteras Desk reports that past mistakes are now dictating the way the federal government is awarding these contracts.

Apple Unveils iPhone 5S And 5C

Sep 10, 2013

Apple has unveiled the latest iPhones — the 5C and 5S — and says they will replace the current iPhone 5. Apple also says its next mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be available as a free download on Sept 18.

Craig Federighi, head of software at Apple Inc., said at an event at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters that “downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all new device.”

The new system can be downloaded on the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.

Across the country, it’s becoming increasingly common for grandparents to raise their grandchildren.

That can be troublesome when these same grandparents try to enroll the children in school.