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This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

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The pipe organ dates back to ancient Greece. It has grown ever more complicated and ever more associated with Christianity.

But virtuoso organist Cameron Carpenter (@CameronOrganist) is on a mission to change the whole organ world, from its religious ties to archaic technology. Carpenter spoke with Here & Now‘s Robin Young ahead of his performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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B.O.O.K. Cupid

Jan 13, 2017

What famous literary characters would be down to "Netflix and chill"? We found the online dating profiles of some of fiction's biggest leading men and women; contestants must guess what book they're from.

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Writer Gregor Hens doesn't smoke anymore, but he used to — a lot. And as he explains in his memoir, Nicotine, he still thinks about it every day.

He writes, "Every form of cigarette ad gives me a pang of longing, every scrunched-up, carelessly thrown away cigarette packet at a bus stop, every trod-on cigarette butt, every beautiful woman holding a cigarette between her fingers or just looking like she could be holding one."

How much criticism can a single half-hour episode of television sustain before it gets the ax?

On Friday, we may have gotten our answer: An episode of the British comedy series Urban Myths — which drew widespread complaints for featuring the white actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson — has been canceled by Sky TV before it could air.

The Justice Department says an investigation has found Chicago police are systematically violating the civil rights of people in the city through excessive use of force, poor oversight and inadequate training of officers.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the investigation's findings on Friday, saying the DOJ had concluded there was ample evidence the Chicago Police Department "engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force," in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

After President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state made strong statements about China's actions in the South China Sea, Chinese officials have responded with muted, measured statements — while state-run media have warned of the potential for conflict and retaliation.

Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO nominated to lead the U.S. State Department, had a confirmation hearing Wednesday. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China's actions in the South China Sea were "extremely worrisome" and compared them to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

When I meet Nineb Lamassu at England's Cambridge University, where he's a researcher, he transports us to his Middle Eastern homeland by opening his computer and playing me a recording of a man reciting a poem.

Somewhere between speech and song, the voice is old, a little gruff, rising and falling rhythmically. Even in Aramaic — I don't speak a word of Aramaic — the effect is hypnotic.

A Hungarian camerawoman who was caught on film kicking migrants running from police near the border with Serbia was sentenced to three years of probation.

A judge said Petra Laszlo's behavior "ran counter to societal norms" and rejected Laszlo's claim that she acted in self-defense.

The Syrian government says Israel has attacked a military airport west of Damascus, and warns of "repercussions" without promising any specific retaliation.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reports that rockets fired by the Israeli air force caused a fire at the al-Mezzeh airport just after midnight local time on Friday morning. The report did not identify if there were any casualties.

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A blockbuster Bollywood movie is raking in millions and trying to change entrenched gender roles in India. It's set in Haryana state, where the sex ratio of newborns skews heavily toward boys.

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When President Obama took office in January 2009, the country was on edge, the economy in free-fall. The federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, was also in need of an update after earning the ire of teachers, parents and politicians alike. In short, there was much to do.

In time, that update would come, but President Obama's education legacy begins, oddly enough, with his plan to bolster the faltering economy.

Race To The Top

If you are interested in food stories accompanied by overhead videos showcasing recipes involving just three ingredients, you would be better off reading something else. This is because when preparing dishes to accompany the new Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which premieres Jan. 13, the more complex the recipe, the more you'll identify with the many trials and tribulations of the orphaned Baudelaire children as they try to unravel the mysteries surrounding them.

The six faith leaders President-elect Donald Trump has invited to pray at his inauguration come from diverse backgrounds, but they have something in common: All have personal ties to Trump or his family or have in some way signaled their approval of him, his politics or his wealth.

For the first time in Japanese history three women of different political persuasions are in positions that could be stepping stones to the prime minister's office.

It's especially notable in Japan, where women's labor force participation remains among the lowest among developed nations, and gender roles are traditionally-defined.

"Women have not really been coached or mentored or encouraged to take on leadership roles," Kyoto University diplomacy professor Nancy Snow explains. "Also, women aren't allowed [culturally] to often show ambition, to sort of telegraph that."

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

In some ways, Desiree Armas is your typical high school senior. She's getting ready to take the test for her driver's license. And she's applying to colleges.

But Armas has a big secret. She rides the bus an hour each way to a magnet school miles away from her family's apartment. And her friends don't know that Armas and her parents are living in the country illegally.

A downtown section of Birmingham, Ala., including the church where four black girls were killed in a Ku Klux Klan bombing in 1963, has been declared a national monument by President Obama.

The 16th Street Baptist Church will be the focal point of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Historical Park. The bombing, which also injured 22 other people, proved to be a turning point in the civil rights struggle.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a survey today that it says shows widespread tactics used by debt collectors to threaten consumers. The watchdog agency, which is considering strengthening regulations of the industry and its conduct, says more than a quarter of the consumers it surveyed felt threatened by the debt collectors.

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