Here and Now

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson

Here & Now offers a distinctive mix of hard news and rich conversation featuring interesting players from across the spectrum of arts and culture, business, technology, science and politics.

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NPR Story
3:47 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Debate Over End Of Ramadan Complicates Doing Business

Today marks the end of Ramadan — or does it?

For 30 days, more than 1.5 billion Muslims fast during daylight hours, commemorating the month in which Allah is said to have revealed the first verses of the Koran.

But now, a theological debate surrounding the end of the holiday is making diplomacy and business in the Muslim world a bit more complicated.

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NPR Story
3:47 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

A Family's Painful Wait For Verdict In Bulger Trial

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:39 pm

The jury in the Boston trial of reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is deliberating for the third day in his murder and racketeering trial.

For the families of his 19 alleged murder victims, the wait for the verdict to come down is just part of a long, painful journey.

From the the Here & Now Contributors Network, David Boeri of WBUR reports.

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NPR Story
3:47 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Veteran Documents His Unit In Tintype Photographs

"Lieutenant/Co-pilot," a tintype made by Ed Drew in Afghanistan. (Ed Drew, Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery)

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 8:29 am

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NPR Story
3:40 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Austin Music Goes Beyond City Limits

An image from the cover of Wiretree's latest album "Get Up." (Wiretree)

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:39 pm

Music journalist David Brown of KUT and KUTX joins us to talk about the latest new music out of Austin, Texas.

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NPR Story
3:40 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Amber Alert For Southern California Children Expands

This composite photo provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department shows: James Lee Dimaggio, 40, left, Ethan Anderson, 8, and Hannah Anderson, 16. (San Diego Sheriff's Department via AP)

Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 9:07 pm

The amber alert that was issued in California for two children, Hannah and Ethan Anderson, ages 16 and 8, has been extended to Washington and Oregon.

The children went missing from a Southern California community near San Diego.

The suspect is a family friend, James "Jim" Lee DiMaggio. He's believed to be driving a Nissan Versa, California license plate 6WCU986. Officials think it was sighted Wednesday afternoon in southern Oregon.

Even as the alert extends north, officials are also looking for the suspect in Mexico.

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NPR Story
3:40 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

High Numbers Of Dead Dolphins On East Coast

Chris Vees (priorité maison)/Flickr

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:39 pm

Scientists along the East Coast are alarmed and puzzled by the number of dead bottlenose dolphins that have been washing up on beaches from Virginia to New York.

At least 91 dolphins washed up in July alone. Compare that to just nine last year, and 16 the year before.

There’s no word yet on what’s causing the increase.

It appears that four had been sick with pneumonia and one died of morbillivirus, which killed hundreds of dolphins along the East Coast in the 1980s.

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NPR Story
4:39 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

The Summer Of Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke at the premiere of the film "Before Midnight," at the 63rd annual Berlin Film Festival in February 2013 (Siebbi/commons.wikimedia.org)

It’s been a great summer for actor Ethan Hawke.

Before Midnight,” the third installment in the series of films he made with actress Julie Delpy and filmmaker Richard Linklater, opened to wide critical acclaim, giving him undeniable indie credentials. (See trailers for all three films below.)

He also had had a number one hit at the box office with the horror film “The Purge.”

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NPR Story
3:41 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Bird Flu Researchers Push To Make Virus More Contagious

Flu vaccine production - Before incubation, the eggs are inoculated with the seed virus Val de Reuil - France - March 2009. (Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:05 pm

In a letter published today in the nation’s two most prestigious scientific journals — Science and Nature — bird flu researchers say they need to perform research on the H7N9 virus that would make it more dangerous.

The researchers say that’s necessary in order to prepare for its possible spread between humans, perhaps as early as this winter.

The paper comes on the heels of a new study in the British Medical Journal that shows the first probable transmission between humans of the H7N9 virus.

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NPR Story
3:41 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Bird Flu Strain May Be Transmissible Between Humans

Health workers take a blood sample from a chicken in Hong Kong Thursday, April 11, 2013. The Hong Kong government started enhanced measures to prevent a new strain of bird flu from entering the city. Starting from Thursday, the authority is taking samples of live poultry from mainland China to test for the H7N9 virus. Thirty samples are taken in every 1,000 chickens. (Vincent Yu/AP)

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:05 pm

new study in the British Medical Journal shows the first probable transmission between humans of a new strain of avian flu — the H7N9 virus.

A 32-year-old woman in China became sick and died after caring for her father who had the H7N9 virus. The father also died.

However, the authors of the study stress this does not mean the virus has evolved to be easily transmissible between humans.

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NPR Story
3:41 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Bezos Could Give Washington Post The Gift Of Time

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:05 pm

Earlier this week, online shopping pioneer Jeff Bezos said he would buy The Washington Post.

Given the sorry state of newspaper finances, some saw his move as an act of civic charity.

Others believe Bezos is a shrewd businessman who hopes to make the Post very profitable again. Maybe both views are right.

Marilyn Geewax, a senior business editor with NPR, joins us to discuss how the new philanthropy may involve giving the gift of time — time to figure out a new business model that works.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

In An Autocorrect Generation, Does Spelling Still Matter?

Thomas Hurley is pictured in a screen shot from his appearance on Jeopardy. (YouTube)

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:57 am

Connecticut eighth-grader Thomas Hurley has serious beef with Alex Trebek.

The “Kids Jeopardy” contestant made it all the way to the Final Jeopardy round and even got the right answer. The only problem? He spelled it wrong.

We’ve decided in current society that spelling is important — that there’s only one single correct way to spell every word.
–Simon Horobin

Hurley told his local newspaper that he was “cheated” out of the question and that “it was just a spelling error.”

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Japan Tries To Stop Radioactive Water Leaks

A construction worker walks beside the underground water tank and water tanks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant at Okuma in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, June 12, 2013. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AP)

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:05 pm

The Japanese government announced today that the leaks of radioactive cooling water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are worse than it thought.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered the government to step in to help TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, come up with a solution.

TEPCO only recently acknowledged that the groundwater, used to cool the three reactors damaged in the tsunami of 2011, has been seeping into the ocean.

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NPR Story
2:48 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Pot Liquor: A Southern Tradition To Salvage Nutritious Broth From Greens

"Pot likker and cornbread" at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta, Georgia. (wallyg/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 2:55 pm

Pot liquor — not what the name implies — is the leftover water of boiled greens.

It’s a Louisiana tradition to save the nutrient and vitamin-rich water that leaches out during cooking.

NPR food and health correspondent Allison Aubrey tastes some of the greens water and shares tips on how to use it.

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NPR Story
4:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

New IVF Technique Raises Ethical Questions

Connor Levy is the first baby born using a new in vitro fertilization technique. (Courtesy of Main Line Fertility)

A Philadelphia baby, born in May, is the first child in the world conceived using a new in vitro fertilization (IVF) technique, which screens embryos for chromosomal disorders and abnormalities before implantation.

People who use this technique will avoid implanting chromosomally abnormal embryos that would result in either not becoming pregnant, or in miscarriage.

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NPR Story
4:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

LA Commuters Brace Themselves For 'Obama Jam'

President Barack Obama smiles towards the audience during his appearance for taping of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oct. 24, 2012, in Burbank, Calif. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

President Obama is in California today for a short visit that includes an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

His visits cause a bit of panic, with drivers concerned about major traffic headaches, but some say it’s much ado about nothing.

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NPR Story
4:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Denver School Gets Blind Students Into Chemistry

Quinita Thomas (left), who is blind, works with her partner in a Metro State University chemistry lab. (CPR)

Mixing chemicals in a high school lab is challenging enough. Imagine doing it if you were blind.

A group of visually impaired students from all over the country had that chance at Metro State University in Denver recently.

It’s part of an effort to get more blind people interested in science, technology and math — fields in which they are severely underrepresented in the workforce.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio has more.

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Here & Now
4:10 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Deadline Looms For States To Enroll Thousands In Health Plans

By October 1, states are supposed to have their health insurance exchanges up and running so they can enroll residents.

The exchanges are online insurance marketplaces for individuals and small businesses — where people can shop for a health plan.

Some people will pay out of pocket for their health coverage and others may get some help from the federal government to pay for their premiums.

Polls show that 40 percent of Americans do not know that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, and that percentage is higher for uninsured populations.

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NPR Story
3:32 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

State Department Urges U.S. Citizens To Leave Yemen

Police stop cars at a checkpoint near the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. The State Department today ordered non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country. (Hani Mohammed/AP)

The State Department is urging all U.S. citizens to leave Yemen today citing “continued potential for terrorist attacks” and an “extremely high” security threat level.

The department has ordered its non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country.

This follows days of embassy lockdowns across the Middle East and Africa.

This morning, the U.S. Air Force transported State Department personnel out of Yemen’s capital, leaving only the most essential employees on the ground to monitor the security situation there.

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NPR Story
3:01 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion Make Music Onstage And Off

Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie. (Joanna Chattman)

Sarah Lee Guthrie grew up in a musical household — she’s the daughter of Arlo Guthrie and the granddaughter of Woody.

But as she tells Here & Now, growing up, music was something she avoided. With musicians coming in and out and staying for weeks, “I always felt like we were the Addams family, we were so weird!”

Then she met musician Johnny Irion. The two fell in love and began playing together, as well as well as marrying and having a family.

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NPR Story
3:01 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

One Scientist's Quest: Improving The Flavor Of Commercial Tomatoes

Professor Harry Klee. (Tyler Jones/University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences)

Grocery store tomatoes are bred for yield and firmness, not for flavor.

And even though taste is relative, researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, believe they can come up with varieties of delicious tomatoes that will also appeal to commercial growers.

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NPR Story
3:01 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

George W. Bush Undergoes Heart Procedure

Former President George W. Bush is pictured July 10, 2013. (LM Otero/AP)

Former President George W. Bush underwent a successful heart procedure earlier today at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, to clear an blockage discovered yesterday during a routine physical.

The former president had a stent was inserted.

Cardiologist James Willerson, who is president and medical director of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, joins us to explain the procedure, the symptoms of a blocked artery and what could have happened if doctors hadn’t discovered it.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Sounds Of Africa In St. Louis

Fred Onovwerosuoke founded the St. Louis African Chorus 20 years ago. (Courtesy of the artist)

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:32 pm

As part of NPR’s Ecstatic Voices series, reporter Neda Ulaby visited the St. Louis choral group Sounds Of Africa.

The group explores the music of contemporary South African composers, including the African sacred music of composer Ikoli Harcourt Whyte.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

The Polyphonic Spree Makes A Joyful Noise

The Polyphonic Spree, a band based in Dallas, Texas, is on tour with the new album, "Yes, It's True." (Paul Kim/Flickr)

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:32 pm

As he does every week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson recommends a new song for us.

This week he shares with us The Polyphonic Spree‘s new track “What Would You Do?” from their album “Yes, It’s True.

Thompson says the song is indicative of the bold, beautiful anthems that populate the album.

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NPR Story
3:02 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Pirates Shift Focus From Somalia To West Africa

A crew of U.S. sailors and Nigerian special forces fighters engages in training exercise off the Nigerian coast in 2010. The U.S. Navy offered training to the Nigerian navy as worries mount of increasingly violent pirate attacks along the West African coast. (Jon Gambrell/AP)

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:32 pm

West African leaders have called for the deployment of an international naval force to curb the growing threat of piracy off the Gulf of Guinea.

Piracy in the region needed to be tackled with “firmness,” Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara said at a meeting of regional leaders.

There are now more pirate attacks off West Africa than off Somalia, maritime groups said last week. Patrols by foreign warships are credited with reducing attacks by Somali pirates.

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NPR Story
2:09 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Bipartisan Bill Aims To Protect NCAA Athletes

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:32 pm

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the organization that regulates college sports, is taking some heat from members of Congress.

The House is considering legislation, called the NCAA Accountability Act, that would require member colleges to guarantee that players’ multi-year scholarships aren’t dropped if they get injured.

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NPR Story
2:09 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

First Lab-Grown Burger Has 'Quite Some Intense Taste'

The world's first lab-grown hamburger is eaten in London. (BBC video screenshot)

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:32 pm

The world’s first lab-grown hamburger was cooked and eaten in London today. The burger was grown from stem cells taken from a dead cow.

It cost $325,000 to grow, but researchers believe the technology will eventually reduce the cost of meat production and meet growing demand.

The BBC’s science correspondent, Pallab Ghosh, has had exclusive access to the laboratory in the Netherlands where the meat was grown, and spoke to the researchers involved.

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NPR Story
2:54 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Chef Kathy Gunst Brings Recipes From Alaska

Kathy paddles out onto Tutka Bay in Alaska. (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 10:09 am

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Chicago Changes Gears On Rail Car Seats

A passenger rides the L in Chicago. (TheeErin/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:59 pm

Commuters in Chicago have spoken: they don’t like the New York-style rail car seats.

So the Chicago Transit Authority is making sure that new trains have aisle seats instead of cars with rows facing center.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Fentanyl Overdoses Worry Pennsylvania Officials

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:59 pm

So far this year, 50 people have died in Pennsylvania from fentanyl-related overdoses.

Fentanyl is a prescription drug — an opiate more powerful than morphine.

It is often used to treat cancer patients experiencing extreme pain. An illicit, non-prescription version of fentanyl led to hundreds of deaths in Pennsylvania in 2006.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Elana Gordon of WHYY reports that state health and drug enforcement officials are worried it’s on the rise again.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Gay Olympian To Athletes: Don't Boycott Winter Olympics

Johnny Weir of USA skates at the 2012 Finlandia Trophy Espoo International figure skating competition. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/LEHTIKUVA via AP)

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 2:52 pm

Recent legislation in Russia that criminalizes homosexuality and gay rights activism is raising concerns ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Russia has also seen an outbreak of violence against gay rights advocates, raising questions about safety for gay athletes and visitors to the Olympic games.

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