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Listen live on Thursday at 9:00 am.

Are you feeling overburdened by student loan payments or the growing stack of credit card bills on your kitchen table? If you answered "yes" to either of those questions, you're not alone (especially if you're a young American).

For the Greatest Show on Earth, there is no longer an elephant in the room. The 145-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus held its last show featuring elephants Sunday night, in a move that's being applauded by animal rights activists.

Ringling announced its plan last spring, saying it is sending all its Asian elephants to live on the company's Florida nature reserve. The original plan called for phasing out elephants' role in the circus by 2018. But in January, Ringling's parent company, Feld Entertainment, said it was moving up the timetable.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food.

The latest results of the test known as the Nation's Report Card are in. They cover high school seniors, who took the test in math and reading last year. The numbers are unlikely to give fodder either to educational cheerleaders or alarmists: The average score in both subjects was just one point lower in 2015 compared with the last time the test was given, in 2013. This tiny downtick was statistically significant in mathematics, but not for the reading test.

But even though the changes are small, chances are you're going to be hearing about them in a lot of places.

The types of conversations I saw online about Harriet Tubman, Prince and Beyonce over this past week have yet to be duplicated in our nation's discussion of politics. I think that's a bad thing. And I will tell you why.

But first, let's try to put the week in some sort of perspective.

It is possible that the week was the Internet's Blackest Week. Ever.

In the '80s and '90s, America's suicide trend was headed in the right direction: down.

"It had been decreasing almost steadily since 1986, and then what happened is there was a turnaround," says Sally Curtin, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Patrick Doheny / Creative Commons

The world is getting older. According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of people aged 65 and up will grow to 1.6 billion by mid-century. 

neetalparekh via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Connecticut employers added just 300 positions in March, a big dip from the 4,100 jobs created in February. 

There is a pistol-packing revolution going on in America. Nearly 13 million Americans have permits to carry concealed handguns — triple the number just nine years ago — and that figure is low because not every state reports.

Wyoming is sometimes called the Equality State — it had the nation's first female governor and was the first territory to give women the right to vote. But that legacy isn't visible on the floor of the state Senate. Just one of the 30 state senators is a woman.

"I am the queen of the Senate. I have my own little tiara," jokes Bernadine Craft, a Democrat who represents the mining town of Rock Springs.

Robert Markowitz and Bill Stafford / NASA Robonaut Lab

The U.S. and world economies were revolutionized by globalization and later by the digital revolution. What's coming next? This hour, we sit down with someone who has an idea of what's to come. Alec Ross served as Senior Advisor for Innovation to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He tells us how emerging fields like robotics and genomics are changing the way we live and work.

Poor people who reside in expensive, well-educated cities such as San Francisco tend to live longer than low-income people in less affluent places, according to a study of more than a billion Social Security and tax records.

Sweden has taken in more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country — 160,000 last year alone. Refugees are now part of the landscape, even in small towns. And nearly everybody, not just those working with aid groups, is encountering the newcomers.

In the southern town of Ronneby, Dagmar Nordberg is giving Swedish lessons to Waliullah Hafiz, who goes by Wali, at her kitchen table. The 60-year-old Swedish museum director met this 23-year-old migrant from Kabul on a train platform in a nearby village on a freezing cold day last November.

Dave Granlund / DaveGranlund.com

The polling industry is in transition. Fewer people consider it their civic duty to participate -- less than ten percent today compared to 80 percent two decades ago -- and pollsters haven't yet figured out how to effectively capture public opinion using cell phones and online surveys. 

The U.S. economy gained 215,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says in its monthly report released Friday. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5 percent, up from 4.9 percent in the month before.

"The increase in the unemployment rate came because we had more people looking for work," economist Gus Faucher of PNC Financial Services tells our Newscast unit.

Every election, there's that chorus of people who insist they are moving to Canada if candidate so-and-so wins. Everyone knows these people. They're tweeting and Googling about it as you read this. One Nova Scotia island is even specifically appealing to the anti-Trump crowd.

Every morning for weeks, Meagen Limes made the same phone call: to a court in Washington, D.C., to see if that day was the day she'd be evicted from her home.

Limes faced eviction because she couldn't pay rent on her three-bedroom apartment in Southeast Washington, where many of the city's poorest residents live.

It can sometimes take weeks before the marshals actually show up at your door, and Limes fully expected to be homeless any day.

Kevin Dooley / Creative Commons

Donald Trump is closer to locking up the Republican nomination for president after big wins in Tuesday's primaries. He has incredible support from a party that's grown increasingly disappointed in their established leaders, yet still seeks the traits we have traditionally sought in a leader. 

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Connecticut is one of the least religious states in the country, according to the latest Pew Religious Landscape Study.

New England Lawmakers Propose Seceding From Time Zone

Mar 11, 2016

As most Americans brace themselves for losing an hour of sleep this weekend, some lawmakers are proposing bold alternatives for New England and elsewhere.

We all know that American college education isn't cheap. But it turns out that it's even less cheap if you look at the numbers more closely.

That's what the Wisconsin HOPE Lab did. The lab, part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted four studies to figure out the true price of college.

To get a sense of student realities, researchers interviewed students on college campuses across the state of Wisconsin. But they also examined 6,604 colleges nationally and compared their costs with regional cost-of-living data from the government.

Before Black Lives Matter was a hashtag, before it was a slogan chanted by protesters in cities across the country, before it was a national movement, it was a Facebook post by an Oakland-based activist named Alicia Garza. She wrote it after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Elizabeth Hahn / Creative Commons

Steve Almond says he's rooting for Donald Trump to win the nomination, even though he doesn't want him to be our next president. He says the GOP has been riling up their base voters for so long, it's no surprise that Trump is now overtly channeling all the "racist and nativist rhetoric" that has been covertly promoted by the party for decades.  

The U.S. economy gained 242,000 jobs in February while average wages dropped slightly, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent.

The report indicates stronger job growth than expected, and an improvement over the previous month. January's count of 151,000 new jobs — far lower than had been anticipated — was revised upward, to 172,000. And the job gains for December were also revised upward, from 262,000 to 271,000.

In the last few decades, Massachusetts has delivered liberal icons to the national stage in presidential contests — experienced politicians including members of the Kennedy family, Mike Dukakis and John Kerry. Now, the state might be ready to deliver Donald Trump one of his biggest wins yet in the Republican presidential primary contest.

You can say this for Sunday night's Oscars: It seemed like a lot of it was going to be about inclusion or lack thereof, and it was.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

The show moves to the Elm City for its annual snort of/at The Oscars, this time from the lobby of The Study at Yale in front of a live audience numbering in the dozens!

Stephen Voss / NPR

In 2013, the unexpected departure of NPR CEO Gary Knell left the network, once again, in desperate need of a leader. So the board tapped Jarl Mohn -- a long-time philanthropist and media executive -- to step in and take the reins.

In the battle for primary votes, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are locked in a tight battle.

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