NPR News

Once upon a time, cigarettes were the currency of choice when those behind bars needed to barter. But these days, America's prisoners are trading with ramen.

The burkini has had a controversial summer in France.

President Obama is expanding a national monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size and making it the world's largest protected marine area.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was created by President George W. Bush in 2006. At the time, it was seven times larger than all the other U.S. marine sanctuaries combined and the biggest marine reserve in the world.

On this week's episode of the Code Switch podcast, Karen Grigsby Bates sat down with some folks to talk about the upcoming film The Birth of a Nation, and a recently resurfaced, 17-year-old sexual assault case against Nate Parker, the movie's highly lauded newcomer director.

After four years of siege and bombardment, the evacuation is underway of civilians and rebels from embattled Daraya, southwest of Syria's capital Damascus.

The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that blood banks screen all blood donations in the U.S. for the Zika virus.

It's a major expansion from a Feb. 16 advisory that limited such screening to areas with active Zika virus transmission.

In a statement released Friday, the FDA says all those areas are currently in compliance with blood screening, but that expanded testing is now needed.

Reports out Thursday night reveal yet another principal of the Trump campaign in trouble.

Newly appointed CEO Stephen K. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence against his second wife, several news outlets reported. The charges were eventually dropped, and Bannon pleaded "not guilty."

The New York Times noted that, according to the police report of the incident, there were "allegations that he threatened his then wife, the accuser, with retribution if she testified in the criminal case. ... "

The saga of the swimmer and the robbery-that-wasn't continues: Ryan Lochte has been charged with filing a false police report.

Brazilian police say Lochte and the International Olympics Committee's ethics commission will both be informed of the charges, NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro reports.

The charge carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and Lochte could be tried in absentia, Lulu says. She notes that the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Brazil but that it's unlikely Lochte would be sent there if convicted.

Hillary Clinton has not held a single press conference since the start of 2016, triggering charges that she's trying to duck questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

A high-level government minister in Bolivia has been kidnapped by striking miners and beaten to death, Bolivian officials said.

Rodolfo Illanes, Bolivia's deputy interior minister, was traveling to talk with the miners when he was seized Thursday, according to multiple media accounts.

Did religion save this Guatemalan town?

Aug 26, 2016
A
Daniel LeClair/Reuters

In seeking the evangelical vote, Donald Trump has been shunned by many a pastor put off by his behavior and values.

He has gotten support, though, among some evangelical adherents of the Prosperity Gospel, who believe that faith can bring material reward.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

birkini.jpg
Donna Tam

The burkini just keeps making waves. France’s highest administrative court has made it possible to overturn the bans implemented on the full-body swimsuit, the BBC reported today.

The court said the ban  in one Mediterranean town "seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms," and the ruling could set precedent for other towns with similar bans. The burkini covers everything, but a person’s hands, feet and face.

On today's show, we'll talk about the possible demise of ITT Tech; a billion-dollar hit to Japan's pension fund; and the Port of Houston's efforts to gain some post-Panamax traffic.

 

At a recent campaign stop in Philadelphia, Senate Democratic candidate Katie McGinty faced a tough crowd: 4-year olds.

"Hi! How's everybody doin'?" McGinty said, as she entered the Western Learning Center, an early childhood program for local families.

McGinty stopped here Tuesday to tout her economic agenda with a small group of local parents, but first, it was story time.

ITT.JPG
Andy Uhler

The U.S. Department of Education said Thursday that ITT Educational Services – which is the parent company of ITT Technical Institutes – can’t use federal financial aid to enroll new students anymore. It’s the latest in the department’s move to assert closer regulation on for-profit colleges.

Second grader Caedmon Craig is attempting to write in cursive and he's being helped by his mom. But a lot of erasing is happening at this kitchen table in Prattville, Ala. This school year Caedmon will be writing in cursive for the first time. For now he's only required to write his cursive letters separately, but he's ready for more.

"I think joining them is easier than separate," he says. "Because you don't have to do that much."

There's a new building going up on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic. A very big building.

"The skylight that we're standing under will eventually cover the area of an entire football field," says Russ Saghy, who oversees construction projects for the Cleveland Clinic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture took a largely symbolic step to help struggling dairy farmers this week. It announced that it will buy $20 million worth of cheese and give it away to food banks. The USDA is doing this, it says, to help "reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high."

Frank Mutz's family has been keeping people cool for more than half a century.

It began with his grandfather, who started installing and repairing air conditioners in the 1950s. Now, Frank is the elder in the family trade, running the Atlanta business alongside his own children, including his son Phil.

In Little Haiti, Liberty City, and a number of other neighborhoods in Miami, canvassers are now walking door to door to spread the word about the risks of Zika, one household at a time — hoping to reach 25, 000 people the next six weeks. In some neighborhoods, these workers aren't sponsored by federal or state health agencies, but by Planned Parenthood.

In Japan, you sometimes hear the term "village on the edge." What it means is "village on the edge of extinction."

Japan's population is declining. And the signs of that are easiest to see in rural areas, like the mountainous interior of the southern island of Shikoku. For example, the village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30.

Houston spends millions to woo post-Panamax ships

Aug 26, 2016
port.jpg
Gail Delaughter

The widened Panama Canal is likely to have a significant impact on global shipping. Here in the U.S., gigantic ships that could only fit on West Coast docks can now get through the canal to the Gulf of Mexico. That means a sizable increase in traffic for the Port of Houston — which has already begun a billion-dollar plan to upgrade its infrastructure.

Prince's Paisley Park will open its doors to fans

Aug 26, 2016
paisley.jpg
Reema Khrais

The rumors are true. Paisley Park – Prince’s 65,000 square foot compound outside of Minneapolis – is becoming a museum.

In October, guests will be able to tour through his recording studios, video-editing rooms, rehearsal rooms and the performance hall. They’ll also get glimpses of more personal items: his wardrobe, dozens of instruments, motorcycles, artwork and rare music.

“It keeps his name alive. It keeps his music alive,” said John Kellogg, who teaches music business and management at Berklee College of Music.

Imagine you're a teenager in Beijing in the 1960s and '70s, during the Cultural Revolution. Everything that's deemed Western and bourgeois is banned — so listening to a 78 rpm recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, powerfully transformative as it might be, is off limits.

Human viruses are like a fine chocolate truffle: It takes only one to get the full experience.

At least, that's what scientists thought a few days ago. Now a new study published Thursday is making researchers rethink how some viruses could infect animals.

A team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has found a mosquito virus that's broken up into pieces. And the mosquito needs to catch several of the pieces to get an infection.

R
Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

The evening of August 13 started out as a reporting assignment for Aaron Mak, a Yale student and intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It turned into a lesson about policing, race and protest in today's America.

Milwaukee police had just shot and killed a black man named Sylville Smith, and when Mak arrived at the scene, hundreds of people had already gathered in protest.

BLM Politico piece

North Korea claims it’s now able to nuke the US mainland

Aug 25, 2016
R
KCNA via Reuters

North Korea's in a good mood these days.

The nation is celebrating its first successful test of a submarine-launched missile.

The country's leader — Kim Jong Un — says the US mainland is now within striking range of his nuclear weapons.

That sounds like a threat.

Joel Wit, a former US nuclear negotiator with North Korea, says he's concerned, but not worried. "Because — despite this success — we’re not within striking range of their nuclear weapons."

Enormous trucks from all over the country are rolling down highways toward Baton Rouge, La.

When they get to town, their task is to clear neighborhoods where streets are lined with trash from last week's massive flood.

Baton Rouge contracted with DRC Emergency Services to handle disaster response when the floods began last week. It started out rescuing people in boats, and now that the boats are docked, trucks are coming in to handle the cleanup.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Pages