NPR News

Running the Justice Department presents a challenge in any administration. But the Trump era is different.

In just five months, Justice leaders have been under heavy pressure, on everything from the travel ban to the Russia investigation. And one man, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is bearing the weight.

Here's something you need to know about Rosenstein: He's worked at the Justice Department for his entire career, nearly 27 years.

Last year, Rosenstein told NPR the advice he gives younger lawyers.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has changed his pick for a successor, naming his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and deposing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the post. At 31, the country's new successor to the throne is 50 years younger than the current monarch.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

How Do You Become The Best Cheesemonger In The World?

Jun 21, 2017

When you walk into a cheese shop to buy a wedge for your next party, your go-to person behind the counter is the cheesemonger. In France, where cheese is king, this role is crystal clear. In the U.S., it's a bit hazy.

In case you are wondering, a monger is a bit of a cheese therapist. It's someone who helps you navigate your tastes and desires. Don't want anything too barny? A good cheesemonger will steer you clear of washed-rind cheeses.

Next year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City will leave the individual health care marketplace in Missouri that was set up under the Affordable Care Act. And when it does, about 18,000 patients in 25 western Missouri counties will lose their health insurance. If those enrollees sign on to Healthcare.gov this fall to buy a replacement plan, they may have no options to choose from.

That's because those 25 counties could become "bare."

A St. Louis-based organization called Prison Performing Arts (PPA) is taking a fresh approach in its 27-year-old effort to turn inmates into actors.

The program is known for the “thees,” “thous” and “forswears” of Shakespeare’s scripts. But a contemporary play on stage Thursday at the Women’s Eastern, Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia expands PPA beyond The Bard.

“Run-On Sentence” is based on interviews done with those inside the institution. Inmate Patty Prewitt said the playwright Stacie Lents took time to really understand their world.

Rachael Goldring was born with congenital heart disease. Had she been born a few decades earlier, she probably would have died as a baby. Goldring is now 24 and among a population of patients who present new challenges to a health care system unaccustomed to dealing with survivors of once-fatal conditions.

Today there are more adults than kids living with some of these diseases, and medical training is lagging. Young adults who can't find suitable doctors may drop out of care, and their conditions may worsen.

Russia's efforts to interfere with last year's elections will be front and center during two hearings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will appear before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence while the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hear from current U.S. intelligence officials and state election experts.

Here are five questions likely to be on lawmakers' minds as they listen to witnesses and ask questions.

Uber Co-Founder Travis Kalanick Resigns Under Pressure As CEO

Jun 21, 2017

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

The chief of Uber has resigned. Travis Kalanick, under pressure from his top investors, announced his departure Tuesday night. The move, which comes as a surprise to employees, plunges one of the largest private companies on Earth into an even bigger leadership vacuum.

A week ago, Kalanick said he was stepping away from his position as CEO temporarily, taking a leave of absence to mourn his mother, who recently died in a boating accident, and to work on his leadership, to grow into "Travis 2.0."

Barbie's one-time blue-eyed boyfriend is getting a makeover. Toymaker Mattel is giving its Ken doll a variety of new looks in hopes the makeovers will move the toys into the modern era.

On Tuesday, the company rolled out 15 new Ken dolls with three body types: "slim, broad and original." They have seven skin tones, nine hairstyles — including cornrows and "man buns" — and an array of sartorial styles from business casual to athletic-chic.

Carla Fendi, onetime president of the eponymous fashion line, died in Rome on Monday at the age of 79, following a long illness, The Associated Press reports. The fashion house tweeted that her loss "deeply affects us all."

Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franchescini remembered her as "a cultivated and sensible woman who was a major patron of the arts," according to the AP.

As soon as Philando Castile's mother Valerie heard last week that a Minnesota jury had acquitted Jeronimo Yanez, she stood up and declared "f*** this!" and left the courtroom. That's according to Minnesota Public Radio reporter Riham Feshir, who was there, and talked to Code Switch about it for this week's episode.

That trial ended Friday after five days of deliberations with a not guilty verdict for Yanez, the officer who fatally shot Castile as he sat in a car on July 6 of last year.

It's not just astronomy nerds who are preparing for the total solar eclipse in August. Scientists are also using the event, which has not occurred in Missouri since 1442, as an opportunity to gather data. 

St. Louis is one of 30 locations across the U.S. where scientists will launch large balloons into the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere during the eclipse, as a part of the NASA and NSF-sponsored Eclipse Ballooning Project. On Tuesday afternoon, Saint Louis University and Jefferson College researchers performed a test-run of their balloon, which will carry a radiosonde, an instrument that measures wind speed, humidity, barometric pressure and other conditions of the atmosphere. They will also be using Ameren Missouri's network of weather monitoring stations, called Quantum Weather

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET on June 21

Republican Karen Handel has won the costly and closely watched special congressional election in Georgia's 6th District, a blow to Democratic hopes of pulling off an upset in a district that President Trump only narrowly carried last year.

The former Georgia secretary of state won by almost 4 points, beating Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old documentary filmmaker and former congressional staffer — 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent.

Belgian soldiers patrolling Central Station in Brussels Tuesday night shot a suspect after a small explosion that officials called a "terror attack."

Eric Van der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor's office, said that after the blast "the suspected perpetrator was neutralized by the soldiers present." No bystanders were injured in the explosion and the station was evacuated.

Van der Sypt said it is unknown whether the suspect survived being shot. He also said he does not know the attacker's identity.

A much larger abortion bill is on its way back to the Missouri Senate, after the House loaded it up with more regulations Tuesday.

It’s the exact opposite approach the upper chamber took last week, which removed several items as a means of keeping Democrats from blocking it via filibuster. The bill passed 110-38 along party lines after four hours of debate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will release a discussion draft of their version of the health care bill on Thursday, with a vote likely next week.

Private health care talks have been underway in the Senate for weeks. McConnell tapped a 13-member working group last month to hash out senators' differences over the House-passed American Health Care Act. McConnell's office has since taken the lead drafting the Senate version of the party's long-promised legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The city of Ferguson has settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Michael Brown.

Federal district Judge Richard Webber accepted the settlement on Tuesday. The amount that Michael Brown Sr., and Lezley McSpadden will receive from the city, former police chief Tom Jackson, and former police officer Darren Wilson will remain confidential.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis American.

Philando Castile’s family in St. Louis was watching on June 16 as a Minnesota jury acquitted the police officer who fatally shot Castile, a 32-year-old black man, during a traffic stop last year in suburb of St. Paul, Minn.

“Everyone’s heart fell to the ground,” said Stacy Castile, Philando Castile's uncle who lives in St. Louis. “We just lost him all over again.”

More than 3,000 people have been killed in a remote region in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a new report from Congo's Catholic Church.

As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, the violence in the central Kasai region erupted last August, "when the military killed Kamuina Nsapu, a chief who was calling for government forces to leave the region." The Church has been trying to broker a peace deal. Here's more from Ofeibea:

Jorge Santiago Aguirre is a lawyer at the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez, a major human rights group in Mexico City, so he was curious when he got this text message in April 2016:

"Mr. Jorge this is Juan Magarino," it read in Spanish. "Please help with my brother Heriberto a teacher who has been kidnapped by police it's a crime."

Then, there was a hyperlink.

He says the text didn't feel like random spamming.

"It was related to information that was personal to us," he says.

Argentine police have uncovered some 75 Nazi artifacts hidden in a secret room in a house near Buenos Aires. The objects include children's harmonicas in a box adorned with swastikas and a large bust relief of Adolf Hitler.

Argentina's Ministry of Security stated that the pieces were all "of illegal origin and of great interest due to their historical value." The finding came after a federal police investigation.

Young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children, and received temporary Social Security numbers and work permits under an Obama-era program can keep their protections — for now.

 

Breaking a promise made on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump announced last week that he would extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but hasn’t said for how long. Missouri is home to almost 4,000 DACA permit holders.

St. Louis Alderman Megan Ellyia Green joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for a second time on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Green has represented the city’s 15th Ward, which is just south of Tower Grove Park, since her special-election victory in 2014. She first was elected as an independent, rankling some Democrats, but now is a bona fide Democrat and holds state and national party posts.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

What does it mean to lose your land, your language, and your heritage?

For Alaska Natives, these are existential threats.

On a trip to Southeast Alaska, I traveled to one village that is finding new ways to survive: Klukwan, ancestral home of the Tlingit tribe.

Nestled along the banks of the Chilkat River, Klukwan is quiet and tiny, home to about 90 people.

At the wine tasting room of Taylors Wines in Sydney, Australia, bottles are uncorked, poured, swished, sniffed and sipped. There's a lot for employees to toast this year.

"The Australian wine sector is growing at a fast rate," says Mitchell Taylor, the winery's managing director. "And what is exciting is the top level, about 20 to 30 dollars a bottle and above, that segment is growing at 53 percent."

That's thanks, in part, to China.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Pages