Here and Now on KBIA 2

Weekdays Noon to 2pm

Here! Now! Imperative: not to be avoided: necessary. In a typical week, the show will cover not only all the big news stories, but also the stories behind the stories, or some of the less crucial but equally intriguing things happening in the world.

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Putin Vows To Fix Russian Economy

Dec 18, 2014

In his annual press conference, which ran four hours, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to ease the country’s economic woes by diversifying its heavy reliance on oil and gas. He also said he’s confident the plummeting ruble will recover.

Three million American families will buy real Christmas trees this year. Most are grown in either Oregon or North Carolina, the top two Christmas-tree-producing states in the country.

However, the real-tree industry has something in common with many other businesses: competition with China. About 79 percent of people now use artificial Christmas trees.

One reason people purchase artificial trees is because they believe they’re more environmentally sound. But is that true?

A Short History Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Dec 18, 2014

President Obama’s decision to change U.S. policy on Cuba comes after a half century of icy relations. The announcement came as a surprise to many, including Julia Sweig, director for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Sweig joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the history of the struggle between the two nations and outline what the opening of diplomatic relations and easing of restrictions will mean both for Cuba and the United States.

Atticus Lish’s novel “Preparation for the Next Life” and a recent New Yorker article, “The Kitchen Network” by Lauren Hilgers, have thrown a spotlight onto the plight of the workers in Chinese restaurants.

Atticus Lish‘s debut novel “Preparation for the Next Life” has already been drawing raves from critics.

It centers around an unlikely romance between Skinner, a veteran of the war in Iraq, and Zou Lei, a Uyghur from China. Lish told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that the book’s title has significance for both characters.

For more than a decade, federal education policies have pushed schools to get parents more involved on campus. The idea is that if parents are more involved, then their children will do better academically — especially kids who struggle.

In one Texas school district, that idea is taking a new form. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Laura Isensee of Houston Public Media visits an elementary school to find out more.

The Hunt For Afghan War Criminals

Dec 16, 2014

As the NATO combat mission winds down in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani says his country has to overcome the past and face the future with confidence. But as Afghanistan tries to move forward, there are growing calls for the prosecution of those responsible for war crimes.

Dutch prosecutors are preparing cases against several who are believed to be living in Europe. Some of the crimes date back 30 years to the time before Russia invaded Afghanistan. The BBC’s David Loyn reports.

Bruce Feiler is well known for his book “Walking the Bible.” In his new PBS series “Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler,” the best-selling author accompanies Americans on pilgrimages to six of the world’s holiest sites.

The first episode airs tonight and focuses American troops wounded in war as they travel to the French city of Lourdes, where the waters are said to have healing power.

Four U.S. cities are making their case to the U.S. Olympic Committee to host the 2024 Summer Olympics: San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston and Los Angeles.

Three of the cities have never hosted the Summer Olympics, while Los Angeles has hosted the games twice, in 1932 and 1984.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Curt Nickisch of WBUR in Boston, who is covering the story in Redwood City, Calif.

Australians are mourning the two hostages killed in a 16-hour siege at a cafe, and asking how the attack happened.

Australia recently passed tough laws against terrorism. The attack was carried out by a man with a long history of run-ins with police. The government had information that the Islamic State sought to recruit individuals to carry out attacks in the country.

On Saturday, actor Samuel L. Jackson posted a clip on his Facebook page calling on celebrities who participated in the ice bucket challenge to support ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to now join him in another action: singing in protest of the choking death of Eric Garner by a white police officer in New York City

Only a dozen states allow schools to charge for bus service but the number is expected to grow.

Parents in Indiana have filed a lawsuit, now before the state Supreme Court, arguing that bus fees violate the state’s constitutional guarantee to a free education. But state officials across the country say budget cuts have severely hampered their ability to continue to provide transportation and other services for free.

Indiana officials also say that caps on property taxes approved by voters in 2008 have also cut into school funds.

A hospital in north Idaho is marketing itself to Canadian tourists — medical tourists, that is.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jessica Robinson from the Northwest News Network has the story.

On Stage: Comedians Under The Radar

Dec 12, 2014

In our series On Stage, we look at what’s happening on the boards across the country. We’ve covered tap dance competitions and marching band smackdowns, but today’s installment is something a little different: who should you look for in the stand-up comedy world?

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks to Dylan Gadino, founder of the website laughspin.com, about the under-the-radar comedians he recommends.

Obama: NFL 'Behind The Curve' On Rice Case

Dec 12, 2014

President Barack Obama says the Ray Rice domestic violence case showed that the National Football League was “behind the curve” in setting policies about athlete behavior. He says new policies now in effect will send a message that there is no place for such behavior.

He says in an interview Friday with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio that “an old boys’ network” at the NFL had created “blind spots.”

He says: “You don’t want to be winging it when something like this happens; you want to have clear policies in place.”

Meeting The Maker Of Moore's Law

Dec 12, 2014

It almost feels like a law of nature. You break your two-year-old smartphone. The next day you go the store and find a new one that’s faster and cheaper and just plain better. Computer chips keep getting better — it’s a phenomenon that engineers call Moore’s law. And it’s about to celebrate an anniversary.

The idea that guns are dangerous to your health is not new. But figuring out what steps, if any, doctors should take to protect people from gun violence is both new and politically explosive.

Recently, more than 100 physicians and crime prevention advocates gathered in Boston for what they say was the first continuing medical education course on how to prevent gun violence. Martha Bebinger from Here & Now contributor station WBUR was there and has this report.

CIA Chief: Results Of Harsh Interrogation Unknown

Dec 11, 2014

Did the CIA’s harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects yield crucial information that could not have been obtained another way? CIA chief John Brennan says the answer cannot be known.

The Senate torture report this week asserted that none of the CIA’s techniques used against captives provided critical, life-saving intelligence. Brennan told a news conference that valuable intelligence did come from the interrogations.

Nationally acclaimed artist Anne Neely has produced an exhibit exploring the phenomena of water — not only how hit relates to nature, but also to memory and imagination.

Her paintings, currently on display at Boston’s Museum of Science, explore the beauty of water, but also raise a cautionary flag about issues that threaten the world’s water, including pollution and climate change.

The exhibit is accompanied by an audio composition by sound artist Halsey Burgund, whose water-themed compositions play throughout the gallery.

“Birdman” squawked loudest in the Golden Globes nominations, flying away with a leading seven nods including best picture in the comedy or musical category.

In nominations for the 72 annual Golden Globes announced Thursday morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, “Boyhood” and “The Imitation Game” trailed with five nods apiece. Those two films led a best drama category that also included “Foxcatcher,” “Selma” and “The Theory of Everything.”

Kathy Gunst's Holiday Favorites

Dec 10, 2014

Just in time for the holidays, Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst shares recipes for her favorite holiday ham glaze and her favorite food gift: her sister-in-law’s chocolate-dipped buttercrunch (recipes below). She also shares a few of her picks for the year’s great cookbooks. See her full list of cookbook recommendations here.

A recent rash of police shootings of unarmed black men, and the shooting of a 12-year-old in Cleveland who was holding a BB gun, have raised questions about how police are trained to use their guns.

Today, Here & Now begins an occasional series looking at just that. We start with a look at simulators. A company called VirTra makes this equipment, including a $200,000 firearms training simulator being used by local and national law enforcement agencies.

Employees complicit in Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme were sentenced Tuesday, including his former secretary who became rich working for her disgraced boss.

Annette Bongiorno earned millions keeping the books as Madoff’s secretary. A federal judge in Manhattan sentenced her to six years in a Florida prison. The judge said Bongiorno wasn’t “fundamentally corrupt,” but she should have recognized the fraud she helped perpetuate. Bongiorno could have faced life in prison.

De-Cluttering Your House With Love

Dec 9, 2014

Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go.

In 2005, German diplomat Juergen Chrobog and his family were traveling in Yemen when they were kidnapped by Bedouins who wanted the government to free their tribe members who were being held because of crimes committed against another tribe.

They were held for a few days before they were released when the Bedouins were convinced their demands would be met. No ransom was paid.

McDonald’s reports that its sales in the U.S. fell 4.6 percent last month compared to a year ago — more than double what analysts expected. It comes after a 4.1 percent sales drop in September.

The fast food chain is trying to simplify its menu, enhance marketing and “implement a more locally driven organizational structure,” according to a press release.

Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal joined Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss what’s happening with McDonald’s.

Readers of Pat Conroy‘s novels “The Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini” are very familiar with his troubled family history, in particular his harsh military father But last year, Pat decided to step out from behind the guise of fiction and write a memoir: “The

The U.S. beef herd is smaller than it has been in decades, thanks to drought and low cattle prices. But Midwest ranchers are eager to grow. And that has turned grass into a hot commodity.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock has the story.

The FDA estimates that consumers will suffer more than $5 billion in lost pleasure over a 20 year period due to the calorie counts that will soon be required of fast food chains, movie theaters and certain sit-down restaurants next year.

This new lost pleasure calculation is part of the new regulations that are geared to discourage people from eating junk food and curbing obesity.

Sharon Isbin, Guitarist Extraordinaire

Dec 4, 2014

Sharon Isbin has been called “the preeminent guitarist of our time,” and was voted “the best classical guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine.

She was one of the first woman musicians in a field where there are few. And she’s a guitarist in the classical world where few believed the instrument deserved a place.

After decades of pushing against those limitations, Isbin now has three Grammy Awards and numerous other awards under her belt, and has collaborated with many world class composers and musicians of various genres.

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