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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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Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced To Death

May 15, 2015

A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a “kid” who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.

Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded upon learning his fate, decided after 14 hours of deliberations over three days in the nation’s most closely watched terrorism trial since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

If you’ve ever been prescribed an expensive new medication, you may be familiar with step therapy.

Rather than pay for a costly new drug, many insurance companies now require patients to try cheaper alternatives first.

As drug prices have skyrocketed in recent years, step therapy has become increasingly common, but now many states legislatures are pushing back.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Alex Smith reports.

NATO has been carrying out its largest ever anti-submarine warfare exercise in the North Sea.

It’s seen as a response to increasing activity by Russian submarines. There have been recent reports of Russian submarines operating off the coast of Scotland, as well as Sweden and Finland.

The exercise has also highlighted a gaping hole in Britain’s own maritime defenses. The BBC’s Jonathan Beale reports.

The City of Austin recently welcomed its first majority female city council, but what’s grabbing headlines is a recent workshop to train city staff on how to deal with the shift to a female-centered environment.

One of the speakers, Jonathan K. Allen – who has since been fired from his role as city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. for unrelated reasons – warned the group to expect more questions, and that women aren’t as interested in financial arguments.

In the new film “Good Kill,” Ethan Hawke plays Tom Egan, a former Air Force pilot who’s now a drone operator in Las Vegas. Egan longs to go back into combat, but instead is relegated to firing at suspected terrorist targets from thousands of miles away.

Writer-director Andrew Niccol told Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that he was drawn to make the film because he found drone operators to be an entirely new kind of solider.

The open hiring policy at Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., invites local residents to apply for jobs, regardless of their immigration status, whether they have criminal or drug records, or even prior work experience.

It’s all part of the company’s social justice business model, based on the Buddhist philosophy of Bernie Glassman, who founded the industrial food facility in 1982.

“Black Lives Matter” has become a rallying cry across the U.S. among people upset about cases of police brutality against black men. In Milwaukee, another movement is afoot. It aims to let people know that black love also matters. LaToya Dennis from Here & Now contributor Milwaukee Public Radio reports.

If you use a smartphone for directions, you know how annoying it can be when the tracking device gets your location wrong. A team of researchers at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering say they may have fixed that problem.

What’s New Is Old At The TV Upfronts

May 13, 2015

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans is in New York this week at the TV Upfronts and joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to talk about how next season, the hot thing seems to be reviving old shows.

NBC is bringing back “Coach” and “Heroes.” Meanwhile, Fox is doing a television version of “Minority Report” and “The X-Files.” Eric Deggans, though, is most excited about ABC bringing the Muppets to network television for the first time in nearly 20 years.

There’s a new series making waves on the web. “Halal in the Family” centers around the Qu’osbys, an all-American family who also happen to be Muslim.

It’s no coincidence that the family name sounds a lot like “Cosby.” Co-creator Miles Kahn tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that the idea first came from a comment that journalist Katie Couric made, that maybe what American Muslims needed to combat stereotypes was their own “Cosby Show.”

A new nuclear power plant is nearing completion in Spring City, Tennessee, and it’s expected to be up and running by late summer.

It has taken about 40 years to complete the project.

Associated Press reporter Ray Henry tells Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that the Watts Bar plant serves as a cautionary tale for America’s nuclear power industry.

At Village Park in Wellington, Florida, there’s a group of retirees who get together every week to relive their youth.

A dozen men are lined up in three rows in a parking lot. On one end, a 3-foot fence marks the end of the outfield. About 200 feet in the opposite direction, a square drawn in chalk marks home plate.

Every few seconds, a yellow rubber ball is launched up into the air, and the men laugh and joke as they call out for it. This is the Palm Beach Senior Stickball League.

The Democratic presidential primary season is officially underway in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton is now facing a challenge from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont.

And, although he’s a familiar face in New Hampshire, Sanders is a long-shot in this election. But, he is a long-shot with the potential to shake up the race.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Asma Khalid reports.

This weekend, First lady Michelle Obama addressed the graduating class at Tuskegee University in Alabama – a historically black academic institution.

She recalled to the students how the media covered her during the early days of the Obama presidency.  She was described as “Obama’s baby mama” and one of her husband’s “cronies of color.”

Today saw the final day of testimony from witnesses called on behalf of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhozhar Tsarnaev.

His lawyers are trying to spare him from the death penalty and before wrapping up, the defense called to the stand Sister Helen Prejean.

She’s best known as the central character in the book and movie “Dead Man Walking” and for her long and impassioned opposition to the death penalty.

It’s 1967 in Los Angeles in NBC’s new show “Aquarius.” The crime drama, set in an era of free love, cheap drugs and “unparalleled music,” sets up a promising plot, which viewers will be able to watch in one long binge on NBC’s website or mobile app starting on May 29, 2015.

It is NBC’s first “binge-watching” show, which was popularized by media companies like Hulu, HBO and Netflix.

In his free time, NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt likes to drive around Shanghai as a sort of free taxi cab, offering rides to strangers, to get to know the real lives of ordinary Chinese.

He sometimes records their stories, for his ongoing series Streets of Shanghai.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Langfitt about what he’s been learning, and what it’s like driving in China.

In the final installment of our “Bay Days in History” conversations, author Michael Farquhar Here & Now’s Robin Young take us back to 1632.

On May 8, 1632, an English court called upon the unfortunate printers of a King James Bible, who let more than a few spelling and grammar errors slip through the cracks such as, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

5 Dessert Recipes For Mother’s Day

May 8, 2015

Mother’s Day is Sunday, so Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst joined us with recipes that use fruits and even vegetables: a strawberry-rhubarb pie, a fresh-fruit Pavlova, carrot-parsnip cupcakes and even a strawberry-rhubarb drink for a festive Mother’s Day brunch.

These desserts aim to take advantage of the bounty of the spring season, without being too sweet.

Mike Barry of The Guardian joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to look at how the news is reverberating on social media. The stories include:

The NFL’s report on the controversy over whether the New England Patriots used deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game, dubbed “Deflategate.”

As the use of health and fitness mobile apps and wearable activity trackers grow, so do questions about what happens to the sensitive data these devices collect – all those steps, calories and heart rate readings the devices measure. Carolyn Beeler from Here & Now contributor WHYY’s “The Pulse” reports.

For this week’s DJ Session, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson sits down with DJ Luis “Speedy” Gonzalez, who hosts “Latin Jazz and Salsa” on WMNF in Tampa, Florida. He shares new Latin and salsa sounds, including artist Tony Succar’s new tribute to Michael Jackson, and the Afro-Cuban funk group Palo.

Freightliner, a division of Daimler, has been given a license to test its self-driving tractor-trailer truck in Nevada. The trucks will have a driver in the driver’s seat to take control when the truck is in cities, but the idea is that on limited-access interstates it could self-drive. CNN’s Maggie Lake discusses the implications with Here & Now's Robin Young.

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Let's Have Dinner And Talk About Death

May 6, 2015

The last time you went to a dinner party, you probably didn’t talk about death, but that’s the focus of conversation at a growing number of tables. It’s part of an international movement called “Death Over Dinner.” The goal is talk about important questions before it’s too late. In San Francisco, Lesley McClurg of Capital Public Radio joined a recent gathering of guests with ties to Silicon Valley.

When David Letterman makes his last wisecrack as host of the “Late Show” on May 20th, he’ll be concluding an accomplished 33-year career that included more than 6,000 late-night broadcasts and almost 20,000 guest appearances.

His shows received 16 Emmy Awards awards and a staggering 112 Emmy Award nominations.

NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans talks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the host’s legacy and final weeks.

What Is Cinco De Mayo?

May 5, 2015

Today is Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May), a Mexican holiday traditionally celebrated with colorful costumes, singing, dancing and lots of drinking.

The day is well known in U.S., but as we sip on margaritas, do we know exactly what we’re celebrating?

The holiday commemorates a Mexican victory over the French in Puebla on May 5, 1862.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is visiting Baltimore today to meet with local leaders, as things are slowly getting back to normal in the city.

The city has lifted its curfew, National Guard Troops are pulling out and businesses, including CVS, are saying they will rebuild.

But tensions are still running high in parts of the city, as evidenced yesterday after police arrested a black man. Rumors were running rampant that police had shot the man in the back as he was running away.

The United States says climate change will be front and center on the agenda of the Arctic Council – the intergovernmental body made up of eight countries with territories in the region.

The U.S. is now chair of the council, which includes Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Founded in 1996, the council’s purpose is to promote cooperation in the region. They are not policymakers, but do advise governments on issues related to the Arctic.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the killing of four students by National Guard troops on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio during a rally to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

The cultural divisions of those times have been examined in numerous books and documentaries, but sometimes history leaves its mark in other ways.

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