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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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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Effort To Save Sequoias In Yosemite

Inmate firefighters walk along Highway 120 as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. Fire crews are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias as a massive week-old wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:02 pm

The giant Rim Fire raging near Yosemite National Park is threatening two groves of giant sequoias: the Tuolumne Grove and the Merced Grove.

The redwoods have some natural defenses against wildfires, but firefighters are clearing brush near the groves and setting up sprinkler systems to provide the ancient trees with extra help if the fire does spread to the groves.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Juliana Hatfield And Matthew Caws Unite As 'Minor Alps'

Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws are Minor Alps. (Minor Alps)

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:44 pm

This week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson introduces us to the band Minor Alps.

The band is made up of singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws, the lead singer of the power-pop band Nada Surf.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Retiring To The Farm Anything But Quiet

Jim Schulte and his wife, Rita, bought their 450-acre farm near Columbia, Mo., in 1991, but didn’t start farming full time until Jim finished working in the mortgage business. (Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media)

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:44 pm

It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream.

“I wanted to be able to be active and have a pastime that ensured physical activity,” said beginning farmer Tom Thomas, who at 65 still has the physical fitness to wrestle and brand steers at his son’s ranch in Oklahoma.

Thomas retired two years ago after teaching exercise physiology for 35 years and he knew what he wanted to do next.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

How Far Have We Come Since The March On Washington?

Demonstrators march towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:44 pm

Thousands of people streamed onto the National Mall in Washington this past weekend, as part of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

On Wednesday, the actual anniversary of the event, thousands will gather at the Lincoln Memorial for what organizers are calling a “commemoration and call to action.”

So what has and hasn’t been achieved between 1963 and now, particularly for black Americans?

NPR’s Gene Demby has been thinking about this. He writes about race, ethnicity and culture as part of the network’s Code Switch team.

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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Fans Relish The Replacements Reunion

The Replacements are reuniting, briefly, for three shows. (The Replacements)

The Replacements were an unruly rock band that emerged from Minneapolis in the ’80s. They broke up in 1991 but are still much-beloved. This weekend they are playing their first show in more than 20 years. Here & Now producer Alex Ashlock is one of those devoted fans and he helps us understand why “Mats” fans are so excited about this.

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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

The Future Of Women's Rights In Afghanistan

An Afghan woman peers through the the eye slit of her burqa as she waits to try on a new burqa in shop in the old town of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 11, 2013. (Anja Niedringhaus/AP)

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 6:20 pm

As U.S. and NATO troops look to wind down operations in Afghanistan, some of the gains made in women’s rights there appear to be under increasing threat.

Two female parliamentarians and a female senator were attacked this month alone. And in July, a female police officer was shot dead in the southern province of Helmand.

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NPR Story
2:58 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

ESPN Drops TV Project On NFL Brain Injuries

This hit, Oct. 3, 2010, left the Cincinnati Bengals' Jordan Shipley (center) with a concussion, and the Cleveland Browns' T.J. Ward (right) with a fine. (Amy Sancetta/AP)

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 6:20 pm

ESPN is dropping its collaboration on a TV project about football league head injuries.

According to a New York Times report, the network is said to have received pressure from the NFL to withdraw from the Frontline documentary called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” about the risks of football injuries on the brain.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

New Wave Of New Orleans Artists Blend Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock

Christian Scott is one of the jazz musicians coming out of New Orleans who combines rock and hip hop influences. (christianscott.tv)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

New Orleans is often called the birthplace of jazz, famous for musicians from Louis Armstrong to Jelly Roll Morton.

The Big Easy is still central to the jazz music scene, and Sondra Bibb, host of “Jazz from the French Market with Sandra Bibb” on WWOZ, says that a number of new young artists are blending the hip hop and rock rhythms they grew with into their jazz.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Thoughts From A Former Teacher As School Year Begins

Jeremy Glazer is a former high school teacher in Miami, Florida. (WLRN)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

Teaching is the hardest job I’ve ever had.

In the midst of all the talk about schools and education policy, ultimately the classroom doors close and we, the teachers, are the ones in there with the children. We are the ones who think every day about those kids for the whole school year, and for years after.

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NPR Story
3:24 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Obama Proposes New System For Rating Colleges

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 in Buffalo, N.Y., where he began his two day bus tour to speak about college financial aid. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

At the State University of New York’s Buffalo campus today, President Barack Obama outlined a plan to make colleges more affordable and more accountable.

His proposal includes a new system for rating colleges based on a series of factors, including affordability, graduation rate and the average earnings of graduates.

Today is the latest leg of the president’s economy tour — this time by bus — and the speech today is the first in a series about education.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Nuclear Fusion Research Enters 'Critical Phase' In France

The foundations for Iter's tokamak -- which will contain the hot plasma -- have been laid. (BBC)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

The world’s most ambitious attempt to harness fusion as a source of nuclear power is taking shape in the south of France.

Fusion is the process that drives the sun — atoms are forced together to release energy. Repeating it here on Earth could, in theory, offer an almost endless supply of electricity.

The BBC’s David Shukman reports.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

College Athletes Test New Head Impact Sensor

The University of New Haven Chargers in practice. (Harriet Jones/WNPR)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

Concussions are a hot topic across all levels of sports, as more coaches and players start to recognize the long-term debilitating effects of repeated head trauma.

Despite the lawsuits against both the NFL and the NCAA, there’s not much data on what kinds of head impacts are dangerous.

One Connecticut school is testing a new head sensor this season that aims to change that.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harriet Jones of WNPR reports.

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NPR Story
12:31 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Should We Get Paid For Our Online Data?

(Kevin McShane/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 4:10 pm

In the digital economy, data is the most valuable form of currency.

Companies mine it to learn about consumers and sell their products more effectively.

But what about the tension between ownership and the ubiquity of data?

Computer scientist and author Jaron Lanier says fortunes are made from the data that companies access about us.

His proposal to fix the digital economy: we should all own our own data, and companies — whether it’s Google or Citibank — should pay us every time any bit of our data is used.

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NPR Story
4:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

An Adult Spin On A Childhood Favorite: The Tree House

A company in Ohio, Mohican Cabins, lets visitors live in luxury treehouses. (Mohican Cabins)

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:36 pm

When you hear “tree house,” you may picture kids perched in a tall oak, inside a patchwork fort of crudely nailed together construction scraps — maybe a rope ladder dangling from the trap door.

Well, a new cottage industry has emerged, putting a grown-up spin on this childhood refuge.

From Here & Now Contributors Network, Brian Bull of WCPN has the story.

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NPR Story
4:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Is It Time To End The 'Diet Debates'?

Shoppers peruse the produce section at The Fresh Grocer supermarket in West Philadelphia. (Coke Whitworth/AP)

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 4:36 pm

Comparing diets is something of a national pastime in America: pitting the Atkins Diet against the Paleo Diet against the South Beach Diet. It also extends into medical research.

But a provocative new paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association says researchers should stop comparing diets altogether.

Instead, it suggests researchers shift their focus to how to change behavior — forever.

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NPR Story
4:01 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

UN Investigating Alleged Chemical Attacks In Syria

This citizen journalism image, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrian citizens mourning over the dead bodies of Syrian men after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forces, according to activists in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (Local Committee of Arbeen via AP)

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 11:05 am

Syrian activists allege that Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against rebels today, killing hundreds of civilians.

The allegations come just after United Nations chemical weapons experts arrived in the country to investigate earlier alleged uses of these weapons.

Amy Smithson of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explains what the UN team will be looking for and the challenges they face in determining chemical weapons use.

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NPR Story
2:32 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Renee Graham On The New, Blue-Eyed R&B

Allen Stone is one of Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham's favorite R&B singers. (Lonnie Webb)

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:13 pm

Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham has noted a trend recently: for the most part, the biggest acts in mainstream R&B music are white men.

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NPR Story
2:32 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

National Helium Reserve Faces Shutdown

(Bureau of Land Management)

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:13 pm

The National Helium Reserve is facing shutdown. The giant well of crude helium provides more than one-third of the world’s crude helium.

“It’s not a cave, it’s layers of rock, and the helium is stored in one layer of the rock,” Sam Burton, assistant field manager of helium operations at the Bureau of Land Management, told Here & Now.

The reserve isn’t just for nationally important party balloons. Helium is used in MRIs, computer chips and fiber-optic cable.

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NPR Story
2:32 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Obama Presses Regulators To Move Quickly On Dodd-Frank

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:13 pm

On his first day back from vacation, President Barack Obama met with federal regulators at the White House.

The topic? The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — most of which hasn’t even been written yet.

John Zumbrun of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now to explain.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Chicago Rocked By Spate Of Shootings

(voteprime/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:13 pm

Five people were shot last night in an uptown Chicago neighborhood

The shootings took place in broad daylight outside a church during prayer service, ironically along a so-called safe passage route.

One victim, shot in the head, remains in critical condition. The others are all stable.

The shootings come on the heels of a weekend shooting spree that killed one and left another eight injured, including a seven-year-old, in the city’s south, west and southwest.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Olympian Edwin Moses Helps Kids Clear Their Own Hurdles

Edwin Moses jumps a hurdle on his way to winning the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in Los Angeles, August 5, 1984. (AP)

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 12:22 pm

Edwin Moses was one of the best ever at clearing hurdles on the track.

Now, the two-time Olympic gold medal winner is helping kids in underserved neighborhoods clear their own hurdles.

Moses is chairman of the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, which supports the training and placement of coaches in sports-based youth development programs in U.S. cities.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Leaked UN Report Increases Certainty On Climate Change

An iceberg in Greenland is pictured in May 2012. (Ian Joughin)

In a leaked climate report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a United Nations scientific body that makes definitive assessments on climate change — has determined with 95 percent certainty that humans are responsible for global warming.

The report also increased its estimate for sea level rise, as a result of the warming planet.

The final report is due to come out in September. A draft was leaked over the weekend.

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NPR Story
3:47 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Convicted Art Forger Explains How It's Done

John Myatt is an artist and a convicted forger. (Castle Galleries)

In New York City, federal prosecutors have charged an art dealer named Glafira Rosales in connection with $80 million worth of forged art.

These are not copies — they’re paintings that look like they’re in the style of famous artists. The painter has not been charged in the case.

But John Myatt, an artist who also made forgeries of the great masters, was caught and charged. He has been described by Scotland Yard as one of the 20th century’s biggest art frauds.

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NPR Story
3:47 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

UK Gets Century-Old Revenge At Golf Tournament

With his younger brother on the bag, Matthew Fitzpatrick (right) posted a 4-and-3 victory over Oliver Goss on Sunday to win the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship. (John Mummert/USGA)

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:36 pm

A British teenager won the men’s U.S. Amateur Golf Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. on Sunday.

In a way, the victory by 18-year-old Matt Fitzpatrick makes up for what happened on the very same golf course in 1913, when a young American named Francis Quiment defeated the two top British professionals of the day, Ted Ray and Harry Vardon, to win the U.S. Open.

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NPR Story
3:47 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

U.S. General Court-Martialed Over Sexual Assault Charges

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair. (U.S. Army)

As the military tries to stem the tide of sexual assault in the ranks, an Army general is on trial for sexual assault charges at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

The charges follow Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair’s affair with a captain on his staff.

Sinclair has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but the court martial so far has revealed sordid details about Sinclair’s relationship with his subordinate.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Egypt's Former Dictator May Be Released

In this April 13, 2013, photo, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves to his supporters from behind bars as he attends a hearing in his retrial on appeal in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:47 pm

Officials in Egypt say they have no grounds to hold former President Hosni Mubarak in custody, and he could be released this week.

That notice came with news that Islamic militants killed 25 policemen in the Sinai peninsula this morning, after ambushing their mini-buses.

An Egyptian court has ruled that the government must release the country’s former ruler, Hosni Mubarak, because it had reached the two year limit for holding someone in custody pending a verdict.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Typhoon Brings A Wave Of Sound With 'Young Fathers'

Members of the Oregon band "Typhoon." (Typhoon)

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:47 pm

Each week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings Here & Now a new song to liven up our playlists.

This week he introduces us to the Portland, Oregon, band Typhoon through the song, “Young Fathers.”

The song is jumps from whispered parts to sections where lyrics are shouted over horn sections.

Kyle Morton, who leads the band, had a hard childhood — and that comes through in his music, Thompson says.

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NPR Story
2:08 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Western Kansas Farmers Face Dwindling Water Supply

Anthony Stevenson has switched many of his acres to non-irrigated farming with water becoming more scarce, but that has meant taking a financial hit. (Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media)

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 3:47 pm

A drought now in its third year in parts of western Kansas is taxing a resource that has been under pressure for decades: the High Plains Aquifer.

The aquifer is enormous, but it’s running low in places, forcing a move to dryland farming — that is, farming without the aid of irrigation.

And farmers aren’t the only ones affected.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Frank Morris of Harvest Public Media reports.

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NPR Story
2:56 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Swimming Into History

Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel on August 16, 1926. (commons.wikipedia.com)

On this day in 1926, Gertrude Ederle spent 14 hours and 31 minutes making history.

The 20-year-old from New York, who had won a gold and two bronze medals for the United States at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Not only that, she beat the times of the five men who had accomplished the feat before her by nearly two hours despite straying off-course in the rough water and turning the 21-mile swim into a 35-mile adventure.

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NPR Story
2:56 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

'White Devil' Unlikely Chinatown Gang Leader

Boston gang member John Willis, who also goes by “white devil” in Cantonese, will be sentenced for federal drug and money laundering charges on Aug. 15.

Willis emerged as an unlikely white member of one of Boston’s Chinatown Asian gangs after joining a Chinese family and learning to speak Cantonese as a child.

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