NPR News & Stories Via WUNC

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.

A fully public Fed?

Aug 26, 2016
stlouis.jpg
Sabri Ben-Achour

The Fed is an odd bird.  The headquarters in D.C. is a federal agency, the regional branches are not. You can even tell by the email addresses. Headquarters' addresses usually end in .gov, regional Fed addresses end in .org. 

“The 12 regional banks are private institutions owned by the commercial banks ,” said Andrew Levin, professor of economics at Dartmouth.

melindagates_2.jpg
Amy Scott

As kids continue heading back to school, the new book "Policy Patrons" looks at what many see as the outsize role of private philanthropy in public education.

Groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation have spent billions of dollars to promote causes like high school and college completion, charter schools, and the Common Core standards.

prince_0.jpg
Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about why some want the Fed to change the way it operates; the role of private philanthropy in public education; and the fall opening of Prince's estate, Paisley Park.

Marketplace Tech for Friday, August 26, 2016

Aug 26, 2016
burningman.jpg
Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about technology's presence at Burning Man, a Nevada festival of art and self-expression; play this week's Silicon Tally with Tricia Berry, director of the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Texas at Austin; and look at how Nextdoor, the social network for neighborhoods, is aiming to get neighbors to do less racial profiling. 

Top Federal Reserve officials defended their handling of monetary policy in a freewheeling meeting with liberal activists at the annual Fed conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Much of the meeting centered on whether the Fed should raise interest rates, as it's widely expected to do before the end of the year, and the likely impact of a hike on poor and minority communities.

Today Volkswagen announced a tentative agreement with its 652 franchise dealers in the U.S. The company didn't reveal the price tag but sources tell the Reuter news service the deal is worth $1.2 billion.

According to a statement from the company, Volkswagen has agreed to pay cash to the dealers and "to resolve alleged past, current and future claims of losses in franchise value."

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

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.

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."

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.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET with detail on limiting spam

The messaging service WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy for the first time since being bought by Facebook in 2014. The app will begin sharing some of its data and phone numbers with the social network. It will also start testing how businesses, too, can talk to its users, for instance by offering flight or shipping or banking notifications.

They've known each other for only a few months, but this love story between an Australian ultramarathoner and a Chinese stray dog has seen extraordinary highs and lows.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Pages