NPR News & Stories From WUNC

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will not be going home anytime soon. His opinion piece in The Washington Post has drawn fire in the Saudi press, all because he dared write about a crackdown on free speech in the kingdom.

Aliou Touré told me not too long ago, "When you write a song about racism, it's a big deal." Touré is lead singer of Songhoy Blues, a band from Mali.

He said this in the context of the band's new song "One Colour," off their new album, "Résistance."

The song was recorded with a school children's choir in London. Touré says recording with kids made him optimistic about the future, especially if adults take the moment to learn from them.

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Morne Hardenberg/Shark Explorers 

When Alison Kock was a little girl, her father would take her out fishing for lobster. That was when she started to foster her passion for the ocean — and sharks.

While fishing, shysharks would sometimes get caught in the crawfish nets. Kock watched as the sharks would wrap their tails around their heads and cover their eyes.

“I was really concerned," Kock says. "My dad said to me, ‘Listen, they'll be fine. Just pick them up, kiss them on the nose and release them back into the water.’”

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When filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick began research for a 10-part PBS documentary on the Vietnam War, they thought they knew the material. After all, Burns was of draft age in 1970, though his draft number was too high for him to be called to serve.

But as they began interviewing subjects and sorting through archival footage, Burns and Novick soon came to appreciate just how complicated the war was. "We went in, both of us, with this kind of arrogance about it, and immediately had that blown out of the water," Burns says. "We realized we knew nothing."

Ah, to be a chef with three Michelin stars: The envy of your peers. Reservation lists months long. The satisfaction of reaching the highest level of culinary art.

The crippling pressure to stay on top.

Sébastien Bras runs Le Suquet, a restaurant in the southern French town of Laguiole that first won its three stars in 1999, when it was run by his father Michel.

The unsung Soviet officer who averted nuclear war

Sep 21, 2017
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Charles Maynes

 

Stanislav Petrov, a Russian hero of the Cold War, died in May at his home outside of Moscow. However, his death went unmarked until this month. 

Petrov, 77, was largely unheralded in his own country, despite an act of bravery that likely prevented nuclear armaggedon and kept the world in course.

To understand his choice, first dial the clock back to the summer of 1983.

President Trump issued disaster declarations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after the passage of Hurricane Maria.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp (@govhouseusvi) about the recovery effort there.

Interview Highlights

On the situation after Maria

As the sun set Wednesday night, Jews around the world began observing Rosh Hashana.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Rabbi Jeremy Fine of the Temple of Aaron in St. Paul, Minnesota, about the Jewish New Year’s meaning and rituals.

Bedecked in fondant and flowers, modern wedding cakes are the centerpiece of the marriage feast — an edible form of art. But are they also an expression of free speech?

That is the question the Supreme Court will consider this fall when it hears the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.

"You'd think cake would be apolitical, and yet here we are," muses baker Catherine George of Catherine George Cakes.

Senate Republicans' latest plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system ends with a massive shift of federal money from states that expanded Medicaid — and are largely dominated by Democrats — to those that refused to expand.

Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics dynasty, has died at the age of 94.

In March, Forbes ranked Bettencourt the world's richest woman, putting her net worth at $39.5 billion.

Bettencourt's daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, confirmed the death in a statement to French media, saying her mother died "peacefully" at her home in France overnight Wednesday.

Let's do the numbers: on private jets

Sep 21, 2017

President Trump has expensive taste and a penchant for spending.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Barcelona, protesting the Spanish government and expressing support for a planned Oct. 1 vote on Catalan independence.

Spain considers the referendum to be illegal. On Wednesday, Spanish police with court-ordered search warrants seized millions of ballots and detained more than a dozen Catalan politicians. A top treasury official is being held on sedition charges, the BBC reports.

What do Bolivia, Belgium, Burkina Faso, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam all have in common?

The pervasive idea is that girls are vulnerable and that boys are strong and independent.

Join host Fiona Ritchie and guests as they explore selections from the American Folklife Center's collection of about half a million sound recordings, including songs from Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Carrie Grover.

A few weeks ago, Reveal host Al Letson jumped in to protect someone who was being attacked by counter-protesters in Berkeley, California. We found the man behind the attack. He says he’s a member of antifa and is taking the fight to white nationalists. We also interviewed rally organizers who are connected to right-wing extremists. In the aftermath of the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, militants from the left and the right are taking their battles to the streets.

Google makes a $1 billion bet on hardware

Sep 21, 2017

In the everything old is new again department, Google is betting big on hardware. The company already bought and sold Motorola in the past five years and now Google’s announced it’ll pay $1.1 billion for a chunk of HTC. To be clear Google’s not acquiring the company here. It’s acqui-hiring pretty much the entire engineering department of the Taiwanese phone maker. So what’s the strategy here?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The entire island of Puerto Rico is still without power today in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Local officials said it could take months to repair the damage and restore full service. And it won't be easy. The utility was already around $9 billion in debt before the hurricane and had filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Now, there's a big repair bill and the problem of deciding who gets power back first. Puerto Rico's economy can't recover unless the businesses it depends on have electricity. But should they get priority over, say schools or residential areas?

Back-to-back natural disasters in Mexico and across the Caribbean have left millions of people reeling.

The headline unemployment rate we report every month from the Labor Department has been consistently low. According to economists we’re at or near what’s considered full employment.Employers have a record number of job openings, about 6 million right now, and say they can’t find workers to fill them, especially in fields like manufacturing and construction. Meanwhile, about 8.5 million people are either looking for work, or say they want to work but have given up looking.

What is EDGAR and why do we care if it was hacked?

Sep 21, 2017

The acronym of the day is EDGAR, which stands for Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval.

It’s a platform created and run by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It could also be known, though, as the latest hacking victim in this economy. The SEC made the disclosure late last night that it'd been breached and added that it's possible some insider trading was done as a result. 

Facebook fights fires on multiple fronts

Sep 21, 2017

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that the company will give congressional investigators thousands of social and political ads from accounts associated with a Russian organization known as the Internet Research Agency. And while Zuckerberg was busy detailing that decision, Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has been dealing with another tricky issue. ProPublica recently reported that Facebook advertisers could target ads using anti-Semitic keywords. Now, Sandberg has promised to strengthen its ad enforcement methodology.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

Just over a year ago, Lillie Gumm, 63, woke up to find her Baton Rouge, Louisiana home filling with water.

"Within a matter of about maybe 30, 40 minutes, the water was just above my knees," Gumm said. "There was a very strong current in the water."

Gumm flagged down a passing school bus and, along with her grandson, caught a ride to higher ground, then a shelter.

09/21/2017: Facebook's ad trouble, explained

Sep 21, 2017

The drip-drip-drip of news about Russia and the 2016 election continues today. A week or so ago, Facebook said it sold about $100,000 worth of ads to a so-called Russian "troll farm." Today, the company announced it would show the ads to the government. Meanwhile, the company is working to improve its advertising process after ProPublica revealed users could target ads with anti-Semitic keywords. We'll start today's show by explaining all the fires Facebook is fighting. Then: all of Puerto Rico is still without power today, and it could take months to restore service.

Sound Opinions: Bonus Songs

Sep 21, 2017

So many talented musicians perform on Sound Opinions, but we don't always have time to share every song. Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot play some of their favorite never-before-heard live performances from guests like Courtney Barnett, Drive-By Truckers, and more. Plus, a tribute to Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

A strong earthquake that hit Mexico City and other central areas has killed at least 273 people, officials say. Search teams are working feverishly to find any survivors who were trapped.

Earlier this summer, the first Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week featured the creations of 25 designers from First Nations communities across Canada. Joleen Mitton, a former model who has Plains Cree and Blackfoot ancestry, launched the four-day event, held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, Canada.

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