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Editor's Note: This is an updated version of a story that was originally published on July 28, 2013.

When South Africa's Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at age 95, the international community celebrated him as an iconic figure, a symbol of hope and statesmanship, the man who guided a troubled country from apartheid to democracy.

The military history behind the Star Wars costumes

Nov 15, 2017
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© 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. 

The costume designer for Star Wars, John Mollo, died recently, at the age of 86.

Even though he didn’t have any previous costume design experience, he was hired by director George Lucas to design the costumes for the 1977 Star Wars film because of expertise in military history.

“Since he was a little kid, he watched movies and fell in love with costumes," says Laela French, the director of archives for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, “And military costumes really grabbed his attention."

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Courtesy of Spike TV

For the first time in his career, Desmond Chiam, an Australian actor of Chinese-Singaporean descent, is playing a villain. And he’s having a blast.

In a recent episode of “The Shannara Chronicles,” a Spike TV drama, Chiam’s General Riga has captured two heroes. He’s torturing one of them into cooperating by sticking a thick, unhygienic-looking needle in his neck and blood is pumped through a tube into a gigantic rectangular glass container.

Though every band aims to eventually become a headliner, touring as an opening act is an important step. It allows a group to reach new fans, visit different places and gain inspiration from the act it's supporting. It can offer visions of successes and challenges to come, both on and off the stage.

During a San Diego training exercise, the Marine Corps tried out some new tools to enhance its amphibious landings.

(U.S. Edition) Republicans are looking for ways to pay for the tax cuts they're proposing. One of them: repealing the Obamacare mandate that individuals have to buy insurance. We'll do the math on how that would work. Afterwards, we'll discuss how medium-sized banks are downsizing to escape the Federal Reserve as one of their regulators, and then talk with art critic Blake Gopnik about a Leonardo da Vinci painting that could sell for more than $100 million tonight.

Jeff Stevens decided to give up alcohol when he was 24.

He's 50 now — and he's had no regrets about going sober for the sake of his health. Except for one thing: He has really missed good beer.

"If you're drinking, you have an infinite amount of things you can drink," Stevens says. Shelves are full of craft IPAs, stouts and bitters. "Whereas only about half the bars I've been to have a non-alcoholic beer. And if they do, it's usually just one choice."

Russia's State Duma has adopted restrictions on foreign media outlets, days after the U.S. Justice Department forced the production company behind media outlet RT America to register as a foreign agent operating in the U.S.

"A total of 409 lawmakers out of 450 voted for the amendments, no one voted against them or abstained," the state-run Tass news agency reported.

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The two massive earthquakes that devastated Mexico in September left thousands of people homeless and drove up food costs in many of the affected areas. Even before the disaster, many Mexicans were already struggling with rising food and fuel costs. The Mexican peso hit an all-time low this year, in part because of trade threats from President Donald Trump. And now the earthquakes have made it even harder for low-income Mexicans to make ends meet.

Where does Silicon Valley's bro culture start? VC

Nov 15, 2017

This week, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, left that firm after allegations of inappropriate behavior and an internal investigation. The company said he left by mutual agreement; he has publicly denied any allegations against him and said on Twitter that he’ll pursue legal action against his accusers.

The Source Code: Ellen Pao

Nov 15, 2017

In 2012, venture capitalist Ellen Pao sued well-known firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for gender discrimination. She lost. But the fallout inspired women in the tech industry to come forward with their own stories. Pao and Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke about the pervasive sexual harassment problem in venture capital, how that seeps into the very companies those firms fund and why it's going to take more than a few leaders stepping down to solve the problem. 

Listen to the whole unedited conversation here. 

11/15/2017: Ellen Pao and the bad apples of venture

Nov 15, 2017

This week, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson left that firm following allegations of inappropriate behavior and an internal investigation. The company said he left by mutual agreement. Ellen Pao is a venture capitalist who sued another well-known firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender discrimination in 2012. She lost the case, but it inspired other women to come forward. Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood talked with Pao about how her public battle shined a light on venture capital’s culture.

Why discrimination in venture capital runs deep

Nov 15, 2017

This week, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson left his own firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, amid allegations of inappropriate conduct that led to an internal investigation. The company said he left by mutual agreement.

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(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Ninety-three-year-old Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, but now South Africa's president has confirmed he is under house arrest. We chart the country's economic decline under Mugabe, and ask what his removal from power could mean for the country's future. Afterwards, figures out today from the U.N. show opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is up 40 percent. We hear from Afghanistan about the thousands of young children addicted to the drug.

Australians have given same-sex marriage a resounding "yes," in a historic nationwide poll, with nearly 62 percent of registered voters approving the measure.

Although the mail-in poll is non-binding, it nonetheless ensures that Parliament will consider ensconcing the popular sentiment as law — a bill to do just that was introduced in the Senate late Wednesday after the results of the poll became known.

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Covering Russia could get tougher for foreign reporters there. Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed legislation today requiring international media to declare themselves as foreign agents. And as NPR's Lucian Kim reports, this is payback.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview that aired on Wednesday's Morning Edition, says that he has no plans to run for president in 2020 but that it would be "foolish" to rule it out entirely.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, doctors and nurses are moving as many patients as they can from intravenous medications to the same drugs in pill form.

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

As more executives accused of sexual harassment are being ousted from companies around the nation, including NPR, many are rethinking whether human resources departments are willing or able to handle the job of fielding and investigating complaints. Many have grown skeptical, after recent news stories suggesting some HR departments knew of issues, but failed to adequately respond. Many others have lost faith in HR through experiences of their own.

Washington used to operate one scandal at a time.

Not anymore. Here are just some of the scandals currently brewing:

  • The indictment of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, Rick Gates, in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

Now, Now's breakout album, Threads, was not as much about breaking up as holding on. Its songs carried in them a weary recognition of how desire and nostalgia linger in the body and mind, and zoomed in on the brittle filaments that bind together people who have long since declared themselves better off apart.

Updated at 6:05 a.m. ET Wednesday

Zimbabwe's army said Wednesday that it has seized control in what is being described as "a bloodless transition" that has apparently pushed aside President Robert Mugabe. The military said he and his family are "safe and sound."

Armored vehicles and soldiers patrolled streets in the capital, Harare, amid loud explosions overnight. Soldiers reportedly took control of the headquarters of the national broadcaster, ZBC, and an army spokesman said on air: "This is not a military takeover."

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