Sam Sanders

Sam has worked at Vermont Public Radio since October 1978 in various capacities â

Jimmy Carter revealed Wednesday that he has cancer. Carter, 90 released a short statement with the news:

"Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body. I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare. A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week."

Set your alarm clocks. The Perseid meteor shower, the annual celestial lightshow that com calls the most widely observed and dependable meteor display of the year, will peak tonight and early tomorrow morning.

The list of celebrities-turned-politicians grows longer.

Former child actor Melissa Gilbert is running as a Democrat in Michigan's 8th congressional district against first-term Republican Mike Bishop.

The district covers Lansing and some northern Detroit suburbs, and it's a competitive one. President Obama won it in 2008, but Republican Mitt Romney carried it in 2012.

On Monday, Google CEO Larry Page announced the formation of a new parent company for Google called Alphabet. Page describes Alphabet as a collection of companies including Google, Life Sciences (which focuses on medicine and health issues), and Calico (a company that claims to tackle aging), among others.

Last Tuesday, Netflix announced it would begin offering employees who are new parents unlimited paid leave for a year, allowing them to take off as much time as they want during the first 12 months after a child's birth or adoption.

The news drew praise from people who said it would be good for working parents, and would help America catch up to most other developed nations, where paid time off for a new child is mandatory.

Several activists groups celebrated the release of Mazen Darwish, a Syrian journalist and human rights activist, from prison on Monday. In a statement, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, which Darwish helped found, said, "After an arbitrary arrest that lasted three years, five months, and 23 days, Mazen Darwish has been released from prison today."

The AP reports Darwish was imprisoned for his reporting on President Bashar Assad's crackdown on protesters during the early days of an uprising against the presidency, which later became a full-blown civil war.

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NFL Hall of Famer and sports announcer Frank Gifford died yesterday in Connecticut at the age of 84. NPR's Sam Sanders has this remembrance.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: A lot of you listening may know of Frank Gifford for things like this.

Netflix maintains a network of DVD distribution centers across the country. Workers there typically report for their shifts at 2:00 a.m. and according to job postings, the work in these centers can be physically demanding and repetitive. It involves lifting, sorting and inspecting thousands of DVDs for damage.

These employees are offered vastly different benefits than are their white-collar colleagues.

Updated at 8:45 p.m.

Jonathan Pollard, who has served almost 30 years in prison after being convicted of espionage, will be granted parole on Nov. 21, according to his attorneys.

The former civilian Navy analyst was arrested in 1985 and charged with passing classified information to Israel. He pleaded guilty and received a life sentence.

"But under laws in place at the time, that meant he could get parole after 30 years," NPR's Carrie Johnson says. "Now, that term is nearly up — and the Justice Department did not stand in the way of his release."