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The historic government shutdown is beginning to stir anxiety in and around Paradise, Calif. The town of about 25,000 people was almost completely destroyed by a deadly wildfire last November and almost everyone and everything directly affected is relying heavily on federal aid.

So far FEMA and Small Business Administration loans do not appear to be affected. But local officials say the shutdown is causing delays in more under-the-radar infrastructure projects, which could have serious, longterm consequences.

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The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

Updated at 1:00 a.m. ET Thursday

Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard who created the first index mutual fund for individual investors in 1975, died Wednesday at the age of 89, the company said.

Bogle transformed the way people invest. He believed that investors should own a mix of bonds and stocks but shouldn't pay investment managers to pick them.

Two portraits of William Barr emerged during the second day of his confirmation hearing to lead the Justice Department as President Trump's choice as attorney general.

One was of a brilliant and moral man who oversaw the resolution of a hostage crisis at a federal prison without any casualties and another was of an early 1990s attorney general who held views on race and policing that now seem antiquated and unacceptable to many in law enforcement.

Eight people were arrested in Melbourne, Australia, accused in the trafficking of millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs into the country over a period of months, two of them airline cabin crew members accused of smuggling the drugs via "body packing," officials announced Wednesday.

The turmoil of Brexit continued today with a no-confidence vote attempting to oust Prime Minister Theresa May. She survived by a margin of 19 votes. But the Brexit storm is hardly contained. It remains an uneasy, potentially expensive complication at a time when the world may not be able to afford it. So at what point does Britain's political indecision create global economic chaos? 

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"Hitting a woman for a man is as normal as eating a tortilla from a food stand on the way to work," said Karen Paz, 34, from San Pedro Sula in Honduras, revealing a scar from a burn on her left shoulder. "He wanted to burn my face, but my daughter started screaming when she saw him taking the pan with boiling butter. She pushed him, and so he aimed for the arm instead."

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

A Montana mall gets another chance

9 hours ago

An empty retail space in the Butte Plaza Mall in Butte, Montana, will soon be open for business. But instead of bringing in another store, the mall is welcoming a call center to the space formally occupied by a J.C. Penney. The mall lost both J.C. Penney and department store Herberger's as part of the retail slump seen in malls across the country. Alana Ferko manages the Butte Plaza Mall. She spoke with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about filling the space and adapting to the changing retail industry.

Ex-CEO bids more than $5 billion to keep Sears open

9 hours ago

The man who steered Sears into bankruptcy just bought the retailer in a bankruptcy auction. Eddie Lampert bid more than $5 billion to acquire the company — of which he and his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., are already the largest creditors and shareholders. The deal forgives $1.3 billion in debt owed to ESL. It also releases Lampert from liability for a series of spinoffs that some creditors allege drained assets from the retailer. The deal still needs to be approved by the supervising judge.

Sniffles, sore throats and fevers seem to be all around lately.

If things get bad enough for you or a loved one to seek care, what are your expectations about treatment? Do you want a prescription for an antibiotic if symptoms suggest an infection?

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When President Trump announced last month that he is ordering the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, he said ISIS was defeated. Vice President Mike Pence repeated that claim today even as ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. That explosion killed four Americans and at least a dozen others. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is in the studio now to tell us more. Hi, Tom.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What do we know about this attack?

This morning, protesters gathered outside the headquarters of Sony Music Entertainment in Manhattan to demand that the company drop R. Kelly from its roster. The protest was the latest development in a long saga of accusations against Kelly that he has sexually and physically abused young women for more than a quarter of a century. Outrage over the allegations erupted earlier this month following the six-part Lifetime TV docuseries, Surviving R.

Want to reduce your risk of dementia in older age? Move as much as you can.

We've all heard about techniques to get us more physically active — take the stairs, park the car a bit further from your destination, get up and march in place for a minute or two when standing or sitting at a desk.

Now a study finds even simple housework like cooking or cleaning may make a difference in brain health in our 70s and 80s.

Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET

Officials leasing the Old Post Office Building for the Trump International Hotel in Washington improperly ignored the Constitution's anti-corruption clauses when they continued to lease the government property to President Trump even after he won the White House, according to an internal federal government watchdog.

Updated at 7:23 p.m. ET

Students and faculty at Michigan State University have called for the resignation or firing of interim President John Engler almost from the day he was appointed. This week, they got their wish.

On Wednesday evening, MSU Board of Trustees member Dianne Byrum confirmed she had received a letter of resignation from Engler and that letter would be acted upon at the trustee meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament on Wednesday to remain in office — but saw more of her power ebb away as she battled to keep Brexit on track after lawmakers demolished her European Union divorce deal.

May won a narrow victory, 325 votes to 306 votes, on an opposition motion seeking to topple her government and trigger a general election.

Now it’s back to Brexit, where May is caught between the rock of her own negotiating red lines and the hard place of a Parliament that wants to force a radical change of course.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, a day after the stinging defeat there of her Brexit deal with the European Union.

In the vote, 325 lawmakers said they had confidence in May's government, while 306 voted that they did not.

While May withstood the challenge to her leadership, it is yet another indication that Brexit has thrown British politics into chaos.

The next great insect repellent might come from a strain of bacteria that lives inside a common parasitic worm.

A study published Wednesday in Science Advances has found that a compound derived from these bacteria is three times more potent than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. More research must be done to demonstrate its safety, but this bacterial chemical could play an important role in the fight against mosquito-borne illness.

The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the U.S. economy than the Trump administration previously estimated, the White House acknowledged.

President Trump's economists have now doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. The nation remains gripped by a partial shutdown of the federal government, the longest in our history, over President Trump's demand for funding a border wall. Here's one of the arguments he's made for tighter restrictions on immigration.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have a country. We have to have borders. We have borders. We have to have laws. We either have a country or we don't. And it's that simple.

"UNPRESIDENTED," reads the giant headline. "TRUMP HASTILY DEPARTS WHITE HOUSE, ENDING CRISIS."

That shocking story was delivered on crisp newsprint to commuters around Washington, D.C., on Wednesday under what appeared to be the signature banner of The Washington Post.

Online, a website bearing an eerie similarity to the Post's described a secretive resignation, global celebrations and the swearing in of Mike Pence as president.

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

There is more than just January's cold currently gripping the city of Westbrook, Maine. An immense, icy disk doing a solitary pirouette on the Presumpscot River is dazzling observers, local and distant alike.

Scientists say the disk is naturally occurring and has been seen before. Most of us have spotted eddies in flowing water, that is when a cross current creates a small whirlpool. But winter's cold adds a whiff of mystery to this phenomenon.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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