NPR News

How woven cloth changed the course of history

3 hours ago

The Vikings used wooden boats for conquests all over Europe. But was their real secret weapon the wool sails that propelled their warships? Marketplace host David Brancaccio sat down with author Kassia St. Clair to talk about her new book, "The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History." Below is an edited transcript of their conversation. 

Friends: The television show that keeps on giving

3 hours ago

Fans of the hit TV show “Friends” were relieved last week to see the sitcom’s 236 episodes will continue streaming on Netflix through 2019. This was made possible by the behemoth of a streaming deal between Netflix and WarnerMedia, which cost the former $80 to $100 million, according to some reports, to continue licensing the show for 2019.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.

The proposal, announced Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, would change the EPA's definition of "waters of the United States," or WOTUS, limiting the types of waterways that fall under federal protection to major waterways, their tributaries, adjacent wetlands and a few other categories.

Updated at 12:35 p.m. ET

Time has chosen a group of four journalists and a news organization as its Person of the Year for 2018, hailing them for "taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths" in what the magazine called a "war on truth."

Its upcoming edition highlights slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and staff members of the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.; along with journalists punished for attempting to report facts: Maria Ressa of the Rappler news site in the Philippines and Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

Updated at 3:19 p.m. ET

Google CEO Sundar Pichai made his public debut before Congress on Tuesday, spending much of his testimony countering Republicans' allegations of anti-conservative bias in the company's search results.

He also faced scrutiny of how much data Google collects on users and on the company's work on a censored search tool for China.

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It may seem like a simple question, but what water is surface water? Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to release a plan that will replace an Obama-era definition. It’s important because it decides what waterways are federally-protected. Marketplace’s Ben Bradford reports on how this question has bedeviled multiple administrations.

More states are considering free college programs as the cost of tuition rises. Tennessee has offered its own free community college initiative since 2015. But now many in the state are realizing even if tuition is paid for, many low-income students are often still left behind and struggle to pay their living expenses. 

 

Free tuition does not free college make

9 hours ago

Main Street doesn't seem to know Wall Street is having a rough December. A state program in Tennessee is giving students free tuition to get into college, but with the remaining costs of books, rent and food, administrators are trying to figure how to keep them enrolled... and fed. Plus, Anu Anand breaks down the drama in India's economy following the resignation of the head of their reserve bank.

Today's show is sponsored by the Alliance for Lifetime Income.

The Google+ social network inadvertently gave app developers access to information on some 52.5 million users — even data that users designated as private — because of a "bug" in its software, Google says. The company had already announced it was pulling the plug on the social network because of an earlier incident, and now says the shutdown will happen four months sooner.

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

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For December, 3 Romantic Holiday Escapes

11 hours ago

'Tis the season when an escape from holiday madness may be necessary --and these three romance novels will whisk you away to fictional worlds where all the high stakes drama is resolved with true love and happily ever after.

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The EPA's conservation backwater

12 hours ago

The head of Google is in the Congressional hot seat today answering questions about how the company handles users' private information. The EPA is set to release a plan that will replace an Obama-era definition of what waterways are and are not federally protected. Plus, a new book explores the history of fabric beyond what we put on every morning.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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We have been here before - yet another game of chicken over the budget and the threat of a partial government shutdown.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Rachel Martin talks to Geoff Edgers of The Washington Post about a lawsuit brought against the Boston Symphony Orchestra that has put a spotlight on the gender pay gap in the classical music world.

President Trump sent a largely unnoticed letter to Congress last week saying the U.S. is engaged in at least seven separate military conflicts.

In most cases, though not all, Trump and his two immediate White House predecessors launched these U.S. military actions without explicit approval from Congress.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

In a testy Oval Office exchange with the two top congressional Democrats, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Trump made clear he would be "proud" to shut down the government in less than two weeks if he doesn't get funding for his border wall.

As President Trump continues to threaten to potentially shut down the government over his border wall, Americans would prefer to see him compromise to prevent gridlock, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

By a 21-point margin — 57 percent to 36 percent — Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown, rather than stand firm. About two-thirds of Republicans say the opposite, and the president has been focused on maintaining his base.

In the United States, would-be internet stars turn to YouTube, Twitch or Instagram. In China, it's a livestreaming platform called YY, where creators sing or tell jokes to an audience that pays them directly in the form of digital gifts. Top streamers can make $100,000 a month or more, and lots of people now want in on the action. A new documentary about China's livestreaming economy, “People's Republic of Desire,” is in some U.S. theaters now. It's about loneliness, fame and greed.

In the United States, would-be internet stars turn to YouTube, Twitch or Instagram. In China, it's a livestreaming platform called YY, where creators sing or tell jokes to an audience that pays them directly in the form of digital gifts. Top streamers can make $100,000 a month or more, and lots of people now want in on the action. A new documentary about China's livestreaming economy, "People's Republic of Desire," is in some U.S. theaters now. It's about loneliness, fame and greed.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May shocked the United Kingdom on Monday by postponing a crucial vote on Brexit. May was due to ask Parliament to approve her plan for exiting the European Union. But facing almost certain defeat, May decided to delay the vote until after fresh consultations with the European Commission in Brussels.

Court TV is coming back. It was gone, you say?

Dec 10, 2018

Court TV is making a comeback. Katz Networks, part of the E.W. Scripps media company, announced Monday it was bringing back the legal proceedings channel for another day in court. And yes, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention, it’s been off the air for 10 years. For Court TV, there are both opportunities and challenges in the marketplace for crime-time TV.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Amanda Dabrowski visited the Health Partnership Clinic in Olathe, Kansas, at the end of November, to get help signing up for Medicaid.

The 38-year-old has had a tough year – her husband died, she’s disabled from a work injury, so she doesn’t have a job, and she’s caring for her seven-year-old daughter. She’d been on Medicaid during the last year, but now she was told she didn’t qualify for it.

“I make too much for Medicaid, but I don’t make enough to get some assistance on the Marketplace, on Obamacare?” she said. “I don’t understand how that happens.”

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