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NPR Story
10:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Harold Ramis Has Died At 69

Harold Ramis is pictured in September 2005. (Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Actor, director and writer Harold Ramis, who’s known for writing and directing “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day,” and co-writing and co-starring in “Ghostbusters,” has died at age 69.

[Youtube]

Copyright 2014 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

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NPR Story
10:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

'theSkimm' Founders Try To Change How Millennials Read The News

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg are the co-founders of theSkimm. (theSkimm)

Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin were working for NBC News when they decided they wanted to create their own news source — one more in tune with the lifestyles of millennials.

They quit their jobs and launched “theSkimm,” a daily email newsletter that arrives early in the morning and gives subscribers a few major news stories covering a range of topics.

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NPR Story
10:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Song Of The Week: 'Kong' By The Notwist

The Notwist are a German indie rock band. (Facebook)

As he does each week, NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson joins Here & Now with a new song. This week, he introduces us to The Notwist’s new track “Kong” from their new album “Close To The Glass.”

Thompson says listening to the German indie rock band, which has been around for 25 years, is like visiting old friends.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Dick Button Judges Sochi Skating

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, centre, Yuna Kim of South Korea, left, and Carolina Kostner of Italy stand on the podium during the flower ceremony for the women's free skate figure skating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Sotnikova placed first, followed by Kim and Kostner. (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

Sadly, it seems the Olympics wouldn’t be the same without a figure skating judging controversy.

This time it’s yesterday’s surprise gold medal by the four-time Russian national champion Adelina Sotnikova, who as skating great Brian Boitano said, literally “jumped her way” to the top of the podium, beating the artistically better skater, South Korea’s Kim Yu-na, who won the gold four years ago.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Navigating Obstacles For Wheelchair Users

Disabled persons often face limited mobility in the winter months when people neglect to shovel their sidewalks. (Knight725/Flickr)

When snow piles up, property owners don’t always shovel their sidewalks, and that can make it nearly impossible for some people to get around safely, especially those who use a wheelchair or have problem vision.

Kelly Buckland knows what it’s like to try to make it along winter sidewalks and roads. He broke his neck in a diving accident when he was 16 in Idaho, and has been using a wheelchair ever since. He also knows what it’s like to advocate and lobby to improve conditions for people with disabilities.

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NPR Story
2:10 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Business Wire Stops First Access To High-Speed Traders

Business Wire, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has decided to stop giving high-speed trading firms direct access to its service.

The firm gave traders a split-second lead on business press releases and, while the practice is legal, critics say it gave high frequency traders an edge over other investors.

Winnie O’Kelley of Bloomberg News joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain.

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NPR Story
2:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Death Toll Mounts In Ukraine

Medics and volunteers arrange a field hospital an hotel hall near Independence square in Kiev on February 20, 2014. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

The top medic for the protesters occupying central Kiev says at least 70 protesters have been killed in clashes with police in the Ukrainian capital.

The coordinator for the protesters’ medical team also says the number killed Thursday could well go even higher.

There was no way to independently confirm his statement. An AP reporter earlier in the day saw at least 21 bodies in Kiev’s central square.

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NPR Story
2:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Environmental Concerns Over Palm Oil

In the past 20 years, cultivation of palm oil — a widespread ingredient used in everything from packaged snack foods to soaps and detergents — has wiped out more than 30,000 square miles of rainforests and contributed to extensive social conflict in forest communities.

In an effort to mitigate these ethical concerns, Kellogg’s announced last week that it would only purchase palm oil from suppliers that actively protect rainforests and respect human rights.

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NPR Story
2:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Why Oklahoma's Universal Pre-K Is Successful

Pre-kindergarten students work with numbers during their class in Dallas in April 2011. (LM Otero/AP)

President Obama has vowed to offer federally-funded universal early childhood education. Oklahoma has been a model state for universal pre-kindergarten.

Since 1998, the state has funded early education for 4-year-olds, requiring certified teachers and small classes.

Last week, Steven Dow, executive director of Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa, the state’s largest anti-poverty problem that was involved in establishing pre-K as state policy, testified in front of the New York City Council on how Oklahoma’s program works.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Radisson Hotels Take Aim At Millennials

The Radisson Hotels chain is creating a new brand of hotels aimed at attracted millennials. Radisson Red will allow guests to offer à la carte choices for their rooms, ranging from what drinks are in the minibar to family photos on the television.

Parent company Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is not alone in trying to market to the younger generation. Think “The Tonight Show” pushing Jay Leno out in favor of Jimmy Fallon. We take a look at how marketers decide what millennials want.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

The Roller Rink Where Olympians Are Born

Youth inline skaters line up to practice sprint starts at Pattison's West in Federal Way, Wash. (Tom Banse/Northwest News Network)

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result.

The Americans’ best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men’s relay team. Celski began his career at a skating rink in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way, the same city where his former speedskating idol Apolo Ohno got his start.

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NPR Story
2:53 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

As Syria Fighting Wears On, What's Next?

A tank confiscated by rebel fighters fires at a pro-government position near the Syrian city of Hama, on February 19, 2014. More than 140,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict in the country began in March 2011. (Abu Hadi Al-Hamwi/AFP/Getty Images)

Twin suicide bombings killed at least four people and injured dozen more in Beirut, Lebanon today. The targets appear to be Hezbollah, the militant Shia group that has fighters in Syria fighting for President Assad.

Meantime in Syria, the evacuation of civilians from the besieged city of Homs continues, but so does the fighting. And two round of peace talks, the latest of which ended last week, haven’t produced any results.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Barkhad Abdi's Journey From Somalia To Hollywood

Actor Barkhad Abdi is pictured in Santa Monica, California, Jan. 14, 2014. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Somali-born actor Barkhad Abdi has won critical acclaim as well as an Oscar nomination and a British Academy Film award for best supporting actor in “Captain Phillips.”

Abdi plays the leader of the Somaili pirates who capture Phillips’ cargo ship. It was Abdi’s first film role. He tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that he found the first day of filming “really nerve wracking,” but that director Paul Greengrass “believed in me before I believed in myself.”

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Saliva Test May Predict Depression In Teen Boys

Joe Herbert, left, Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge is pictured in London, on Feb. 17, 2014. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England have developed a saliva test for teenage boys with mild symptoms of depression that researchers say could help identify those who will later develop major depression. Currently, there is no biological test that detects depression.

Joe Herbert is one of the study authors and joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the research.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Maker Of 'Candy Crush' App Files For I.P.O.

A man plays at Candy Crush Saga on his iPhone on January 25, 2014 in Rome. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

“Candy Crush Saga,” the addictive smartphone game, is no longer just looking for gamers — it wants investors too. King Digital Entertainment, the European gaming company behind the game, filed for an initial public offering today.

Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti with details.

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NPR Story
11:55 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Play Illuminates Tumultuous Year In LBJ's Life

At left, Bryan Cranston is pictured as Lyndon Johnson in "All the Way." At right is Lyndon Johnson. (Evgenia Eliseeva/American Repertory Theater)

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 2:18 pm

The new play “All The Way” is now in previews on Broadway. Written by Robert Shenken and commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare festival, it tells the story of a year in the life of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who is played by former “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston.

Beginning in November 1963, when Johnson took office after President Kennedy was assassinated, “All the Way” focuses on Johnson’s push to pass Kennedy’s civil rights legislation and get reelected at the same time.

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NPR Story
11:54 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

U.S. Banks Now Open For Marijuana Business

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 2:18 pm

Legal marijuana sellers across the country now have an easier place to deposit those wads of cash.

The Obama administration has issued guidelines to banks on doing business with licensed marijuana operators, giving them the green light to finance and set up checking and savings accounts with marijuana businesses.

And there may be a lot of money to deposit. According to the National Cannabis Industry Association legal U.S. industry is expected to reach $2.57 billion dollars in sales this year.

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NPR Story
11:54 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

The Search For New Antibiotics

Microbiologist Tatiana Travis works with tubes of bacteria samples in an antimicrobial resistance and characterization lab within the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nov. 25, 2013, in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP)

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 2:18 pm

Two drug companies, Roche Holding and GlaxoSmithKline, have announced they’ll ramp up research into antibiotics. They join a handful of other companies. This comes after pharmaceutical companies largely stopped working on antibiotics, citing high costs and little payoff.

But with drug-resistant “superbugs” killing more than 23,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been calls for more research in the field.

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NPR Story
2:18 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Philippines City Struggles To Recover After Typhoon

It was one of the strongest storms ever recorded at landfall. Typhoon Haiyan clocked at 190 miles an hour when it struck the Philippines late last year. More than 6,000 were killed, nearly 2,000 more are missing and millions were displaced when their homes were destroyed or washed away.

Authorities are still struggling with the simplest tasks like clearing away debris, rebuilding houses and counting the dead. NPR’s Kelly McEvers recently traveled to Tacloban, the Philippines city that bore the brunt of the typhoon.

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NPR Story
3:44 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

People Around The World Dance For 'One Billion Rising' Day

Volunteers dance during the One Billion Rising campaign in the city center of Pristina, Kosovo, on February 14, 2014. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:22 pm

It’s Valentines Day today, which also means it’s the second annual “One Billion Rising” Day, an international event started by playwright Eve Ensler to draw attention to domestic violence.

The event is billed as a global call to women survivors of violence to gather safely, together or alone — in courthouses, police stations, government offices, parks and homes — to express themselves through art, word and dance.

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NPR Story
3:44 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Inside The World Of Jewish Matchmaking

An couple stands under a 'chupa', a Jewish altar, during a traditional wedding ceremony. (David Furst/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:55 am

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The 1964 production made history: the first musical to surpass 3,000 performances, it went on to win nine Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Score.

Four Broadway revivals and one successful film adaptation later, the story of Tevye and his daughters remains alive in popular culture.

Based on the book by Yiddish master storyteller Sholem Aleichem, Tevye attempts to preserve his family and Jewish traditions while outside influences threaten to derail all he knows.

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NPR Story
3:44 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Syria Peace Talks End In Apparent Failure

A Syrian man helps a child in a wheel chair as others inspect the scene following a reported air strike attack by government forces on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on February 14, 2014. More than 136,000 people have been killed in Syria's brutal war since March 2011, and millions more have fled their homes. (Khaled Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:22 pm

The peace talks in Switzerland aren’t changing much on the ground in Syria. Government troops and warplanes continue to batter a rebel-held town near the border with Lebanon, and an effort to evacuate trapped civilians from the besieged city of Homs has been halted.

NPR’s Deborah Amos joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the talks.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Plushenko Retires After Olympic Withdrawal

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdraws from the competition after warming up during the Men's Figure Skating Short Program on day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Evgeni Plushenko’s Olympics are over. His competitive career, too. The Russian star retired Thursday just after he withdrew from the men’s event at the Sochi Olympics for medical reasons.

The 31-year-old Plushenko is the only modern-era figure skater to win medals in four Olympics. He helped Russia win the team gold over the weekend.

“I think it’s God saying, `Evgeni, enough, enough with skating,”‘ said Plushenko, who originally was hurt in a training session Wednesday. “Age, it’s OK. But I have 12 surgeries. I’d like to be healthy.”

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

'The Reluctant Father' Comes Clean

Toledano wrote a blog last year, "The Reluctant Father," chronicling his struggle to connect with his baby daughter Loulou, pictured here with his wife, Carla. (Phillip Toledano)

Like all new fathers, Phillip Toledano was thrilled. Actually, that’s a big lie.

Toledano was resentful and felt he’d been downsized. He said that bonding with his newborn Loulou was “like trying to have a relationship with a sea sponge, or a single-cell protozoa.”

He wrote about those feelings in a blog that went viral last year. His thoughts and pictures of his daughter and wife are now part of a new book, “The Reluctant Father.”

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

The Puck Drops For Men's Hockey In Sochi

James van Riemsdyk #21 of United States shoots the puck against Jaroslav Halak #41 of Slovakia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The American and Russian teams played their first games in the men’s hockey tournament at the 2014 Winter Olympics today.

Russia beat Slovenia 5-2, and the U.S. men defeated Slovakia 7-1. The Russians and the Americans will meet on the ice for a highly anticipated game on Saturday.

NPR’s Robert Smith is in Sochi and joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Former New Orleans Mayor Found Guilty On 20 Counts

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 11:43 am

A federal jury has convicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on charges that he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work while he was in office.

The jury today convicted Nagin of 20 of 21 counts against him.

Nagin was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of a local businessman.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

DJ Sessions: The Sounds Of College

Smith Westerns is one of the bands featured in this weeks' college DJ Sessions. (Smith Westerns/Facebook)

Time for another installment of the DJ Sessions. This week, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson goes back to college with Taylor Jones, aka DJ Tesla, who hosts the show “Pop Rocks and Coke” on KWVA, University of Oregon’s campus radio station.

He shares some songs on his playlists — ranging from garage rock and punk to glam rock.

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NPR Story
3:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Court To Sperm Donor: You Owe Child Support

A little more than four years ago, William Marotta saw an ad on Craigslist — a lesbian couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, was looking for a sperm donor so that they could conceive.

Marotta answered the ad and all parties signed a contract the couple had downloaded, aimed at relieving Marotta of any parental responsibilities. Several months later, Schreiner gave birth to a little girl.

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NPR Story
2:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Judging The Judges As Pairs Figure Skating Begins

Russia's Maxim Trankov and Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar perform during the Figure Skating Pairs Team Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6, 2014. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

Pairs figure skating begins tonight at the Sochi Olympics. Will Russia’s Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar restore the luster of the once-vaunted Russian figure skating program? They helped seal Russia’s gold in the team skating event this past weekend.

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NPR Story
2:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Cossacks Are Back In Sochi

Russian Cossacks stand guard, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana outside the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

If you’re watching the Sochi Olympics coverage, you’ve probably seen them in their tall lambswool hats and long gray overcoats and boots. There are some 1,000 uniformed Cossacks among the 70,000 security officials in Sochi.

Cossacks have a complicated place in Russian history and their presence, both symbolic and serving a real purpose, is picking at old wounds in the region.

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