Here & Now

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NPR's midday news magazine.  

We’ve been hearing this week about the federal budget crisis in Washington. So far, the focus has been on members of Congress and their political battles.

But if Congress can’t agree on a way to fund government when the new fiscal year begins on Tuesday, then the spotlight could shift over to the economic bystanders.

Those are the innocent workers and business owners who stand to lose from any disruption in government.

NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax joins us to talk about the potential economic impact of a government shutdown.

Senate OKs Budget Bill, But Fight Not Over

Sep 27, 2013

Update 2:08 p.m.: The Democratic-run Senate has approved legislation aimed at preventing a Tuesday federal shutdown.

Friday’s vote was 54-44.

But it remains unclear whether the Senate and the Republican-run House will be able to complete a compromise bill in time to get it to President Barack Obama for his signature before the government has to close.

That is because House GOP leaders are still struggling to figure out how they can win enough votes from conservatives to push a new version of the legislation through their chamber.

It’s been 22 years since Michael J. Fox was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease — and 15 years since he famously told Barbara Walters that he would be cured of Parkinson’s before his 50th birthday.

That didn’t happen, but neither did his doctor’s stated expectation that he would have only about 10 more years to work in television.

Fox makes his return to television tonight — no longer trying hide his Parkinson’s symptoms, as he did during his six years on “Spin City.”

Panera CEO Takes The Food Stamps Challenge

Sep 26, 2013

Ron Shaich, the CEO and founder of Panera Bread lived on a food and beverage budget of $4.50 per day for a week.

That figure is about the same amount someone receiving food assistance would get per day.

He joins Here & Now to share what he’s learned from the experience.

Popular Science Disables Online Comments

Sep 26, 2013

The magazine Popular Science is turning off its user comments, citing a study from the University of Wisconsin that shows readers exposed to rude or insulting comments reported a skewed view of the information they read in the article.

Karen Russell’s debut novel “Swamplandia!” got critical raves, as did her follow-up short story collection “Vampires in the Lemon Grove.”

Kenya has begun three days of national mourning today, after the siege of a Nairobi shopping mall ended on Tuesday.

Now, the stories of what happened inside the mall are emerging, and people affected by the siege are still coming to terms with what’s happened.

The BBC’s Will Ross is in Nairobi and has been meeting those who were there, and the people trying to help them.

Upswing In China's Economy May Be Temporary

Sep 25, 2013

Manufacturing in China is at a six-month high, but many economists think this growth could be driven by government policy rather than by real demand.

“Modest growth is what you’re seeing,” NPR’s Shanghai correspondent Frank Langfitt told Here & Now.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s third and final record, “In Utero,” Here & Now speaks with pop culture critic Renee Graham, and Here & Now producer and director Alex Ashlock shares these thoughts:

Ted Cruz Embraces 'Wacko Bird' Label

Sep 24, 2013

Freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas began an old-fashioned talking filibuster this afternoon, to try to get the rest of the Senate to go along with his plan to defund Obamacare.

He will probably not be at a loss for words.

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally snapped out of their 21-year losing streak and have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

In their game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday, the Pirates won 2-1, allowing them to advance to the playoffs, something the team hasn’t done since 1992.

Lanny Frattare experienced that day all those years ago. Frattare was the play-by-play announcer for the Pirates for 33 years.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has won her third term as Germany’s top leader.

But Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats party fell five seats short of an absolute majority in the German Bundestag — the national parliament.

This may change some economic policies in the eurozone’s largest economy, including a softening towards bailed-out nations like Greece.

Financial Times reporter Cardiff Garcia joins Here & Now to explain.

NPR Music’s writer and editor Stephen Thompson brings Here & Now a new song each week to jazz up our play lists.

This week it’s a song from the upcoming album from Los Campesinos!. The album is called “No Blues” and the song is “What Death Leaves Behind.”

Thompson says the punctuation in the band’s name isn’t just casual.

Asian carp, an invasive and destructive fish, have spread through the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri rivers. In total, the fish are affecting more than 20 states from Louisiana to South Dakota.

Under the right conditions, it could take as few as a dozen Asian carp to establish a population in the Great Lakes. That’s according to a report published this month by scientists in Ontario.

If they’re correct, the risk of even just a handful of Asian carp escaping into the Great Lakes could be more significant than officials had planned.

China’s biggest political scandal in decades reaches a conclusion this weekend.

A verdict is due in the trial of Bo Xilai, one of China’s rising political stars. He’s accused of corruption and covering up the murder of the British businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo’s wife has already been found guilty of poisoning Heywood, with whom she had a business dispute. Bo remains a popular figure.

13 Injured In Chicago Park Shooting

Sep 20, 2013

Thirteen people were wounded in a shooting in Chicago late Thursday night, including a 3-year-old boy.

The shooting took place in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

Police are still interviewing victims to determine a motive for the shooting, but a police spokesman said it appeared to be gang-related.

Chicago had more than 500 homicides in 2012, more than any other city in the United States.

Bill Rauch graduated from Harvard University in 1984 and co-founded the Cornerstone Theater Company, which made a point of bringing theater to underserved places.

He’s since moved on to become artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Now, he returns to Cambridge, Mass. to direct “All the Way” at the American Repertory Theater.

Revisiting The Fire That Killed 19 Hotshots

Sep 19, 2013

The Yarnell Hill fire that swept through Arizona in late June and early July burned more than 8,000 acres, destroyed 129 buildings and killed 19 firefighters — members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew from nearby Prescott, Ariz.

An independent investigative team has been looking at whether or not human error contributed to the deaths of almost the entire team. Their findings are expected out in the next few weeks.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed a rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose the difference in pay between the company’s CEO and its employees.

The rule is applauded by unions and labor advocacy groups that think the transparency would help investors “identify top heavy compensation models,” according to Reuters. However, business groups oppose the measure.

There are some familiar faces coming to the syndicated talk show line-up this fall.

Already, Arsenio Hall has made his return to late night after a 19-year hiatus. On Monday, Queen Latifah made her return to daytime with “The Queen Latifah Show.” Reality star Bethenny Frankel is also hosting her own talk show this fall.

A North Carolina police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Officer Randall Kerrick of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fired 12 shots, ten of which hit 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell, according to authorities.

Ferrell, who had played football for Florida A&M University, was seeking help after crashing his car, according to authorities.

When he knocked on a woman’s door, she called 911 — alarmed to find Ferrell on her doorstep.

Next month, 140 nations will sign the United Nations’ Minamata Convention.

It’s a treaty that aims to regulate the use of mercury worldwide, and is named after the Japanese community that witnessed the world’s biggest mass mercury poisoning 60 years ago.

Today, contamination with mercury is a particular problem in countries where small-scale gold miners operate. Mercury is used to separate fragments of gold from the rock or earth.

A Tribe Called Red is an Ottawa-based trio of First Nations DJs who remix social powwow music with electronic dance beats.

The group’s music has put them at the forefront of a First Nations political and cultural renaissance.

Flood Cleanup Begins In Colorado

Sep 17, 2013

The rain has stopped and the flood waters are beginning to recede in Colorado.

Many communities are now trying to figure out how to move forward, the how to begin cleaning up and returning home.

Kate Rauch is spokeswoman for the city of Estes Park, Colo., one of the hardest-hit areas.

She told Here & Now that the cleanup process has already begun.

A recent story in the Boston Globe caught our eye: A Dunkin Donuts restaurant increased its business by a whopping 50 percent by moving to a location a couple hundred yards away.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is meeting with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate today to let the public know how they are responding to massive flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending two 80-person search-and-rescue teams to assist with continuing rescues in Larimer County and providing aid to other communities following massive flooding that began Wednesday along the Front Range.

The Week Ahead In Washington

Sep 16, 2013

President Obama addressed the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard before speaking on the fifth anniversary of the financial collapse.

In the week ahead, Congress will return to budget talks as the Obama administration considers its choice for who will lead the Federal Reserve.

Una Noche” is documentary filmmaker Lucy Mulloy‘s first feature film and also her graduate thesis.

The film tells the story of three Cuban teens — brother and sister Elio and Lila, along with friend Raul — who embark on a journey from Havana to Miami on a makeshift raft after Raul is wrongfully accused of a crime.

Tomorrow in Las Vegas, two undefeated boxers — Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez — will duke it out for the super welterweight title.

The highly anticipated fight is also setting a record as the highest paid fight in history. It could garner as much as $200 million in sponsorships and pay-per-view fees.