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Andrew Limbong

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Books We Love: Read it here

NPR's end of the year picks are collected in a recommendation tool we're calling: Books We Love. It's more than just a list of the year's best books.

Later today, the streets outside the Stanely Mosk courthouse in Los Angeles are likely to be filled with people waving flags and cheering under the banner of #FreeBritney.

That's because the Britney Spears has a big hearing this afternoon — one that could potentially terminate the pop star's 13-year conservatorship. Big emphasis on the could, though. Here are the major threads to watch out for.

Actor Dean Stockwell, known for his roles in Quantum Leap and Blue Velvet, has died. He was 85 years old. According to family spokesman Jay D. Schwartz, he died of natural causes at his home in Hollywood, Calif., on Sunday morning.

It was the week that Carole Baskin sued Netflix and Royal Goode Productions over the upcoming Tiger King sequel. It was also the week that the first Harry Potter film turned 20 years old.

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As more details come out about the shooting on the film set of "Rust," the broader question of safety on set has been drawing increased attention. So-called below-the-line workers in film and TV production have been trying to organize around safety for decades, with not much progress. NPR's Andrew Limbong has this look at what's been the holdup.

Carole Baskin, one of the principal subjects of the hit Netflix documentary series Tiger King, is suing the streamer as well as Royal Goode Productions over the upcoming Tiger King sequel.

"It's actually scientifically proven you'll make more money on an independent label if you're a not-so-great punk band like us" Jawbreaker singer and guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach once told an audience in 1993. This, he said on stage, isn't an empty play to the crowd, but rather good business advice. "The smart money stays on an independent, and actually gets richer. And you can do it scrupulously. So think about that."

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Updated October 20, 2021 at 11:03 AM ET

The weekslong fight inside Netflix comes to a head Wednesday, when employees at the company are expected to walk out, demanding that the company better support its trans and nonbinary employees.

Netflix has fired an unnamed employee connected to the brewing internal blowback the company is facing over Dave Chappelle's most recent comedy special The Closer. First reported by The Verge, the news is coming as Netflix employees plan a walkout on Wednesday over transphobic comments made in the special.

Paddy Moloney, a co-founder of the Irish folk band The Chieftains, died today. He was 83 years old. The news was announced by the Irish Traditional Music Archive. No cause of death was given.

Zanzibar-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won this year's Nobel Prize in literature.

"For his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents," the Swedish Academy announced Thursday morning.

The award comes with more than $1 million in prize money.

Gurnah was born in 1948. He was previously a professor of English and postcolonial literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, until his retirement.

Sweater, on. Tea, steeping. Blanket, splayed. As we enter the cozy vibes of autumn, all that's missing from this picture is a good book. If you need help picking one, the National Book Foundation just announced its finalists for this year's awards.

A handful of the short-listed writers named have been honored previously by the National Book Awards, including newly minted MacArthur "genius" Hanif Abdurraqib, three-time finalist Lauren Groff and young-adult book author Kekla Magoon.

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A crowd has shut down a street near the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles. Many of those gathered are wearing pink, and they're waving flags and signs with one simple slogan - free Britney.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

It has been six weeks of hearing from accusers, former employees and expert witnesses. Now the jury decides what's next for R. Kelly.

Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Federal prosecutors rested their case in the trial against R&B star R. Kelly today.


Editor's note: This story includes obscene language and descriptions of racist attacks.

Many users of the popular streaming platform Twitch are boycotting on Wednesday.

Another piece of New Orleans's rich jazz history has crumbled to the ground.

The building where musical great Louis Armstrong spent much of his childhood is no longer standing after Hurricane Ida battered the city. 427 South Rampart Street was called the Karnofsky Shop, after the family who lived there.

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Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

A woman took the stand at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn during the trial of R. Kelly on Monday. In her testimony, she said that Kelly had forced her into having an abortion in 2017, and that he had sexually and physically abused her over the course of their five-year relationship.

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The K-pop supergroup BTS has announced that it is canceling its upcoming world tour.

"Due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned," read a statement from the band's label, Big Hit Music.

Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba looked like he knew how to crack a skull. In his 1974 international breakout movie, The Street Fighter, Chiba plays a mercenary who relentlessly smashes goons' faces, breaks their bones and punches them so hard they spit up in visceral gushes. A cult figure in the United States, Chiba found wider popularity after appearing in such films as the Kill Bill series and The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Updated August 18, 2021 at 4:56 PM ET

Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Testimony has started as Day 1 of R. Kelly's federal trial winds down.

Kelly is being accused of a wide array of crimes: sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual trafficking across state lines. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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Some of the most recognizable music venues across the country will soon require proof of vaccination to enter. The new rules will take full effect by Oct. 1. Until then audience and staff will be able to show a negative COVID test to enter.

AEG Presents, the world's second-largest live music company, announced today that it will start implementing a new vaccine policy across all the 48 clubs and theaters it owns or operates in the country. That includes New York City's Webster Hall, Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre, Denver's Bluebird Theater and others.

The Bonnaroo music festival will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend. In a series of Tweets, organizers of the popular music festival strongly encouraged full vaccination, reminding attendees that the last day to receive the second shot of Moderna or Pfizer, or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson, will be Aug. 19th.

Festival organizers are requesting that unvaccinated individuals wear a mask at all times. Indoors, masks will be required regardless of vaccination status.

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