NPR News

There's really only one thing you absolutely need to hold a big-wave surf competition, and it's big waves.

Comedian Samantha Bee made her name on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and now her name is on her own show. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a weekly, half-hour show that riffs on the news. It premiered Monday on TBS.

Bee is currently the only late night TV host who's a woman, something the show took on from the very beginning:

A few years ago, mysterious green bottles started washing up on the New England coast.

Each one contained a message from Ken Baker, a crane operator who lives in the Scituate, Mass. So far, Baker has thrown 223 of these bottles into the Atlantic Ocean.

The journey of Baker's bottles starts in his basement. They originally started in 2012 when his wife bought some bottles of San Pellegrino water.

"I used to clean 'em and wash 'em, and put 'em on my fence posts outside. I think my neighbors thought I was a raging alcoholic for a while," he says.

In Flint, Mich., government officials allowed water from the Flint River to corrode the city's pipes, leaching lead and other toxins into the tap water. The damaged pipes continue to contaminate the water, and it could take months — or years — to repair and rebuild the water system.

It could take even longer to rebuild something more abstract: trust, between citizens and their government.

Roxanne Adair, a vendor at the local farmers market, says this goes deeper than just the water.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the city of Ferguson, Mo., for unjust policing that violates the civil and constitutional rights of citizens, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Wednesday.

The lawsuit came one day after the Ferguson City Council voted to change a proposed consent decree to reform the police and courts. The council said the package, which had been negotiated between the DOJ and city officials, cost too much.

Who would have predicted a year ago that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would win the New Hampshire primary? Meanwhile, John Kasich eked out a second-place victory over Ted Cruz. Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina came in a disappointing sixth and seventh place, respectively, and both announced the suspension of their campaigns on Wednesday.

Aedes aegypti is the dog of the mosquito world. It acts as if it's man's best friend.

"It's been with us for a long time, probably for at least 5,000 years when we started keeping water next to our homes [ideal for laying eggs] and it's adapted to people," says Marten Edwards, an entomologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. "It loves us. It loves our cities. It loves our blood. It functions very well with us."

There's just one problem. This mosquito makes us sick.

The National Book Foundation announced Wednesday that it will soon have a new leader at the helm. Lisa Lucas, the 36-year-old publisher of Guernica magazine, is set to become only the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which oversees the annual National Book Awards.

For years, Thai police have been trying to track down a master passport forger known only as "The Doctor."

All they had was a rough description: "a bald Iranian in his 40s," Thailand's The Nation reported.

The publication says '"The Doctor' had kept himself away from the public eye and contacted customers only via 4-5 agents," so his face and name remained a mystery.

In 1996, when Dominque Dawes became the first black woman to win an individual gymnastics medal at the Atlanta Summer Olympics, critics said her look wasn't quite right.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who has been embroiled in a scandal involving reports of prisoner abuse and an alleged conspiracy to cover it up, has pleaded guilty to making false statements, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

The single count against him relates to statements made regarding a federal investigation into corruption and violence at LA County jails. Baca has confessed to lying multiple times when he said he did not know about the actions of those within his department. He was still serving as sheriff at the time.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In 1530, at Hampton Court Palace, King Henry VIII and his advisers penned a letter to Rome. In it, for the first time, Henry threatened to break with the Vatican and split off from the Catholic Church.

Four years later, in the 1534 Act of Supremacy, Henry carried through on that threat — and the Church of England was born.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A new novel takes young readers inside the mind of a 5-year-old fox. Abandoned as a kit, Pax is taken in by Peter, a boy whose mother has died. When Peter's dad joins the military, Peter is forced to send Pax into the wild for the first time. The story — set during wartime in an unidentified time and place — is told from both Peter and Pax's perspectives.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A massive gas leak in the Los Angeles area that was first announced in October is still leaking. The company that operates the storage facility where the leak happened says the leak could be capped as early as the end of the week.

Most of the leaking gas is the greenhouse gas methane, which is harmful to the environment. But how harmful is it?

The Seattle-based website Zillow was launched in 2006 to bring more transparency to the world of real estate. Consumers can use the site to find out what their homes are worth according to Zillow’s “zestimate,” or to check out home prices in areas they are interested in.

Since then, millions have used Zillow – it’s become one of the most popular real estate websites in the world.

In California, some crab fishermen are struggling to stay in business. Back in November, regulators indefinitely delayed the season for Dungeness crab for the first time ever, because of a huge algae bloom off the coast. Crabs can become contaminated by a type of acid from the algae bloom.

Joe Stoops, a crab fisherman from Santa Cruz, California, tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that most of the market for Dungeness “is gone.”

The Granite State made clear choices in last night’s presidential primary, as both winners ended up with 20-point victories.

Republican Donald Trump took 35 percent of all the GOP votes cast and Democrat Bernie Sanders nabbed 60 percent of his party’s votes. Both candidates bill themselves as anti-establishment candidates for their respective parties.

While some contenders are considering how long to stay in the race, others are looking ahead to South Carolina and Nevada.

Doctors Without Borders issued a warning today about the humanitarian crisis for refugees trying to get away from the fighting in Aleppo. They are fleeing to the border with Turkey where they need food and shelter.

Meantime, the diplomatic effort to halt the fighting that has been going on since 2011 continues tomorrow in Munich, when Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders are celebrating victories in the New Hampshire primary.

Here & Now’s political strategists Angela Rye and Paris Dennard join hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson to analyze the results, including what they mean for the second-place finishers, Hillary Clinton and John Kasich.

Clinton pulled in 38 percent, compared to Sanders’ 60 percent, and Kasich won 16 percent, compared to Trump’s 35 percent.

From the restorative justice practices in Rwanda to the supermax prisons in Brazil, author and educator Baz Dreisinger offers a glimpse of prison systems abroad through the prism of the mass incarceration system in the U.S.

Dreisinger visited prisons in nine countries and found that while some modeled their prisons on America’s “doing time for the crime” punishment system, others aimed to find healing and reconciliation for both victims and offenders.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy faces a number of global threats that could hamper growth and compel the Fed to slow the pace of future interest rate hikes.

She highlighted in her semiannual report to Congress the widening fallout from concerns over China’s weaker currency and economic outlook, which is rattling financial markets around the world.

While the Fed expects to raise interest rates gradually, they are not on any preset course, she said Wednesday. The Fed would likely move slower “if the economy were to disappoint.”

Next up: Nevada. Democrats hold their caucuses – the first in the West – on Saturday Feb. 20. Republicans will vote in a caucus of their own Feb. 23, a few days after South Carolina.

Nevada is a large state with a diverse population, which will present new challenges to candidates in both parties. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Joe Schoenmann from KNPR about the new challenges facing the candidates.

Pages