Here and Now

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Robin Young & Jeremy Hobson

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Public Radio's daily news magazine bringing up-to-date midday news between Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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NPR Story
4:34 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
5:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Former New Orleans Mayor Found Guilty On 20 Counts

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 1:43 pm

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
5:25 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
5:25 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
4:39 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
4:39 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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NPR Story
4:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Obama, Hollande Push Message Of Renewed Ties

U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande hold a joint press conference during a State Visit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 11, 2014. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

In Washington, D.C. today, French President François Hollande joined President Obama for a press conference at the White House ahead of a state dinner scheduled for tonight.

The men are pushing a message of a renewed relationship between France and the U.S., one that faltered over a decade ago when France opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

NPR’s Scott Horsley joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details on what the two presidents had to say.

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NPR Story
4:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Tiny Birds Rock Out In Museum Exhibit

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's sonic installation introduces a flock of 70 Zebra Finches to Gibson Les Paul and Thunderbird bass guitars. (www.pem.org)

How do 70 live zebra finches play about a dozen electric guitars? It sounds like the start of a joke, but the answer can be found through a new art and sound exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., titled, “From Here To Ear.”

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Andrea Shea of WBUR has the story. The exhibition runs through April 13.

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NPR Story
4:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo Criticized For Giraffe Killing

A perfectly healthy young giraffe named Marius was shot dead and autopsied in the presence of visitors to the gardens at Copenhagen zoo on Febuary 9, 2014 despite an online petition to save it signed by thousands of animal lovers. (Kasper Palsnov/AFP/Getty Images)

Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched, ignoring a petition signed by thousands and offers from other zoos and a private individual to save the animal.

Marius, a healthy male, was put down Sunday using a bolt pistol, said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was then skinned and fed to the lions.

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NPR Story
4:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Puerto Ricans Leave Island Amid Economic Woes

Antonia Arroyo sits on a bench in November, 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After working for the Municipality of San Juan for 35 years she lives off her 500 dollar a month government pension. The government remains the largest employer in Puerto Rico and can only service about 11 percent of the pension costs out of it's budget. (Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 2:59 pm

Puerto Rico just had its bond rating downgraded to “junk status” by two of the three main rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. The government is now starting a round of budget cuts and austerity measures to try to turn the economy around.

The economic problems in Puerto Rico have the potential to ripple through the U.S. bond market, since 70 percent of U.S. municipal funds hold some Puerto Rican debt.

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NPR Story
4:22 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Power Out For Thousands In Mid-Atlantic

Hundreds of thousands of Marylanders and Pennsylvanians are still without power, after a winter storm earlier this week dumped as much as a foot of snow in some areas.

The lights have come back on for about half of those who lost power, but thousands are expected to be in the dark until late in the weekend.

Tom McDonald of WHYY in Philadelphia joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with the latest.

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NPR Story
4:17 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

'Japanese Beethoven' Admits Fraud

Mamoru Samuragochi, a celebrated Japanese composer known as the "Japanese Beethoven" because he composed some of the country's most well known music after losing his hearing, is sending shockwaves throughout his country on Wednesday after admitting to using a ghostwriter. (Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

Mamoru Samuragochi is known as the “Japanese Beethoven” because he composed some of the country’s most well-known music after losing his hearing. But it turns out he didn’t really write much of that music.

Samuragochi admitted on Wednesday he had a ghostwriter. That ghostwriter is now coming forward, and is suggesting Samuragochi might not even be deaf.

The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson from Tokyo.

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NPR Story
4:17 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Ice Fishing A Stone's Throw From Downtown Milwaukee

The trip to Milwaukee's new bay is a quick one for three north shore ice fishermen. (Marge Pitrof/WUWM)

While frigid temperatures are a hardship for some, they’re a blessing for ice fishermen. Marge Pitrof from Here & Now contributor station WUWM met up with some on a small bay in Lake Michigan, a stone’s throw from downtown Milwaukee.

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NPR Story
4:20 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

DJ Sessions: From Sam Smith To Takuya Kuroda

Disclosure, an English electronic music duo, is among the bands KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez recommends. (disclosureofficial.com)

KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with some new music — from a new version of the song “Latch” with British artist Sam Smith, to a song that caught his attention from the soundtrack of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

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NPR Story
4:16 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Will Sochi Olympics Architecture Win Gold?

Fisht Olympic Stadium is pictured in the new Sochi Olympic Park. (Courtesy of Populous)

The Olympics start today, and one thing viewers are excited to see that isn’t an event is the architecture of the facilities. At a price tag of $50 billion, they are the most expensive games in history. The president of the Sochi chapter of the Union of Russian Architects says the city has been transformed.

This is the first Winter Games designed as part of a master plan, but with stories of two toilets in a stall, and facilities for previous Olympics around the world going unused, what will be the legacy of the buildings at Sochi?

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