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We occasionally reach back into the archives here at NPR to find the first time we talked about some event or piece of culture or technology that's old hat today. We call the series...


The Kurdish family trapped in Moscow airport

Oct 27, 2015
Maxim Shemetov/Reuters 

The Ahmed family has been in transit at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for a long time. For more than 45 days, in fact.

That's five days more than former NSA contractor Edward Snowden spent cooling his heels there awaiting Russian asylum.

The Ahmeds, Iraqi Kurds, recently fled the advance of ISIS near their home, and travelled to Russia to seek asylum (some of their relatives have Russian citizenship).

It's an obscure provision of a relatively obscure law, overseen, rather unpredictably, by the Librarian of Congress.

A section in the country's copyright law known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits unlocking of "access controls" (in simpler terms, breaking digital locks to dig around computer code) on various software.

Mahendra Sharma is director of an unusual charity: It's effectively a boarding school for child brides. It's called the Veerni Institute and it provides free room, board, health care and schooling to about 70 girls from villages surrounding the northern city of Jodhpur. Child marriage is a long-standing practice in these villages, and about 30 of the students at Veerni are already married. They may be as young as 9 or 10 when they are married, but normally they aren't sent to live with their husbands until around age 15.

Poor mothers often spend way too much time hunched over a washboard. What if they could use those hours to curl up with their kids and read a book instead? A group of friends at Oxford University plans to find out by developing a combination childhood education and laundry services center, a concept they've dubbed a "Libromat."

Imraan Christian

After more than a week of explosive student protests in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma announced Friday that the planned tuition fee hikes for 2016 would be suspended. As #feeshavefallen replaced #feesmustfall on social media and police put away the stun guns and tear gas, media coverage of the protests withered. But the list of students' demands is far longer than just cutting fee hikes.

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class, Inez Lawson

China has strongly protested to the United States over a naval incident in the South China Sea. But it stopped short of a military response.

The USS Lassen, a guided missile destroyer, was ordered to sail close to an artificial island called Subi Reef, and did so early on Tuesday. China challenged the USS Lassen by radio, and it was followed by a Chinese vessel, but the Chinese avoided making a physical challenge.

Say you bought health insurance through the federal health exchange, paid the premiums and followed the rules.

And then say you start having pain in your hands. Your doctor refers you to a rheumatologist to test for arthritis.

But when you search for the specialist, there isn't one there.

Editor's note: There is an offensive word in this post. It's an important part of this discussion.

What goes best with a hot cup of tea? A heaping spoonful of gossip, of course.

The World Cup-winning U.S. women's national soccer team was honored at the White House today, where Obama praised the champions.

"This team taught all of America's children that 'playing like a girl' means you're a badass," he said.