All Things Considered on WLRN

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

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Science
6:19 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Tiny, Ancient Tree-Dweller Was One of Earth's Earliest Primates

Artistic reconstruction of Archicebus achilles in its natural habitat of trees.
Xijun Ni Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 6:59 pm

The origin of the first primates — the group that includes humans, apes and monkeys — is thought to lie in the deep past, about 55 million years ago.

Fossils from that period are rare. But now, there's an exciting new one. It's called Archicebus achilles, roughly meaning "beginning long-tailed monkey." Actually, this creature lived before the monkeys we know of today, a mere 10 million years after the dinosaurs died out.

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Code Switch
5:25 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Force Is With The Navajo: 'Star Wars' Gets A New Translation

Star Wars has been translated into many languages — most recently, Navajo. Above, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in a scene from the 1977 classic.
20th Century Fox Film Corp. AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 1:30 pm

If you've ever wondered how to say "May the Force be with you" in Navajo, you're in luck. On July 3, a new translation of Star Wars will be unveiled on the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona. The 1977 classic has been translated into many languages, and the latest effort is the brainchild of Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz.

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Music Interviews
5:21 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

'The Greatest Songs You've Never Heard,' Rescued From History

Tenor Douglas Bowles (left), pianist Alex Hassan and soprano Karin Paludan perform music from The Greatest Songs You've Never Heard in NPR's Studio 1.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:19 pm

Three for a Song is a performing trio with a love for the 1930s, during which some of the greatest songwriters who ever lived wrote music that would enter the canon of American popular song. But the group has recently added a quirk to its repertoire: performing songs that were never popular.

"You will always hear Burton Lane's 'How Are Things in Glocca Morra?' " says the trio's pianist, Alex Hassan, who is also a pop-music archivist. "But you will not hear an incredible torch song that he wrote for a 1935 MGM flick that never got made."

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Deceptive Cadence
5:16 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Cliburn Competition After Van

Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong, 22, performs at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The Juilliard School graduate student is among six musicians chosen for the final round.
Ralph Lauer Cliburn Foundation

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

Six finalists for the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition were announced last night in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time since its inception more than 50 years ago, the contest is taking place without its namesake. Cliburn died in February of cancer, and the competition is dealing with his loss and other changes as well.

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U.S.
4:35 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Largest Municipal Bankruptcy In U.S. Nears End

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 6:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history is nearing an end. Jefferson County, Alabama has been saddled with more than $4.2 billion of debt. Today in Birmingham, a federal bankruptcy judge began reviewing a tentative agreement in the case.

From member station WBHM, Andrew Yeager reports.

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Middle East
4:33 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

What Do NGO Convictions Say About Democracy In Egypt?

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Yesterday in Egypt, 43 pro-democracy NGO workers were convicted by a Cairo court and sentenced to prison. One of them was Sherif Mansour who was given a two-year sentence. He's been a guest on this program several times. Mansour is a naturalized American citizen born in Egypt. He used to work for the pro-democracy nongovernmental organization Freedom House. He worked for Freedom House in Washington and also in Cairo. He now works for the Committee to Protect Journalists, and he joins us from New York. Welcome back to the program.

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U.S.
4:33 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Big Apple Debates Storm Prep As Hurricane Season Begins

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For New York, last year's hurricane was a painful reminder that the city is surrounded by water. It has more than 500 miles of coastline, from the beaches of Staten Island and the Rockaways, to the banks of the Hudson and East Rivers and beyond. There is little dispute among scientists that rising sea levels will increase the threat of flooding. And now, as hurricane season begins again, there's a spirited debate about how the region should prepare for that threat.

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Parallels
1:12 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi Walks Fine Line In Her New Role

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been under fire for working with the government on a number of issues. Here, she meets in March with protesters who oppose a copper mine backed by Chinese investors. She supports the mining project.
Khin Maung Win AP

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 6:19 pm

To her many admirers in the international community, Aung San Suu Kyi remains one of the world's best known democracy icons.

But in Myanmar, also known as Burma, she is now very much a politician who is being criticized for trying to cooperate with the former military rulers who kept her under house arrest for nearly two decades.

If you want to see the old, iconic Aung San Suu Kyi, just head to the bustling headquarters of her party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD, in Yangon, the country's largest city and former capital.

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Code Switch
5:16 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

For Black Singles, A Big Gender Split On Views Of Long-Term Relationships

In a new poll, just a quarter of single black women said they were looking for a long-term relationship, while nearly half of black men said they were.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 5:19 pm

The numbers go like this: Very few single black women — just a quarter of those surveyed — said they were looking for long-term relationships, or LTRs. But on the flip side, nearly 43 percent of single black men said they're looking for a long-term partner.

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It's All Politics
5:12 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Obama's D.C. Court Nominations Heat Up Battle With Senate

President Obama announces in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday his nominations of (from left) Robert Wilkins, Cornelia Pillard and Patricia Millett to fill vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 11:25 am

President Obama fired a warning shot Tuesday in the battle over Senate confirmations: He nominated three new judges to the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, and he challenged Senate Republicans not to stand in their way.

Obama complained about procedural roadblocks that have tied up many of his previous nominees — sometimes for years.

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Author Interviews
4:52 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

McCann's 'TransAtlantic' Crosses Fiction And Fact, Ireland And U.S.

Colum McCann won the National Book Award in 2009 for Let the Great World Spin.
Dustin Aksland

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 6:22 pm

About five years ago, Colum McCann stumbled upon a small piece of history he had never known: In 1845, Frederick Douglass, then an escaped slave who was already famous for his anti-slavery writings and speeches, visited Ireland to raise money and support for his cause. McCann says he knew almost immediately that he wanted to turn this historical fact into fiction: "This intersection between history and fiction, between what is real and what is not real, fascinates me," he says.

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Music Reviews
4:25 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Shuggie Otis: 40 Years Later, Still An 'Inspiration'

Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information was first released nearly 40 years ago.
B+ Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 11:25 am

This isn't the first time Shuggie Otis' masterpiece, Inspiration Information, has been reissued — but that's OK. It's an album that absolutely deserves to be rediscovered every decade or so.

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Shots - Health News
4:17 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Faces Of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 11:25 am

Forms of tuberculosis are emerging that are costly, difficult and at times, nearly impossible to treat. This new, worldwide threat is called multidrug-resistant TB, and it occurs when the bacteria no longer respond to the most common TB medications. Doctors have to turn, instead, to older, less effective drugs that can have devastating side effects such as hearing loss, blindness, aches and severe depression.

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NPR Story
4:04 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

How Is The U.S. Trade Deficit Affecting American Business?

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 6:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The trade balance between the U.S. and the rest of the world widened by several billion dollars in April, according to figures released today. It was a great month for the U.S. exporters selling artwork and diamonds around the globe, not so hot for American sales of soybeans or computers. Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money team has been looking at the numbers, and Adam, what do they say?

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Americas
12:44 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Rio Goes High-Tech With An Eye Toward Olympics, World Cup

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums.
Raphael Lima Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:27 am

We are standing in front of a huge bank of screens, in the middle of which is a glowing map that changes focus depending on what the dozens of controllers are looking at.

The room looks like something straight out of a NASA shuttle launch. The men and women manning the floor are dressed in identical white jumpsuits. With a flick of a mouse, they scroll through dozens of streaming video images coming into the center.

This is Rio de Janeiro in real time.

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