News You Can Use

For more than a decade, the members of The Builders And The Butchers have specialized in a kind of white-knuckle Americana: Their acoustic folk-rock sound is shot through with nervy, hellfire-and-brimstone intensity.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Painfully Funny.

About Sandi Toksvig's TED Talk

When comedian and TV host Sandi Toksvig came out as gay in the early 1990s, she used humor to recover from the onslaught of vitriol. Today, she says, humor can help bring about social change.

About Sandi Toksvig

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Painfully Funny.

About Kevin Breel's TED Talk

The image of the "sad clown" can seem like a cliche. But for Kevin Breel, it's very real. He describes how he struggled with depression while performing as a standup comedian.

About Kevin Breel

Janelle Monae On World Cafe

Mar 24, 2017

Janelle Monae is a fiery and energetic wonderball of a performer, one who sings, writes songs, dances and acts

Six years after the Arab Spring, Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak has left a military hospital and is heading home. Mubarak, 88 and ailing, was acquitted by Egypt's top appeals court of charges that he ordered police to kill anti-government protesters in 2011.

Mubarak had ruled Egypt for 30 years; now he will live in his home in Cairo's wealthy Heliopolis district, according to local media reports.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump billed himself as a master negotiator who would make the "best deals" for the American people.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

The death toll in Wednesday's terrorist attack near the U.K. Parliament has risen, after a 75-year-old man died of his injuries. Police say Leslie Rhodes of south London is the fourth person killed by British-born Khalid Masood, who was killed in the attack.

Other victims include Kurt Cochran of Utah, 54, whose wife was also seriously injured; Police Constable Keith Palmer, 48; and Aysha Frade, 43, who was reportedly on her way to pick her children up from school.

When the Food and Drug Administration created controls in January on how farmers can give antibiotics to livestock, scientists concerned about antibiotic resistance and advocates for animal welfare called it a historic shift in how meat animals are raised.

But a new federal report, released last week, says the long-awaited FDA initiative — first attempted back in 1977 — falls short in so many areas that it may not create the change that backers hoped for.

Uber is in crisis. This week the president resigned, after just six months on the job. Morale has been shaken following a damning account of sexual harassment. The board of directors is so concerned about the CEO's ability to lead, they're looking for a No. 2 to help steer the company.

In a bid to improve the health insurance purchasing clout of small businesses, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives dusted off a piece of controversial legislation more than a decade old and passed it this week as part of their effort to remake the market after they throw out the Affordable Care Act.

The bill, the Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2017, had the support of 232 Republicans and 4 Democrats. It now heads to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain, experts say.

President Trump got good news on Thursday from the federal agency that oversees the three-year-old lease on his five-star hotel in Washington, D.C.

The General Services Administration said in a letter that the Trump Organization is in "full compliance" with the lease on the luxury hotel that's located just blocks from the White House.

Bob Dylan is evidently not finished with his (grand, now exhaustive) inquiry into the Great American Songbook.

The 2016 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who was hailed by the Swedish Academy for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," is releasing a three-disc mega-dose from the pre-rock era of that tradition on March 31.

Former President Obama took a victory lap Thursday on seventh anniversary of his signature health care law even as Republicans had planned to formally begin the process of gutting it in celebration.

But now, it's the GOP replacement plan that remains on life support. Republicans postponed a planned evening vote in the House, denying them a symbolic chance to make good on their years-long promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

About this time last year, roughly two dozen daring young strangers bid farewell to the modern world as we know it, bearing their hunting equipment and their wiles into the remote Scottish highlands with the aims of creating a new community from scratch — cameras rolling for a reality show all the while, naturally.

Who Will Listen To The Suffering Syrians?

Mar 23, 2017

Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul, a Syrian psychiatrist, writes poetry that reflects his deep longing for a lost homeland.

"Poetry and art is another way to cope," he says, "we are all grieving in our own ways. The country is no longer the one that I left and it still haunts me in my dreams." (Click here to read one of his poems.)

With his skill as a psychiatrist, Dr. Hussam Jefee-Bahloul is reaching out to the troubled people of his Syrian homeland, offering guidance for health workers who work with mental health issues in a population traumatized by war.

And with his love of words, he tries to capture his longing for his homeland in poetry.

U.S. Marine artillerymen are now in place on Syrian soil, north of the last stronghold of the Islamic State. A force of local Kurdish and Arab fighters is moving south, continuing to isolate the city of Raqqa.

They're in the opening stages of a major military operation that officials say could last into the fall.

What comes next is expected to have huge implications not only for the fate of ISIS but also for the relationship between Turkey and Russia, as well as the geographic outlines of the future Syrian state.

It will be very complicated.

The outlook for a key congressional investigation into potential ties between President Trump and Russia's election meddling remained in doubt Thursday, after an unusual, high-profile flap involving its top two members.

Growing up in a hungry household in the first couple of years of life can hurt how well a child performs in school years later, according to a new study.

An estimated 13.1 million children live in homes with insufficient food, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cancer can be caused by tobacco smoke or by an inherited trait, but new research finds that most of the mutations that lead to cancer crop up naturally.

The authors of the study published Thursday poked a hornet's nest by suggesting that many cancers are unavoidable.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

The U.S. Senate has a lot going on: confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, negotiations on repealing the Affordable Care Act, votes on gun sales regulations and bear-hunting rules for Alaska.

There's no denying it: Los Angeles isn't exactly gentle on the ears.

That's one lesson, at least, from a comprehensive noise map created by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. On the interactive U.S. map the agency released this week, which depicts data on noise produced primarily by airports and interstate highways, few spots glare with such deep and angry color as the City of Angels.

It was a meeting of nerds and sharks.

The self-described "biotech nerds" and "robotic nerds" were seven high school students from Washington, D.C. The eight teens who call themselves "sharks" and flew in from Ghana. "The shark is a big fish so it means you're big. Knowledgeable," explains Stephanie Obbo of Ghana, an aspiring medical doctor.

Almost three years ago, the ferry Sewol sank in rough seas off South Korea. More than 300 people perished, mostly high school students on a field trip.

Now, South Korea's government is trying to raise what's left of the 6,800-ton ship. As NPR's Elise Hu reports from Seoul, nine of the people who were aboard that day in April 2014 remain missing, and families hope to recover those bodies once the Sewol has been lifted out of the water and put in dry dock.

Dozens of divers are involved in the salvage operation, Elise says.

When House Speaker Paul Ryan says he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act so that people can buy insurance that's right for them, and not something created in Washington, part of what he's saying is that he wants to get rid of so-called essential health benefits.

That's a list of 10 general categories of medical care that all insurance policies are required to cover under the Affordable Care Act.

In early 2016, The Megaphonic Thrift won a Spelleman Award (Norway's Grammy equivalent) for the previous year's Sun Stare Sound. It's a noise-pop record that puts the emphasis on pop, bursting with earworm-y melodies sunk into lysergic effects, guitar and bass interlaced like latticework with dreamy, dueling vocals. The record will now be available stateside for those of us that had to hunt it down for the first time, but here's a track for those that maybe missed it, a tribute to the band's hometown, "Bergen Revels."

Gothenburg, Sweden's Agent Blå ("Agent Blue" in English) hasn't been a band for very long, but its unique hybrid — a goth genre combination of indie-pop and post-punk that it calls "death pop" — evokes a certain youthful immediacy that feels far removed from infancy. The composite makes sense, considering the band's members range in age from 17 to 20 years old.

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