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Growing up in Singapore, Kevin Kwan didn’t recognize that his family hobnobbed with the rich and powerful.

But when he was 11, he moved to the US. Within a few years, he realized that his childhood had been out of the ordinary.

For example, at a friend’s house in Singapore, Kwan saw a collection of vintage cars that included a Rolls Royce and a Lamborghini. In the middle of the living room was a pond that was home to a school of baby sharks.

Queen Elizabeth II is set to get a raise, with much of the money going toward sprucing up Buckingham Palace, reports the BBC.

The annual so-called Sovereign Grant is ballooning to £82 million (or $105 million) up 8 percent from last year. In addition to palace upkeep, it goes toward staff salaries and official travel.

A watchdog group says a top Trump appointee violated a federal law by retweeting one of President Trump's tweets.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Office of Special Counsel, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) requested an investigation into whether the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, improperly used Twitter for political activity.

Since Senate Republicans released the draft of their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week, many people have been wondering how the proposed changes will affect their own coverage, and their family's: Will my pre-existing condition be covered? Will my premiums go up or down?

The bill is still a work in progress, but we've taken a sampling of questions from All Things Considered listeners and answered them, based on what we know now.

Emmett Till Sign Vandalized Again

7 hours ago

An Emmett Till historical marker in Money, Miss., has been vandalized two times in as many months, most recently last week, when panels with the 14-year-old's image and his story were peeled off.

Installed in 2011, the sign stands on the Mississippi Freedom Trail, which commemorates people, places and events that played a part in the civil rights movement.

What would it cost to protect the nation's voting systems from attack? About $400 million would go a long way, say cybersecurity experts. It's not a lot of money when it comes to national defense — the Pentagon spent more than that last year on military bands alone — but getting funds for election systems is always a struggle.

A grand jury indicted three Chicago police officers on felony charges on Tuesday, accusing them of conspiring to cover up the facts of a fatal police shooting in October 2014 of a black teenager in order to shield their fellow officer.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, according to prosecutors.

A federal judge is ordering Alabama to improve the way it treats mentally ill prisoners after ruling that the state fails to provide constitutionally adequate mental health care in state lockups.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of Montgomery says Alabama is putting prisoners' lives at risk with "horrendously inadequate" care and a lack of services for inmates with psychiatric problems.

The director John Woo, whose filmography contains an aggregate body count in the quadruple digits, has frequently observed that action movies and musicals are close cousins. He's right about that, and I offer into evidence Edgar Wright's intoxicating new chase flick Baby Driver as Exhibit A.

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The last film by documentary giant Albert Maysles gets a rare screening this week in New York. It's called In Transit, and it takes place entirely on the Empire Builder, a train that runs between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest over three days. Some passengers are heading toward new opportunities, while others are just trying to get away.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Seventy-one million. That's the number of bees Max Nikolaychuk tends in the rolling hills east of Fresno, Calif. Each is worth a fraction of a cent, but together, they make up a large part of his livelihood.

Nikolaychuk makes most of his money during almond pollination season, renting out the bees to California's almond orchards. This year, a thief stole four stacks of his hives.

"He knew about the bees, because he went through every bee colony I had and only took the good ones," he says. "But, you know, the bee yards — I don't have no security there, no fences."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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In recent years, a growing number of news and political sites have popped up in Cuba. Some are taking advantage of what they say is a small but vibrant opening, one offered them since President Obama re-established relations with Cuba.

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Brazil's top prosecutor slapped President Michel Temer with a lengthy indictment Monday night, charging the embattled leader with corruption. The allegations, which include accepting millions of dollars in bribes and approving hush money, make Temer the first sitting president in the country's history to be charged with a crime.

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Mannie Garcia/Reuters

For the first time in over two decades, there was no Eid celebration at the White House.

"What?!" says humorist Wajahat Ali in mock-surprise. "[Trump has] such enduring loyalty and love towards Muslims and Islam in America. It's been a lovefest for a year and a half!"

Joking aside, Ali says Trump's abandonment of the tradition is in keeping with everything he's seen from this administration.  

Ani DiFranco's new album, her 20th, is called Binary. And, as is always the case with this artist, the music and the message are intertwined. The music on Binary is textured and ambitious — you can hear DiFranco's adopted home of New Orleans seeping through the floorboards. There are surprising guests, including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.

Tales from the American West are marked by heroism, romance and plenty of cruelty. Among those stories, the saga of the Donner Party stands alone — a band of pioneers set out in covered wagons for California, and eventually, stranded, snowbound and starving, resorted to cannibalism.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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An American tradition took shape in Mexico — and then returned to the US

10 hours ago
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Nima Taradji

Every year, at the end of May, crowds gather in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen for the annual Mole de Mayo street celebrations and watch the feats of local luchadores. In an improvised ring, several men and a couple of women engage in fights similar to US professional wrestling, but with a Mexican, acrobatic twist.

Many of them — along with the children in the audience — wear the masks that have come to represent the sport in Mexico.

Three investigative journalists at CNN have resigned after the network retracted a story about a congressional inquiry into a link between a Russian investment fund and an American financier who is an adviser to President Trump.

Those departing are a past Pulitzer Prize winner, a finalist for the award and a senior editor who had been at CNN since 2001.

The U.S. State Department has issued highly public criticism of China in its latest annual report on the global state of human trafficking.

China is among the worst offenders of human trafficking, according to the Trafficking In Persons report. It's now lumped in with "Tier 3" offenders such as Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea — the worst designation.

Advocates for ending child marriage are trying a new tactic: Show governments just how much the practice is hurting their own bottom line.

Car owners form special relationships with their vehicles — they give them names, customize them and get to know their intricacies and quirks. But what if the car could do the same for the driver?

Venture capital is concentrated on the coasts. Most of the investment for new, high-tech businesses goes to Silicon Valley, New York or Boston. Steve Case wants to change that.

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Beth Fertig/WNYC News 

Ever since President Donald Trump took office, immigration advocates from Los Angeles to New York have claimed there are more sightings of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in courthouses looking to detain people.

The growth of income disparity across the world has now become so well-documented that even some rich people see it as a danger to society.

But the scale of the problem makes it seem like there's not much ordinary, not-so-rich folks can do about it in their ordinary, not-so-rich lives.

Suddenly, John McEnroe and Serena Williams are involved in a tennis match of words, and the pace picked up Tuesday. Both are rushing the net — stick with the metaphor here — and firing volleys.

First it was McEnroe, who told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Sunday that while Williams is "an incredible player," (she's won 23 major singles titles and 14 in doubles) she'd be "like 700 in the world" if she played on the men's circuit.

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