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PODCAST: Swiping for employment

Oct 7, 2015
David Brancaccio

On today's show, we'll talk about union workers in the U.S. notifying Fiat Chrysler of a possible strike; why it's a bad time for hedge funds; a new report that looks at improvement (or lack thereof) in public schools; and job hunting apps that take a page from Tinder.

New federal rules could be in the works to make it easier once again for Americans to seek relief through class action lawsuits. That's the latest word out just this morning from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Friends, family and fellow activists paid homage to late civil rights leader Julian Bond on Tuesday night at a memorial service at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. The former NAACP chairman died in August at 75 after a brief illness.

Bond's widow, Pamela Horowitz, welcomed the invited guests — a diverse group that included civil rights activists, members of Congress and college students — and thanked them for honoring his mission and "how you will continue to honor him by doing the work that consumed his life."

Annie Baxter

Who will win the Nobel Prize in literature this year? That's a topic some people — largely Europeans — are willing to wager on. The legality of doing so in America is murky at best, but a couple foreign bookmakers are taking bets, including Ladbrokes in the United Kingdom and Unibet Group, which is incorporated in Malta.

Women with cancer often lose their fertility after chemotherapy and radiation. But fertility can be restored in some women by removing all or part the ovary, freezing the tissue before cancer treatment and then transplanting it back afterward.

Danish researchers looked at 41 women who underwent the procedure between 2003 and 2014. They found that about one-third who tried to have a baby actually succeeded.

It's the largest number of transplants evaluated since doctors started doing the procedures in the early 2000s.

Ten years ago, Stephenie Meyer put a twist on the whole boy-meets-girl thing.

In her young adult novel Twilight, girl meets vampire and, later, werewolf. The supernatural romance between Bella and Edward sparked a saga that includes four best-selling books translated into more than 50 languages and five blockbuster movies.

Updated at 10:52 a.m.

When it comes to eating well, should we consider the health of both our bodies and the planet?

For the past few years, crime has been mostly a good news story — the crime rate remains near record lows. But several major U.S. cities have been experiencing a rise in homicides and other violence this year.

Now, the Justice Department is bringing together police and prosecutors to figure out what's going on, and how the federal government can help.

The forecast for Syria: Clear skies with a chance of cluster bombs

Oct 6, 2015
Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

Russians have an old expression — you can't argue with the weather.

Still, some may have found it jarring to hear a forecast promising clear skies and warm temperatures in October — in Syria.

A sign of changing times.

"Russian aerospace forces are continuing their operation in Syria. Experts say the timing was very well chosen in terms of weather," assured the weather woman on Russia's state television.

A smattering of rain and then "ideal military flight" conditions for the rest of the month.

Behind every potential president, there’s a song. The candidates for 2016 have already launched campaigns to the tune of Eminem, Irving Berlin, James Brown, Woodie Guthrie, Mary J. Blige, Journey. Songs set a tone for a candidate, but can they ever tip the odds? Maybe. In 1996, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was trailing in the polls in his bid for re-election against Communist Party challenger Gennady Zyuganov.

"China, China, China," rants Donald Trump, the presidential hopeful who loses no opportunity to blame America's economic woes on China and its "unfair" trade policies. But how did the fortunes of the free world and the Middle Kingdom become so inextricably intertwined? What started it all?

The roots of U.S.-China trade can be boiled down to one fragrant little word: tea. The history of the tea trade is a fascinating story of wealth, adventure and cultural exchange, but also a tragic one of human suffering and cruelty.

Among the institutions devastated by the flooding in South Carolina is the home of a ballet company.

Dancers from around the world have come to Columbia to dance in the Columbia Classical Ballet Company, founded more than 20 years ago by Radenko Pavlovich.

Now the company's 32 members have nowhere to rehearse or take classes. Their building, renovated just this summer, has been completely destroyed.

During the flooding, water reached up to the ceiling of the studio. Costumes and music scores were ruined.

Russia's naval base in Syria has decades of history

Oct 6, 2015

Russia has operated a military base in Tartus, Syria, for more than 40 years. Located on Syria's Mediterranean coast, the base has been in Russian hands since 1971.

“They leased it back in the 70s, back when they were Syria’s primary arms supplier,” says Edward Delman, who has written about this for The Atlantic.

But it’s only in the past couple months that Russia has shown a renewed interest in the base.

Can Moscow’s intervention in Syria help end the war?

Oct 6, 2015
Murad Sezer/Reuters

Russian warplanes are carrying out active operations in Syria, in support of the country’s embattled leader, Bashar al-Assad. Naval ships are also on their way, and possibly "volunteers" to fight as soldiers on land. 

Assad’s regime has suffered several setbacks this year, and now controls only 20 percent of the country. Assad’s other allies — Iran and the Lebanese Shiite militia, Hezbollah — have also stepped up their military aid.

Some observers say the moves smack of a panicked attempt to stop the Assad regime from crumbling.

What caused the El Faro cargo ship disaster?

Oct 6, 2015
Courtesy Capt. William Hoey /

Even huge container ships cannot withstand sustained 50-foot waves and 140 mph winds.

That may be the lesson of El Faro, which went down in Hurricane Joaquin-whipped seas off the Bahamas, with 33 crew members and hundreds of cars and cargo containers aboard.

Why did the captain steer into a Catagory 4 category hurricane?

The signs read: "Take 'em down! Renoir sucks!" and "We're not iconoclasts[;] Renoir just sucks at painting!"

Led by Max Geller, a handful of people protested Monday outside Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Their grievance?

The fact that paintings by renowned French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir are hanging in the museum.

Remembering the life of trailblazer Grace Lee Boggs

Oct 6, 2015

The tributes continue to pour in for social justice activist Grace Lee Boggs, who died this week at the age of 100. The first word University of Washington-Bothell professor Scott Kurashige uses to describe her is one that many have used: trailblazer.

"She got a Ph.D. at the age of 25 in 1940, which was really just unheard of for an Asian woman, particularly an American-born Chinese American," Kurashige says. "And she got her Ph.D. in philosophy. So here is this woman, on the complete margins of society, talking about the biggest problems and challenges facing humanity."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



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America's retirement statistics are grim: About 40 percent of baby boomers have nothing saved for retirement, about a third of Americans who are currently retired rely on Social Security for almost all of their income, and the outlook for current workers isn't much better. About half of private sector employees have no retirement plan on the job.

It sounds like a politician's dream: a machine that can tell you exactly what to say to change a voter's mind.

Well, that's what a political scientist has come up with — at least, a first tentative step in that direction.

Using text from a pro-Obamacare website and testing different combinations of sentences on volunteers, an algorithm created by Northeastern University assistant professor Nick Beauchamp was able to identify optimally persuasive terms that make people more inclined to support the landmark health care law.

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Yuya Shino/Reuters

ISIS is notorious for propaganda videos showing the brutal execution of hostages and the destruction of historic sites. But a new finds the group also uses more subtle ways to win over potential supporters. 

Alex Winter, of the British counter-extremism group the Quilliam Foundation, spent a month tracking every piece of propaganga released by the group during the Islamic month of Shawwal, from mid-July to mid-August. According to Winter, the sheer volume of output during this period was impressive.

Under the cover of darkness and using a crane, workers removed a 6-foot granite structure from the grounds of the Capitol in Oklahoma City.

The Ten Commandments monument has been the subject of controversy and debate for years. Back in June, the state Supreme Court decided that the religious display on public property violated the Constitution.

At the time, angry lawmakers even threatened to impeach the high court justices.

We want to cut through the spin with a new feature we're calling "Break It Down."

Break It Down is going to be a regular part of our campaign coverage. We're going to try some new things. It might read a little differently from time to time. But our goal is to zoom in on what the candidates are saying, and give you the factual breakdown you need to make a sound judgment.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit