The Latest News from NPR

When I first started in public radio 13 years ago, there weren't too many peers playing "challenging" music. Here was a 20-something who, up until moving to D.C., spent nights vibrating to Japanese noise and weekends attempting to decode large-format Xenakis scores in the University of Georgia library. NPR Music wasn't even a proper entity yet, and here I was already planning to dismantle notions of what constitutes "public radio music" with brash zealousness. (Hey, I was 23.)

Florida's Senate voted Wednesday to confirm the removal of Scott Israel from his position as sheriff of Broward County. In January, days after being sworn in, Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Israel, charging him with incompetence and dereliction of duty for actions before and after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last year.

As autoworkers at General Motors plants around the country vote this week on whether to accept a new contract, workers elsewhere see an opportunity to demand their own chance in the driver's seat.

The U.S. is enjoying a record-long economic boom, but workers' slice of the pie has barely increased. After decades of relative silence, newly emboldened workers are increasingly vocal in demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Autoworkers at General Motors plants around the country are voting this week on whether to accept a new contract. The GM strike, now in its sixth week, is one of the biggest in recent history, but it's not unique. Over the last two years, hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses and factory workers have walked off the job, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) CTU.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Who are we?

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Autoworkers at General Motors plants around the country are voting this week on whether to accept a new contract. The GM strike, now in its sixth week, is one of the biggest in recent history, but it's not unique. Over the last two years, hundreds of thousands of teachers, nurses and factory workers have walked off the job, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) CTU.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Who are we?

Google says it has built a computer that is capable of solving problems that classical computers practically cannot. According to a report published in the scientific journal Nature, Google's processor, Sycamore, performed a truly random-number generation in 200 seconds. That same task would take about 10,000 years for a state-of-the-art supercomputer to execute.

Less than two weeks after Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize and earned plaudits across the world, the Ethiopian prime minister has found himself embroiled in an escalating standoff with a prominent activist back at home.

Lebanon's mass street protests resemble other outpourings of anger in places like Chile and Ecuador. But the Lebanese never miss an excuse to party.

Faced with years of war, Lebanese have coped with strife by using satire, humor and lots of dancing. This thawra or revolution, as anti-government protesters in Lebanon call it, is no different. It's accompanied by clever handwritten signs, profanity-laced chants and even "Baby Shark" singalongs.

In 1969, Newsweek bestowed this honorific on Janis Joplin: "The first female superstar of rock music."

It's also a claim that Holly George-Warren sets out to prove in Janis, her new biography of the iconic Texan singer who rocketed to fame after becoming the frontwoman of the San Francisco blues-rock group Big Brother and the Holding Company — only to die four years later at the age of 27, a casualty of the freewheeling '60s, the decade she came to embody.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET

Republican members of Congress disrupted the closed-door proceedings of the House impeachment inquiry, preventing a Pentagon official from giving her testimony.

Arguing that the inquiry's interviews should not be held behind closed doors, GOP lawmakers entered the secure area in the Capitol Wednesday where witnesses are typically questioned.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Within a span of a few hours, former vice president and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden both condemned President Trump's use of the word "lynching" to describe the impeachment inquiry — and apologized for doing virtually the same thing more than 20 years ago.

Two of Rudy Giuliani's associates appeared in federal court Wednesday in Manhattan, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally funneling foreign donations to U.S. political candidates.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are both U.S. citizens born in the former Soviet Union: Parnas in Ukraine, and Fruman in Belarus.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump says he is lifting sanctions on Turkey after the country agreed to what he called a permanent cease-fire in northern Syria, ending Turkey's military offensive that began after the U.S. pulled troops from the area.

Trump argued that his decision to remove U.S. forces — criticized by U.S. Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike — helped to bring the deal to fruition.

At a bend in the Potomac River, about 30 miles south of Washington, D.C., there's a fleet of "ghost ships" — shipwrecks that rise eerily from the water at low tide. It's one of the largest collections of shipwrecks in the world, and they're now part of a new national marine sanctuary.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The biggest wildfire in 20 years in Spain's Catalonia region began on June 26, when a pile of chicken manure, baking in record high temperatures, burst into flames.

Fed by strong winds, the flames spread quickly, igniting dry brush and pine forest. In three days the fire burned more than 16,000 acres, and it took more than 500 firefighters to put it out.

Neil Young has easily one of the most recognizable names in American music, and his familiar voice isn't getting quieter with time. He has played with a lot of people over the years: There was Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But Crazy Horse has outlasted all of them.

Nobody knows exactly how many fighting roosters there are in Puerto Rico. The breeders who raise them for cockfights say at least half a million. Two hundred and fifty of those live in neatly lined cages in José Torres' backyard in the mountain town of Utuado, and should the police show up to take them when cockfighting is banned at the end of this year, he has no plans to give them up.

There is a swath of the Gulf of Mexico that's virtually devoid of life because algae blooms have choked out marine plants and animals; scientists say it is growing and getting worse.

One of the culprits lies to the north, in the massive amounts of fertilizers used on corn and soy farms throughout the Midwest.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. So what can you do in less than seven seconds?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR: She's going absolutely full tilt. She's breaking the world record. Aries Susanti Rahayu is the first woman...

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

British police say 39 bodies were discovered early Wednesday morning in a truck container in southeastern England. The driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

A school in Wisconsin is trying to take anxiety out of the lunch-time experience. It has assigned seating with a teacher at each table. Officials say it improves school culture. Others aren't so sure.

It all started at the mall when a friend offered her a puff from a JUUL e-cigarette.

"It was kind of peer pressure," says Beth, a Denver-area 15-year-old who started vaping in middle school. "Then I started inhaling it," she says. "I suddenly was, like, wow, I really think that I need this — even though I don't."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Pages