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NPR News Coverage

The power of a voice in transition

Aug 16, 2018

Whether it’s in politics, or a hit television show, or through writing, a record number of transgender Americans are making their voices heard right now. Thomas Page McBee is an author and a journalist who, in the midst of his writing career, transitioned at 30 years old. He'd had a couple of jobs and therefore gained the perspective of the androgynous co-worker and the male boss.

Even in a strong economy, many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Forty percent don't have $400 to cover an emergency expense, such as a car repair. And many working-class people turn to payday loans or other costly ways to borrow money. But more companies are stepping in to help their workers with a much cheaper way to get some emergency cash.

Startup companies that offer better options for workers are partnering with all kinds of businesses — from giants like Walmart to little fried chicken restaurants.

Dr. Jodi Jackson has worked for years to address infant mortality in Kansas. Often, that means she is treating newborns in a high-tech neonatal intensive care unit with sophisticated equipment whirring and beeping. That is exactly the wrong place for an infant like Lili.

Lili's mother, Victoria, used heroin for the first two-thirds of her pregnancy and hated herself for it. (NPR is using her first name only, because she has used illegal drugs.)

Senate Democrats threatened to sue the National Archives to obtain documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's career as a White House official during President George W. Bush's administration.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Thursday that Democrats will file a lawsuit if the National Archives does not respond to their Freedom of Information Act request. The suit is a last-ditch effort to obtain the documents ahead of confirmation hearings set begin Sept. 4.

After two days of silence and a barrage of criticism for failing to address the latest clergy sex abuse scandal in the United States, Pope Francis has spoken.

"The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors," said a statement issued by the Vatican on Thursday.

"Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow," Vatican spokesman Greg Burke wrote.

Editor's note: Story updated with additional information about generic pricing on August 17.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first identical alternative to the EpiPen, which is widely used to save children and adults suffering from dangerous allergic reactions.

The FDA Thursday authorized Teva Pharmaceuticals USA to sell generic versions of the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr for adults and children who weigh more than 33 pounds.

Updated at 9 a.m. ET, Friday

A Swedish labor court has ruled that a translation company must pay a Muslim woman 40,000 kronor, or around $4,500, in discrimination compensation, after her job interview was shut down upon her explaining she would not shake a male worker's hand for religious reasons.

Monsoon rains are lashing southern India, where water has overrun riverbanks, submerged city buildings and left a death toll of dozens of people. The chief minister of Kerala, the state hit hardest by the storms, has described the situation as "an unprecedented flood havoc."

Updated at 3 p.m. ET, Aug. 17

The U.S. government says the operators of a pirate radio station that has been known for airing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' program must pay a $15,000 FCC penalty for broadcasting without a license. The station's operators have rejected the demand and accuse the Federal Communications Commission of "trying to run a bluff."

The agency says a civil suit filed by the Justice Department has nothing to do with the station's airing of Jones' broadcasts, and is only about the license issue.

Aretha Franklin: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

Aug 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin was more than a woman, more than a diva and more than an entertainer. Aretha Franklin was an American institution. Aretha Franklin died Thursday in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76.

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is demanding an explanation of President Trump's decision this week to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan

In a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked for a detailed briefing on the decision and suggested Trump may have failed to follow proper procedures.

Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who presided over clandestine nuclear tests that confirmed India as a nuclear power but soured relations with rival Pakistan, died Thursday at the age of 93.

Remembering The 'Queen Of Soul'

Aug 16, 2018

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This morning, we are remembering one of the greatest singers of all time. Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul has died at her home in Detroit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU")

Biographer On Aretha Franklin's Legacy

Aug 16, 2018

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We knew her as the Queen of Soul because that's what Aretha Franklin's music did. It spoke to the soul.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RESPECT")

A 45-year-old Iraqi national who was granted refugee status in the U.S. is accused of having fought for ISIS and al-Qaida and is now facing extradition to Iraq on a murder charge.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Omar Ameen at his home in Sacramento on Wednesday. Ameen is charged in the 2014 death of an Iraqi police officer in his hometown, Rawah, just after it fell to the Islamic State.

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We are heartbroken to report this morning that the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76 years old. Ann Powers is with me now. She's NPR's music critic and correspondent. Good morning, Ann.

ANN POWERS, BYLINE: Good morning.

(Markets Edition) Retail goliath Walmart enjoyed rising profits into the early part of summer, and it also reported a 40 percent boost in its online sales. But it’s also reporting rising costs, and Marketplace’s Dan Gorenstein lets us know if that means the prices at Walmart are going to go up as well. Also, economist Diane Swonk lets us know if the possibly cresting housing market is a good thing, depending on where you live.

Prices may be headed up at Walmart and beyond

Aug 16, 2018

Retail giant Walmart is faced with the rising cost of raw materials, labor, trucking and the possibility of a trade war. All of that means consumers may soon see price hikes. If Walmart takes the leap, other retailers are likely to follow.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

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(U.S. Edition) China is sending a delegation to Washington later this month to see if there's a way both countries can move on from this battle of dueling tariffs. Marketplace's China correspondent Jennifer Pak joined us to shed more light on what this means. Also, it's the time of year when shipping picks up for holiday-themed goods, which then start filling up the border and ports. The aforementioned tariffs become a factor as well, as Mitchell Hartman reports. Then, we check in on Greece, which is approaching the day it leaves the bailout program it's been in for the last eight years.

Two women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea's dictator, will remain in custody after a judge in Malaysia on Thursday said there is enough evidence of a "well-planned conspiracy" to move the case forward.

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After working at a call center for two decades, Linda Bradley's job came to an end about a year and a half ago. Since her layoff, she has combed online job sites every day looking for work — without much luck.

Bradley, who is 45 and lives near Columbus, Ohio, began suspecting age discrimination after someone at her union mentioned how recruiters often target online ads at younger candidates. "I thought to myself, 'Oh, that's why I wasn't seeing some of the ads that my daughter has seen on her Facebook,' " she says.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Politicians and corporations are continuing to point fingers about who is responsible for a bridge collapse this week in Italy. Now, the government is threatening to take over the nation’s motorways. Then, in a bid to increase levels of local homeownership in New Zealand, the country’s government has passed legislation restricting foreigners from buying residential property after the prime minister blamed foreign speculators for driving up home prices.

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The Colorado baker who won a Supreme Court case over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is suing state officials, alleging religious discrimination over his refusal to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.

Attorneys for Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., said Wednesday that the state is "continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs."

As students prepare to go back to school, more and more parents are thinking about school safety. A recent poll found 34 percent of parents fear for their child's physical safety at school. That's almost triple the number of parents from 2013.

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