Here and Now

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Here and Now

NPR, WBUR, Boston and public radio stations across the country are joining forces to bring listeners news and analysis in midday with Here & Now. Here & Now offers a distinctive mix of hard news and rich conversation featuring interesting players from across the spectrum of arts and culture, business, technology, science and politics. Here & Now, produced by WBUR since 1997, with co-hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson.

News and analysis in midday.

All American Boys” is a powerful new novel by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Reynolds is black and Kiely is white. Their book examines race and police violence, chapter by chapter, from the perspectives of a black teen and a white teen.

It’s been January for nearly a week, which means that Christmas is now a distant memory. But for many people, one vestige of the holiday remains: the Christmas tree. So when is the right time to take it down?

For some, there are religious reasons to keep it up. Today, January 5, is traditionally the 12th day of Christmas, and therefore, the final day for the tree. Others wait to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6. And there are those who commemorate Jesus’ baptism on January 10. But for some, resolving when to take down the Christmas tree is an annual enigma.

About half a million people of Persian descent could soon taste the fruits of the recent nuclear deal with Iran. The United States is set to lift longtime bans on the imports of food and carpets once Iran meets certain obligations under the recently negotiated nuclear deal.

Sara Hossaini from Here & Now contributor KQED finds the new possibility of trade has piqued the interest of some Iranian entrepreneurs in California.

Seattle poet Merna Ann Hecht says right now Americans are worried about what they have to lose by admitting more refugees. She wants to change the conversation to what refugees are giving back.

Hecht has been working with teenage refugees at Foster High School in Tukwila, Washington helping them write poetry in a new language. Amy Radil from Here & Now contributor KUOW explains.

Ursula Gauthier has lived in China since 2009 as the Beijing correspondent for the French magazine, L’Obs. But this past December, after writing a story suggesting that China was using the terrorist attacks in Paris to crack down on its Uigher population, her visa was not renewed.

For Markets, A Bad Start To The Year

Jan 4, 2016

Stock markets started the New Year with some steep drops. In China, stocks fell more than 7 percent, forcing the market to shut down early.

Bloomberg reports it was the worst start to the year for China stocks ever. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 400 points or 2.4 percent in the morning, the S&P down 2.1 percent and Nasdaq down 2.7 percent.

Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti looks at what’s happening with Jill Schlesinger of CBS News.

Rare Sighting Of A Giant Squid In Japan

Jan 1, 2016


Giant squid can get as big as 45 feet in length, and inhabit the deeper regions of the ocean. They rarely surface, and so scientists often must study the species through the examination of dead squid which have washed ashore.

Helen Macdonald has had a longtime love of falconry and training birds for years. But she had yet to attempt training what’s known as a goshawk, known as a vicious predator. When Macdonald’s father died suddenly one year, she decided to try.

In the wake of several recent mass shootings, Joe Arpaio, the controversial Sheriff of Maricopa County Arizona is calling for citizens who carry concealed weapons to take action in the event of an attack.

But as Jimmy Jenkins from Here & Now contributor KJZZ reports, not all law enforcement officials think Arpaio’s call to arms is the best course of action.

“So,” “manspreading,” and “giving me life” made this years’ “Annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness,” released today by list compilers at Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to John Shibley, who works in the school’s public relations department and teaches communications.

Opioid Epidemic Hits Neonatal ICUs

Dec 31, 2015

This week we’ve been looking at how the headlines of 2015 have hit home.

The opioid epidemic is certainly one of the top stories of 2015, new numbers from the CDC show that deaths from overdoses reached an all-time high of 47,000 in 2014, the latest figures available. And hospital neonatal intensive care units across the country are seeing a corresponding rise in the number of babies born dependent on opioids.

Taking This Week Off? You're Not Alone

Dec 31, 2015

Here at the offices of WBUR and Here & Now, there are tumbleweeds in the hallway, as most employees are off for the whole holiday week. And it turns out, we are not alone.

Almost a third of U.S. office workers are taking a break from the workplace between Christmas and New Year’s, according to a survey for the staffing firm Robert Half, and human resources experts predict that that might grow in the future as more and more offices see benefits in closing up shop.

During his end-of-the-year press conference, President Obama said he has some “unfinished business” to take care of during his final year in office.

That got us thinking: what have other presidents done in their “lame duck” years? Here & Now’s Robin Young asks one of our favorite historians, Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer.

2015: The Year In Cars And Trucks

Dec 30, 2015

It’s been a remarkable year for vehicle owners – hard for those with Volkswagen TDI diesel cars, but generally for drivers, increasingly easy at the pump. Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd looks back at the automotive highs and lows of 2015 with Patrick George, editor-in-chief of Jalopnik.

Is A $250,000 Annual Income Middle Class?

Dec 30, 2015

In an ad, Hillary Clinton says the deck has been stacked against regular people and she wants to “do everything [she] can to get that reshuffled, so that being middle class means something again.”

Her tax plan classifies households of four earning up to $250,000 a year as middle class. When President Obama was running against Mitt Romney, each of them also picked that number. But both people who make that much and people who don’t have cried foul.

With only a few days left on the calendar year for 2015, next year is already on the collective mind of Washington. It’s obviously a year that will feature a presidential election, but many races in the senate are going to be worth watching as well.

NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti about 2016 government priorities and how those impending elections will play into Congress’ ability, or inability, to compromise and pass legislation.


Robert Hurwitz has been compared to a great book editor by classical composer John Adams, and a master craftsman by Stephen Sondheim. He’s stepping down as president of Nonesuch Records (a division of Warner Music Group) next year to become its chairman emeritus.

For this week’s “View From The Top” conversation we hear about his 31 years recording the music of artists of many genres, ranging from the Buena Vista Social Club, Emmy Lou Harris and Pat Metheny, to classical composers and singers.

In February, 40-year-old Meb Keflezighi will try to make his 4th Olympic team when he runs in the Olympic Marathon Trials race in Los Angeles. Keflezighi has been a world-class runner for more than a decade but he became a household name when he won the Boston Marathon in 2014, the first American man to do that in more than 30 years.

The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to carry out raids to deport hundreds of Central American families who came to the U.S. beginning last year.

A grand jury declined to indict a white rookie police officer in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a black youngster who was shot to death while carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun, a prosecutor said Monday.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said it was “indisputable” that the boy was drawing the weapon from his waistband when he was gunned down – either to hand it over to police or to show them that it wasn’t a real firearm. But McGinty said there was no way for the officers on the scene to know that.

CDC: Progress And Challenges In 2015

Dec 28, 2015

The U.S. successfully helped lead global efforts to control the spread of Ebola, and adult cigarette smoking reached an all-time low. These are some of the strides the Centers for Disease Control made in 2015.

But there are many serious threats to American’s health as well, including drug overdoses, e-cigarette use among teens, and foodborne illnesses.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, tells Here & Now’s Robin Young about the challenges and achievements of the year and what lies ahead in 2016.

In 2015, Some Of The Best Writing Was Short

Dec 28, 2015

In looking back on her favorite reads from 2015, NPR books and publishing correspondent Lynn Neary realized that many of them were short story collections.

She talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about what makes a good short story, and which collections highlighted a genre that seems to be picking up steam in the age of digital readers and short attention spans.

Large numbers of unaccompanied minors from Central America continue to cross over the U.S. Border in waves. As permanent detention centers fill, a few temporary shelters are popping up in Texas and elsewhere.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Eddie Walker, owner of the Sabine Creek Ranch Camp in Rockwall, Texas, about the nearly 200 children who arrived at his camp this week.

DJ Session: Top Holiday Tunes

Dec 24, 2015

On this Christmas Eve for our weekly DJ sessions, we sit down with Mike Haile, host and general manager at WHMS in Champaign-Urbana, Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson’s hometown.

Jeremy remembers hearing Mike Haile’s Christmas music mixes growing up, and Mike joins us each year to share some of his favorite Christmas songs.

A Rare Christmas Full Moon

Dec 24, 2015

For the first time since 1977, there will be a full moon on Christmas. It won’t happen again until 2034.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks about this astronomical anomaly – and about the year in space exploration – with Kelly Beatty, senior editor of Sky and Telescope.

Opera On The Slopes

Dec 23, 2015

Waterville Valley, a ski resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is known as the birth place of freestyle skiing. It’s the place where Olympic Gold Medalist Hannah Kearney got her start. But it’s also one of the few spots where you can hear live opera while you ski.

Vladimir Popov is known throughout the valley as the opera-singing chairlift operator. Although Popov sings strictly in the mountains now, he once sang in the world’s great opera houses.

Sean Hurley from Here & Now contributor New Hampshire Public Radio has our story.

How Does ISIS Recruit?

Dec 23, 2015

The Hillary Clinton campaign has backed off her debate statement that ISIS would use Donald Trump’s statements about banning Muslims in its recruiting videos, but the group does use U.S. leaders and politicians in its propaganda.

Terrorism analyst Seth Jones joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to take a look at how ISIS goes about recruiting.

Congress Bans Microbeads

Dec 23, 2015

Microbeads – those little round spheres of plastic that are in everything from facewash to toothpaste – may soon be a thing of the past.

Before leaving town for the holidays, Congress passed a bill banning them, due to environmental concerns. Companies will be require to phase them out by July of 2017.

Samuel Burke of CNN joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to look at what this means for companies.

Rwandans voted overwhelmingly to lift constitutional restrictions to allow President Paul Kagame to run for more terms in office. Rwanda’s political opposition criticized the referendum as undemocratic and the U.S., a key Rwandan ally, has opposed Kagame’s bid to stay in power.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Catherine Byaruhanga, a BBC reporter who covered Friday’s vote.

The past year saw significant debates and changes in the technology sector.

There was the Ellen Pao gender discrimination lawsuit which amplified the wider conversation about diversity in Silicon Valley. And the tech industry ended 2015 with a re-hash of debates over privacy and encryption.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Steve Henn of NPR for his view of the year in technology.