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All Things Considered

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In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special -- sometimes quirky -- features.

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U.S.-Russia relations hit a new low this week, when Moscow ignored U.S. requests and gave temporary asylum to a man who leaked classified documents on U.S. government surveillance programs.

Many in Congress are complaining that the Edward Snowden case is just the latest example of how the Kremlin is thumbing its nose at the White House.

The Obama administration famously reset relations with Russia when Dmitry Medvedev was president. But now that Russian President Vladimir Putin is back in the Kremlin, it seems to be having a more difficult time.

When country violinist Amanda Shires goes on tour, she meets a lot of interesting people. Once after a show in Tampa, Florida, a fellow calling himself Tiger Bill handed her a mysterious bag — whose contents, he said, would make her "bulletproof."

"And I opened it and looked inside of it," Shires recalls. "And it was whiskers and claws and teeth and fur."

Monday, the FBI announced the success of a three-day, multicity child sex trafficking operation. The seventh and largest of its kind, the raid recovered 106 teenagers and arrested 152 pimps. Aged 13 to 17, almost all of the young people found were girls.

When you hear the word dandy, what do you think of?

Maybe the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy," which dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War, and compares the colonists to foppish, effeminate idiots: the dandies.

But a summer exhibit at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, closing Aug. 18, aims to reclaim the term. It explores dandyism through the ages, linking to the cutting edge of men's fashion and style. The name of the show is "Artist, Rebel, Dandy: Men of Fashion" — which does still leave you wondering what you might see.

Robert Klein And The Golden Age Of Comedy

Aug 3, 2013

When Robert Klein was a busboy in the Catskills, he saw the best Jewish comedians of the day. From Rodney Dangerfield and Mel Brooks, to comedy in its modern form, Klein was there to see the evolution of what makes us laugh. It made him the perfect person to narrate the documentary that opened this week in New York City, When Comedy Went to School. It's a look back at how many famous comedians got their start by spending their summers in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

The Thai Elephant Orchestra is, remarkably, just what it sounds like. At a conservation center in Thailand, made for former work animals with nowhere to go, a group of elephants has been assembled and trained to play enormous percussion instruments, holding mallets in their trunks and sometimes trumpeting along.

Back in 2008, Major League Baseball had a problem with broken bats. That season, bats were breaking into multiple pieces at a higher rate than ever before: around once per game.

The problem coincided with a surge in the popularity of maple bats over the traditional ash.

A bat that simply cracks isn't too big a deal. But in 2008, maple bats kept breaking apart. Often, they'd break along the handle, sending the heavier upper barrel of the bat flying.

Last year, researchers at University College London's Institute of Healthy Ageing were looking through their microscopes when they saw something amazing.

David Gems, professor of biogerentology, was part of the team looking for answers to big questions about human aging in small, squishy little creatures nearing the end of their lives. Their official name: Caenorhabditis elegans. You and I know them as worms. As they neared the end of their life, the tiny worms moved more and more slowly.

The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.

The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.

History With Struggling Agencies

As its last official action before leaving for a five-week summer break, the House today voted — for the 40th time — to block implementation of the federal health law.

But it was something that happened late Thursday night affecting members of Congress and their staffers' own health insurance that attracted more attention around the Capitol.

Tensions are running high in Egypt, as supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi continue their protests. But they aren't the only ones.

Barely two weeks after Morsi was toppled in early July, a new protest movement emerged on the scene in Cairo.

Called the Third Square, the group aims to keep tabs on the military, the interim government and Muslim Brotherhood, to keep them from returning Egypt to autocratic rule.

It's trying to lure disillusioned Egyptians with online videos.

Bick Boyte plops a 1-pound bullfrog in his aluminum canoe, still half alive. He resumes his kneeling position, perched upfront, on the hunt for a big bellower. Boyte hears the "wom, wom, wom" and knows frogs are within reach.

Boyte and Tommy Peebles have been "gigging" Tennessee ponds together since their daddies first taught them. Boyte now owns a truck dealership. Peebles is a real estate lawyer. But in the warm moonlight, they revert to their boyhoods. Peebles does the paddling.

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The U.S. women's cross-country ski team has never won an Olympic medal. But that could change in Sochi, Russia, in February. The team has a secret weapon: a pristine glacier high above the mountains of Anchorage.

On the ground, it's summer. But as soon as the helicopter crests the mountain: winter. The snowy white Eagle Glacier stretches out for miles, rimmed by rocky peaks.

Moscow is a city steeped in history — and clogged with traffic. It's among the world's most congested centers, renowned for erratic drivers and dangerous roads.

In an effort to appreciate the history and avoid the gridlock, cyclists have been getting together since 2007 for an annual late-night tour to explore the capital by bike.

Imported food is getting the kind of attention these days that no product wants. Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska are blaming salad greens for making hundreds of people sick with a parasite called cyclospora. That parasite usually comes from the tropics, so it's likely the salad did, too. Earlier this summer, pomegranate seeds from Turkey were linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A.

Ever since Japan's stock market bubble burst in the early 1990s, the country's economy has been stuck in a deflationary spiral. Wages and prices kept going down — and so did consumer spending.

After all, would you buy something today if you knew it was going to be cheaper tomorrow?

But when he came to power last December, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he could fix the problem, after two "lost decades."

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You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

A new homeless initiative in Hawaii is raising some eyebrows, and the department in charge of implementing it has concerns of its own.

As part of a larger housing bill in July, the state Legislature approved $100,000 per year for a three-year pilot project that would help get some homeless people off the island and back to their families on the mainland. Participants must leave voluntarily.

If it's early August, it must be time for Damson plums. Gersine Bullock-Prado — a Vermont-based pastry chef and author of Bake It Like You Mean It — has a special place in her heart for them.

"They're not like your normal plum. They're not round. They're oval and very dark purple, almost black."

When barely ripe, the plums are firm, tart and olive green, Bullock-Prado says. "[They're] just these lovely little orbs of joy."

Every Sunday, hundreds of worshippers descend on the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee. They come here to pray and to eat a weekly meal together, called a langar. On Aug. 5, 2012, as women were preparing the meal, a gunman opened fire, killing six people, including the temple president, a priest, fathers and a mother, before turning the gun on himself. Photos of the victims now hang in the lobby of the temple, called a gurdwara.

Seventh-grader Senicka Arciaga-Spears wants to be a Boy Scout. Over a homemade Sunday evening dinner, he tells his two moms, Eliza and Kelly, that he wants to learn survival skills — including fishing and "dangerous hiking."

Eliza would like her son to join the Scouts, too. "They teach discipline and obedience and respect and self-sufficiency. I want that for him," she says. "I want him to learn those things and be surrounded by those things."

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The United States military chaplaincy program has a proud heritage that stretches all the way back to the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

"They are rabbis, ministers, imams and priests who serve our nation's heroes and their families as committed members of the U.S. Army," according to one video produced by the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.

But are they ready for an atheist chaplain?

Author Michael Walker says that by the end of the 1960s, you could fairly say there were two generations of baby boomers: those who had experienced that decade's peace-and-love era of music firsthand, and those who learned about it from their older brothers and sisters.

While gay rights have been gaining ground in the West, they've been facing a strong backlash in many countries of the former Soviet Union.

Russia recently passed a law that makes it a crime to give information about "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors.

Jack Goodman remembers the day his mother, Julie, told the family she had colorectal cancer. He was in seventh grade.

"They just sat us down on the futon in the living room, or the couch that we had, and told us," Jack says. "But I didn't worry because I give it up to God."

His younger sister, Lena, was in fourth grade. She wasn't so easily comforted.

"I was worried. Like she was going to like, maybe die from it, because it's happened to a few people that we know."

Julie Goodman reflects on how hard it was to tell them.

Several states are dealing with a shortage of lethal injection drugs and have had problems getting enough to carry out executions. In Georgia, lawmakers passed a measure that makes information about where the state got its supply a secret.

The Lethal Injection Secrecy Act says that the identity of people or companies that manufacture, supply or prescribe drugs used in executions is a state secret. But attorneys for death row inmate Warren Lee Hill are challenging the state over whether that law is constitutional.

Cruel And Unusual Punishment?

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