All Things Considered

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Catch up on events of the day with this drive-time mix of news, reviews, and offbeat features.

Official Website: http://www.npr.org/programs/all-things-considered/

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: Now we want to spend a few minutes talking about Cuba's longtime leader, Fidel Castro. He died a little over a week ago at the age of 90. Earlier today, his ashes arrived in Santiago after a four-day journey across Cuba. A private funeral will be held tomorrow morning. Many of those remembering him this week have focused on his intolerance for dissent, his crackdowns on dissidents, the media and LGBT people. But...

In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, tens of thousands of people have fled a brutal, Russian-backed regime offensive against rebel-held parts of the city. Many have fled deeper into the tightening siege, which started over the summer. Others have sought safety on the government-held side. My conversation with a woman who recently fled the siege begins with her asking how I am. She's safe now, but is still afraid to give her name. She fears for her son — still fighting with the rebels — and...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Let's pause now to remember a British actor best known for playing a Spanish waiter in a 1970s BBC series that lasted only 12 episodes - Andrew Sachs. He died at age 86. As NPR's Ted Robbins tells us, his relatively small role left a big impression. TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: For decades, if you turned on PBS, you were bound to come across a rerun of the 1970s British comedy "Fawlty Towers." (SOUNDBITE OF DENNIS WILSON...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: World leaders are now trying to figure out what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for their countries. Take the Philippines - today, Trump and the president of the Phillippines, Rodrigo Duterte, had a friendly phone call. They invited each other to come visit. The Philippines has been an ally of the U.S. for a long time. It used to be a U.S. colony, but recently things have been tense. Duterte's is carrying out...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Donald Trump announced his choice to be defense secretary. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) DONALD TRUMP: We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis... (CHEERING) TRUMP: ...As our secretary of defense. SHAPIRO: And NPR's Tom Bowman joins us now to talk about General James Mattis. Tom, what can you tell us about him? TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Well, it's not over the top, Ari, to say he's a living legend in the Marine Corps...

A few weeks before the election, the Tri-Pro lumber mill in north Idaho shut down . It was the second mill to close in the area in six months, putting more than a hundred people out of work. While that's big economic loss for any community, it was especially tough for the tight-knit town of Orofino and its 3,000 or so residents. "It's going to be a struggle, quite honestly," says Mike Reggear, the supply manager and only employee left on the Tri-Pro payroll. The mill officially closed Oct. 4,...

A single tornado can cause a lot of damage. But even worse are tornado outbreaks. Just this week, a cluster of at least 18 tornadoes struck the Southeast over two days . Scientists are seeing bigger clusters in recent years, and they're struggling to figure out what's happening. When weather conditions are just right — lots of rising heat and moisture, and vertical wind shear — sometimes you get more than just a tornado. Mathematician Michael Tippett at Columbia University, who tracks these...

Christmas is coming, and soon TV screens everywhere will light up with that 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life . But the same story is coming a little early to the stage of the Houston Grand Opera . That's right: An operatic version of George Bailey's struggle with life and death opens this Friday. Librettist Gene Scheer admits that adapting such a beloved movie has sometimes felt like a fool's errand. "It's almost secular scripture, this piece," he says. "Everyone knows all the...

President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the many routine, get-acquainted chats he'll have before entering the White House. These talks rarely if ever make news, but Wednesday's conversation raised eyebrows because Trump lavished praise on Sharif and Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries. Here's part of the read-out of their conversation, as released by Pakistan's Press Information Department: "President Trump said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ed9iKMtwP0 You can hear Harold Lopez-Nussa's training when he plays. The 33-year-old pianist is reluctant to admit the classical influence on his jazz playing, but he's quick to acknowledge that he, like many other great Cuban pianists, was classically trained. "This is the school that we have to learn music in Cuba; it's classical," he says. "I did all my stuff there from 8 years old to 25." Ned Sublette, author of the book Cuba and Its Music, From the First...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's still no official word on the cause of Monday's plane crash in Colombia that killed nearly all the members of a beloved Brazilian soccer team. But audio released by Colombian media indicates the plane was initially denied permission to land even as it was running out of gas. Reporter John Otis has more. JOHN OTIS, BYLINE: The audio is between the pilot of the doomed plane, Miguel Quiroga, and the control...

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says it's hard to know how many people in the U.S. actually have food allergies or whether they're on the rise. Part of the challenge is this: Food allergies are often self-diagnosed and symptoms can be misinterpreted. Sometimes people can't distinguish a food allergy from other conditions such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, which don't fit the medical definition of an allergy. "There are a lot of misconceptions about what a...

So here's a riddle: What college doesn't have a campus, or professors, or students or even a football team? Give up? The Electoral College! OK, that was a little juvenile (if you really want to bring back your childhood, here's a video explaining the Electoral College by Schoolhouse Rock.) But there are a lot of misconceptions about the Electoral College, according to Oliver Potts, director of the Office of the Federal Register. The college, he said, is not a place or entity or organization, ...

Remember a couple of years ago, when it seemed like we were all one big happy family, Americans of every age and political stripe, joined in common pursuit? Millions of us spent that summer pouring buckets of ice water on our heads, to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Philanthropy has always played a big role in the United States, helping to shape who we are, what we do and how. Now it's the subject of a new exhibit called "Giving in...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Brazil is in mourning after the crash of a charter plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team. The team was headed to the biggest game in its history when the plane crashed in the Colombian Andes. More than 70 people were killed. Six survived. The crash brought to a violent end the Cinderella story of a team that rose from relative obscurity to qualify for one of the region's most prestigious tournaments. Catherine...

After campaigning with lots of populist and anti-Wall Street rhetoric, Donald Trump is seriously considering a veteran Wall Street financier, Steve Mnuchin, to be his Treasury secretary. Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs, ultimately as a partner at the investment bank. More recently, he's headed a privately owned hedge fund, Dune Capital Management. Last April he became Trump's chief fundraiser, and he's now a member of the president-elect's transition team. But Mnuchin's resume also...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: If you're looking for a way to stay young, you might want to try living out the rest of your life in the dark, frigid waters of the Arctic. You will also need to become a Greenland shark. Scientists have discovered this species can live for about 400 years and maybe even longer, as we hear in this encore report from NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce. NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE, BYLINE: The first time Julius Nielsen ever saw...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: People in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq have lived under ISIS for two years. Now they are living under assault from troops that are trying to free the city from ISIS control. The assault on the city started more than a month ago and civilians are caught in the crossfire. As winter approaches, things are getting worse. Alex Milutinovic is the International Rescue Committee's Iraq country director. He joins us...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Some people see reason to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro - among them, surviving veterans of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. That's when about 1,500 Cuban exiles trained by the CIA landed on the island's shores in a failed attempt to topple Castro's government. From Miami, NPR's Adrian Florido reports that for the surviving fighters, the celebration of Castro's death has been bittersweet. ADRIAN FLORIDO,...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's been a rash of small earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas in recent years. Scientists say many of these earthquakes are caused by oil and gas operators pumping their wastewater underground. In Texas, a new oil discovery could mean even more drilling wastewater to dispose of. The two states have very different views on how to deal with the quake problem. We're going to hear from two reporters now, one in each...

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