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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ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

During World War II, a group of women took a bold step in aviation. While male pilots were sent overseas, the Women Air Force Service Pilots took up the war effort on the home front. From 1943 to 1944, they logged over 60 million miles across the U.S., flying 77 types of military aircraft to haul supplies and conduct training exercises.

The Everly Brothers' close harmonies and smooth guitar licks influenced an entire generation of popular musicians. Don Everly's voice usually handled the melody, but Phil Everly gave the higher accompanying harmony to that melody, and that was what defined The Everly Brothers' sound.

On Monday, the BCS National Championship featuring Florida State and Auburn University will mark the end of the confusing and controversial Bowl Championship Series. Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about what this means for the future of NCAA football.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Anbar province of Iraq this week. NPR's Arun Rath speaks to Middle East specialist Kirk Sowell about what it means.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's time now for The New and The Next.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RATH: Carlos Watson is the cofounder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week, he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos. Happy New Year.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, Happy New Year to you. Always good to be back.

RATH: So this week, we're going to talk about some of the stuff you're excited about in the year ahead. One of those things, in a word, Japan.

Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.

In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?

When members of Congress return to work next week, at the top of the "to-do" list is whether to renew emergency unemployment benefits. An extension of the benefits expired at the end of 2013, which means 1.3 million out-of-work Americans are no longer getting unemployment checks.

Imagine a museum that's only 6 square feet. It's called, simply, Museum and it's housed in an old elevator shaft in an alley near New York City's courts. It has some odd exhibits on 18 small shelves, and only about four people can fit into the space at a time.

For the past three decades, Oklahoma averaged about 50 earthquakes a year. But that number has skyrocketed in the past few years. In 2013 — the state's most seismically active year ever — there were almost 3,000.

The quakes are small, and they're concentrated in the central part of the state, where the Erwins live.

My favorite crime novels always combine more than one genre. Like a detective mystery that's really psychological. Or a police captain who happens to be a gourmet. Honestly, most travel books don't even get going until a body or two is discovered.

In the case of Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll, the mashup is suspense meets memoir. It sounds a little gimmicky, but I promise it's absolutely not. Instead we have a semi-autobiographical novel that's poetic, gripping and at times even profound.

It was November when Republican Trey Radel, a first-term congressman from Fort Myers, Fla., was charged with cocaine possession — a misdemeanor in Washington, D.C. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year's probation.

A few days before Christmas, fresh from a month in rehab, Radel held a news conference with his wife by his side. He apologized and said that alcohol, not cocaine, is his main problem, and that's what he was treated for.

But the main point of his news conference was to say that he would not step down from Congress.

The income gap is growing dramatically in China and the rich are getting exponentially richer — the richest 10 percent of China's population are more than three times wealthier than the official figures.

Much of that undeclared wealth is what Chinese people call "gray income," including proceeds from corruption and other ethically "gray" areas of the economy.

Living on the margins of the "gray economy" are people like migrant laborer Wang Haichuan. He rents a room far below street level in a dark, former air-raid shelter inhabited by other migrants.

The widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has become a central touch point for economists, pundits and politicians across the U.S. New York City's newly sworn-in mayor, Bill deBlasio, was elected after campaigning against a city divided between the haves and have-nots. President Obama has called tackling inequality the defining challenge of our time, saying that growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility jeopardizes the American dream. But what, exactly, is income inequality?

The first major snow storm of the new year is expected to hit 22 states Thursday and Friday. About 100 million people are expected to be affected.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Happy new year. Today marks the first day that millions of Americans will be covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In a moment, we'll get the latest on the debate around one requirement of the law that most employers provide contraceptive coverage.

But first, some big change went into effect today. To run through them, here's reporter Sarah Varney.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

We begin this hour with big change in New York City. As of today, it has a new mayor, its 109th. Bill de Blasio is the first Democrat at the helm of city hall in two decades. At his inauguration, de Blasio talked up his progressive agenda.

From member station WNYC, Brigid Bergin reports on the beginning of this new era in New York City government.

The use of social media is exploding in Brazil. It's the third largest market for Facebook and the fifth largest for Twitter.

The controversial women-only app Lulu recently launched here and quickly became the top downloaded app in the country, making Brazil Lulu's biggest market.

"I think it is cool because it's a social network for what all women throughout history have always done — talk about the guys we like, the guys we think are handsome," says 20-year-old Marcela, as she taps away at the Lulu app on her iPhone.

Poor countries are starting to realize something that richer ones sometimes forget: Basic, inexpensive measures can have dramatic impacts on the health of a country. And they can save thousands of lives.

Take, for instance, the situation in Ethiopia.

The country used to have one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And so it's time to say goodbye. As you probably know, this, after 21 years, is the final broadcast of TALK OF THE NATION, and after 36 years, my last day at NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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