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Hosts: Melissa Block, Audie Cornish, Robert Siegel &
Thom Kokenge

NPR's afternoon radio newsmagazine brings you breaking news and compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features. Thom Kokenge also updates you on regional news, and weather forecasts on your drive home.

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Reporter's Notebook
2:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Midcentury Furniture + Grandkid Nostalgia = Modern Trend

NPR's Andrea Hsu paid $75 for her midcentury modern table and chairs, shown here in a 1963 Drexel Declaration catalog. She quickly realized it was a steal.
Courtesy Drexel Heritage

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 pm

Open a design magazine or turn on a home decorating show these days, and it's clear: Midcentury modern is hot. It first showed up in the 1950s and '60s — think low-slung sofas, egg-shaped chairs and the set of Mad Men. My first midcentury modern find was a dining set I bought on Craigslist for $75. There was something about the clean lines and gentle curves of the wooden chairs that got me.

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Music + Culture
2:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

100 Years After The Riot, The 'Rite' Remains

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony.
Bill Swerbenski San Francisco Symphony

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:51 am

One hundred years ago, a landmark of modern music was unveiled before a Paris audience. And that audience famously and mercilessly greeted it with boos, jeers and hisses. It was the premiere of the Ballets Russes' The Rite of Spring.

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It's All Politics
1:46 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Public Employee Unions Take Issue With Immigration Overhaul

Chris Crane, president of the union that represents deportation agents, officers and employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April. Crane has been a vocal opponent of the proposed immigration overhaul.
Andrew Harnik The Washington Times/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 pm

A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.

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Media
1:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of The Times-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when The Times-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 11:26 am

Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune, laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

Sharron Morrow and her friends had bonded over the morning paper at a local coffee shop for the past 20 years.

"I've stopped my subscription, and I mourn the paper almost every day," she says.

Shifting Media Players

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Parallels
12:52 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:56 pm

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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The Salt
12:32 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

Cicada: It's what's for dinner?
Sean Bush AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 pm

You knew this one was coming.

Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

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Business
12:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:18 pm

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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NWPR Books
10:35 am
Wed May 29, 2013

For China's Youth, A Life Of 'Darkness Outside The Night'

A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below.
Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 1:48 pm

Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.

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NWPR Books
7:22 am
Wed May 29, 2013

The Courage To Cross An Ocean, Explored In 'TransAtlantic'

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 3:36 pm

In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.

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NWPR Books
3:38 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Novel Examines Afghanistan War From A Pakistani Perspective

The sun sets just east of Chaman, Pakistan, near the Afghan border, on Nov. 8, 2001.
Laura Rauch AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:43 am

Two young men — foster brothers in love with the same woman — leave their small Pakistani town for Afghanistan in late 2001. Jeo, a medical student, wants to help wounded civilians and Mikal is there to look after Jeo, but their good intentions aren't enough to keep them safe in an increasingly dangerous war zone.

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