All Things Considered on Classical 89.3

Weekdays, 4pm - 6pm
Hosted By: Melissa Block, Robert Siegel, Audie Cornish

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Melissa Block, and Audie Cornish present this NPR program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews and offbeat features.

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Europe
5:19 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Ex-Diplomats: U.S.-Russian Relations Not As Dire As They Seem

Former U.S. and Russian diplomats gather at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Tuesday. From left: former Russian or Soviet ambassadors to the U.S. Vladimir Lukin, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Viktor Komplektov; Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute of USA and Canada; and former U.S. ambassadors to Russia James Collins, Jack Matlock, Thomas Pickering and John Beyrle.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 1:11 am

Relations between the United States and Russia are testier than they have been in years. The two nations are at odds over human rights, the civil war in Syria and even the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.

But former American diplomats say things aren't as bad as they may seem. They say the two countries should work together on economic and security issues.

Four former U.S. ambassadors to the Soviet Union and Russia were in Moscow this week for talks with their counterparts, former Russian ambassadors to the United States.

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NPR Story
4:47 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Private Foundations Start To Edge Out Some Countries In International Aid Donations

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's been a significant shift in international aid in recent years. Less money is coming from large donor nations and more is coming from private foundations, corporations, even countries that only a few years ago were recipients of aid themselves.

NPR's Jason Beaubien tells us more.

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Europe
3:34 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

A Renaissance For 'Pigsticking' In Spain

Ramiro Maura hunts wild boar at his ranch near Madrid in February.
Lauren Frayer NPR

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

An ancient hunting ritual is making a comeback in modern Spain: the practice of hunting wild boar on horseback with spears — and no guns. The sport dates to Roman times, and was recently approved and added to Spanish hunting regulations.

Just a 20-minute drive from Spain's capital, you're in the dehesa — oak woodlands, where wild boar, deer and mountain goats roam. Madrid's skyscrapers are on the horizon, but in the forest, ancient traditions still reign.

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World
3:34 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Official On Deck To Succeed Castros Still A Question Mark To Many Cubans

Newly elected Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel attends a tribute to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in March. Diaz-Canel is expected to eventually succeed Raul Castro as the island nation's leader in 2018.
Desmond Boylan Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Within 10 days of Miguel Diaz-Canel's big promotion to vice president of Cuba in February, he was already being tapped as a stand-in for reticent, 81-year-old President Raul Castro. It was Diaz-Canel, not Raul or Fidel Castro, who gave Cuba's first public condolences when the communist government lost its best friend and benefactor, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

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The Picture Show
1:45 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

You Can't Put A Headline On William Klein

Gun 1, New York, 1955
William Klein 'William Klein ABC'/Abrams

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Try to put him in a box and he'll find his way out. Still working at nearly 85 years old, William Klein has gone rogue in at least four different fields: abstract painting, photography, filmmaking and commercial copy writing.

Klein now lives in Paris but I caught up with him in New York City — the place where he was born, but no longer has much affinity for. He's just here to promote a new book, William Klein ABC.

When I ask him what he thinks about the city, he says:

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Shots - Health News
7:08 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Obama's Plan To Explore The Brain: A 'Most Audacious' Project

A colored 3-D MRI scan of the brain's white matter pathways traces connections between cells in the cerebrum and the brainstem.
Tom Barrick, Chris Clark, SGHMS Science Source

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 2:35 pm

President Obama has announced an ambitious plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain.

In a speech Tuesday, Obama said he will ask Congress for $100 million in 2014 to "better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember." Other goals include finding new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

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Shots - Health News
6:20 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

How To Get Rid Of Polio For Good? There's A $5 Billion Plan

A child is immunized against polio at the health clinic in a farming village in northern Nigeria. The procedure involves pinching two drops of the vaccine into the child's mouth. For full protection, the child needs three doses, spaced out over time.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

Polio is on the verge of being eliminated. Last year there were just over 200 cases of polio, and they occurred in just two remote parts of the world — northern Nigeria and the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border region.

A new $5.5 billion plan being pushed by the World Health Organization strives to eliminate polio entirely, phase out vaccination campaigns and secure polio vaccine stockpiles in case the virus somehow manages to re-emerge.

If the effort is successful, polio would be just the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eliminated by medical science.

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Shots - Health News
5:16 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

China's Air Pollution Linked To Millions Of Early Deaths

Men walk along a railway line in Beijing on Jan. 12, as air pollution reached hazardous levels.
Wang Zhao AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:25 pm

More than 1 million people are dying prematurely every year from air pollution in China, according to a new analysis.

"This is the highest toll in the world and it really reflects the very high levels of air pollution that exist in China today," says Robert O'Keefe of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, who presented the findings in Beijing this week.

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Music Reviews
4:19 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Bombino: A Desert Rock 'Nomad' Rolls Into Nashville

Bombino's new album is titled Nomad.
Ron Wyman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

Tuareg bands are natural rockers. These desert nomads have a history of harsh physical challenges, long separations, nostalgia and rebellion — elements that give their music gritty authenticity. There's something about their ambling, tuneful songs that fits perfectly with the bite and snarl of electric guitars.

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

In Missouri, Days Of Drought Send Caretakers To One 'Big Tree'

This bur oak, called "The Big Tree" by Missouri locals, has been around for centuries. When a drought hit the state last year, the community came together to offer help and water for the iconic tree.
Courtesy of Christopher Starbuck

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 10:52 am

The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.

This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Once Championed By Putin, Medvedev Falls Precipitously Out Of Favor

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, heads a State Council session alongside Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last year. Increasing political attacks on Medvedev have accompanied Putin's suspicions about his erstwhile partner's ambitions.
Yekaterina Shtukina AP

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:56 pm

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev appears increasingly isolated from the centers of power surrounding President Vladimir Putin.

Analysts say Medvedev is the target of a campaign to wreck his reputation and drive him from office. It's a risky situation for the former president, who was once regarded as Putin's partner.

The attacks have come from many directions. One of the harshest was an anonymous, documentary-style film that was posted on the Internet in January.

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Theater
5:25 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Nora Ephron's 'Lucky Guy' And Tom Hanks Make Their Broadway Debuts

Nora Ephron's final play, Lucky Guy, tells the story of controversial New York columnist Mike McAlary, played by Tom Hanks. (Also pictured: Peter Gerety as John Cotter).
Boneau / Bryan-Brown

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 8:57 pm

Several years ago, when Nora Ephron handed Tom Hanks an early draft of Lucky Guy, her play about tabloid journalist Mike McAlary, he had a pretty strong reaction.

"I said, 'Well, that guy's sure a jerk!' I used another word besides jerk — I know what you can say on NPR," he says. "And she laughed and she said, 'Well, he kinda was. But he was kinda great, too.'"

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Religion
5:04 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

With New Pope, Catholic Women Hope To Regain Church Leadership Roles

Parishioners partake in the Way Of The Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday in Rome. A group of women Catholics recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to request that women once again be allowed to hold leadership positions in the church.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 8:45 pm

The newly elected pope's focus on the poor and the marginalized has instilled great faith among many Catholic women. They hope the papacy of Pope Francis will promote a leading role for women in the church.

A group of American nuns and Catholic women recently made a pilgrimage to Rome to make their requests heard.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Opposition Research Boot Camp: Learning To Dig For Political Dirt

Opposition research is becoming a given in politics, sometimes even at the local level.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 8:29 pm

Opposition research exists mostly in the political shadows. So perhaps it's fitting that this boot camp is in an generic conference room in a generic airport hotel outside of Washington, D.C.

It's run by private investigator Larry Zilliox, who specializes in opposition research. He allowed me to attend a session, but not to take pictures.

Zilliox is cagey about his clients: "As a general rule, it suits me best not to comment on who I've worked for. Everybody is better off that way."

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Shots - Health News
3:41 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century

When anthropologists tallied the use of emotional words through a century of literature, they included many books without clear emotional content — technical manuals, for example, and automotive repair guides.
Steve Debenport iStockphotography

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 10:18 am

Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?

To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer — embedded in literature.

Several years ago, more or less on a lark, a group of researchers from England used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from every year of the 20th century — close to a billion words in millions of books.

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Science
5:12 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Somewhere Over The Brainbow: The Journey To Map the Human Brain

More than 100 years ago, Golgi staining on nerve cells opened the gates to modern neuroscience. Scientists recently developed the Technicolor version of Golgi staining, Brainbow, allowing more detailed reconstructions of brain circuits.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 9:55 pm

During the State of the Union, President Obama said the nation is about to embark on an ambitious project: to examine the human brain and create a road map to the trillions of connections that make it work.

"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar," the president said. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

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History
5:08 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Living Memories From The Last Days Of Alcatraz

Alcatraz, the infamous prison, still captures the imagination 50 years after it closed. Those who did time there, however, don't have to wonder.
Leigh Wiener Courtesy Devik Wiener

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:28 pm

Fifty years ago, the notorious Alcatraz prison shut its gate behind guard Jim Albright as he escorted the last inmate off the island on March 21, 1963.

"As we're going out, I know, when I come back from this trip, I don't have a job, I don't have a home anymore," Albright remembers. "I didn't want the island to close, I didn't want to leave. I liked it there."

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Author Interviews
4:45 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

An Unlikely Explorer Stumbles Into Controversy

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 1:03 pm

The mostly forgotten explorer Paul du Chaillu introduced the world to gorillas. His methods were attacked and his work discredited during his lifetime, but he also experienced fame and redemption.

Author Monte Reel illuminates the little-known tale of the 19th century explorer in his new book Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm.

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Movie Interviews
10:03 am
Sun March 31, 2013

Cristian Mungiu: Metaphor Or Not, 'Hills' Has Eyes For Romania's Past

Director Cristian Mungiu on the set of his new film, Beyond the Hills. As in his earlier 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the filmmaker focuses on two young women adrift in the post-Soviet wilderness of Romania.
Sundance Selects

Originally published on Sun March 31, 2013 6:28 pm

Cristian Mungiu became the poster boy for the Romanian New Wave when his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days took the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007. Like that film, Mungiu's latest turns an unblinking camera on two troubled young women in a dysfunctional society. Beyond the Hills is now opening in theaters across the U.S.

Like its predecessor, Beyond the Hills was a prizewinner at Cannes: Its two young stars shared the best actress prize last year, and Mungiu won best screenplay.

The story he tells is disturbing.

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Health Care
5:40 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

Three Years On, States Still Struggle With Health Care Law Messaging

Joy Reynolds of San Diego looks at the newspapers on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 2012, following the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 6:25 pm

It is hard to imagine that after three years of acrimony and debate we could still be so confused about President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Is it actually possible Americans know less about Obamacare now than they did three years ago? Apparently that is the case, and the news comes just as the most sweeping effects of the law are about to kick in.

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