Episodes

February 24, 2021 12 min
Natural gas utilities face a bleak future in a world increasingly concerned about climate change. An NPR investigation shows how they work to block local climate action and protect their business.

More from NPR's Jeff Brady and Dan Charles: As Cities Grapple With Climate Change, Gas Utilities Fight To Stay In Business. Additional reporting in this episode from NPR's Nathan Rott.

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After more than 500,000 deaths and nearly a full year, experts say there are a growing number of reasons to be optimistic about the direction of the pandemic. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all fallen dramatically in recent weeks.

Among those falling numbers, a vaccine from Johnson & Johnson that may be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration this week. Dr. Ashish Jha of Brown University explains why the shot is...
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Last summer, the city of Austin, Texas, slashed the budget for its police department. More recently, the city council voted on a new way to spend some of that money. KUT reporter Audrey McGlinchy explains what other changes have taken place in Austin.

A powerful new player is joining calls for reparations for Black Americans: the American Civil Liberties Union. Civil rights attorney Deborah Archer — the ACLU's newly elected boa...
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Why is it so hard to feel the difference between 400,000 and 500,000 COVID-19 deaths — and how might that impact our decision making during the pandemic?

In this bonus episode from NPR's daily science podcast Short Wave, psychologist Paul Slovic explains the concept of psychic numbing and how humans can often use emotion, rather than statistics to make decisions about risk.

To hear more about new discoveries, everyday mysteries...
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The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is on track to pass a number next week that once seemed unthinkable: Half a million people in this country dead from the coronavirus.

And while the pandemic isn't over yet, and the death toll keeps climbing, artists in every medium have already been thinking about how our country will pay tribute to those we lost.

Poets, muralists, and architects all have visions of what a COVID-19 memorial could...
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Millions of people in Texas have gone three or more days without power, water or both. Texas has had winter weather before, so what went so wrong this time?

Reporter Mose Buchele of NPR member station KUT in Austin explains why the state's power grid buckled under demand in the storm. And Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia, explains the link between more extreme winter w...
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After the Senate vote failed to convict former President Donald Trump, a clearer picture of the political consequences is emerging — both for the Republican party and for the United States on the world stage.

NPR's Don Gonyea reports on Republican infighting the national, state and local level.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells NPR that the events of Jan. 6 have came up in conversations he's had with diplomatic counte...
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There's evidence of at least seven U.S. variants of the coronavirus, while another that emerged from the U.K. is poised to become the dominant strain here by the end of March. One adviser from the Food and Drug Administration tells NPR there's a tipping point to watch for: when a fully vaccinated person winds up hospitalized with a coronavirus variant.

NPR science correspondent Richard Harris reports on concerns that COVID-1...
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The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says more than 60 countries around the world are using COVID-19 as an excuse to skirt international law by closing borders and ports to asylum-seekers. That has contributed to an increase in delayed rescues and unlawful expulsions of refugees to dangerous places.

NPR's Joanna Kakissis tells the story of one teenage survivor.

And NPR's Ruth Sherlock reports on a doomed journey of Leb...
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We asked for your questions on navigating love and dating during the pandemic. Therapist and sexologist Lexx Brown-James has answers. She's joined by Sam Sanders, host of NPR's news and pop culture show, It's Been A Minute. Listen via Apple or Spotify.

And University of Georgia social scientist Dr. Richard Slatcher shares some findings from his global research project, Love In The Time Of COVID.

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The pandemic economy has left different people in vastly different situations. Today, we introduce four American indicators — people whose paths will help us understand the arc of the recovery. Hear their stories now, and we'll follow up with them in a few months:

Brooke Neubauer in Nevada, founder of The Just One Project; Lisa Winton of the Winton Machine Company in Georgia; Lee Camp with Arch City Defenders in Missouri; and N...
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The Biden administration has set a goal: a majority of public schools open "at least one day a week" by the 100th day of his presidency. But it's possible the country is already there — and decisions about when to reopen largely fall to cities and school districts, where administrators and teachers sometimes don't see eye-to-eye.

Students are losing a lot of academic ground the longer their schooling is disrupted. M...
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In the weeks after Jan. 6. insurrection, even top Republicans like Mitch McConnell said Donald Trump provoked the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, leaving five people dead.

But it appears unlikely enough Republican Senators will find that he bears enough responsibility to warrant conviction in his second impeachment trial — which could prevent him from ever holding office again.

Charlie Sykes, founder and editor at large of the c...
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Using data from several states that have published their own maps and lists of where vaccination sites are located, NPR identified disparities in the locations of COVID-19 vaccination sites in major cities across the Southern U.S. — with most sites placed in whiter neighborhoods.

KUT's Ashley Lopez, Shalina Chatlani of NPR's Gulf States Newsroom, and NPR's Sean McMinn explain their findings. Read more here.

Also in thi...
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People of color experience more air and water pollution than white people and suffer the health impacts. The federal government helped create the problem, and has largely failed to fix it.

In this episode of Short Wave, NPR climate reporter Rebecca Hersher talks about the history of environmental racism in the United States, and what Biden's administration can do to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Read Rebecca's reporting on...
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Why does Whitney Houston's 1991 Super Bowl national anthem still resonate 30 years later? In this episode of NPR's It's Been A Minute, host Sam Sanders chats with author Danyel Smith about that moment of Black history and what it says about race, patriotism and pop culture.

Smith wrote about the significance of that national anthem performance back in 2016 for ESPN.

Listen to more episodes of It's Been A Minute on Ap...
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The pandemic leveled live performance, and the industry is last in line for a return to normal.

Musician Zoe Keating and production designer Terry Morgan describe how their work has changed with live venues nationwide shuttered for nearly a year.

Venue owner Danya Frank of First Avenue and Jim Ritts of the Paramount Theatre explain why the gears of the performing arts economy are not designed for a slow return to normalcy.

In parti...
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Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is one of President Biden's priorities with the newest COVID-19 relief package. But Republicans say it will hurt small businesses too much and some swing voting Democrats are hesitant too.

The history of the minimum wage in the U.S. is tied closely to civil rights. Ellora Derenoncourt, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, says one theme of the 1963 March on Washington w...
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A third COVID-19 vaccine could receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration this month. The vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease, according to a global study.

Combined with the two vaccines currently in circulation, the U.S. could have three vaccines that are all highly effective at preventing death or hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Despite tha...
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For months, Myanmar's military party has claimed — without evidence — that its poor performance in the country's November parliamentary elections was the result of voter fraud. This week, when the new Parliament was scheduled to convene, the military launched a coup, detaining top civilian officials including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Michael Sullivan reports from Thailand on the uncertainty over what happens next....
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