NPR News

In Charleston, S.C., federal court Thursday, a jury got a look inside Emanuel AME Church in the aftermath of last year's mass shooting that left nine black worshippers dead. They were gunned down during Wednesday Bible study as they bowed their heads for the closing prayer. Prosecutors say Dylann Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, targeted the historic church to start a race war. Testimony from crime scene investigators involved graphic, bloody photos, including a panoramic view of the...

It's been nearly a year since Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency in Flint, Mich. Before she became mayor, the city switched its water supply to the Flint River in a cost-cutting measure. The water wasn't properly treated, which caused corrosion in old pipes — leaching lead and other toxins into the city's tap water. People were afraid to drink or even bathe in the water. Since then, a lot has happened. Charges were brought against several Michigan state officials and one Flint...

Thirty years ago, a new face debuted on daytime television: Oprah Winfrey. The new podcast, "Making Oprah," produced by member station WBEZ, chronicles Oprah's rise to stardom. Journalist Jenn White tells Oprah's story from her early days on her first talk show, AM Chicago , through to the biggest, most outrageous moments when 40 million people a week were watching her national show. It began with a station manager in Chicago, Dennis Swanson. He was the one who spotted something in the young...

With Donald Trump's choices for secretaries of transportation and of housing and urban development — Elaine Chao and Dr. Ben Carson, respectively — there may be hints about the urban agenda Trump's administration may be shaping. Some big-city mayors say they're worried about potential cuts in federal funding that candidate Trump warned about on the stump, and they are reaching out to the president-elect. They say they have plenty of ideas they want to share about the country's cities. Chicago...

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke about the dangers of the promulgation of fake news on Thursday after conspiracy stories involving her campaign spurred violence recently. "The epidemic of malicious fake news and fake propaganda that flooded social media over the past year, it's now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences," Clinton said. She was referring to the "Pizzagate" incident in D.C. this weekend, which came to a terrifying head. A...

Without congressional intervention, about 16,000 retired miners in seven states will lose their health care coverage by the end of the year. A proposal to temporarily extend the benefits is working its way through Congress. But two Senate Democrats, who are advocates for a more comprehensive plan, say the temporary provision isn't enough. They are threatening to hold up a spending bill that needs to pass by Friday night to keep the government running. Coal mining is dangerous work. For many...

China's top court has handed basketball legend Michael Jordan a victory in a long-running trademark dispute over the use of his name by a Chinese company. "Nothing is more important than protecting your own name, and today's decision shows the importance of that principle," Jordan said in a statement after the ruling. Here's more from Jordan: "Over the past three decades, I have built my reputation and name into a globally recognized brand. From my earliest playing days in the NBA, through my...

Even non-Christians must allow that the New Testament is a formidable document. So any attempt to write what Jaco Van Dormael's comedy calls Le tout noveau testament (The Brand New Testament) requires careful deliberation. But the Belgian writer-director and his co-scripter, Thomas Gunzig, just didn't think very hard about their undertaking. The result is a satire whose whimsies and sight gags frequently click, but whose philosophical impact is negligible. The setup is the best part. In the...

The friction between art and life is director Damien Chazelle's ongoing obsession. It's a fine thing to ponder, though I didn't much care for his 2014 melodrama Whiplash , which worked up an overblown froth from the daffy proposition that you can bully a fledgling musician into becoming a genius drummer. La La Land , a frankly commercial but rapturous ode to art, love, and my much-maligned home town of Los Angeles, grows more organically out of Chazelle's charming 2009 debut, Guy and Madeline...

Slash fiction, for the unbent, is generally defined as fan fiction that pairs two characters or real people of the same sex in an intimate or erotic way: you've got your Kirk/Spock, your Sherlock/Watson, your Axl/Slash (sorry). The culture has been around for decades and is the subject of much queer-studies scholarship, but until the Internet such activity remained largely cloaked in shadow. Write slash fiction on your own and you may be thought a pervert; post it online and you gain...

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