Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Thomas Rid of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies about Russia's alleged hack on the U.S. government and tech companies.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro plays the puzzle with Phoebe Simmons of Boise, Idaho, and puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

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A global catastrophe has wiped out most of humanity. An astronomer living in an outpost inside the Arctic Circle is in a race against time to help the crew of a spacecraft returning from one of Jupiter's moons.

That's the premise of The Midnight Sky, the new science fiction movie starring George Clooney. It's based on the 2016 book Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. Though the story is set in 2049, the themes are very 2020.

Staff at Cedars-Sinai in LA got a surprise from a former COVID-19 patient last week: 800 homemade tamales. Margarita Montanez spent five days making them as a "thank you" for her care last spring.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

President-elect Joe Biden carried Georgia with less than a 13,000-vote lead, a tiny margin made possible, in part, by historic turnout among Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the Peach State. It's the first time in nearly 30 years that Georgia voters chose a Democrat for president.

The number of coronavirus cases in California has topped 1.2 million, leaving the state's hospitals near a breaking point. There are projections that the state could run out of intensive care beds before Christmas. And Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's considering another statewide stay-at-home order to stop the surge.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Mary Anning was just 12 years old in 1811 when she unearthed the skeleton of an ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that lived some 200 million years ago – and yet, most people have never heard of this self-taught, British paleontologist. With her new film Ammonite, Kate Winslet hopes to change that.

Anning's hands were always raw from digging, Winslet says. "She made so little money, she was completely impoverished. And yet she was remarkably uncomplaining. This was a stoic, kind, compassionate person."

Growing a mustache. Teaching a girl to dance. Lying in bed on a rainy morning.

These are the everyday daydreams of Wachito Rico, the titular character at the heart of Boy Pablo's new album.

And they're not far off from the real life of Nico Muñoz, the 21-year-old Chilean-Norwegian musician behind Boy Pablo.

National Book Award winner Phil Klay's new novel Missionaries takes readers around the world, from the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan to turmoil in rural Colombia.

"The more that I thought about the way that we wage war in the 21st century, the more it seemed to me insufficient to just talk about one theater of conflict," Klay explains. "I wanted to talk about the ways these wars bleed into each other."

Imagine being able to lay down your burdens and fly away from Earth — to a place of harmony, where discrimination is left behind. That dream is the basis of the song "Blackstronauts" by Britton & The Sting, a standout entry in this year's Tiny Desk Contest. Britton Smith, who wrote the song, tells Weekend Edition he wrote "Blackstronauts" while thinking about one particular burden: the need for affirmation.

In Baltimore, summer Sundays are the time to ride — on warm evenings, dirt bikes and four wheelers roar through the city's streets with young riders popping wheelies and pulling gravity defying tricks.

Filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto says Baltimore's bike culture is unlike any other: "It's one of the most exhilarating and emotional spectacles of talent that I have ever seen, streetwise ..." he says. "They were literally like dancing on top of their bikes while popping a wheelie. I've never seen anything like that."

Right now, young adult fiction is a genre that is really allowing compelling voices to tackle hard subjects in interesting ways.

In a new book, Hush, a cabal of magical men have literally stolen people's ability to distinguish fact from fantasy. The main character Shae is on a quest to find out who killed her mother and uncover what is really behind a plague that is destroying the land. Along the way, she learns that the most dangerous thing is to speak the truth.

Linda Ronstadt — the chart-topping, Grammy- and Emmy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Famer — is due to be honored again this week. This time, she'll receive a Hispanic Heritage Award, in recognition both of her pop music and her smash-hit mariachi albums. Ahead of the virtual ceremony, which will be broadcast by PBS on Oct. 6, she joined NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro to talk about the role of her Mexican-American identity in her career and what music she's been listening to lately.

This year, many people have been turning to music for catharsis, but Mama Haze, aka songwriter Meaghan Maples, has been tapping into music's healing powers for a long time. Before pursuing music full-time, the Oakland, Calif.-based artist was a doula and caregiver, often prescribing music as an antidote to patients' pain.

This year's Tiny Desk Contest wrapped up at the beginning of August with the announcement of our winner, Linda Diaz, and her song "Green Tea Ice Cream." But NPR Music's panel of judges saw over 6000 entries from around the country, and there was more than one incredible submission.

Writer Nnedi Okorafor was born and raised in the U.S., but she says her immigrant parents were always talking about Nigeria. "We had the American experience, but they also didn't leave home behind ..." Okorafor says. Nigeria "didn't feel like a place of the past. It felt like a place of the now and the future."

Stephen Miller is the architect of Donald Trump's extreme policies on immigration.

And leaked emails have shown him pushing white-power ideology cloaked in pseudo-science.

So how did an affluent kid from the California suburbs — who liked mobster movies and wore gold chains — get on the path that led him to where he is now?

Koko Kondo was 8 months old and with her mother when the first atomic bomb hit her home city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Her father, Methodist minister the Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, had left earlier that morning.

"Suddenly, the whole house crashed," Kondo recounts. She was trapped beneath the rubble with her mother.

Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.

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STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

So many of us do it: You get into bed, turn off the lights, and look at your phone to check Twitter one more time.

You see that coronavirus infections are up. Maybe your kids can't go back to school. The economy is cratering.

Still, you incessantly scroll though bottomless doom-and-gloom news for hours as you sink into a pool of despair.

For the past month, as anti-racism protesters across America have revived the campaign for the removal of statues, many eyes have focused on Richmond, Va. — the former capital of the Confederacy.

Richmond is home to Monument Avenue, a long stretch with towering statues dedicated to Confederate figures like Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Some of those monuments have been toppled by protesters; others have been taken down by the city.

As the number of new coronavirus cases spikes in several states across the U.S., governors, county officials and business owners have been crafting laws and guidelines that mandate the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But even a simple cloth face covering has become political.

The settings: A lavish Capri wedding, Italian villas, mansions in the Hamptons and a mega-yacht.

The love interests: George Zao, a Chinese-Australian surfer, and Lucie Tang Churchill of, yes, those Churchills.

The book: Sex and Vanity. And it could only be written by Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, who says he felt like it was time to move on from the decadent, glamorous world of that series.

Padma Lakshmi — the host of the cooking competition Top Chef — is on a new gastronomical journey, taking her to places you've probably heard of, like Chinatown in San Franscisco, and others you may not, like Little Lima in New Jersey.

The new show is called Taste the Nation, and Lakshmi does not shy away from the complicated history and politics that remind us who is really at the center of our favorite "American" dishes: immigrants.

Zeshan Bagewadi is in many ways, a classic soul singer. As Zeshan B, he channels the music of Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. His signature, though, is combining that classic soul sound with lyrics that pay tribute to his South Asian roots. On his latest album, Melismatic, his first collection of entirely original compositions, he sings in both English and Urdu.

The first sign that something was wrong came with stomach pains. It was April 30, and 9-year-old Kyree McBride wasn't feeling well.

His mother, Tammie Hairston, thought it might have been something that he ate. But soon, young McBride was battling a 102-degree fever.

Worried he may have contracted the coronavirus, Hairston took her son to the hospital. "It was a quick in and out of the emergency room," she said. Doctors told her to take him home and monitor him.

"I wasn't afraid of fighting," Ilhan Omar writes about her childhood in Somalia in her new memoir. "I felt like I was bigger and stronger than everyone else — even if I knew that wasn't really the case."

In This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman, Omar chronicles her childhood in a middle-class family compound in Mogadishu, followed by civil war, four years in a refugee camp, a journey to the United States and ultimately her election to Congress as a Democrat representing Minnesota's 5th district.

On her latest EP, Noah Cyrus wants you to know that you're not alone in feeling alone. Blending the spirit of classic country music with the sensibilities of today's pop, it's called The End of Everything — which feels like a good title for this moment.

Noah comes from quite the musical family, but now, with songs like "July" and "I Got So High That I Saw Jesus," she's finding her own voice.

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