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Lawmakers Testify At Hearing: Bring Earmarks Back

Jan 18, 2018

Like many lawmakers, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., supports reviving earmarks, but he mused at a House Rules Committee hearing Wednesday that the debate is futile if House Speaker Paul Ryan does not.

"When the speaker ain't inclined, ain't much going to happen," Hastings quipped, noting the speaker reiterated as recently as last Friday that he opposes ending an earmark ban put in place by former House Speaker John Boehner.

With the death of biologist Mathilde Krim on Monday, at the age of 91 at her home in New York, the world lost a pioneering scientist, activist and fundraiser in AIDS research. She is being widely praised this week for her clarity, compassion and leadership.

Amid the panic, confusion and discrimination of the HIV epidemic's earliest days, Krim stood out — using science and straight talk, in the 1980s and beyond, to dispel fear, stigma, and misinformation among politicians and the public.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom are debating a new tax on disposable cups in an effort to cut down on waste.

While the so-called "latte levy" is controversial, the goal is to replicate the success of Britain's tax on plastic bags; their use has declined by 80 percent since the tax was introduced in 2015. Proponents of the tax say it would encourage people to carry around their own reusable cups rather than use disposable ones, which in their current form are difficult to recycle.

Aetna settled a lawsuit for $17 million Wednesday over a data breach that happened in the summer of 2017. The privacy of as many as 12,000 people insured by Aetna was compromised in a very low-tech way: the fact that they had been taking HIV drugs was revealed through the clear window of the envelope.

U.K. Now Has A Minister For Loneliness

Jan 17, 2018

The U.K. has appointed a minister of loneliness to tackle what Prime Minister Theresa May calls a "sad reality of modern life" for many U.K. citizens.

May announced the position Wednesday, appointing current Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch.

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In Michigan last night just after 8 o'clock, something strange happened.

KELSEY WILCOX: It shook my entire house. I thought that a large piece of furniture fell.

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When Can The White House Use Executive Privilege?

Jan 17, 2018

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A 'Fraught Time' For Press Freedom In The Philippines

Jan 17, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte does not like the press. Stung by critical media reporting, he has in the past months called some of the country's largest media organizations "bullshit," "garbage," "son of a bitch." Journalists, he said, have no shame.

The State Department is withholding $65 million it planned to send to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, calling for reforms and for other nations to step up their support — especially those that criticize the Trump administration's positions regarding Palestinians and Israel.

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Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Michigan residents got a surprise Tuesday night when a meteor punched through the clouds with an explosive flash. It was powerful enough to register on seismic instruments.

The details of how North Korea will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea are still being worked out, but the two countries say their athletes will march together at the opening ceremony, under a unification flag.

The two countries will also form a unified women's hockey team to compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, NPR's Elise Hu reports from Seoul. In addition, North Korea will send a cheering squad of 230 people to support athletes who make the trip.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

The case before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday had a surprise plot twist. Jurors were told that the accused was guilty of a triple murder — but the lawyer making that statement was not the prosecutor; he was the defense attorney.

The question before the justices was whether that violated the client's constitutional right to counsel. Justices liberal and conservative signaled that they have a problem with a lawyer who disregards his client's express wishes by conceding the defendant's guilt.

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'Racial Impostor Syndrome': Here Are Your Stories

Jan 17, 2018

It's tricky to nail down exactly what makes someone feel like a "racial impostor." For one Code Switch follower, it's the feeling she gets from whipping out "broken but strangely colloquial Arabic" in front of other Middle Easterners.

For another — a white-passing, Native American woman — it's being treated like "just another tourist" when she shows up at powwows. And one woman described watching her white, black and Korean-American toddler bump along to the new Kendrick and wondering, "Is this allowed?"

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Morning News Brief

Jan 17, 2018

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You remember that White House meeting last week where President Trump used some choice words?

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I vaguely recall some news coverage of this. But...

GREENE: But we're famous on Twitter for using a word we never expected to say on the air...

Protesting Is Uncomfortable. Should It Be Easier?

Jan 17, 2018

To protest, or not to protest? This week on Ask Code Switch, we're digging into a question from Shawn, an African-American high school student in South Florida, who wonders how best to take a stand against injustice:

Hello Code Switch Crew,

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Nearly all of the seats on the U.S. National Park Service advisory board are vacant following a mass resignation Monday night, with ex-members citing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's unwillingness to meet with them.

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