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All Things Considered

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NPR's flagship evening newsmagazine delivers in-depth reporting and transforms the way listeners understand current events and view the world.

Every weekday, hosts Amy Kiley,Robert Siegel, Audie Cornish, Ari Shapiro and Kelly McEvers present two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special – sometimes quirky – features.

Michelle Taylor is 26 years old and keenly interested in the past.

The research associate at Virginia Commonwealth University is taking part in a program to reconstruct the grounds of Montpelier, the former estate of President James Madison, in Virginia. Taylor also has a personal connection to one of the slaves Madison owned, which makes her work rebuilding slave cabins especially meaningful to her.

Of all the men who have been U.S. president, just one is buried on the grounds of a state capitol. But that might be about to change.

Lawmakers in Tennessee have taken the first step to exhume the body of James K. Polk, who for a century has rested in a small, white, chest-high tomb with his wife, Sarah.

Teresa Elam remembers picnicking here with her grandfather, just downhill from the Tennessee Capitol.

"And so I did that with my children, and now we're doing it with our grandchildren," she says.

Groups that help low-income families get food assistance are alarmed by a recent drop in the number of immigrants seeking help. Some families are even canceling their food stamps and other government benefits, for fear that receiving them will affect their immigration status or lead to deportation. Many of the concerns appear to be unfounded but have been fueled by the Trump administration's tough stance on immigration.

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

In Atlanta, the buzzing of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles grows loudest on Sundays. That's when a loose group of riders called ATL Bike Life gets together.

“It’s going to get bigger and bigger,” said Quint, one of the riders with the group, standing outside a park in Atlanta’s Oakland City neighborhood.

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Office of Gov. Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal said he's exploring Georgia's health care options now that Congressional efforts to repeal ObamaCare have stalled.

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Deal had asked state lawmakers to wait and see what happened to health care at the federal level before making any big policy changes in the state.

Casey Cagle at the Georgia Senate.
Al Such / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal may be looking forward to signing one of the bills that will soon make its way to his desk. The state Senate approved his plan to turn around low-performing schools Friday in a vote of 37-18.

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House Bill 338, also called the ‘First Priority Act,’ would create turnaround specialists to work with struggling schools. They would evaluate students and provide resources to help them improve.

After yesterday's pulled health care vote, many on the left and the right are seeing it as a failure for Republicans — but former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says it's actually a blessing in disguise.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

The company that's building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia is reportedly heading for bankruptcy. And that could mean trouble for Georgia Power, whose new units at Plant Vogtle are already behind schedule and over budget.

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Westinghouse, the contractor building the two new nuclear units, could file for bankruptcy as early as next week. The units at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, and others in South Carolina are the first new nuclear reactors being built in the United States in decades.

Georgia Senate Considers Bill To Regulate Fracking

Mar 24, 2017
Georgia Capitol Building
Al Such / WABE

A bill before the Georgia Senate would regulate fracking in the state.

Chuck Mueller, director of cross media programs with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, said local officials from eight counties in northwest Georgia asked for the bill. Northwest Georgia happens to have the only land in the state suitable for fracking.

The term is slang for fracturing, which is a high-pressure technique of drilling a liquid mixture into the earth to extract oil or natural gas.

U.S. Marine artillerymen are now in place on Syrian soil, north of the last stronghold of the Islamic State. A force of local Kurdish and Arab fighters is moving south, continuing to isolate the city of Raqqa.

They're in the opening stages of a major military operation that officials say could last into the fall.

What comes next is expected to have huge implications not only for the fate of ISIS but also for the relationship between Turkey and Russia, as well as the geographic outlines of the future Syrian state.

It will be very complicated.

Norman Mackenzie, director of choruses for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, poses for a portrait on July 9, 2015.
Stephanie M. Lennox / WABE

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus has won almost as many Grammy Awards as Adele. But whereas Adele makes millions, ASO singers get paid … nothing.  A visit to an ASO rehearsal explains why these singers volunteer.

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To get into this choir, performers need a great voice that blends well with others and the ability to read music really well.

Meaghan Curry has those skills. 

"I get so much joy out of singing with the chorus and getting to hear this orchestra,” she says.

Dan Fazio says his phone is "ringing off the hook" these days.

He's executive director of WAFLA, an organization that helps fruit growers in Washington state find workers — and specifically, foreign workers who are allowed to enter the U.S. specifically as seasonal workers on farms.

Musicians from all over the world are settling back at home, recovering from last week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Hundreds of musicians played throughout the week, for crowds big and small.

At the State Department on Wednesday, officials from 68 countries and organizations gathered for a two-day summit to coordinate plans to fight ISIS. This was the first full meeting of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS since 2014, and a chance for the Trump administration to flesh out what it wants to do differently.

So far, it is mainly stepping up a fight that the Obama administration put in motion.

Angela Chen makes money hawking her ties to important people, running a consulting firm that helps companies connect with Asia's power players.

So it inevitably attracted notice when Chen spent nearly $16 million recently to buy a four-bedroom Park Avenue penthouse owned by President Trump himself.

The February deal, which was first reported by Mother Jones, underscores one of the problems posed by Trump's ongoing business interests.

House members work during the House's session on the final day of the 2015 legislative session, Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Atlanta.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

The Georgia General Assembly passed a $49 billion budget Wednesday. House Speaker David Ralston said it’s possibly the earliest point in the legislative session lawmakers have agreed on a budget.

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Under the plan, teachers would get a 2 percent raise; state workers who handle child welfare cases would see a 19 percent pay increase; and state law enforcement would receive a 20 percent salary boost.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

The words “slavery” and “Civil War” don’t appear in a resolution filed in the Georgia legislature that’s meant to honor the state’s role in the “four-year struggle for state’s rights, individual freedom, and local government control.” It would recognize April as Confederate History Month, and April 26, 2017 as Confederate Memorial Day at the state capitol.

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On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water.

The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top.

The German city of Trier has never been particularly fond of its most famous son, Karl Marx, who helped turn communism into an ideology that changed the course of history.

Conservative and Catholic, the picturesque city on the French border took an ambivalent view of the radical revolutionary, born into a Jewish family in 1818.

There's a wall-long mural in the manufacturing area of SilencerCo, in West Valley City, Utah, that shows a crowd of people with muzzled mouths. One's holding a sign that says, "Fight the Noise." Another says: "Guns don't have to be loud."

As a leading manufacturer and seller of gun silencers — or suppressors, as they're more accurately called — SilencerCo wants to quiet guns. Congress may soon help in the effort.

A New Look For Downtown Atlanta Outlined In Master Plan

Mar 21, 2017
David Goldman / Associated Press

Downtown Atlanta could look a lot different in 15 years.

The City of Atlanta and Central Atlanta Progress are updating the Downtown Atlanta Master Plan for the first time in a decade.

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Jennifer Ball, CAP's vice president of planning and economic development, said some wants are the same, like more bike facilities and walkable streets. She also said parks and green space have now become bigger priorities.

Republican House leaders are making last-minute changes to their health care proposal in a bid to woo more conservatives ahead of a vote scheduled for Thursday.

One of those changes would let states impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients. A handful of states asked the Obama administration for that authority but were denied.

The biopic Selena tells the story of Mexican-American pop star Selena Quintanilla Perez, a Tejano music singer who made a rare crossover to mainstream American audiences. The movie debuted 20 years ago Tuesday, two years after the singer was killed by the former president of her fan club.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For more now, we turn to NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Hey there, Nina.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Hi.

In the middle of the desert, hundreds of miles from the nearest city, 60,000 Syrians are camped out along the Syrian and Jordanian border in what has become one of the biggest and most desperate refugee settlements in the region. Few outsiders have ever seen it.

NPR visited an area near the camp last week in a trip organized by the Jordanian military.

Tomb Of Jesus Is Restored In Jerusalem

Mar 20, 2017

A restoration team Monday announced the completion of a historic renovation of one of Christianity's holiest sites — the shrine that, according to tradition, houses the tomb of Jesus.

The ornate shrine, called the Edicule, sits in the center of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the world's oldest churches, a 12th century building sitting on fourth century remains in Jerusalem's Old City.

According to Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian belief, the Edicule encases the ancient cave where Jesus' body was entombed and resurrected.

Kim Kenney / Atlanta Ballet

A proposed sales tax to create a steady stream of funding for the arts in Atlanta appears to be dead.

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Mayor Kasim Reed needed Georgia lawmakers to sign off on the plan in order to put it before voters as a referendum in November. The idea was to let constituents decide whether they wanted to pay a one-tenth of a penny tax to support music, dance, theater or other artistic ventures in the city.

Norway can be frigid. And the winters bring lots of darkness. But it's the happiest nation in world, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report.

Denmark comes in at #2, followed by Iceland and Switzerland. Finland takes 5th place. And, it turns out, these countries have more in common than a tolerance for cold.

Doraville Wins Latest Round In Legal Battle With Adult Club

Mar 20, 2017
AP File

Georgia's Supreme Court ruled Monday that Oasis Goodtime Emporium, an adult club in Doraville, can't sell alcohol if it continues to allow nudity. 

The city of Doraville has an ordinance that bans alcohol sales in places considered "sexually oriented businesses" or that feature nude dancing. The ordinance, however, does allow semi-nude dancing. 

Jill Chambers, the director of Oasis, and a former Georgia state representative, said Oasis has become an artistic venue and no longer fits under the "sexually oriented business" ordinance. 

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