Ari Shapiro | KUER 90.1

Ari Shapiro

It's nightfall in Washington, D.C., at the end of the evening shift, when the throngs of students on school field trips have slowed to a trickle at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

With a flashlight in one hand and a clear plastic bag in the other, Bob Herendeen walks the length of the austere, black granite wall. The National Park Service ranger surveys the things visitors have left at the memorial: American flags, wreaths, flowers.

Last week, teachers-to-be WinnieHope Mamboleo and Cristina Chase Lane marched across the graduation stage at North Carolina State University.

This week, they'll be marching with future colleagues at the state capitol in Raleigh, asking for better pay and better school funding.

North Carolina is the sixth state to see teacher walkouts in the past four months. The others are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado and Arizona. The Tar Heel state ranks 39th both in per-student spending and in average teacher pay as of 2017.

In the last few years, some European countries have refused to take in refugees, prejudiced views have entered the mainstream, and leaders demonize religious minorities and attack the free press.

Nils Muiznieks has raised alarms about many of these issues. He's just finished his six-year term as the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, the continent's main human rights watchdog.

Phoenix was among the cities hit hardest by the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. Ten years later, the city and its real estate market have rebounded, but no one has forgotten.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Millions of Americans use opioids to relieve pain. But many also struggle with addiction.

This week, a report in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, found that nonopioid painkillers — like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — were as effective as opioids at treating chronic back, hip and knee pain, and with fewer side effects.

Botanist David Fairchild grew up in Kansas at the end of the 19th century. He loved plants, and he loved travel, and he found a way to combine both into a job for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This year, Bill and Melinda Gates are doing something a little different with their annual letter. They are answering what they call some of the "toughest questions" from their foundation's critics.

On the list: Is it fair that you have the influence you do? Why don't you give more to the United States? Why do you give your money away?

Since its inception, the Gates Foundation has given $41.3 billion in grants, including a grant to NPR.

Read this story in English.

Se suponía que iba a ser un día perfecto.

Alex pensaba levantarse a las 6:30 a.m., alistar a sus hermanos para ir a la escuela y tomar el autobús a las 7:00 a.m. Después de clases, el muchacho de 14 años iba a jugar su primer partido de futbol americano, un evento que había esperado durante semanas.

The stock market swung dramatically up and down on Wednesday, ending about where it started the day — after record losses earlier in the week. President Trump's top economic adviser says it's important to keep the volatility in context.

"The fact is that the fundamentals for the economy are very sound," Kevin Hassett says in an interview with NPR. "Wages are going up a lot. Even in the employment report that came out last week, we saw the highest rate of wage growth in about a decade."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

At the White House this afternoon, President Trump celebrated the final passage of Republicans' massive tax legislation. He spoke surrounded by dozens of GOP lawmakers, basking in the glow of a major legislative victory.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and its population is young — the median age there is 29, nearly a decade younger than the U.S. or China.

People in the capital city of Jakarta also tweet more than in almost any city in the world. Social media is, in fact, one of the threads that ties this country of more than 17,000 islands together.

One of those social media celebrities is 29-year-old food blogger and Instagram enthusiast Prawnche Ngaditowo, who is known online as "foodventurer."

It's a late Saturday morning and a dozen men are hanging out in a scraggly playing field in Borobudur, Indonesia. There's a shaded dugout along one edge, and a worn patch of dirt in the center that makes this look like a lopsided baseball diamond.

It's training day at the Lapak Netral pigeon racer club.

To race, you must have a pair of birds. Pigeons, it turns out, mate for life. The male bird is the racer, and returning to the female provides his motivation.

The males are piled into a cage and ferried by motorbike to a release spot about 2 miles away.

Below a highway overpass in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, college students eat fried noodles and spicy chicken stew from brightly lit food stalls that fill this gritty space. The noise of cars and trucks rumbling overhead mingles with the sound of jets landing at the nearby airport.

A singer's voice begins to pierce this dense cacophony. She has woven palm fronds into her hair to create a headpiece that crowns her sparkly pink outfit. Diners tip her before turning back to their meals.

As home to 250 million people speaking hundreds of languages and spanning some 17,000 islands in an area as wide as the continental U.S., Indonesia is one of the most populous and diverse countries in the world.

Rasika, an Indian restaurant in Washington, D.C., has won just about every recognition possible. The Washington Post called it the No. 1 restaurant in the city. The chef has won a James Beard award — basically the Oscars of the food world. President Obama celebrated his birthday there — twice. And though the place has been open for more than a decade, it is only just now coming out with a cookbook.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A decade ago, Nguyen Tran ran a small private company producing independent films, while his wife Thi Tran worked in advertising. When the economy crashed in 2008, Nguyen's projects began to run dry and Thi lost her job the following year. Out of desperation, they started an illegal underground restaurant in their North Hollywood apartment. They called it "Starry Kitchen," named after Thi's favorite Cantonese cooking show from Hong Kong.

The push for renewable energy in the U.S. often focuses on well-established sources of electricity: solar, wind and hydropower. Off the coast of California, a team of researchers is working on what they hope will become an energy source of the future — macroalgae, otherwise known as kelp.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When senators come back to Washington on Monday, a handful of Republicans will help decide the fate of legislation that could reshape health care in America.

One of them is Nevada Republican Dean Heller.

Sen. Heller is one of a small bunch of Republicans who have said they will not support the latest draft proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Republican leadership can only lose the support of two of its own senators and still pass such a bill.

If you crack open a beer this Fourth of July, history might not be the first thing on your mind. But for Theresa McCulla, the first brewing historian at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the story of beer is the story of America.

"If you want to talk about the history of immigration in America, or urbanization or the expansion of transportation networks, really any subject that you want to explore, you can talk about it through beer," McCulla says.

Mike and Amy Mills are a father-daughter team from southern Illinois.

Mike was trained as a dental technician. "I made false teeth — crowns, bridges, partials — this type of thing. It's what I did as a trade," he recalls. "Later on, I started barbecuing just for the fun of doing it."

And that's what made him famous.

A wooden puzzle in the silhouette of a human head might look fun if the stakes weren't so high.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn each spent time in bands that never made it big. But when the two of them joined up to create Sylvan Esso, everything changed. They started filling up high-profile music venues, became famous internationally and almost immediately started to feel pressure to make magic a second time. Now, three years after the band's debut, Sylvan Esso has a sophomore album, out Friday. The name of the record, What Now, offers some insight into how Meath and Sanborn felt making it.

Two years ago, life was good for Sheryl Sandberg. The Facebook senior executive and mother of two had a best-selling book (Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead) and she and her husband, Dave Goldberg, decided to take a vacation. But on that vacation, Goldberg collapsed at the gym from heart failure and died. He was 47 years old.

Throughout the day, New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff jots down ideas that strike him as funny: A door lies on a couch in a psychiatrist's office, and the psychiatrist says, "You're not crazy, you're just unhinged." Or, two guys crawling through a desert encounter one of those orange cones that says: "Caution Wet Floor."

For a man obsessed with humor, Mankoff found the perfect job — he's served for 20 years as the magazine's cartoon gatekeeper. He's stepping down from his post in May, but will continue to draw his own cartoons.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C, has many artifacts connected to slavery. For one woman, visiting the museum this week was a literal homecoming.

Isabell Meggett Lucas was born and raised in a wooden house in coastal South Carolina. Slaves lived in that house during the 1800s.

The Smithsonian bought the structure and moved it plank by plank to the new African-American museum where it is now on display.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved American novel The Great Gatsby is about the messiness of chasing the American dream. But author Stephanie Powell Watts says something about the book left her unsatisfied.

"I loved it when I was a kid and read it for the first time. ... But subsequent readings, I felt like I'm seeing other things. I'm seeing all of these black characters — never thought about them before. I'm seeing the women and the tiny, tiny roles that they have in the book, and I want them to speak. I want to hear what they have to say."

Here's an update on a story that NPR started following almost two years ago in Izmir, Turkey, a city on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. That's where NPR's Ari Shapiro first met a teacher from Syria — a father in his early 30s named Monzer al-Omar.

Omar had been in Izmir for a week, waiting for a phone call from a human smuggler who would put him onto a crowded raft heading for Greece. Once the call came, Omar said, he would have just five minutes to gather his belongings, run to the beach, get on a raft and go.

Every recent president has promised to innovate the way government works, and this week, the Trump administration announced its plan to do the same.

The initiative is called the White House Office of American Innovation. Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, will lead a team that includes business executives with little or no government experience. The Trump team says its agenda includes "modernizing government services" and "creating transformational infrastructure projects."

Pages