Michel Martin

Rina Sawayama's self-titled debut album is a complex work of pop music, often calling to mind early 2000s R&B, nu-metal, and shuffling between genres in the same song. In the same way she flips through sounds, Sawayama also sings about a lot of complicated topics: her parents' messy divorce, her identity as Japanese British person and her burgeoning understanding of systemic racism, which she says she experienced while studying psychology, sociology and politics at Cambridge University.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams says the state's Tuesday primary performance was "an unmitigated disaster," pinning the blame on Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Polling locations all around Georgia experienced delays and long lines Tuesday due to a mix of logistical problems, technical issues with the state's new voting machines and COVID-19-related restrictions resulting in fewer available voting sites.

Protests have erupted across the nation in response to the death of George Floyd, and some of the demonstrations have turned violent, leading political leaders and activists to debate over who is responsible.

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Stephen Bruner, better known as Thundercat, is one of the music industry's most eclectic and prolific collaborators. Over the past five years, the virtuosic bass player has worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar to Michael McDonald. His latest album, It Is What It Is, was released on Friday and it features the same expansive range of genres and styles.

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For many Americans, the first moon landing remains the most memorable moment in the history of manned space travel.

It was a high-water mark in the space race, but as the United States and Soviet Union were rushing to prove their dominance, a lesser known chapter in that battle was taking place: America's effort to send a black man into space.

Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier, a new documentary on the Smithsonian Channel, brings light to the groundbreaking moment that almost came to be during the heights of the civil rights movement.

Quentin Baxter and Clay Ross first met as students at the College of Charleston in the 1990s, where they played together in a jazz band. Decades later, they reunited and last month won a Grammy together as members of Ranky Tanky, a band that specializes in blending contemporary American gospel and R&B with Gullah traditional music.

President Trump celebrated his acquittal this week by lashing out at political rivals and firing two officials who testified before impeachment investigators about his involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

As swaths of red and green trim Chicago neighborhoods this holiday season, an unexpected pop of blue is lighting up the Wrigleyville neighborhood. And it's got nothing to do with the Cubs.

It's actually the 10,000-plus lights springing from 8 Crazy Nights — what appears to be the city's first Hanukkah-themed pop-up bar.

Kyle Bagley and Sam Stone, co-owners of the Graystone Tavern, decided to dress up the sports bar for the month of December. Neither owner is Jewish, but Bagley says they saw a void in the crowded pop-up scene. On top of that, they wanted to stand out.

When Carrie Goldberg broke up with her boyfriend of a few months, frightening things started happening. He sent her hundreds of threatening messages. He contacted her friends, family and even work colleagues on Facebook to spread vicious lies about her — and that wasn't all. One night she opened her laptop to find email after email containing intimate pictures of her, including a graphic video filmed without her consent. Goldberg, a lawyer, went to the police and was told there was nothing that could be done.

Between the election of President Trump and Britain's ongoing debate over Brexit, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros recognizes that populism is on the rise and that his brand of liberal democracy is faltering.

"When I got involved in what I call political philanthropy some 40 years ago, the open society idea was on the ascendant — closed societies were opening up," Soros said in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered. "And now, open societies are on the defensive and dictatorships are on the rise."

Yet he remains optimistic.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York officially endorsed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens, N.Y., on Saturday.

Addressing an estimated crowd of more than 25,000 supporters, Ocasio-Cortez said she was proud to join the Vermont senator in bringing "a working-class revolution to the ballot box of the United States of America."

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Beto O'Rourke wants to ban and buy back assault-style weapons. Exactly how he would persuade others to get on board is unclear, and two undecided Texas voters recently pressed him on how he would build consensus for his plan and whether it would hold up in conservative courts.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

With the fraught negotiations over Brexit continuing to embroil British politics, the nation's former prime minister, David Cameron, says his "greatest regret" is that those who advocated to stay in the EU lost the vote — which ultimately divided the country, paralyzed the government and left Britain increasingly at risk of leaving the European Union without any deal.

Since 2015, under the threat of the Taliban, Afghan filmmakers Hassan Fazili and Fatima Hussaini, along with their two young daughters, have been on the run for their lives.

The family fled Afghanistan after the extremist group had called for Fazili's death over a film he'd made about one of its commanders.

Even as the refugee family navigates a still-incomplete journey — of death threats, discrimination and paralyzing immigration systems — Fazili and Hussaini turn their cameras on themselves and their daughters.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Fashion Week is underway in New York City, which means you can count on seeing many models working to navigate the runway while wearing high heels.

In previous years, videos have shown models trying to make their way down the runways in high heels, but tripping, stumbling and sometimes even falling because the shoes are so difficult to walk in.

From Louboutins to Manolo Blahniks, high heels have had their place in both pop culture and high fashion, but author Lauren Bravo says that the days of high heels could be numbered.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

At one time, the Volkswagen Beetle was so ubiquitous that its sighting is often punctuated by a swift punch in the arm and a shout of "Punch Buggy!" (Or "Slug Bug!" depending on your regional take on the road trip game).

But this week, the Beetle set off down the road to extinction. On Wednesday, Volkswagen ended production of the Beetle, saying it wants to set its sights on manufacturing electric vehicles.

Signs are pointing to a coming U.S. recession, according to an economic indicator that has preceded every recession over the past five decades.

It is known among economists and Wall Street traders as a "yield curve inversion," and it refers to when long-term interest rates are paying out less than short-term rates.

Dating back to 1986, a recently unearthed video offers a rare glimpse of Freddie Mercury performing without a full band behind him. In the video, the famous Queen frontman sings "Time Waits for No One" from the concept album of the musical Time, accompanied only by a piano.

Before Bill Cosby was an inmate at a Pennsylvania state prison, he held a pristine reputation as one of Hollywood's most beloved entertainers.

So when Andrea Constand's sexual assault allegations against Cosby broke in 2005, Nicole Weisensee Egan, an investigative reporter at the Philadelphia Daily News at the time, was skeptical. She had grown up watching The Cosby Show, revering the show's family-friendly main character, Cliff Huxtable.

"I was like, 'Who is this woman?' Because they weren't releasing her name," Egan says.

Mavis Staples could've retired in good conscience years ago.

But slowing down isn't her style.

With her father, sisters and brother as The Staple Singers, her gospel songs scored the civil rights movement.

More than a half century later, as Staples nears 80, the decorated R&B star continues to train her soulful pipes on hope and resilience in her call for change.

Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has written a new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World.

Published this week, the book calls on readers to support women everywhere as a means to lift up society. She pulls from her lessons learned through the inspiring women she's met on her travels with the Gates Foundation, which funds projects to reduce poverty and improve global health in the developing world (and is a funder of NPR and this blog).

The members of Snow Patrol are celebrating 25 years together. From providing the unofficial theme song to Grey's Anatomy to its 2006 album Eyes Open being certified eight-times platinum according to BPI, the Northern Ireland rock band has found success many times over. Now, after a seven-year hiatus, the bond between band members has never been stronger.

Updated at 10:23 p.m. ET

In 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed black man, was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

In the four months that followed, the stock price of the stun-gun maker Taser International, now known as Axon Enterprise, nearly doubled.

Nina Martinez just became the world's first living HIV-positive organ donor.

In a medical breakthrough, surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital late last month successfully transplanted one of her kidneys to a recipient who is also HIV positive.

"I feel wonderful," Martinez, 35, said in an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, 11 days into her recovery. The patient who received her kidney has chosen to remain anonymous, but is doing well, Martinez is told.

On his 2014 album, Afropolitan Dreams, hip-hop artist Samuel Bazawule, also known as "Blitz the Ambassador," vividly describes his journey from wide-eyed immigrant to multinational success story. In one song he declares: "I think I'm relocating back to Ghana for good."

And, he did.

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