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How Ferguson Residents Are Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

KPLU News - 2 hours 56 min ago
The kickoff to the holiday season in St. Louis has been overshadowed by unrest following the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson. And for some residents of Ferguson, the meaning of this year's Thanksgiving — amid the anger, hostility and unresolved issues — is hazy.

The Schnucks grocery store is pretty busy on this cold, gray Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Michael Howell, a local musician picking up a few staples, says he just wants to relax at home and have a little turkey.

Texas Execution Nears For Murderer Whose Competence Was Debated

KPLU News - 2 hours 56 min ago
On Dec. 3, Texas is scheduled to execute Scott Panetti for murdering his in-laws in 1992. There is no doubt he committed the crime, and there is also no doubt that Panetti is mentally ill.

For Two Men Who Helped Migrants In Mexico, A Brutal Death

KPLU News - 2 hours 56 min ago
This is the story of the murder of two aid workers in Mexico. The men fed Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico on a freight train that stopped near their home.

They were critical of both the corrupt police who abused and extorted the migrants as well as the organized crime gangs that kidnapped and robbed them.

There were no witnesses to the double homicide and police won't comment about the case. Their murder didn't even get a mention in the local press.

I met the men on several occasions this summer while reporting on

Why American Honey Importers Are Wary Of 'Turkish' Honey

KPLU News - 4 hours 24 min ago
Turkey is a land of fine honey. Bees produce more of the sweet stuff in Turkey than in any other country except China. And Turkish consumers happily eat most of it themselves. Very little Turkish honey is exported. When it is, it usually commands premium prices.

But some American honey producers say they've observed something odd: cheap Turkish honey headed to the U.S. The U.S. producers think it's not really Turkish honey, and that it actually comes from a country farther to the east.

True Source Honey, the industry group, says the U.S.

In Darren Wilson's Testimony, Familiar Themes About Black Men

KPLU News - 5 hours 7 min ago
After Michael Brown was shot dead in August, his mother, Leslie McSpadden, said, "My son was sweet. He didn't mean any harm to anybody." He was, she said, "a gentle giant."

But when police officer Darren Wilson fired the shot that ended Brown's life, he saw things differently. "I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan," he said in his testimony to the grand jury.

Justice Ginsburg Recovering After Heart Stent Implant

KPLU News - 6 hours 13 min ago
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a heart stent implanted Wednesday to clear a blocked right coronary artery, but she was expected to be back on the bench when the court reconvenes on Monday.

The 81-year-old justice experienced some chest pain last night while working out with her trainer. She was persuaded to go to the hospital, where sources say an examination found a blocked artery but no other damage to her heart.

Those Phone-Obsessed Teenagers Aren't As Lonely As You Think

KPLU News - 6 hours 20 min ago
A recent dinner with my friends went something like this:

"Wait, who is going to take a Snapchat of all of us when our drinks arrive?"

"Oh no, I can't! My phone is dying."

"Guys, this is such a stereotypical millennial conversation. I am totally tweeting about this."

So I guess I understand why older folk fret that youngsters these days are losing out on authentic social connections because of social media.

But it looks like the kids are going to be all right, researchers say.

Mass: Rain Returning On Thanksgiving, Possible Lowland Snow Saturday

KPLU News - 6 hours 36 min ago

Forget any hopes you may have had for skiing over the holiday weekend. But you might see some snow at sea level.

A Somali Aid Worker Would Rather Give Out Cash Than Free Food

KPLU News - 7 hours 33 min ago
In 2011, drought hit Somalia hard, triggering a famine that ultimately killed some 260,000 people.

Former CBC Host Jian Ghomeshi Charged With Sexual Assault

KPLU News - 7 hours 35 min ago
Jian Ghomeshi, a former radio host in Canada, was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

The charges carry sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.

Ghomeshi was a star at CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, and hosted Q, one of its most popular programs. Last month, CBC first suspended and then fired Ghomeshi.

The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu

KPLU News - 7 hours 41 min ago
A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 21, 2012.

Everyone knows the schoolhouse version of the first Thanksgiving story: New England pilgrims came together with Native Americans to share a meal after the harvest.

If Supreme Court Strikes Federal Exchange Subsidies, Health Law Could Unravel

KPLU News - 7 hours 42 min ago
Exactly what would happen to the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court invalidates tax credits in three dozen states where the federal government runs the program?

Legal scholars say a decision like that would deal a potentially lethal blow to the law because it would undermine the government-run insurance marketplaces that are its backbone, as well as the mandate requiring most Americans to carry coverage.

In King v.

Hissing And Sighing: The Lament Of Sex Workers In Sierra Leone

KPLU News - 7 hours 46 min ago
When a man drives by the strip at Lumley Beach in downtown Freetown at night, he'll probably hear a sharp hiss. That's not an unusual sound in Sierra Leone. People hiss instead of whistling — to get your attention, to call for the bill at a restaurant, to buy a bottle of water on the street.

But the hissing along a stretch of beachfront road at Lumley Beach has a different purpose. It's the sound prostitutes make, and they've perfected the hiss. That's why they're called serpents.

Transactional sex isn't unusual in Sierra Leone. Economic opportunities are slim and slimmer.

Weekly Innovation: A Seat That Fits In Your Pocket

KPLU News - 7 hours 47 min ago
If you're traveling this holiday season, you'll inevitably be doing a lot of standing around.

Whether it's standing in an airport security line or waiting at a crowded gate, it would be nice to take a load off in the midst of the travel rush.

A Warning For Latin America's Faltering Economies: 'Innovate Or Die'

KPLU News - 7 hours 55 min ago
One look at the Brazilian flag and you think: This must be a space-age, high-tech country. That star-spackled orb in the middle glowing like a planetarium. The banner wrapped around it hailing "Order and Progress." Engineers must be rock stars there, right?

Unfortunately, no. And that's a big reason Brazil and much of the rest of Latin America are headed into a steep economic slump these days.

BirdNote: The Ears Of An Owl

KPLU News - 8 hours 18 min ago

Exactly where are an owl's ears? Well, the eyes of this Great Gray Owl are set in a broad, dish-shaped face.

Ridges of tiny hair-like feathers rim the owl's face, creating "facial disks." Just below the margins of the facial disks, concealed by feathers, are the openings to the owl's ears. 

For Native Alaskans, Holiday Menu Looks To The Wild

KPLU News - 8 hours 59 min ago
When Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving meal, most tables will feature traditional fare: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries. But should you be looking for a different kind of holiday meal, head for rural Alaska.

That's where Nellie Gamechuck lives, in a village squeezed between tundra and a bend in the river in the southwest part of the state. Ask her what's for dinner on Thanksgiving, and she opens up the deep freeze. "Walrus meat, moose meat," she says. Digging down through the layers, she reaches the dessert level: salmonberries.

And where does all this food come from?

Justice Ginsburg Has Heart Procedure, Is Resting Comfortably

KPLU News - 9 hours 19 min ago
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing, is "resting comfortably" after a heart procedure, the court said in a statement.

Ginsburg, 81, "experienced discomfort during routine exercise" on Tuesday and was taken to a Washington, D.C., hospital. According to the statement, doctors inserted a stent in her right coronary artery to address a blockage.

"She is resting comfortably and is expected to be discharged in the next 48 hours," the statement said.

Update at 10:57 a.m. ET.

EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels

KPLU News - 10 hours 6 min ago
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules today to reduce emission levels for smog-causing ozone, which is linked to asthma and other health problems.

The proposed rules would lower the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb to 70 ppb.