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When The Exorcist, based on the novel by William Blatty, came to theaters in 1973, it captured the public imagination. Or more accurately, the public's nightmares.

Exorcisms aren't just the stuff of horror movies — hundreds of thousands of Italian Catholics reportedly request them each year. But when William Friedkin directed the movie, he'd never actually seen an exorcism. It would be four more decades before he actually witnessed one.

Juliana Hatfield was a darling of the '90s indie music scene. She played with Blake Babies and The Lemonheads and had a hit with the edgy pop song, "My Sister." Hatfield released a string of alternative albums since those days, full of distorted guitars and strong vocals.

Zoologist Lucy Cooke says humans have got it all wrong about sloths. "People think that because the animal is slow that it's somehow useless and redundant," she says. But in fact, "they are incredibly successful creatures."

Cooke is the founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society and the author of a new book called The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife. The book aims to set the record straight on some long-held misconceptions about the animal world.

The Rocky Mountains Have A Dust Problem

Apr 22, 2018

A menace lurks beneath the snow high up in the southern Rocky Mountains: dust. Lots and lots of dust.

This dust speeds up spring water runoff, causing intense melting and streams to peak weeks earlier than usual — which wreaks havoc throughout the alpine ecosystem. Water managers and fire forecasters alike are sounding the alarm about the consequences of less water flowing in streams and reservoirs.

At first glance the dust seems innocuous. How could something so simple undermine water infrastructure, stress wildlife and lengthen the wildfire season all at once?

Liuba Grechen Shirley has a son who's almost two and a daughter who's almost four. And until recently, the stay-at-home mom and freelance consultant had her childcare routine down.

"The bulk of the child care during the day was up to me," she said. And when she had work to do, she'd get help with watching the kids — but it was free.

"My mother is a teacher. She comes home at 3:30 every afternoon, and she would watch my children from 3:30 on, and that's when I'd start consulting," Grechen Shirley said.

Amnesty International has given Colin Kaepernick its top human rights award for his public opposition to racial injustice. The former San Franciso 49ers quarterback is Amnesty's 2018 Ambassador of Conscience

Teri Schultz reports for our Newscast unit that the "take a knee" campaign that won Kaepernick honor likely cost him his job:

Many political campaign workers spend long hours at low pay, living off of pizza and coffee, all in the hope of seeing their candidate win.

Now, labor organizers are setting their sights on bringing those workers into the labor movement at a time when the percentage of U.S. workers who belong to a union is falling steadily.

The newly formed Campaign Workers Guild claims to have helped organize at least a dozen Democratic campaigns and one political consulting firm.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been forced into a primary race after losing Saturday's nomination battle at the state's GOP convention in West Valley City, Utah.

Romney, who's looking to restart his political career, is running to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch in November.

Nicole Nixon of member station KUER reports for our Newscast unit that Romney had a hard time winning support from Utah's more conservative delegates.

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NPR Poetry Month: Andrea Davis Pinkney

Apr 21, 2018

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Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

The pews filled at a Houston church on Saturday to honor Barbara Bush. The wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd, she died Tuesday at age 92.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

James Comey To 'Fresh Air': The FBI Isn't 'On Anybody's Side': The former FBI director tells Terry Gross that he wants to sound the alarm about the "forest fire" of the Trump presidency — and also to defend the FBI against charges of partisanship.

Actress Allison Mack was arrested on Friday morning and charged with recruiting women into an empowerment group that functioned as a sex trafficking operation.

Mack, 35, "recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group," said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a written statement. "Victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants' benefit."

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Don't despair about the world. It's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Meeting your college roommate used to be one of the anxieties of the first week of school. But these days, many freshmen meet in advance online and arrange to room together.

Now, some schools have decided to bring back largely random pairings in the interest of broadening their students' horizons. Duke University announced their change earlier this year.

His Dad Didn't Want Him To Draw. Dad Didn't Know Best

Apr 21, 2018

Behind pea-green curtains in a steamy office in the Central African Republic's capital of Bangui, comic book artist Didier Kassai carefully dips his paintbrush into a nut brown pigment on his palette, wipes it on a scratch sheet then slowly puts it to paper. His brush strokes bring a watercolor to life – itself a scene of death. The brown is used to color the butt of a rebel's gun in a strip chronicling his country's spiraling conflict.

When Teens Cyberbully Themselves

Apr 21, 2018

During the stressful teen years, most adolescents experience emotional highs and lows, but for more than 20 percent of teenagers, their worries and sad feelings turn into something more serious, like anxiety or depression. Studies show that 13 percent to 18 percent of distressed teens physically injure themselves via cutting, burning or other forms of self-harm as a way to cope with their pain.

An elite group of movie lovers in the Saudi capital Riyadh got a special treat on Wednesday — a screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther. The invitation-only event marked the lifting of a ban on cinemas that's lasted more than three decades. It also heralds a new era for Saudi filmmakers, who for years have faced harassment from Saudi authorities for pursuing a profession considered haram, or forbidden, in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Unlike her trademark three-strand pearl necklace, Barbara Bush was known for her authenticity.

The former first lady to President George H.W. Bush, and mother of President George W. Bush, died this week at the age of 92. Her funeral is Saturday, and those eulogizing her might not have to look far for inspiration — to her own words.

This week in the Russia investigations: Did we learn anything from James Comey? Michael Cohen opts for discretion in the face of some new legal challenges.

What Comey Says Trump Said Putin Said

President Trump, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus and then-FBI Director James Comey were sitting together in the Oval Office. Trump, in Comey's telling, was monologuing, as the former FBI director says he often did.


Emily Nakano began doing lockdown drills when she was in second grade.

"An alarm plays over the PA system, and we lock the door, turn off the lights and hide in a corner away from the window," she explained.

The high school senior from Illinois said she's grown up with a fear of school shootings in the back of her mind, even though she's not scared of guns. In fact, she's been around guns her entire life.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has announced that his country no longer needs nuclear or missile tests and that it would shut down its nuclear weapons test site.

"The nuclear test site has done its job," Kim said in a statement carried by North Korea's state media. The report also said the decision was made in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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