NPR Staff

Amir Attaran, a professor in the School of Public Health and the School of Law at the University of Ottawa, isn't afraid to take a bold stand.

He has written a commentary for the Harvard Public Health Review, published this week, with the headline, "Why Public Health Concerns for Global Spread of Zika Virus Means that Rio de Janeiro's 2016 Olympic Games Must Not Proceed."

For decades, Mother's Day has been a difficult time of year for Cheryl Coleman. She says it's been 35 years since she's seen her son.

Last year, Seattle began phasing in a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Businesses with more than 500 employees are all required to pay that wage by 2018. Smaller companies have until 2021 to comply, but some entrepreneurs are embracing the call for a higher minimum wage ahead of schedule.

One of them is Renee Erickson, a Seattle chef, who this week won the 2016 James Beard Award as the best chef in the Northwest. She employs 100 people at her restaurant group.

Every year at the Kentucky Derby, crazy hat-wearing, mint julep-guzzling horse-gazers break into a passionate rendition of Kentucky's state song, "My Old Kentucky Home." As tradition goes, the University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band accompanies the crowd as they croon a ballad that seems to be about people who miss their happy home. "The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home/'Tis summer and the people are gay," begins one version.

But Frank X Walker, Kentucky's former poet laureate, suspects that most people are missing the point.

This story is part of NPR's podcast Embedded, which digs deep into the stories behind the news.

Sitting on a dresser in the back bedroom of a house in Austin, Ind., is the bottom of a soda can. A woman places a sliver of a pill, a powerful prescription opioid called Opana, on the jagged half-can. She begins to heat the pill with a cigarette lighter, melting its hard white coating and turning it the color of whiskey.

Her name is Joy.

Detroit singer Mike Posner's latest hit on the pop charts is — ironically — about the down sides of having a hit on the pop charts. It's called "I Took a Pill in Ibiza."

NBC's reality show The Biggest Loser turns dieting into a grueling training regime fit for gladiators. The victor this past season was Roberto Hernandez. He dropped a whopping 160 pounds to reach a body weight of 188 pounds.

Intel was once known for its success in branding personal computers with microprocessors, a technology that fueled the digital revolution. But the Silicon Valley veteran announced last month it would lay off 11 percent of its workforce — up to 12,000 positions — and that it's shifting away from personal computing.

Last week, NPR published a special report on suicide in Native Arctic communities. Reporter Rebecca Hersher spent 10 weeks in Greenland, the Arctic country with the highest known suicide rate in the world: 82.8 suicides per 100,000 people each year — six times higher than the U.S. suicide rate. She interviewed Inuit people in the Greenlandic capital, Nuuk, and in small towns on the country's remote east coast. She spoke with community leaders and mental health professionals who are trying to prevent suicide and come to terms with its underlying causes.

One photo of a pensive Congolese woman in her distinctive makeup could be mistaken for a Renaissance painting. Another, of a coal plant sending smoke plumes over a town in China, looks like a still from a 1950s propaganda film. And another, of a little girl yawning during an Indonesian festival, will just make you smile.

Sharon Long found her calling later in life. Back in the 1980s, she was a single mom trying to support her two kids, holding down several jobs at once — none of which she liked much.

"I worked at the Dairy Queen, and I cleaned a dentist's office, and I was a secretary," Long recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "I hated every morning I got up."

But, as she tells her colleague Steve Sutter, everything changed for her at age 40. When she she took her daughter to register for college, a financial aid officer persuaded Long to enroll herself.

To wrap up our series on public health in Baltimore, Audie Cornish met up with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen in Freddie Gray's neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester. The health department recently opened a new outpost of its violence prevention program Safe Streets there, employing ex-offenders to mediate conflicts before they erupt in violence.

If you came of age in the 1960s, chances are you think about rock 'n' roll as the music of youth, of rebellion, of fighting the establishment. But in Nigeria, which was in the middle of a civil war, rock was one of the ways in which people expressed their politics.

For hundreds of years, Timbuktu has had a place in the world's imagination. Located on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, the city flourished as a center of Islamic culture and scholarship in the 13th through 16th centuries. It was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988, recognized for the University of Sankore, which had as many as 25,000 students who studied the Quran, as well as the historic Djingareyber and Sidi Yahia mosques.

This story is part of "The View From," an election-year project focused on how voters' needs of government are shaped by where they live. The series started in Illinois and this week, NPR took a road trip across three Appalachian states.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 this week, and like many of us do on our birthdays, she'll be celebrating with some cake.

This year the task of coming up with a cake fit for a queen fell to Nadiya Hussain, the winner of the most recent season of the wildly popular TV show The Great British Bake Off.

Earlier this month, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, who came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee and is currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight because another passenger overheard him speaking on his cellphone in Arabic.

We know that a third party helped FBI crack the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. But many questions remain. Should the FBI reveal the software loopholes, or vulnerabilities, of the iPhone to Apple? If yes, then what's the process? Can the hackers hold onto the technique and re-sell it in the future? And who can own a software vulnerability to begin with?

The city of Boston and the friends and family members of the marathon bombing victims will never forget the day when two explosions ripped through the crowd at the race, killing three people and injuring more than 200. Neither will the family of Sunil Tripathi, but for very different reasons. Their story is told in the documentary film Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi.

When Newbery award-winning author Kate DiCamillo talks to kids about how she became a writer, she sometimes shows them a photo of her own family.

"I would put up this picture of my mother, my brother and me and I would say to them, 'Who's missing?' " she tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "Clearly it's my father." And kids get that right away.

DiCamillo was always getting sick as a child, and when she was 6 years old, her family moved from Philadelphia to Florida in hopes that it would help her get healthy.

When they wouldn't hire her because she was a woman, she threatened her superiors. When the media asked her a stupid question, she gave them an earful. And when she thought she had contracted HIV/AIDS, she said, "if that's what happened, that's what happened."

Ahead of Tuesday's primary in New York, the presidential candidates have been clocking time upstate, where a lot of small towns have been gutted by the loss of manufacturing jobs in recent years. On this issue, the candidates are united.

Hillary Clinton has vowed to "fight for more help" in upstate New York if she wins the nomination, and Ted Cruz has called to bring manufacturing jobs "back from China and Mexico."

One of those towns is Massena, where big plant closures have meant residents either reinvent themselves, or move.

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

In 1991, a political drama mesmerized the nation. A law professor named Anita Hill had made a stunning accusation — that Clarence Thomas, then a Supreme Court nominee, had sexually harassed her when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The events that ensued are now the subject of the HBO film Confirmation, which premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Kerry Washington, who you probably know best as Olivia Pope on Scandal, plays Hill, who was very reluctant to reveal this decade-old secret.

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