All Things Considered

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All Things Consideredis a NPR radio newsmagazine that delivers in-depth reporting and transforms the way listeners understand current events and view the world. The program presents breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special -- sometimes quirky -- features.

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Now we'd like to take a minute to consider how Castro influenced the country in one particular way - its music. To do that, we're joined by NPR contributor Betto Arcos. Betto, thanks so much for joining us.

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Let's pause now to remember a British actor best known for playing a Spanish waiter in a 1970s BBC series that lasted only 12 episodes - Andrew Sachs. He died at age 86. As NPR's Ted Robbins tells us, his relatively small role left a big impression.

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In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, tens of thousands of people have fled a brutal, Russian-backed regime offensive against rebel-held parts of the city. Many have fled deeper into the tightening siege, which started over the summer. Others have sought safety on the government-held side.

My conversation with a woman who recently fled the siege begins with her asking how I am. She's safe now, but is still afraid to give her name. She fears for her son — still fighting with the rebels — and for other male relatives who've been detained by the regime for questioning.

Downtown Historic District, Rutland, Vermont
Sfoskett/Wikimedia Commons

The group that works to resettle refugees in Vermont is opening an office in Rutland and is looking to hire staff ahead of the expected arrival of up to 100 mostly Syrian refugees.

wikipedia commons

The state of Vermont has finalized rules governing how many opioid painkillers medical professionals can prescribe.

A few weeks before the election, the Tri-Pro lumber mill in north Idaho shut down. It was the second mill to close in the area in six months, putting more than a hundred people out of work.

While that's big economic loss for any community, it was especially tough for the tight-knit town of Orofino and its 3,000 or so residents.

Christmas is coming, and soon TV screens everywhere will light up with that 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life. But the same story is coming a little early to the stage of the Houston Grand Opera. That's right: An operatic version of George Bailey's struggle with life and death opens this Friday.

Librettist Gene Scheer admits that adapting such a beloved movie has sometimes felt like a fool's errand. "It's almost secular scripture, this piece," he says. "Everyone knows all the lines."

President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the many routine, get-acquainted chats he'll have before entering the White House.

These talks rarely if ever make news, but Wednesday's conversation raised eyebrows because Trump lavished praise on Sharif and Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries.

Here's part of the read-out of their conversation, as released by Pakistan's Press Information Department:

A single tornado can cause a lot of damage. But even worse are tornado outbreaks. Just this week, a cluster of at least 18 tornadoes struck the Southeast over two days.

Scientists are seeing bigger clusters in recent years, and they're struggling to figure out what's happening.

You can hear Harold Lopez-Nussa's training when he plays. The 33-year-old pianist is reluctant to admit the classical influence on his jazz playing, but he's quick to acknowledge that he, like many other great Cuban pianists, was classically trained. "This is the school that we have to learn music in Cuba; it's classical," he says. "I did all my stuff there from 8 years old to 25."

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A new report from the National Academy of Sciences says it's hard to know how many people in the U.S. actually have food allergies or whether they're on the rise.

Part of the challenge is this: Food allergies are often self-diagnosed and symptoms can be misinterpreted. Sometimes people can't distinguish a food allergy from other conditions such as lactose intolerance or gluten sensitivity, which don't fit the medical definition of an allergy.

So here's a riddle: What college doesn't have a campus, or professors, or students or even a football team?

Give up? The Electoral College!

OK, that was a little juvenile (if you really want to bring back your childhood, here's a video explaining the Electoral College by Schoolhouse Rock.)

Allegiant aircraft
Eddie Maloney-Wikimedia

The ultra-low cost carrier Allegiant Air is ending its direct service between Vermont's Burlington International Airport and Sanford, Florida.

Burlington City Hall
WAMC Photo

The City Council in Burlington, Vermont, is showing support for welcoming Syrian refugees.

Jay Peak Resort
Ski Vermont

Seven months after the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Jay Peak's owner and president of massive fraud, the ski resort is set to open for the season on Saturday with the federal receiver overseeing it saying there is a $6.5 million shortfall.

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Remember a couple of years ago, when it seemed like we were all one big happy family, Americans of every age and political stripe, joined in common pursuit? Millions of us spent that summer pouring buckets of ice water on our heads, to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

After campaigning with lots of populist and anti-Wall Street rhetoric, Donald Trump is seriously considering a veteran Wall Street financier, Steve Mnuchin, to be his Treasury secretary.

Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs, ultimately as a partner at the investment bank. More recently, he's headed a privately owned hedge fund, Dune Capital Management. Last April he became Trump's chief fundraiser, and he's now a member of the president-elect's transition team.

Police body cameras
wikipedia.org

A Vermont county sheriff's office is planning to start using body cameras soon.
 
Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark says the department plans to buy between 20 and 30 cameras for deputies. Each camera costs up to $1,000.

Clark said his staff has been asking for them for a while. The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the sheriff's office has 34 deputies, 16 of which work full-time.

The community of Dover in Windham County has been using body cameras. Rutland approved body cameras for police earlier this year.

A branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is launching a new program that will help protect three rare species of turtles in Vermont, the other New England states and New York.

The Northeast Turtle Project of the Natural Resources Conservation Service is one of 11 new projects being added to the agency's Working Lands for Wildlife effort in 30 states from Florida to Alaska to protect habitat for a number of declining species on private agricultural land.

NRCS Chief Jason Weller is expected to announce the expansion of the project Tuesday in New Florence, Missouri.

Picture of a Vermont School Bus
Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

Vermont State Police say four of 29 students on a school bus involved in a minor crash were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Police say all injuries were considered minor in the crash, which happened at about 7:15 a.m. Monday in Newbury.

They say the driver, 65-year-old William Jones, of Piermont, New Hampshire, was traveling east when he tried to make room for an oncoming vehicle. He steered the bus toward the edge of the road, but his passenger-side tires traveled onto the soft shoulder, which began to give way from the bus' weight.

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In Cuba today, thousands of people lined up to pay their respects to the late Fidel Castro whose body was cremated over the weekend. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro filed this report from a packed Plaza of the Revolution in the heart of Havana.

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