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Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features. To hear the most recent broadcast, or search the All Things Considered archives, click here.

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Around the Nation
4:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

California's Drought Ripples Through Businesses, Then To Schools

Cannon Michael's farm grows tomatoes, melons and onions, among other crops. This year, however, Michael will have to fallow one-fifth of the land due to the drought
Thomas Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 10:16 am

Cannon Michael runs an 11,000-acre farm in California's Central Valley. His family has been farming in the state for six generations.

Michael's multimillion-dollar operation usually provides a wealth of crops including tomatoes, onions and melons. But recently, he's pretty pessimistic about work.

"It is going to be a year that's probably, at best, maybe break even. Or maybe lose some money," Michael tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Around the Nation
4:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

A Scientific Experiment: Field Trips Just For Teachers

Science teachers huddle over bacteria colonies at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. The museum plans to train 1,000 area educators to be better science teachers in the next five years.
Linda Lutton WBEZ

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 5:43 pm

In a classroom across from the coal mine exhibit at the Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, students are huddled around tables, studying petri dishes of bacteria.

But these aren't school-age kids — these students are all teachers, responsible for imparting science to upper-elementary or middle-school students.

That's a job that many here — and many teachers in grammar schools around the country — feel unprepared for.

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National Security
4:49 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Training For An Uncertain Military Future In The Calif. Desert

Soldiers assigned to the 120th Combined Arms Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, participate in desert training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in 2009.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 5:28 pm

In the middle of the Mojave Desert, between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, there is a place that looks just like Afghanistan.

There are villages with houses, shops, a mosque and a marketplace. But it is all a facade. The area is actually a U.S. Army installation, the Fort Irwin National Training Center. If you want to see how a decade of fighting has profoundly changed the way the U.S. prepares its soldiers for war, this is where you come.

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Asia
4:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

The Players In The Battle For India's Soul

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 5:28 pm

The numbers from India's election are staggering: 814 million potential voters, nine stages of voting over six weeks. They are the biggest in the world. Correspondent Julie McCarthy talks with NPR's Arun Rath about the candidates vying for power.

World
4:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Russia's Military: Threatening Enough To Avoid Using Force?

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 5:28 pm

Russia is in the middle of a planned upgrade and expansion of its military forces, but global affairs professor Mark Galeotti tells NPR's Arun Rath that Russia's military has its limits.

World
4:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Despite Easter 'Truce,' Standoff In Ukraine Appears Steadfast

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 5:28 pm

In the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the opposing camps seem increasingly entrenched, despite a diplomatic effort to ease tensions. Pro-Russian forces refuse to leave occupied buildings and public squares in the east. It's an uneasy Easter weekend and neither side is willing to budge.

Parallels
6:13 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India

Abhina Aher was born a boy biologically and is now a hijra, a member of an ancient transgender community in India. Of her painful physical and psychological transformation, Aher remembers now: "I just wanted to become a beautiful butterfly."
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 8:25 am

The signs came early that Abhina Aher was different.

Born a boy biologically and given the male name Abhijit, Aher grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of Mumbai, India. The son of a single mother who nurtured a love of dance, Aher would watch enthralled as she performed.

"I used to love to wear the clothes that my mother used to wear — her jewelry, her makeup," Aher, now 37, recalls. "That is something which used to extremely fascinate me."

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This Week's Must Read
5:50 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

A Love Letter To Literature: Reading Gabo In 'The Paris Review'

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, died Thursday at 87.
Paco Junquera Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

Everyone has a favorite Gabriel Garcia Marquez book, and mine is Love in the Time of Cholera. It's the story of a romance that lasts decades, unwinding through the pages of the book. It's verbose, vibrant and full of love.

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In The Land Of Razor Clams, Dinner Hides Deep Within The Sand

Clams this fresh taste like tender calamari.
Martin Kaste/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 12:49 pm

As soon as you drive into town, it's pretty clear that Long Beach, Wash., is all about the razor clam. The first clue is the giant frying pan. It's 14 feet tall and a relic of the clam festivals of the 1940s. And then there's the clam statue that spits when you insert a quarter.

But if you really want to see how much people here love their clams, you'd have to be like Karen Harrell and get up before dawn and drive out onto the blustery beach to go clam digging.

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Politics
4:48 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In Virginia, Politicians Fish For Support At Old-Fashioned Event

Former Sen. George Allen (center) greets attendees at the 64th annual Wakefield Shad Planking in Wakefield, Va., in April 2012. This year's Shad Planking featured Democratic Sen. Mark Warner as the speaker.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

At a time when new technologies and social media are transforming politics, we turn to a decidedly old-fashioned campaign event. It's an annual festival known as the Shad Planking, a spring rite of Virginia politics for nearly 70 years.

It's a must-attend event for state politicians, who practice the oldest form of retail politicking among tall pine trees at a dusty campsite.

In Wakefield, about an hour southeast of Virginia's capital of Richmond, shad fish have been roasting by on an open fire since 5 a.m. They're nailed to oak planks.

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