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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. "La La Land" is the third film by the director Damien Chazelle, best known for his drama "Whiplash," which won an Academy Award for J.K. Simmons as a sadistic music teacher. The protagonist of "La La Land," played by Ryan Gosling, is also a jazz musician, but the film is a full-scale musical that also stars Emma Stone. Film critic David Edelstein has a review. DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Damien...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of "Little World," the second album by the California-based singer Allyson Seconds. Ken says its pop songs recall an earlier era of California rock music. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUN DON'T SHINE") ALLYSON SECONDS: (Singing) I want to know why the sun don't shine and why the snow fall in summertime. Rational thought... KEN TUCKER, BYLINE: In Allyson Seconds'...

Civilians are trying to flee a tightening siege in the rebel-held parts of Syria's northern city of Aleppo, as government forces and their Russian allies continue to seize territory while trying to take full control of the city. They're taking aim at the final major urban area still held by rebel forces. A new U.N. report suggests that hundreds of men have disappeared upon entering government-controlled areas of the city. The men are being separated from women and children , the report states...

Federal funding bill sets the table for Trump

21 hours ago
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Adam Allington

The Senate continues to negotiate a bill funding the federal government into the spring. Congressional Republicans wanted to extend the measure through September, the end of the government’s fiscal year. But the incoming Trump administration pushed for the shorter-term funding so the next president can put his stamp on the government as soon as possible.

Everyone called this a "change election," and with the fiercely anti-establishment Donald Trump, Americans certainly got change. But they are still uncertain about what they think of their new Change President. Forty-one percent of Americans say they approve of how well he has explained his "policies and plans for the future to the American people," according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center . That's lower than any incoming president since at least George H.W. Bush, in 1989....

President Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a "full review" of "malicious cyber activity" timed to U.S. elections, the White House said Friday. The review will go all the way back to the 2008 campaign when China was found to have hacked both the Obama and McCain campaigns , White House spokesman Eric Schultz said at a Friday press briefing. In the 2016 election, U.S. intelligence officials charged that Russia had interfered. In early October, they released a strongly...

An Alabama man convicted of murdering a convenience store clerk in 1994 was put to death by lethal injection on Thursday night, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stay the execution and amid ongoing legal challenges to the state's lethal injection protocol. Ronald Bert Smith Jr. had been on Alabama's death row since 1995, when he was convicted of murdering Casey Wilson, a convenience store clerk, during a robbery. The execution took place late Thursday night local time at the...

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Michael Solomon

The second you hop into Mark Lopes’ truck, you know he works in the cane fields. His dashboard is covered in a layer of brown dust and the windshield is splattered with red dirt. He drives to field 704, where crews set a cane fire in the early hours of the morning. By noon, much of the sugar is cleared. Lopes watches as large haul trucks get ready to head back to the mill to unload. “He’ll drive right up to the windrow and load the hauler,” Lopes explained. “The truck will pull out, go back...

An anti-doping report has found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping, and that the "institutional conspiracy" extended far beyond previous evidence of cheating at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. The findings, published Friday, were accompanied by more than 1,000 individual documents released to the public as evidence (with athletes' names redacted). Russian officials have responded with "predetermined defiance," Charles Maynes reports for NPR from Moscow,...

Scientists in Ireland are using a rather unexpected material to make an extremely sensitive pressure detector: Silly Putty. The Irish researchers combined the kids' plaything with a special form of carbon, and came up with a remarkable new material — one they think could someday be useful in making medical devices. Physicist Jonathan Coleman , at Trinity College, Dublin, says Silly Putty has some extraordinary properties. If you roll the stuff into a tight ball and throw it on the ground, it...

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