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Taiwanese laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying violate their personal freedom and equal protection, the island's Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday. The justices called sexual orientation an "immutable characteristic that is resistant to change."

"The judges have today said yes to marriage equality," said Amnesty International's Lisa Tassi, who directs campaigns in East Asia. "This is a huge step forward for LGBTI rights in Taiwan and will resonate across Asia."

When the story of Atlanta's turn-of-the-millennium sonic boom is told 100 years from now, Organized Noize — the production trio of Ray Murray, Sleepy Brown and Rico Wade — will be the sound architects credited with putting the Dirty South on the map.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Season Of Light

May 24, 2017

Marked in early May, Beltane is one of four quarter-day festivals in the old year. Join our celebration of the natural elements — Air, Earth, Water and Fire — in a Beltane-themed hour of music.

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The Fox News Channel has retracted a week-old story based on a groundless conspiracy theory involving the death of a staffer for the Democratic National Committee, conceding it did not meet the network's standards.

During papal audiences with heads of state, the exchange of gifts comes after the private encounter and at the end of the event. It offers the press a chance to witness the body language of the two leaders and listen in as they explain their gifts.

It also offers a glimpse of what the two leaders think of each other.

For example, Pope Francis gave President Trump a large medallion depicting an olive branch as a symbol of peace.

The pope said, "I give this to you so that you can be an instrument of peace."

The president replied, "We can use peace."

Chuck Johnson's music always finds the calm at the center of the storm. He's best known for his hypnotic, yet lyrical, solo guitar work, but for his new record Balsams Johnson meditates on — and through — the lush ambiance of the pedal steel.

The recent success of John Darnielle — author of the acclaimed Wolf in White Van and Universal Harvester as well as the leader of the indie-rock band the Mountain Goats — has given fresh legitimacy to the crossover between music star and literary figure. (We won't bring up Bob Dylan.)

It's a simple, frequently recurring phrase: "The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack." But it raises some questions: Is the claim credible or just an empty assertion, and if it's true, what does "responsibility" actually entail?

Experts who closely follow the Islamic State say that in general when it comes to attacks in the West, an ISIS claim of responsibility usually means there was some sort of connection. But the attack might have been planned, funded and directed by ISIS — or it could just have been inspired by the group's propaganda.

Here at NPR headquarters in DC, MARVELous IMAGEs and FANTAstic GRAPHICS are dancing in our heads as we contemplate this year's edition of our famous Summer Reader Poll — who will make the cut? Will it be packed with old favorites or BOOM! Will a DARK HORSE muscle in?

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The father and younger brother of suspected Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi have been arrested in Libya.

Two of the finest players of Irish music in the world, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill return to Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. With Hayes on the effervescent fiddle and Cahill taking a sparse, neo-traditional approach with his guitar, the two world-class musicians reshape the classic mode of jigs, reels and airs. As host Larry Groce puts it, "[Hayes and Cahill] have been critically praised over the top. Sometimes you get suspicious when you see that.

The 'No Fun League' Relaxes End Zone Celebration Rules

May 24, 2017

The National Football League announced three changes to the game on Tuesday, but the one getting most of the attention has to do with end zone celebrations.

For years, the league has limited how players could celebrate following touchdowns, and for how long.

People often ask me: What's the best lesson you learned after almost two decades on the U.S. women's soccer team?

I'm fairly certain they want the secret formula to winning. Instead, I tell them, the best lesson I learned is actually a secret about life.

And that lesson came to me while watching my incredible teammates do their thing, on and off the field. Sure, I loved that they were amazing athletes, and we were winning World Cups and Olympics together. But I was most impressed that they were even more amazing human beings who led in a variety of ways.

More states than ever are providing publicly funded preschool. That's according to a new report from the researchers at the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER, who have been tracking state preschool policies and programs since 2002.

Today, more Americans graduate high school and go on to college than ever before. But as the country becomes more diverse — the Census Bureau expects that by 2020 more than half of the nation's children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group — are colleges and universities ready to serve them?

Thousands of people in Manchester, England, defied a terror warning and poured into the streets Tuesday for a vigil honoring the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.

A bombing the night before at an Ariana Grande concert killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens more. Authorities identified the attacker as 22-year-old Salman Abedi and have arrested several people in connection with the blast.

Conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa are putting over 24 million children at risk, according to alarming new research by the U.N. Children's Fund.

"Beyond the bombs, bullets and explosions, countless children are dying in silence from diseases that could easily be prevented and treated," says Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

His staff put together some staggering statistics.

Whales are the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been giants. Fossil records show that ancient whales were much smaller than the currently living behemoths.

So when did whales get so big, and how?

A new study suggests it might be due to changes in climate that affected the food that some whales eat: krill and small fish. Instead of being spread throughout the ocean, lots of krill started being packed into a small area. Bigger whales were simply more efficient at eating the dense pockets of krill, and they beat out their smaller cousins.

A remarkably complete fossil of a young child suggests that key elements of the human spinal structure were already in place in an ancient human relative 3.3 million years ago.

The child, about three years old, likely died suddenly and quickly drifted into a body of water, where she was covered in sediment that eventually hardened to sandstone, Zeray Alemseged of the University of Chicago tells The Two-Way.

Leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say they have issued subpoenas for documents from two businesses operated by former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in remarks to reporters, said the subpoenas were sent to Flynn Intel LLC and Flynn Intel, Inc. with a specific list of documents they are seeking. The senators did not say what to what those documents relate.

Gunfire erupted between Philippine security forces and militants in Marawi City in the mid-afternoon Tuesday. By the time the sun had set on the small southern city, President Rodrigo Duterte had declared martial law in the region and vowed to end his diplomatic trip to Moscow early.

One day after a bombing claimed at least 22 lives at a concert venue in Manchester, England, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the U.K. is raising its terror threat level. The move, declared Tuesday evening, means members of the British military will be deployed throughout the country to supplement its police forces.

When the Trump administration previewed its budget last March, it called it the "hard power" budget. The latest details show that it greatly increases spending on defense, veterans and homeland security, and it slashes funding for major social safety net programs such as Medicaid and SNAP (also known as food stamps).

Top officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn't even try to act enthusiastic as they unveiled details of their agency's proposed 2018 budget, which includes drastic cuts in spending. "We're going to do the best we can," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "It's my job to implement that plan."

As a TV critic who keeps an eye on social issues, I've long been critical of ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises. They urge viewers to believe completely contrived events are somehow spontaneous. They also support an unhealthy princess fantasy in which romance is conflated with an upper-middle class wonderland filled with reality TV fame and luxury resort getaways.

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