National & World News from NPR

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Chicago is famous for its L, the transit system of mostly elevated trains. Soon it might have the X, a high-speed transit system some are calling Tesla in a tunnel. NPR's David Schaper has more.

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Here to weigh in on all these topics and more - our Friday political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Hey there, E.J.

E J DIONNE, BYLINE: Great to be with you.

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Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried a new tack in defending the zero-tolerance crackdown that is resulting in separating immigrant children from their parents at the border. Sessions quoted the Bible.

The nation just got an update on the gig economy — a major survey of independent, informal, and temporary work just got updated for the first time in almost 13 years. On today's Indicator, we look at how this kind of alternative work arrangement has changed the economy in the last decade or so... and how it hasn't.

The U.S. Senate is set to vote as early as next week on whether to reinstate crippling trade sanctions against Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. With that move in sight, a number of U.S. senators are taking aim at a much bigger Chinese target: Huawei — the world's third-largest seller of smartphones, behind Samsung and Apple.

The Environmental Protection Agency intends to block an Obama-era proposal and effectively shield companies from scrutiny about how they prevent and respond to chemical disasters. At a hearing Thursday, agency officials got an earful from dozens of people who live and work near refineries and chemical facilities across the country.

McDonald's says it will start using paper straws instead of plastic at all its locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it plans to test sustainable alternatives to plastic straws in some restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe later this year.

In an intense legal battle over the role of race in Harvard University's admissions policies, a group that is suing the school says Harvard lowers the rankings of Asian-American applicants in a way that is unconstitutional.

Harvard says that its admissions process is legal — and it notes that the plaintiff group, the Students for Fair Admissions, is backed by the same activist who previously challenged the University of Texas' affirmative action policy.

A huge study on the possible health benefits of drinking alcohol will be completely shut down, because its credibility was compromised by frequent and early interactions between alcohol industry executives, scientists and government officials.

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Democrats don't know who they will nominate for president in 2020, and they don't know yet where their convention will be held.

But the Democratic National Committee has now set a date for its next presidential nominating convention: July 13-16, 2020.

That's earlier than when conventions have been held in recent presidential election years, when the political spectacles have been staged as late as September, in order to maximize voter attention.

Milos Zeman, president of the Czech Republic, had an important announcement — but he wanted it to be a surprise. So he called a news conference Thursday.

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

President Trump took Capitol Hill by surprise on Friday morning when he said that he would not sign a House GOP immigration bill — only to reverse course later in the day.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump told Fox News in a previously unannounced interview on the White House lawn.

When La Guardia Cross first heard his wife was having a child, "it completely caught me off guard. I didn't feel ready."

By the time his daughter Amalah was born in 2014 — although still freaking out — he got out his camera and started recording. The hospital room — him holding his little baby in his arms. Amalah sleeping. Amalah crying. Lots of stuff about diapers and poop.

The Berduo family traveled nearly 2,000 miles from Guatemala to the international bridge between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, but they could go no further.

Under a new policy, federal border agents stationed in the middle of international bridges are turning away asylum seekers like the Berduos, telling them there is no room in U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations for them.

Judge Orders Paul Manafort To Jail

Jun 15, 2018

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The Eiffel Tower is being retrofitted with bulletproof glass, the latest measure to protect the Paris site and visitors from potential terrorist attacks.

The panels are nearly 10 feet high and more than 2 inches thick. They will bookend the monument at its north and south ends, running parallel to the Seine River and Avenue Gustave-Eiffel. At the east and west sides, metal fencing has been installed to help stop any vehicles that try to ram into the grounds.

Jean Marie Rukundo did not accompany his wife to the clinic the first two times she gave birth. Here in rural Rwanda, that was considered the duty of another woman, like her sister. His main job was farming — though his wife farmed too. After work, Rukundo used to leave his hoe with her and then go play cards with men in the village. Meanwhile, his wife went home from the fields, gathered firewood and water, prepared dinner, cleaned dishes and cared for their children.

Ed Helms: Tag Me In

Jun 15, 2018

Before he was Andy from The Office or Stu from The Hangover, actor Ed Helms did stand-up at a dingy comedy cellar that, despite being in New York, was called The Boston Comedy Club. He reminisces on his time there with Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

A painkiller prescription could become a ticket for medical marijuana in Illinois. Lawmakers there passed a bill making anyone with a prescription for opioids eligible for its medical cannabis program.

With this move, Illinois joins a growing number of states turning to legal cannabis in the fight against painkiller addiction.

"As we see the horrible damage inflicted by opioid use and misuse, it seems like a very low-cost and low-risk alternative," says state Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, Ill., and sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

Updated at 12:00 p.m. ET

President Trump, in a freewheeling impromptu news conference in front of the White House on Friday morning, said the Justice Department inspector general's report looking into the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server "totally exonerates me."

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It was a rare sight at the White House this morning.

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Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Person You Become.

About Janine Shepherd's TED Talk

Janine "the machine" Shepherd was a cross-country skier bound for Olympic greatness, when an accident left her paralyzed. She describes her struggle to redefine her identity beyond being an athlete.

About Janine Shepherd

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Person You Become.

About Taiye Selasi's TED Talk

Rather than identify with a country, writer Taiye Selasi chooses to identify with localities — local places and cities where her diverse range of experiences have helped shape her many identities.

About Taiye Selasi

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