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Why America Is Growing The Most Sweet Potatoes Since WWII

1 hour ago

Sweet potatoes are undergoing a modern renaissance in this country.

While they have always made special appearances on many American tables around the holidays, year-round demand for the root vegetables has grown. In 2015, farmers produced more sweet potatoes than in any year since World War II.

War Effort

"A lot of things were hard to get during World War II, and potatoes were easier to raise than some of the other vegetables," my grandmother Joyce Heise tells me.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A 32-year career at Boeing comes to a close in April for engineer Dave Baine of suburban Seattle. Baine was already prepared to retire when Boeing sealed the deal by making him a buyout offer last week.

"It's better than a gold watch," he says. The deal is six months' pay in a lump sum and extended health insurance.

"It'll help the younger folks that want to stick around and help some of the older folks exit quickly and quietly," he says.

On Friday, when President-elect Donald Trump puts his hand on a Bible and takes the oath of office, he may very well be in violation of a lease on one of his premier hotels.

The Trump International Hotel is a grand dame of a building on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a stone's throw from the White House. It's become something of a tourist destination in Washington — and a rallying point for protesters — since Trump won the election. This week, they snarled traffic in front of the hotel, and one demonstrator suffered serious burns after trying to set a fire outside the building.

If you think that you won't be touched by a Republican overhaul of Obamacare because you get health insurance through your job at a big company, think again.

Several of the law's provisions apply to plans offered by large employers, too (with some exceptions for plans that were in place before the law passed in March 2010).

South Korean judges Thursday denied a request by prosecutors to arrest Jay Y. Lee, the de facto leader of the sprawling Samsung conglomerate, saying there wasn't enough evidence to detain him on bribery charges. Lee is ensnared in South Korea's largest political corruption scandal to date, involving people at the highest levels of business and government.

"We appreciate the fact that the merits of this case can now be determined without the need for detention," Samsung said, in a statement issued after the early morning decision.

Episode 748: Undoing Obama

12 hours ago

There is this race going on right now in Washington D.C. The finish line is Friday at noon--inauguration day. The desperate runners are all the people who work for Barack Obama. They're rushing to do everything they can to cement the legacy of this president before the next one takes office.

The way they are doing this: Rules. Congress may pass the laws, but the president and the agency heads he appoints write the rules. And it is the rules that dictate how laws play out in our daily lives--how strong a regulation will be, and even who gets funding.

It took years of heated debate, but the federal government has finally decided just how much living space an organic chicken should have.

It's part of a new set of rules that cover many aspects of animal welfare in the organic food industry. But the biggest impact of the rule will be felt in the organic egg industry.

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

Holdenville, Okla., is home to about 5,800 people. It has a small downtown with banks, restaurants and a few shops, though some are closed down.

These days, plenty of consulting firms make money peddling advice on cybersecurity. Only one is run by a man designated special adviser to the president of the United States.

Earlier this month, President-elect Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who heads a cybersecurity practice at the Miami-based law firm Greenberg-Traurig, as his chief adviser on cybersecurity issues.

It took about two weeks, nearly 7,500 miles, nine countries and two continents. But before this freight train could roll to a well-deserved stop, it had to break through one final barrier, a banner proclaiming its historic achievement:

"First freight train from China to UK — Yiwu to London."

Unlike many other Trump nominees Wilbur Ross makes some Republicans nervous, and has common ground with some Democrats.

In fact, the Commerce Secretary nominee was once a Democrat himself. He's won the the support of labor unions, and saved tens of thousands jobs buying and basically rescuing bankrupt steel companies.

Democrats largely offered Ross a warm reception Wednesday at his confirmation hearing. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he was impressed by Ross' decision to sell off a huge portion of his assets to avoid conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Chances are you or somebody you know has recently become the owner of an Instant Pot, the multifunction electric pressure cooker that can produce fork-tender pot roasts in less than an hour, as well as brown meat, cook beans without soaking, and even do the job of a rice cooker or crockpot.

President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services is taking heat for his controversial stock holdings in companies affected by laws he has worked on and voted for. But federal records show several senators who will take part in confirmation hearings for Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, have substantial health-related holdings as well.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In a flood of clemency orders before he leaves office, President Obama commuted the sentences of 209 people and pardoned 64 others on Tuesday. The vast majority of offenders had been convicted of drug-related crimes. Two were involved in cases about leaks of government material. And two were cultural stars of past decades who had run afoul of the IRS.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

As the presidency of Barack Obama comes to an end, we're taking stock - and so is he.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Before Luke Whitbeck began taking a $300,000-a-year drug, the 2-year-old's health was inexplicably failing.

A pale boy with enormous eyes, Luke frequently ran high fevers, tired easily and was skinny all over, except his belly stuck out like a bowling ball.

"What does your medicine do for you?" Luke's mother, Meg, asked after his weekly drug treatment recently.

The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade, and older Americans now represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student loan market, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As of 2015, more than 2.8 million Americans over 60 had outstanding student loan debt — up from some 700,000 in 2005.

The long arm of the pharmaceutical industry continues to pervade practically every area of medicine, reaching those who write guidelines that shape doctors' practices, patient advocacy organizations, letter writers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and even oncologists on Twitter, according to a series of papers on money and influence published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Britain's prime minister said Tuesday that the United Kingdom will walk away from the European Union's single market and unified court system, making a sharp break with its largest trading partner.

In a speech delivered about six months after voters passed a referendum requiring Britain to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May laid out a plan for what that split would look like, emphasizing limits on migration into the country.

In a major speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Chinese President Xi Jinping positioned himself as a defender of globalization and free trade.

Copyright 2017 WSHU Public Radio Group. To see more, visit WSHU Public Radio Group.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

More than 30 years ago, Congress overwhelmingly passed a landmark health bill aimed at motivating pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for people whose rare diseases had been ignored.

By the drugmakers' calculations, the markets for such diseases weren't big enough to bother with.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Prosecutors in South Korea have requested an arrest warrant for the de facto head of the nation's biggest conglomerate, Samsung, on charges of bribery and embezzlement in connection with a swirling scandal that led to the president's impeachment.

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