NPR Staff

Though Larry Wilmore had always hoped to be a performer, his early career was as a comedy writer. He wrote for shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and In Living Color, and created The Bernie Mac Show. He moved in front of the camera as The Daily Show's "senior black correspondent" in 2006. So when Stephen Colbert ended The Colbert Report last year, Comedy Central tapped Wilmore to host the replacement show.

On Sept. 4, 2005 — nearly a week after floodwaters submerged much of the city, a call came in to the New Orleans Police Department: Officers in distress, maybe under fire, at the Danziger Bridge.

Straight Outta Compton, the provocative biopic on the late-'80s hip-hop group N.W.A, reportedly brought in more than $60 million last weekend. Among other things, it pays homage to a cultural reference made famous by its member Ice Cube in the 1995 film Friday -- one that later became shorthand to dismiss trolls on Twitter with the hashtag #ByeFelicia.

But writer Allison Davis didn't find the joke in Straight Outta Compton funny.

It all starts with a strange letter left for a Beijing cabdriver, tucked away in the sun visor of his taxi. In the months just before the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wang Jun is living with his wife and daughter — but the message, and those that follow, quickly tangle that quiet life in complications.

Jon Cleary's songwriting is pure New Orleans. The pianist and singer has absorbed every last bit of sound from the Mississippi delta. But here's the thing: Cleary was born and raised in England.

A new clinical trial is set to begin in the United Kingdom using the powerful noses of dogs to detect prostate cancer in humans.

While research has been done before, these are the first trials approved by Britain's National Health Service.

The trials, at the Milton Keynes University Hospital in Buckinghamshire, will use animals from a nonprofit organization called Medical Detection Dogs, co-founded in 2008 by behavioral psychologist Claire Guest.

A man in his early 40s with a kind, weathered face is talking to a room full of children.

"In some ways, all of us are basically abandoned or not really a wanted person," he says. "Everybody kind of give up the hope on us. But in this place, you are welcome and you have opportunity to change, and we will be with you, no matter what. This is a community of love and compassion."

Cara Nicoletti loves food almost as much as she loves books. Over the years she has found herself thinking about the delicious dishes woven into the stories she loved as a child. In fact, she tells NPR's Rachel Martin that when she re-read her old books, she found underlines that she didn't remember making in the sections about food.

High-profile, officer-involved fatalities across the country have put police departments everywhere under more scrutiny than ever.

For a lesson in how to move forward, they could look at the history of the Los Angeles police.

In the '80s and '90s, Los Angeles was trapped in a cycle of crime, crack and gang warfare. Investigative journalist Joe Domanick says back then, the Los Angeles police just made things worse with its crime-fighting strategy — which involved using military-style tactics to subdue and arrest suspects, who were mostly from minority neighborhoods.

Adam Johnson won the 2013 Pultizer Prize for his bestselling novel, The Orphan Master's Son, set in the nightmare state of North Korea. This summer, he has come out with a collection of short stories, set in locales that range from California to East Germany to a techno-dreamlike South Korea.

Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin have enjoyed lengthy careers — especially for men in a business as dangerous as spying.

The American and Soviet CIA agents had a wildly popular run on TV in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in the '60s. But long after the show came off the air, Solo and Kuryakin bantered on — in a handful of movies, dozens of books, a few comics, countless reruns and the popular imagination.

In this season of anger in many black communities that are reacting to police brutality, we're remembering the largest urban riot of the civil rights era.

Fifty years ago this week in Los Angeles, the African-American neighborhood of Watts exploded after a young black man was arrested for drunken driving. His mother scuffled with officers and was also arrested, all of which drew an increasingly hostile crowd.

One of the key questions surrounding the Iranian nuclear deal is what it means for the country's so-called "breakout time." That's the length of time Iran would need to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make one nuclear weapon.

The deal would limit Iran's nuclear activity in ways that stretches the breakout time. There's a general consensus that the current breakout time is around two to three months, and that would be extended to around a year under the agreement.

President Obama's perhaps most notable statement on race came recently in Charleston, S.C. That's where he gave the eulogy for nine African-Americans killed by a white man in a church.

The president has also continued to address the killings of black men at the hands of the police, and he's pushing to reduce the number of prison inmates, who are disproportionately black.

You may know the acclaimed poet Elizabeth Alexander from her reading at President Obama's 2009 swearing-in ceremony.

Alexander, who teaches at Yale, published a new book earlier this year — but it's not poetry. The Light of the World is a memoir of the 16 years she shared with her husband Ficre, until his sudden death a few years ago.

Migrants are arriving in record numbers in Greece, and two boatloads of men, women and children landed Monday on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.

All Things Considered host Melissa Block has relatives in her extended family on the island. Her husband's cousins have been assisting the migrants, who are arriving via Turkey from Afghanistan and Syria, as they reach the rocky shores.

As events marking the anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown were winding down Sunday night, gunfire erupted in Ferguson, Mo., leaving a gunman in the hospital. Police say the suspect was not part of the weekend's rallies, which have been peaceful.

The shooting, in which dozens of rounds were reportedly fired, began near the intersection of Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of last summer's standoffs between protesters and police.

Ten years after floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina breached the levees, inundating and devastating the city, many residents feel the city is making significant headway, according to a new poll by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, which nonetheless reveals deep racial disparities in the recovery.

NPR's David Greene speaks with Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation about the survey findings.

It has been exactly one year since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Mourners there marked the anniversary Sunday with a moment of silence, gathering in remembrance and protest of the shooting.

Michael Brown's father spoke before a crowd of hundreds, according to St. Louis Public Radio's Camille Phillips. Around noon, Phillips reports that the crowd was called upon for 4 1/2 minutes of silence.

Heavy metal is one music culture whose concerts can get pretty aggressive. Stage divers often try to climb up with the band then launch themselves into the awaiting arms of the audience — or that's the idea. In the city of Prague in 2010, one fan wasn't so lucky: At a particularly unruly show by the band Lamb of God, Daniel Nosek fell off the stage, hit his head and died weeks later.

In her new film, Ricki and the Flash, Meryl Streep plays a musician who used to dream about making it big; now, she's content to play in a cover band, in a bar. Her boyfriend and bandmate is named Greg, and he's played by real-life rock star Rick Springfield.

The film was written by Diablo Cody, who says her inspiration for the character Ricki came from her own life.

Jennine Capó Crucet was the first person in her family to be born in the United States. Her parents came to Florida from Cuba, and she grew up in Hialeah, a suburb of Miami that is 95 percent Hispanic.

For Crucet, going to Cornell was a bit of a shock — she was the first person in her family to attend college at all, let alone at a prestigious school in upstate New York.

In tiny Tupper Lake, N.Y., a tourist destination in the Adirondacks, the Donut Shop serves up more than just donuts.

The Donut Shop also a laundromat, with a store selling knick knacks and souvenirs on the side. Co-owner Tina Merrihew says it's a winning combination.

"About 25 years ago, we bought it, and after cleaning out, we realized we had a lot of space in here, so we added the store," Merrihew says.

Locals and out-of-towners can come in with their dirty clothes and sit for a while with a coffee and watch it spin.

Think back to the 1990s — to movies like Boyz n the Hood or Menace II Society.

Now, imagine one of those movies shot in black and white, with prayer beads and scenes from a mosque. And imagine it all in French.

Author Rebecca Stead collects ideas before she sits down to write, even from the smallest encounters — like this one:

"The idea came from a girl — she was wearing cat ears, and I said 'nice ears,'" she tells NPR's Melissa Block. "And she said, 'Thanks! I've been wearing them for a year! I don't know why!' And then she ran away."

Louis Sachar knows a few things about writing for kids. His first book, Sideways Stories From Wayside School, came out in 1978 — and the wacky collection is still in print.

His 1999 Newbery Medal winner, Holes, centers on a boy wrongly confined to a juvenile detention facility. It's mysterious and creepy, and it's still flying off the shelves.

So if he says kids will love a scary eco-bioterror-mystery-thriller-comedy, you just might trust him.

Greg Louganis is the best diver of his generation — perhaps the best the world has ever seen. The four-time gold medalist is the only man to ever sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympics.

The new documentary Back on Board, by director Cheryl Furjanic and producer Will Sweeney, contrasts that success with the inner turmoil Louganis experienced rising to stardom at such a young age.

The vote by the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on openly gay troop leaders last week was a blow to some religious conservative organizations that have long been connected to scouting, especially the Mormon church, which has deep roots in the Boy Scouts.

The church, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has used the Boy Scouts as its official program for young men for more than 100 years, according to Quin Monson, a political science professor at Brigham Young University.

If anything was going to make the case for putting warning labels on music, it was 2 Live Crew at the turn of the 1990s. The hip-hop group's output was so sexually explicit that it eventually became the subject of an obscenity case that made its way through some of the highest courts in this country. The man at the center of it all was Luther Campbell, a.k.a Luke Skywalker, the alter-ego that helped make 2 Live Crew one of the most legendary and notorious rap acts ever.

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