Senate Advances Measure To End 3-Day Government Shutdown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynpJ-QLgAa4 Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET The Senate has advanced a stopgap spending bill that is the first step in ending the partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its third day. Shortly before the Monday procedural vote was set to begin, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced that he would vote to reopen the government along with enough Democrats to ensure it reaches the 60 votes needed to advance. After 24 hours of furious negotiation...

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This past year, 2017, was among the warmest years on record, according to new data released by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

The planet's global surface temperature last year was the second highest since 1880, NASA says. NOAA calls it the third warmest year on record, because of slight variations in the ways that they analyze temperatures.

Both put 2017 behind 2016's record temperatures. And "both analyses show that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010," NASA said in a press release.

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET

The House passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday evening, though the measure now faces uncertainty in the Senate as Republican congressional leaders work to avert a government shutdown by late Friday night.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to proceed on the four-week continuing resolution, which would extend funding only until Feb. 16. That is looking more and more difficult after most Democrats and at least three Republican senators have said they won't vote for the bill.

Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET

Health care workers who want to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral beliefs will have a new defender in the Trump administration.

The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.

We live in an age of heightened awareness about concussions. From battlefields around the world to football fields in the U.S., we've heard about the dangers caused when the brain rattles around inside the skull and the possible link between concussions and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

There are likely enough singer-songwriters in Asheville to fill every coffeeshop and street corner in the city. But amid the region’s bluegrass, Americana and jam music, there’s a new effort to turn people onto the Asheville’s indie rock and punk scene.

 

More than 30 Russian athletes participating in Siberian Indoor Championships last weekend abruptly withdrew from competition when drug testers arrived at the event.

According to the Russian sports website Championat, as many as 36 athletes cited various illnesses for withdrawing from the competition at the city of Irkutsk.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. ET

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told a caucus of Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday that he has persuaded President Trump that building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is unnecessary, signaling a possible reversal on the key campaign promise.

Kelly, who was secretary of Homeland Security before taking over as chief of staff in July, said that candidate Trump had not been "fully informed" about the border situation when he pledged repeatedly on the campaign trail to build the 2,200-mile wall and get Mexico to pay for it.

As President Trump approaches the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, a majority of Americans think that his first year in office has been a failure and that he has divided the nation.

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll data released Thursday finds that Americans deemed Trump's first year a failure, 53 percent to 40 percent. And by an almost 2-to-1 ratio (61 percent to 32 percent), Americans said they believe Trump has divided the country since his election.

As President Trump approaches his first anniversary of taking office, he and others are taking stock.

"2017 was a year of tremendous achievement, monumental achievement, actually," Trump told members of his Cabinet last week. "I don't think any administration has ever done what we've done and what we've accomplished in its first year."

The president has delivered on some of his major campaign promises. Other pledges are still works in progress, while some commitments have been quietly discarded.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon frustrated lawmakers this week when he declined to answer many of their questions about his time in the Trump administration.

To hear members of the House Intelligence Committee tell it, Bannon was using the concept of executive privilege to evade legitimate oversight from Congress.

At the podium Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disagreed.

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Arts & Performance

Isaac Harrel

There are t-shirts and bumper stickers, and no doubt city politicians have run on the campaign slogan -- Keep Asheville Weird.

“Asheville walks that fine line of being proud to be weird, but some people are also like ‘But I don’t want weird,’ you know?” said Jocelyn Reese, talking about the city’s annual bow to unabashed weirdness called the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. Reese and her partner Jim Julien are co-directors.

There are likely enough singer-songwriters in Asheville to fill every coffeeshop and street corner in the city. But amid the region’s bluegrass, Americana and jam music, there’s a new effort to turn people onto the Asheville’s indie rock and punk scene.

 

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Every other Thursday during the school year, a dozen or so teenagers of color meet in a repurposed classroom at Asheville’s Arthur Edington Center.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

In 1967, school board members from a Brooklyn neighborhood were headed to England. They wanted to study how administrators there handled segregation and racial representation in the classroom.