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All Things Considered

Weekdays, 4pm - 6:30pm

Since its debut in 1971, this afternoon radio newsmagazine has delivered in-depth reporting in context and transformed the way listeners understand the world. Heard by more than 10 million people on over 560 radio stations each week, All Things Considered is one of the most popular programs in America. Every weekday, hosts Melissa Block, Michele Norris, and Robert Siegel present two hours of insightful news mixed with commentary and interviews, as well as special - sometimes quirky - features.

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President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey. The White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, says this is effective immediately. NPR's Mara Liasson is with us now from the White House. And Mara, what do you know so far about why this happened?

A small group of Jewish-American citizens from around New England celebrated their dual German citizenship at an understated ceremony last week at the German consulate office in Boston.

Most car buyers don't do more than the most perfunctory test drive of new or used cars. But with so much new technology and features in today's cars and trucks, a thorough test drive is more important than ever.

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It seems like it was only yesterday that my friends here on the show said goodbye to "American Idol."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Fifteen years of bad tryouts.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AMERICAN IDOL")

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Twenty-five years ago Tuesday, a career-defining single was born — and with it, endless sitcom jokes and rap homages. It was referenced in Sing, the 2016 animated children's movie, and in Shrek years before that. But when it debuted in 1992, there were those who took it to heart as an anthem of body positivity.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus — who plays U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy Veep -- says that growing up in Washington, D.C., and later living in Los Angeles helped her prepare for the role:

"I think I understand the insular nature of Washington ... " she says. "There's an inside-the-Beltway mentality, not dissimilar from Hollywood — it feels like the only thing that matters. I think you're selling a brand of yourself."

In 1995, NPR's All Things Considered invited tech writer Walt Mossberg on to the show to report on an increasingly popular phenomenon: the World Wide Web.

Mossberg shared a tool that helped to make sense of a disorganized and chaotic Internet, a website called Yahoo. At the time, Yahoo was a directory service for searching online, he explained.

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Debates about health care are complicated, and it's easy to get overwhelmed when complicated things like premiums, block grants, state waivers, Medicaid and Medicare are the main topics.

But what are the ideas driving this debate? And why do debates get so heated when we're talking about something so technical?

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North Korea now has its own version of Spam in grocery stores. In the capital, Pyongyang, at least, everyone has a smartphone — or two.

These are some of the things journalist Jean Lee didn't see five years ago when she opened the Associated Press bureau in the capital of the impoverished and isolated country.

Now a global fellow at the Wilson Center, Lee was invited to travel to North Korea this week to attend a medical conference in Pyongyang and follow a team of Korean-American surgeons.

On college campuses, outrage over provocative speakers sometimes turns violent.

It's becoming a pattern on campuses around the country. A speaker is invited, often by a conservative student group. Other students oppose the speaker, and maybe they protest. If the speech happens, the speaker is heckled. Sometimes there's violence.

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We're going to talk more about this executive order with Charles Haynes. He is director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum. Welcome to the program.

CHARLES HAYNES: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a notorious Afghan warlord known as the "Butcher of Kabul," returned to the city he so often attacked with rockets and was welcomed Thursday by President Ashraf Ghani, who thanked him for "heeding the peace call."

Hekmatyar, 69, is among the most prominent surviving figures from the early days of war that began with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and grinds on to this day.

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Yesterday afternoon, an email went out to all NPR employees. It was marked with one of those red exclamation points to indicate that you'd better read it.

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