Death Toll Rises In Sri Lanka Explosions Carried Out On Easter Sunday

Updated at 12:53 a.m. ET Monday
Nearly 300 people were killed and hundreds more wounded after explosions tore through Sri Lanka in a series of coordinated blasts that struck three churches and three hotels. It marked the country's worst violence since the end of its civil war in 2009. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday the death toll had risen to 290 dead with more than 500 wounded, according to The Associated Press. A top police official reportedly had alerted security...

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There are a lot of calls these days to "revive civility" in politics. While there are plenty of examples of uncivil behavior, there's far less agreement about what civility should look like in 2019. Timothy Shaffer joins us this week to talk about work being done to create a new definition of civility and a playbook to put that definition into practice.

Kenny Mathieson /

An archive recording of the WPSU Blues show as aired on April 20, 2019 and hosted by Max Spiegel. This week, its Max’s 5th Annual Max’s Birthday Show where the program is filled with his favorite songs. 

In the first hour, hear tracks from Ry Cooder, Prince, Rev. Gary Davis, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles, Mel Tormé, Richard Thompson, Tom Waites, Jack Shelton, Bob Dylan, Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans, and more.

Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor is an associate professor of history at Smith College, whose work includes the paper “The Etymology of the N-Word: Resistance, Language, and the Politics of Freedom in the Antebellum North.” She recently visited Penn State Altoona to speak about her research. And, she spoke with WPSU's Anne Danahy about the history of the N-word, how she discusses it with students and what it meant to her father, the comedian Richard Pryor. 

WPSU Jazz Archive - April 19, 2019

Apr 19, 2019 / MCA Publicity Photo

An archive recording for the WPSU Jazz show as aired on April 19, 2019 and hosted by Rana Glick.

In the first hour, hear tracks from Jack Teagarden, Pat Metheny, Joe Williams, Charlie Byrd, Herbie Hancock, Tina Turner, Ornette Coleman, and more.

In the second hour, hear, June April, Benny Carter, Andy Solberg, Shemekia Copeland, Charles Mingus, and more.

BookMark: "A Higher Loyalty" By James Comey

Apr 18, 2019

I have a hardback copy of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” and I have a Kindle copy of Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House.” But while I started them both, I haven’t finished reading them. When I picked up James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty,” on the other hand, I had a hard time putting it down. While it is a historically important book, Comey’s down-to-earth style and willingness to convey emotions as well as hard facts also made me feel like I was getting to know the author personally.

Andrew Harnik / AP

Attorney General William Barr delivers a press conference at the Justice Department Thursday morning at 9:30, ahead of the expected release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. A redacted version of the report is expected to be released on Thursday. Watch live below.

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (second from right) polled the audience during his listening tour on recreational marijuana in State College on April 16, 2019.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s listening tour on recreational marijuana made its stop in Centre County Tuesday. The overwhelming majority of those who spoke supported legalization of recreational marijuana.

A retired state police officer said he believes marijuana doesn’t make people violent and that prosecution of pot related crimes is too harsh.

E.J. Dionne has the unique perspective of studying the horse race and the big picture of American politics. He writes a twice-weekly column for the Washington Post and appears regularly on NPR, but he's also a senior fellow at Brookings and professor in Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University.

Neal Preston /

An archive recording of the WPSU Blues show as aired on April 13, 2019 and hosted by Max Spiegel. 

In the first hour, hear tracks from Loaded Dice, Ry Cooder, Shuggie Otis, Big Bill Bronzy, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Etta James, Ghost Town Blues Band, Gregg Allman, Skip James, Lovin’  Spoonful, The Black Keys, and more.

In the second hour, hear The Bill Murray Experience, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Bob Brozman, Samantha Fish, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, John Lee Hooker, Super Chicken, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and more.   

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (left) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (right) took turns discussing the rising cost of college education at Penn State's University Park campus on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Third highest in the nation.

That’s how Pennsylvania ranks in the price of attending a public university according to the most recent report from College Board, with an the average cost of $14,770 for in-state tuition and fees in the 2018-19 academic year.


NPR Stories

An estimated 40 percent of adults in the U.S. snore. And, men: You tend to out-snore women. (Yes, this may explain why you get kicked or shoved at night!)

And despite the myth that snoring is a sign of deep sleep, there's really no upside to it.

Scientists are ramping up research on the possible health effects of a large group of common but little-understood chemicals used in water-resistant clothing, stain-resistant furniture, nonstick cookware and many other consumer products.

More than 80% of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change. And that support crosses political divides, according to the results of an exclusive new NPR/Ipsos poll: Whether they have children or not, two-thirds of Republicans and 9 in 10 Democrats agree that the subject needs to be taught in school.

A separate poll of teachers found that they are even more supportive, in theory — 86% agree that climate change should be taught.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit

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Death Toll Rises In Sri Lanka Explosions Carried Out On Easter Sunday

Updated at 12:53 a.m. ET Monday
Nearly 300 people were killed and hundreds more wounded after explosions tore through Sri Lanka in a series of coordinated blasts that struck three churches and three hotels. It marked the country's worst violence since the end of its civil war in 2009. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday the death toll had risen to 290 dead with more than 500 wounded, according to The Associated Press. A top police official reportedly had alerted security...

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Northern Ireland Police Arrest 2 Men In Shooting Death Of Journalist

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested two men in connection with the shooting death of a 29-year-old journalist in Londonderry on Thursday night. Authorities say they arrested an 18- and 19-year-old under the U.K.'s controversial Terrorism Act and took them to the Musgrave Serious Crime Suite, a police station in Belfast. Cellphone video released by police shows journalist Lyra McKee taking photos with her phone shortly before she was shot, probably by a stray bullet, according to police....

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When Your Living Room Becomes A 2020 Campaign Stage, 'It's Pretty Surreal'

The Iowa caucuses are still nine months away, and with at least 20 Democrats either considering a run or officially declared, many of them are looking for ways to stand out in the crowded field. One tried-and-true way: show up in voters' homes. The house party has a long tradition in the presidential primary politicking of the two early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, where locals open their doors to let aspiring presidents audition in their living rooms. It's a staple of the early campaign...

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Yellow Vest Protesters Fueled By Anger Over Notre Dame Funds March In Paris

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET Yellow vest protests grew violent on Saturday as firefighters battled several fires amid clouds of tear gas in eastern Paris. Protesters set ablaze a car, motorbikes and barricades near the Place de la République as they took to the streets of Paris and other French cities for the 23rd Saturday in a row, The Associated Press reported . This time they say they are outraged the government could raise more than a billion dollars to help restore the burned Notre Dame...

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Reach Out: Ways To Help A Loved One At Risk Of Suicide

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. If you know someone struggling with despair, depression or thoughts of suicide, you may be wondering how to help. Most Americans say that they understand that suicide is preventable and that they would act to help someone they know who is at risk,...

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Photos: Easter Services Around The World

Christians around the world gathered on Sunday to mark the end of Holy Week and celebrate Easter. Festivities took on many forms. While some worshipers reenacted the Passion of the Christ, others gathered for candle-lit services or colorful processions. For many Christians, this year's holiday was a more somber affair. In Paris, the fire the engulfed Notre Dame this past week forced worshipers to find other places to attend services. In Sri Lanka, celebrations were shattered Sunday morning...

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Inside The Mueller Report, This Man Found A Photo Of His Dad Being Used By Russians

When a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election was released to the public and Congress this week, the effects of Russian influence efforts through social media became clearer. Part of the information included in the report were examples of material that Russian trolls used, and one particular image stuck out to Ronnie Hipshire, a retired coal miner in West Virginia. On Page 31 of the Mueller report, Hipshire saw a photo of his...

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20 Years On, The Background Check System Continues To Miss Dangerous Gun Buyers

Twenty years ago, a pair of students killed a teacher and a dozen of their classmates a high school in Littleton, Colo. The shooters at Columbine High School used semiautomatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns in the attack before turning the guns on themselves. Just a few months before that shooting, the FBI launched the National Instant Background Check System to try and prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing guns. And in the two decades since, the federal government says it has...

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Prison For Forced Addiction Treatment? A Parent's 'Last Resort' Has Consequences

Robin Wallace thought her years of working as a counselor in addiction treatment gave her a decent understanding of the system. She has worked in private and state programs in Massachusetts and with people who were involuntarily committed to treatment. So in 2017, as her 33-year-old son, Sean Wallace, continued to struggle with heroin use — after years of coping with mental health issues and substance use — she thought she was making the right choice in forcing him into treatment. "His...

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Congress Considers Making College More Accessible To People In Prison

Inmates are among the least-educated people in America. That's despite research that shows education is one of the most effective ways to keep people from coming back to prison. Now, there's renewed interest in giving adults behind bars better access to higher education. A new bipartisan bill in Congress would allow incarcerated people to use federal Pell Grants — designed for low-income students — to pay for higher education, including college classes and workforce training. "When we give...

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In Korean DMZ, Wildlife Thrives. Some Conservationists Worry Peace Could Disrupt It

The quiet of the late-winter morning is interrupted by a staccato of gunshots. "Military drills," shrugs Kim Seung-ho, 58, the director of the DMZ Ecology Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that does research on the wildlife in the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, which is the border area between North and South Korea. A thick blanket of fog seeps over the forested hills on this late-winter morning as Kim stands, searching the horizon for birds, on the bank of the Imjin River just north...

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Disciplining Kids Without Yelling: Readers Tell Us Their Tricks

Is it possible to raise children without shouting, scolding — or even talking to kids with an angry tone? Last month, we wrote about supermoms up in the Arctic who pulled off this daunting task with ease. They use a powerful suite of tools, which includes storytelling, playful dramas and many questions. But Inuit parents aren't the only ones with creative alternatives to scolding and timeouts. Goats and Soda readers sent in more than 300 tricks for getting kids to listen without raising your...

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The Beauty And The Power Of African Blacksmiths

In the fictional world of Marvel's Black Panther, the Afro-futurist utopia of Wakanda has a secret, almost magical resource: a metal called vibranium. Its mythic ability to store energy elevated vibranium to a central role in the fictional nation's culture and the metal became part of Wakandan technology, fashion and ceremony. Of course vibranium isn't real. But one metal has held a similarly mythic role for over 2,000 years in many cultures across the African continent: iron. African...

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Puerto Rico Suffers As Disaster Relief Bill Stalls

A $13-billion disaster relief bill is in limbo in the Senate, because of a fight over funding for Puerto Rico. Democrats have been pushing for more money for the U.S. territory as it recovers from Hurricane Maria, but President Trump is refusing. Here & Now s Peter ODowd speaks with Federico de Jesús , former deputy director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, about the continuing need for aid for the island. De Jesús also worked in communications for former President Obama,...

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Highlights From The Mueller Report, Annotated

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET The Justice Department has released a redacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election . » A copy of the document is available here. Read notable excerpts from the redacted report, annotated by NPR reporters and editors, below. We'll be updating this analysis throughout the day as we read the report. Insufficient evidence In the report: Page 9 ... while the investigation identified numerous links...

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Hurricane Michael Was A Category 5, NOAA Finds — The First Since Andrew In 1992

Scientists at NOAA's National Hurricane Center have found that Hurricane Michael had an intensity of 160 mph when it made landfall at the Florida Panhandle last October. That means it was a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — just one of four such U.S. storms on record. Hurricane Michael had been classified as a Category 4, at 155 mph. The last hurricane of such intensity at landfall was Hurricane Andrew , which struck South Florida and Louisiana in 1992. Michael...

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Here Are Some Of Your Favorite Memories Of Notre Dame

The Cathedral of Notre Dame, one of the world's most beloved churches, was devastated by fire in Paris on Monday. We asked you to share your most powerful recollections and impressions of this majestic landmark. Here are just a few from among the hundreds of responses we received: Chrissy Flores @ha_bibti Chrissy Flores @ha_bibti The Notre Dame will always be one of my favorite memories while visiting Paris. The architecture, art and history was a marvelous experience to take in. The peace...

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