News from NPR

The tattoos on Dennis Whedbee's left arm describe what he lost when the North Dakota oil rig where he was working blew out in 2012. There's an image of a severed hand spurting blood, framed by the word "LOST" in block letters and the date: "9-23-12."

The message underscores Whedbee's frustration with a workers' compensation system in which benefits and access to benefits have changed in North Dakota and across the country.

"I lost a hand at work and this is workman's comp," Whedbee, 53, says at his home in Pennsylvania. "Give me what I deserve. I deserve a hand."

Pepe Guerrero is a doorman at a high-rise building in Malaga, on Spain's Mediterranean coast. From his post he looks out at the turquoise blue waters — where hundreds of Arab and African migrants have drowned in recent weeks.

"They're people — human beings like us," he says. "Searching for a better life."

The Vietnam War changed the National Guard.

During that conflict, joining the guard was seen as a way to avoid the draft; during America's recent wars, the guard and reserve made up nearly half the forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You can trace the transformation of the guard back to the few units from it that did go and fight in Vietnam. And ahead of the 40th anniversary of the end of that conflict, several former guard members — who are also Vietnam vets — met up at the Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post in Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new U.S. government official took an oath of office this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SESAME STREET")

RYAN DILLON: (As Elmo) Hi, Dr. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Hubble Space Telescope this week celebrates 25 years in Earth's orbit. In that time the telescope has studied distant galaxies, star nurseries, planets in our solar system and planets orbiting other stars.

But, even with all that, you could argue that the astronomer for whom the telescope is named made even more important discoveries — with far less sophisticated equipment.

Rap City: Sweat, Hope & Hip-Hop In Dakar

15 hours ago

An orange streetlight glows over the sandy street corner. The surrounding alleys and cement buildings disappear into darkness at the edge of the light. It is 11 p.m. on this July night, temperatures are still in the high 80s and a cool breeze is nowhere to be found.

Young men hustle to arrange hulking, rusted speakers on either side of a small wooden platform. Others hover by the streetlight. They wear crisp T-shirts with bold lettering and splashes of color.

When it came in the mail, I thought it was a joke, this tiny little book. It was hardcover, the size of a pack of cigarettes and about as heavy in my palm as a bird. There was no jacket, just the name — Devotion: A Rat Story — and a rat, embossed in gold.

I read it in an hour, maybe a little less— it's just a hundred pages or so. An appetizer, I thought. A snack.

But two days later, I was still thinking about it. And I'm sure that it'll still be scratching around inside of my skull a week from now, like cold little rat claws scraping inside the walls.

By Gouda — the Mona Cheesa is missing! And when that most famous work of art is discovered to have been taken from its frame in a Paris art museum, the world's foremost International Cat of Mystery, William, is called in on the case.

It's been many years since I did my three semesters of college a cappella, but it remains a genre of performance for which I have enormous affection. In 2012, the arrival of Pitch Perfect meant that suddenly, I knew a lot more people who even knew what a college a cappella was.

Pages