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All Things Considered brings you breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and offbeat features.

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His name would spin around and around on the vinyl, the writer of a thousand songs: Doc Pomus. As the man behind smash records including Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas," Ray Charles' "Lonely Avenue" and The Drifters' "This Magic Moment," he shaped the early sound of rock 'n' roll.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been rocked in recent weeks by revelations from a top-level whistle-blower. The former official says church leaders covered up numerous cases of sexual misconduct by priests and even made special payments to pedophiles.

The scandal is notable not only because of the abuse but also because it happened in an archdiocese that claimed to be a national leader in dealing with the issue.

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Virginia holds elections next month for state offices, including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. But what was historically a pretty sedate affair is, this year, drawing millions of dollars from all over the country.

NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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It's one of the most touted "positive statistics" about Afghanistan: Today, there are 10 million Afghans enrolled in school, 40 percent of them female.

Under the Taliban, about 1 million boys and almost no girls were attending schools. Western officials routinely point to the revived education system as a sign of success and hope for the future.

Activists in Saudi Arabia tried once, they tried again and now they're making a third challenge to the kingdom's long-standing ban on female drivers.

Some women have recently made short drives, posting videos on social media sites, and many more are planning to get behind the wheel on Saturday.

Less than 1 percent of the world's oceans are set aside as protected areas, but diplomats meeting now in Australia could substantially increase that figure.

Delegates from 24 nations and the European Union have convened to consider proposals to create vast new marine protected areas around Antarctica.

This same group met over the summer and didn't reach consensus, so it's now considering a scaled-back proposal.

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The sexting scandal surrounding former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has been fodder for comedians, punsters and those who love double entendres. Now it's the source material for a play, The Weiner Monologues, coming to off-off-Broadway's Access Theatre Nov. 6 through Nov. 10.

'Found Texts' (You Finish The Joke)

The Obama administration has entered full damage-control mode over the balky website intended to enroll people in new health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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The Sounds Of New York City, Circa 1920

Oct 22, 2013

We can hear the music of the Roaring '20s anytime we want. But what if you could hear the day-to-day sounds of what it was like to live at that vibrant time?

That's the basis of Emily Thompson's project "The Roaring Twenties." She's a history professor at Princeton University who's been mapping the sounds of New York City in the late 1920s and early '30s.

New Mexico law doesn't explicitly ban or approve same-sex marriage. There were a spate of lawsuits seeking to clarify the issue, but they were tied up in the courts. Then in August, the clerk of Dona Ana County, Lynn Ellins, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, consulted his staff.

"And we all agreed that it was about time to bring this thing to a head, and if we did nothing, the cases would languish in the district court if we did not move to issue these licenses and try and put the ball in play," Ellins says.

Songs by Lucy Wainwright Roche seems to be told with a shrug, a note of apology, or modesty. And, yet, her father is the witty and acerbic singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Her mother is Suzzy Roche — one third of the harmonious Roche sisters.

Consumers aren't the only ones frustrated by problems with the online health insurance exchanges being run by the feds.

Private companies that sell health insurance on the Internet are also in a bind. Websites like eHealthInsurance.com that were planning to start selling new, subsidized health care policies on Oct. 1 still can't offer them to customers.

The state of Oregon is trying some experiments to bring different kinds of medical professionals under the same roof. Patients can see different kinds of doctors in one visit, and the hope is it will provide better patient care, eventually at less cost to the state.

This can make sense in a primary-care setting, where doctors often have to deal with stomachaches and migraines that stem from mental rather than physical problems.

Forests cover about half of Russia's land mass, an environmental resource that President Vladimir Putin calls "the powerful green lungs of the planet."

But Putin himself acknowledges that Russia, the world's biggest exporter of logs, is having its timber stolen at an unprecedented rate.

The demand for high-value timber is fueling organized crime, government corruption and illegal logging in the Russian Far East. The hardwood cut in the endless forests often ends up as flooring and furniture in the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

When it comes to union organizing at an auto plant, the tension is typically between the workers and the management. But not at Volkswagen in Tennessee. There, the United Auto Workers is attempting to finally unionize the automaker's first foreign-owned plant in the South. And so far, Republican officials are the ones trying to stand in the way.

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And now - bear with us, please - ALL THINGS CONSIDERED presents yet another baby boomer musical moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC MONTAGE)

JAMES BROWN: (Singing) Whoa! I feel good...

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Here comes the sun...

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A "tech surge" is underway to help clean up the code of the error-plagued HealthCare.gov site.

When Indian music icon Ravi Shankar died last year, his daughter, sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar, was at work on her seventh album. The recording, Traces of You, became a kind of memorial.

If you've flown across Nebraska, Kansas or western Texas on a clear day, you've seen them: geometrically arranged circles of green and brown on the landscape, typically half a mile in diameter. They're the result of pivot irrigation, in which long pipes-on-wheels rotate slowly around a central point, spreading water across cornfields.

Yet most of those fields are doomed. The water that nourishes them eventually will run low.

Syria's Grinding War Takes Toll On Children

Oct 21, 2013

Alexandra Chen, a specialist in childhood trauma, is on her way from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where she's running a workshop for teachers, child psychologists and sports coaches who are dealing with the Syrian children scarred by war in their homeland.

"All of the children have experienced trauma to varying degree," explains Chen, who works for Mercy Corps and is training a dozen new hires for her aid group.

Anoushka Shankar began playing sitar with her famous father, the late Ravi Shankar, when she was 4. But until recently, she'd never entered a studio with her other famous relative, half-sister Norah Jones.

With cooler temperatures approaching, you might be in the market for a perfect wintertime vacation. Maybe someplace sunny and warm, unspoiled by tourists, with beautiful views and rich culture.

To find all that, you might consider South Sudan. That's the suggestion from Sophie and Max Lovell-Hoare, authors of the Bradt Travel Guide to the young country.

Soon you'll be able to direct the path of a cockroach with a smartphone and the swipe of your finger.

Greg Gage and his colleagues at Backyard Brains have developed a device called the RoboRoach that lets you control the path of an insect.

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