NPR News Stories

This week we present the first episode from the 2016-2017 Pickathon Woods Series. These videos are hand-picked by opbmusic to showcase some of the most exciting performances captured at the Woods Stage during Pickathon, a three-day festival held each summer just outside Portland, Ore.

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged 61 people and entities with conspiracy and fraud over a scam that involved phone calls from people pretending to be from the IRS or other government agencies.

The conspiracy defrauded at least 15,000 people of more than $300 million, the U.S. government says. The defendants — 56 people and five call center groups — were indicted last week, and the documents were unsealed on Thursday.

Placebos can't cure diseases, but research suggests that they seem to bring some people relief from subjective symptoms, such as pain, nausea, anxiety and fatigue.

As Bon Iver's Justin Vernon prepped the release for his latest mind-bender, 22, A Million, he knew he didn't want to talk too much about the album or grant a lot of interviews. So he held a single press conference in Eau Claire, Wisc., on Sept. 2, just a few weeks after performing the entire album live at Vernon's own Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival.

There was some positive news in Twitter's third-quarter earnings report, including revenue of $616 million — up 8 percent from last year — but for it to be profitable, the company says, it'll have to shed several hundred jobs.

While revenue surpassed expectations, The Wall Street Journal says it was the social media company's "smallest gain and ninth straight period of slowing growth."

Twitter posted a loss of $103 million for the quarter.

Muslim 'Twoness': Fearful Of Some, Feared By Others

3 hours ago

He leaned against the subway doors in a faded denim jacket, camo cargo pants, combat boots and, to top it off, a black ski mask. I wondered if he had a gun. I wondered if he was a white supremacist. I wondered if he had seen my friend and me, with our brown skin and black hair. Our Islamic faith and immigrant parents — could he somehow see that, too?

Was it me, or were his eyes darting up and down the crowded subway car? I yanked on my friend's sleeve and raised my mouth to his ear.

"We have to get out of here," I said.

The European Union is desperate to keep Syrian refugees from bolting from Turkey for Europe. But the prospects for Syrians in Turkey have been slim. Now the EU is launching its biggest aid program yet – more than $375 million aimed at a million of the neediest Syrians in Turkey.

And it's not bags of rice thrown from the back of a truck. It's a bit more modern: a debit card that can be used to buy whatever food, medicine or clothing a family needs, or to get cash.

A Mediterranean-bound convoy of Russian warships will not be stopping for fuel at a Spanish port, Russia said Wednesday, after Spain's NATO allies objected to the refueling plan.

NATO members are worried the ships are intended to support increased Russian airstrikes in Syria. The convoy includes Russia's only aircraft carrier.

Some ships in the convoy had been planning to stop for fuel in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa directly across from Gibraltar. It's normal practice for Spain to allow Russian warships to stop at its ports, The Associated Press reports.

Gruel, glop, cooked mush. The English language has been less than kind in describing porridge. Which seems a tad ungrateful, really, considering that grains cooked in water or milk fed our earliest civilizations.

But now, this stalwart dish is staging a culinary comeback.

Think steaming, cumin-scented millet topped with coarsely grated Gruyere cheese. Buckwheat cooked in coconut milk, with buttered dates and cinnamon. Teff polenta garlanded with diced dandelion greens and freshly grated parmesan.

In the book that serves as a companion piece and reciprocal guide to her mazy, incandescent new collection of songs, the singer-songwriter, author and punk mystic Kristin Hersh shares the harrowing story of an accident that took place on a mountain road between two club shows. Her tour bus caught on fire; she had to pull one of her children from the flames. Deeply shaken, she told her bandmates and family that she'd cancel the rest of the tour. But no one would leave her.