NPR News Newsletter: Monsanto Verdict; ‘White Lies’ Podcast; Felicity Huffman Pleads Guilty

Published by NPR News on May 14th, 2019 11:54am.

Plus, breaking down the strategy of breaking ‘Jeopardy!’
by Korva Coleman and Jill Hudson
First Up
Containers of Roundup are displayed on a store shelf in San Francisco. The verdict is the third recent court decision in California involving the glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer.
Haven Daley/AP

Here’s what we’re following today.

A California jury awarded $2 billion to a couple who claim the weedkiller Roundup led to their cancers. This is the third such legal setback for Monsanto in California since mid-2018.

The U.S. Trade Representative published a list of $300 billion worth of Chinese goods that would be hit with new tariffs. The list includes staples such as rice and tea, along with clocks, watches and other items that weren't previously under threat of new duties.

Former President Jimmy Carter is recovering from surgery after breaking his hip. The Carter Center said the 94-year-old was preparing to go turkey hunting on Monday when he fell in his home.

Nearly two dozen Democrats are running for the White House. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced his candidacy for the presidential nomination in 2020.

Today's Listen
Breaking down the strategy of breaking Jeopardy!
Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

When most people go on Jeopardy! they start out with the smallest-dollar clues in a category and work their way up to the larger, harder ones. But in James Holzhauer's first round, he went straight for a $1,000 clue. And then another one. And another one. Planet Money digs into the strategy behind Holzhauer’s $1.5 million win. (Listening time, 27:52)

Digging Deeper
CIA recruiting comes into the open.
Staffers from the CIA recently manned a booth at the recent Awesome Con conference in Washington for fans of movie and comic book superheroes. They created a game that let players try to figure out how to recruit Albert Einstein as a spy from Nazi Germany without getting him arrested or killed. It was one unusual method the intelligence agency uses to attract young people. Another is social media, although that draws fire from critics. For generations, the CIA recruited its workforce discreetly — by word of mouth, a tap on the shoulder, or through a friend of a friend. But under Director Gina Haspel, the CIA is reaching out in very public ways it had never done before. The agency says it needs a wider range than ever of specialized skills — from linguists to scientists to cyber experts. It advertises positions on Twitter and Facebook. And it just joined Instagram.

New Podcast 
The Murder of the Rev. James Reeb.
FBI file

In 1965, Rev. Reeb was murdered in Selma, Ala. Three men were tried and acquitted, but no one was ever held to account. More than 50 years later, two journalists from Alabama return to the city where it happened. NPR’s new investigative podcast, White Lies, tells the story of the lies that kept the slaying from being solved.

Before You Go
In this Oct. 31 photo, a man has his face painted to represent efforts to defeat facial recognition. It was during a protest at Amazon headquarters over the company's facial recognition system.
Elaine Thompson/AP
  • San Francisco is considering a ban on the government's use of facial recognition technology.
  • Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty on Monday to charges in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. She could face up to four months in prison.

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