NPR News Newsletter: Tropical Storm Barry; White House Social Media Summit; Preserving Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Suit


Published by NPR News on July 11th, 2019 12:43pm.



Plus, the enduring appeal of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5.’
NPR
by Korva Coleman and Jill Hudson
First Up
Tropical Storm Barry is predicted to strengthen into a hurricane, but its slow pace and heavy rains will likely pose the greatest risk to people living along the Gulf Coast and inland areas, forecasters say.
NOAA/NWS, Esri, HERE, Garmin, Earthstar Geographics

Here’s what we’re following today. 

A storm system in the Gulf of Mexico could become a hurricane as it nears landfall this weekend. Louisiana’s governor declared a state of emergency as dangerous flooding and life-threatening storm surges are expected to drench Louisiana and the upper Texas coast. 

President Trump is expected to take executive action to try and add a question about U.S. citizenship status to forms for the upcoming 2020 census. It's the administration's latest effort in a more than yearlong legal fight to include the question, which has been blocked by the Supreme Court for now. The question asks "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

Two former top officials in Puerto Rico were arrested on Wednesday and indicted on charges related to steering lucrative government contracts to business friends. The charges come at a politically sensitive time for the island's government, which is projecting a polished image to Congress as island leadership expect billions of dollars in recovery aid.

The Trump administration has invited high-profile, conservative activists and bloggers to the White House on Thursday for a social media summit. But they did not invite Facebook and Twitter.

The Daily Good
"Operation Thunderball” — cracking down on global wildlife trafficking.
Road inspections in Mexico intercept this white tiger cub concealed in a van.
Interpol

Big cats, apes, reptiles and elephant tusks were just some of the discoveries made by the World Customs Organization and Interpol last month. The joint crackdown operation, which operated out of Singapore, is being called the most widespread wildlife crime raid ever. Nearly 2,000 animals and plants were rescued in 109 countries over the month of June; nearly 600 suspects were arrested. 

Today's Listen
9 to 5: Still uniting workers after nearly 40 years.
Dolly Parton in a scene from the 1980 comedy 9 to 5. The film's theme song, performed by Parton, took on a life of its own.
20th Century Fox/Getty Images

The 1980, the comedy 9 to 5 was a revenge fantasy for women who felt overworked, underpaid and disrespected. But it’s Dolly Parton’s original theme song that had a life of its own, reaching No. 1 on three different Billboard charts and earning an Oscar nomination. The country superstar’s classic singalong aims a catchy beat at a serious point, listing the ways the daily grind exploits and exhausts people — some more than others. (Listening time, 6:59)
 
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Digging Deeper
Teachers sue the U.S. over student loans that weren’t forgiven.
Janelle Menzel is a high school math teacher in Brainerd, Minn.
Courtesy of Janelle Menzel

One of the biggest teachers unions in the country is suing the U.S. Department of Education. The suit alleges that a program designed to help millions of public service workers is in such disarray that it violates federal law and the Constitution. Participants in the Education Department program should have their outstanding federal student loans forgiven if they make their payments for 10 years and work in public service. The American Federation of Teachers says nearly everyone is being disqualified for various reasons, including for mistakenly making payments to the wrong program. And it’s not just affecting teachers; the loan forgiveness debacle includes nurses, police officers, librarians, firefighters and others. Education Department figures show only 1% of the people who think they've made their 10  years of payments and apply for loan forgiveness are approved. The teachers' union is suing to force the agency to fix the program to meet legal standards and create an appeals process for people who believe they've been treated unfairly. 

History Lesson
Preserving Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit.
The spacesuit was engineered to help Neil Armstrong easily connect his equipment. The suit's metal fittings are brightly colored so that even in the excitement of the moon landing, Armstrong could attach his helmet, air tubes and gloves.
Claire Harbage/NPR

When astronaut Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon 50 years ago, it was a giant leap for functional fashion. The spacesuit he wore was an unprecedented blend of technology and tailoring. Now Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit is about to go back on public display after a four-year, $700,000 effort by the Smithsonian to preserve it. The effort wasn't to make it pristine. The suit goes back on display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington on July 16, the day 50 years ago that Apollo 11 blasted off for the moon. Click here to see the video.

Podcast Of The Day
“You may need the money more than I do.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listens as President Trump speaks to reporters following a meeting at the White House in October 2017.
Illustration by Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo for NPR | Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In 1990, Mitch McConnell returned a $1,000 campaign donation from Donald Trump, who was in severe financial trouble. It was an uncomfortable beginning to what would go on to become, decades later, one of the most important partnerships in politics. The newest episode of the Embedded podcast looks at the complicated relationship between two very different politicians.
 
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