Nation/World

In this Small Batch edition of Pop Culture Happy Hour, I sat down with promising NPR up-and-comer Audie Cornish to discuss the new Netflix streaming science-fiction series, Sense8.

When Fatima Haidari got her first bike at age 9, she rode it all the time. But when she became an teenager, the rules changed.

"I used to bike outside because I was a kid, and nobody cared," Haidari says. "But when I got older, it got kind of weird so I stopped."

Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET:

Cpl. Eric Casebolt has resigned from the McKinney, Texas, police department, following actions responding to a party on Friday that police Chief Greg Conley described as "out of control" and "indefensible," the Dallas Morning News reports.

The national high school graduation rate is an impressive 81 percent. So impressive, President Obama highlighted it in his State of the Union address this year: "Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high."

Sound the trumpets. This is a really big deal. There's just one problem: The president didn't explain how we got here. For the past few months, the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations in more than a dozen states have been digging into these numbers to find out.

Last week, we published a quiz testing listeners on their ability to discern between lossless audio and compressed mp3s. We picked six songs from different eras and genres: an early digital recording of a Mozart piano concerto, an a cappella version of a pop song, the billionth song ever sold on iTunes, the most-streamed song of 2014 and two songs from musicians who happen to own digital music services.

For all the Harry Potter die-hards who fail to follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter, we offer both an admonition and an advisory.

When a judge was considering whether to send retired Gen. David Petraeus to jail over his unauthorized disclosure of classified information, he received letters of support from more than two dozen luminaries of different political stripes.

Republican lawmakers such as Sen. Lindsey Graham joined Democratic ones such as Sen. Diane Feinstein in asking U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler to keep Petraeus out of jail.

President Obama is once again poised to go it alone on labor policy, this time on overtime. The Labor Department is expected in the coming weeks to release a rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime work — currently, all workers earning below $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week. The law may raise that as high as $52,000, Politico reports.

Lots of people say they have trouble sleeping. And 1 in 10 Americans has chronic insomnia.

Most often, sleep disorders are treated with medication. Between 6 and 10 percent of adults in the U.S. use sleeping pills.

But a review of the medical evidence has found that therapy might help people with chronic sleep troubles just as much — or even more — than pills.

Giving at least a temporary victory to opponents of the plan to close Sweet Briar College, the Virginia Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to review its rejection of a request for a temporary injunction that would freeze the process of closing the school.

When J.R. Hardman, 28, asked to join a group of Civil War re-enactors in a military drill a few years ago, the unit commander said no dice.

Hardman was willing to wear the wool uniform, carry the gear, load the muskets, eat the hardtack, but the brass still said no.

Because ... J.R. Hardman is a woman.

The unit commander told her to talk to his wife, who would help Hardman find a hoop skirt.

Former Los Angeles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, who pivoted from the courtroom to writing, has died at age 80. After the 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others thrust Bugliosi into the spotlight, he won convictions against Charles Manson and several of his followers.

Bugliosi's son tells The Associated Press that the former district attorney died Saturday in Los Angeles after a fight with cancer.

Early in Lisa Gornick's Louisa Meets Bear, not long after the title characters run into each other at a Princeton University library in 1975, Louisa tries to explain her father's job to her schoolmate. She can't quite articulate what it means to be a geneticist: "I can't explain what it is that my father researches, only that I think about it as unveiling the machinery in the magic."

There was a moment, listening to Gardens & Villa's new song "Fixations," that I was transported back to 1974 and hearing Brian Eno's "Third Uncle" from that brilliant album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). It's all in the way Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen blend buzzy synths, guitars and vocals to make one sonic signature.

Talk about sticker shock: Some U.S. hospitals charge patients more than 10 times the rates paid by Medicare.

Of the 50 U.S. hospitals with the highest charges, 49 are for-profit institutions, 20 operate in Florida, and half are owned by a single chain, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs Monday.

A federal judge has ordered the unconditional release of the last member of the "Angola 3" who remains in prison.

Albert Woodfox, the 68-year-old former Black Panther leader, has spent the past four decades in solitary confinement after he was twice convicted of the 1972 stabbing death of a prison guard. Both convictions have been overturned because of racial prejudice and lack of evidence. U.S. District Judge James Brady has now ruled that Woodfox could not receive another fair trial so he should be released.

"Quirky" is a descriptor that seems to have stuck to Danish composer Carl Nielsen, born 150 years ago on June 9, 1865.

Front Row: Gem Club, '252'

Jun 9, 2015

Following their appearance at an All Songs Considered listening party held at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Gem Club's Christopher Barnes and Ieva Berberian, both Berklee graduates, performed in front of a live audience at Café 939.

Officially, the U.S. has a high school graduation rate of 81 percent — a historic high.

But our months-long investigation, in partnership with reporters at 14 member stations, reveals that this number should be taken with a big grain of salt. We found states, cities and districts pursuing a range of strategies to improve the grad rate:

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has pleaded not guilty to two charges: that he lied to the FBI about paying hush money and that he tried to evade the banking system's cash withdrawal reporting requirements.

Hastert appeared in a federal courtroom in Chicago for an arraignment hearing Tuesday. He will reportedly be released on bond.

Our original post continues:

It was an ugly scene. A fight broke out at a pool party in a McKinney, Texas, subdivision on Friday, allegedly after a white resident told a group of black teenagers to "go back to their Section 8 housing." Local cops show up in force. At some point, a bystander pulls out his cellphone and begins videotaping.

Back when I was losing sleep over various scenarios that could befall my aging parents, a friend would try to calm me with assurances that at most one of those things would happen, so they weren't worth worrying about in advance.

Bird Flu Forces 4-H Fair To Get Creative

Jun 9, 2015
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It turns out classroom training in this country has been given a boost by "Sesame Street." A new study shows that the PBS program leads to long-lasting academic gains similar to those of preschool. NPR's Will Huntsberry reports.

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Now to some news about how you get your music. Apple has jumped into the streaming music business. It announced the new service, Apple Music, at its developers conference yesterday in San Francisco. And as NPR's Laura Sydell reports, DJs may be key to its success.

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The women's World Cup isn't the only thing premiering from FIFA. There's also a feature film that opened in the U.S. on Friday - a $30 million drama called "United Passions."

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