NPR News

It's time: The Black Keys are ready to both rock and roll once more. The duo of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach has unveiled its ninth studio album, titled (on-the-nose) "Let's Rock," due out June 28 on Easy Eye/Nonesuch.

With a promise of more elemental, stripped-down blues-rock, the band has also released a new single, "Eagle Birds." "The record is like a homage to electric guitar," says Patrick Carney, the band's drummer, in a statement. "We took a simple approach and trimmed all the fat like we used to."

Emily Dennis has spent hours, if not days, watching mosquitoes buzz around her bare, outstretched arm. Carefully, she's observed the insects land, stab their mouthparts through her skin and feed.

But if her arm is slathered with DEET — shorthand for the chemical N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, the active ingredient in many insect repellents — mosquitoes stay away.

The doctors and nurses who work in the heart of the Ebola outbreak zone in Democratic Republic of the Congo say they've had enough. For weeks they've been subjected to threats of violence and even actual assaults. On Wednesday they gave the government an ultimatum: Improve security within one week or they'll go on strike.

On this week's Alt.Latino music roundup, check out the latest Latin spins we've heard reflect and cross-reference the cultural roots, settling feelings and lived experiences that are beyond our lifetimes. Yesterday, we were blessed with a new video accompanying Cuco's dreamscape song "Hydrocodone." Likewise, C. Tangana and Alizzz dropped a video for "Para Repartir," a free form visual that settles nicely over the Cuban groove.

This year's Tiny Desk Contest judges are excited to finally be getting ready to pick the 2019 winner. In the meantime, there's a lot going on in the Tiny Desk Contest community.

At 80, Syed Ikhlaq Latifi's face is lined and leathery, with a stark white beard. But he's still able to scramble up three flights of stairs to his roof to describe what he watched from there, in horror, nearly 30 years ago.

On Dec. 6, 1992, a mob broke through barricades around the Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque in Latifi's hometown of Ayodhya in northern India. He points to where the mosque's three massive stone domes used to be. It's now an open, dusty lot, as wide as a football field, lined with barbed wire.

The Prince Estate has announced plans to release another album of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1981 and 1991. The album, titled Originals, will be available June 7 exclusively on Tidal's Hi-Fi subscription tier, with physical copies, downloads and wider streaming services following on June 21. It features 15 demo versions of songs Prince wrote and recorded for other artists, including Sheila E., The Time and Kenny Rogers. Fourteen of the tracks have never been released before.

NPR/Ipsos conducted a national poll recently and found that more than 8 in 10 teachers — and a similar majority of parents — support teaching kids about climate change.

But in reality, it's not always happening: Fewer than half of K-12 teachers told us that they talk about climate change with their children or students. Again, parents were about the same.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Federal agents raided Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's home, part of city hall and another location Thursday. Pugh is under investigation for alleged "self-dealing" in connection with hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for a self-published children's book from private companies that were subject to her influence.

The Boss is back with his first new studio album in five years. Western Stars is due out June 14 on Columbia Records and, according to a press release announcing the record, will be largely influenced by the Southern California pop sounds of the late '60s and early '70s.

"This record is a return to my solo recordings," Springsteen says in a statement, "featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record."

If North Korea is given security guarantees, Kim Jong Un would be willing to denuclearize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Kim on Thursday. Their first face-to-face meeting took place on Russky Island in eastern Russia.

There's no record quite like Green Balloon, and no band quite like Tank and the Bangas. Green Balloon is 17 songs, featuring 75 minutes of roughly 30 creative souls, recorded in nearly 10 studios. They make music without boundary on instruments ranging from sax, flute, cello, vocal scratches, keyboards, synths, real drums, fake drums, a djembe and, of course, the poetry, philosophy, comedy and voice that is Tarriona "Tank" Ball.

Updated at 10:03 a.m. ET

After months of oscillating speculation, followed by a long ramp up that drew out uncomfortable reassessments of his long public career, former Vice President Joe Biden has announced that he will run for president in 2020.

Wang Wen proudly says that he has been to over 20 U.S. states. He flies between the U.S. and China every few months for his job as director of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, a university think tank in Beijing.

At least he did until a few weeks ago, when he received an email from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. His 10-year U.S. business visa had been abruptly canceled with no explanation. He was told he could apply for a single-entry business visa instead, if he was able to list his last 15 years of travel history.

A new poll by NPR and Ipsos finds a third of Americans have been touched directly by the deadly opioid epidemic that still kills more than 100 people every day. "One in three have been personally affected in some way, either by knowing someone who has overdosed or by knowing someone with an opioid addiction," said Mallory Newall, lead Ipsos researcher on the survey.

Why do people need to be free? It's a facetious question, almost offensive, that can be answered in a million ways. Yet to ponder it is to touch down on the human side of political struggle. Consider one thing freedom makes possible, for example: intimacy. People become themselves through close exchanges with others, from a mother's arms to a lover's, speaking into the ear of a close friend or a sister and hearing themselves in the answers that come.

First Listen: Tacocat, 'This Mess Is A Place'

8 hours ago

Tacocat has come a long way since its early numbers about psychic cats and Tonya Harding. Formed in 2007, the Seattle punks have garnered a devoted fan base for their feminist pop-punk anthems, catchy hooks and subversive lyrics – and they've inevitably grown up along the way. To be fair, the world also left them no choice.

Blooming storms permeate The Felice Brothers' first album in three years. With Undress, the Felice Brothers' folk-rock sound and vision has matured and focused, and the band does its best at making sense of our modern times.

As austerely down-to-earth as the modal melodies of Appalachian folk music can sound, they can also convey profound pining. "The tenderness of a folk song does not arise only from nostalgia about how wonderful everything is back home," the feminist theologian Wendy Farley once wrote. "Whatever the particularities from which this nostalgic longing arises, it continues to wound our hearts because it is also nostalgia for something no one has ever experienced." In handed-down tunes, she recognized "desire's refusal to accept the limitations of life."

With the pending payout of a parent's life insurance policy, the confessed Parkland, Fla., school shooter could get more than $430,000. So he is no longer entitled to be represented for free by a public defender, his lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday asking to withdraw from the case.

"It has come to the attention of undersigned counsel that Nikolas Cruz is a beneficiary in a MetLife life insurance policy and is entitled to half of a death benefit valued at $864,929.17 as of April 23, 2019," the Broward County Public Defender's Office wrote.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 695 measles cases in 22 states.

"This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000," says a CDC statement issued late Wednesday.

The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a newly implemented ordinance by the city of Los Angeles that seeks to limit ties between city contractors and the gun rights group.

The lawsuit alleges that the ordinance, which took effect on April 1, violates constitutional protections for free speech and association under the First Amendment and the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

Facebook expects to pay a fine of up to $5 billion in a settlement with federal regulators. The tech giant disclosed that figure in its first-quarter 2019 financial results.

Titanic Rising, Natalie Mering's latest album from her long-running project Weyes Blood, invites the listener in with a comforting, somewhat nostalgic sound. But beneath that warm, dream-pop bed of music is a flood of anxieties about climate change, finding love and a friend's suicide.

Relly Brown's ground-floor apartment near Los Angeles' Koreatown neighborhood still resembles the hotel room it once was: four walls, no kitchen and a mattress that takes up half the floor. A shade is drawn over the only window, keeping it dim and reasonably cool on a warm spring afternoon.

"I'm living in a box," said Brown, 26, who was placed here in December through a program called rapid rehousing, which provides short-term rental vouchers to use on the private market. Typically, the subsidies cover security deposits and the first three to six months of rent.

It's the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster: Five hundred years ago, a son of Christopher Columbus assembled one of the greatest libraries the world has ever known. The volumes inside were mostly lost to history. Now, a precious book summarizing the contents of the library has turned up in a manuscript collection in Denmark.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and French President Emmanuel Macron will lead a global effort to stop social media from promoting terrorism in the wake of recent attacks that devastated New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

"This isn't about freedom of expression; this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online," Ardern told reporters at a news conference in Auckland on Wednesday.

The documentary film Echo in the Canyon celebrates the explosion of popular music that came out of LA's Laurel Canyon in the mid-'60s. In celebration of the movie's release, watch live performances from Jakob Dylan, Cat Power and Jade Castrinos (from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros).

Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

Eight Democratic presidential candidates faced the same basic question today in Houston: Why should women of color vote for them?

The first-ever She The People Presidential Forum — organized by and centered on questions from women of color — served as a repeated reminder of the key role that minority women play in Democratic politics.

It happens all the time during basketball games. Two players are going for the ball. They touch it at the same time but neither controls it, and it flies out of bounds.

At that point, tempers rise — both are certain that the other player was the last to touch it, which should earn their own team a chance to control the ball.

Are the players just pretending to be so sure it's out on their opponent? Or could there actually be a difference in how they experience the event that has them pointing a finger at the other player?

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