Author Archive

Migrants Strain Tijuana Resources As They Try To Get Into The U.S.

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Migrants Strain Tijuana Resources As They Try To Get Into The U.S.

Migrants from the Central American caravan are arriving in the Mexican city of Tijuana. Authorities across the border in San Diego, Calif., are dealing with thousands of previous asylum-seekers.

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Anderson .Paak Gets Political And Satirical: 'America's Turning Into A Big Meme'

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Anderson .Paak Gets Political And Satirical: 'America's Turning Into A Big Meme'

“I feel like with this album, I wanted to challenge myself and do other things,” Anderson .Paak says.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images


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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

From the ominous narratives of Vince Staples to Kanye West‘s blunt partisanship, the line between the personal and political in hip-hop is becoming increasingly thin. Anderson .Paak is the latest to chime in with his new album, Oxnard, out now, which arrives as equal parts escapism and realism. One song in particular, “6 Summers,” tackles the absurdities of America’s politics, the gun violence debate and meme culture.

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From the first few guitar chords, .Paak kicks in the door with, “Trump’s got a love child and I hope that b**** is buckwild,” and later sings, “Pop, pop, pop goes the shooter / Reform, reform shoulda came sooner.”

“Every day there’s a new situation that’s going on,” .Paak told NPR’s David Greene in an interview recently recorded for Morning Edition. “So I had to write about it. Some artists are not affected, socially, with what’s going on around them. They create their own thing, and then maybe that helps other people escape that. I do that, too. But I feel like with this album, I wanted to challenge myself and do other things.”

The lyrics behind the song’s title — “This s*** gon’ bang at least six summers / But ain’t s*** gon’ change for at least three summers” — point to 2021, the first summer of a new administration in the White House if Trump is not re-elected.

And while .Paak says he wants to express his views on current events, he’s not looking to lecture his listeners. In the vein of contemporaries like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar — who both appear on Oxnard — .Paak says his goal is to make you dance and think, ” ‘Woah, this dude’s really talking about something. I don’t got to stop what I’m doing — the song is still funky, too — but dang, he’s actually really talking about some real stuff.’ “To that end, the song gets a jazzy delivery even at its most probing and satirical.

“Every day it seems like America’s turning into just a big meme,” .Paak adds. “Just a crying Jordan face.”


Oxnard is out now via Aftermath Entertainment.

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Kentucky Kroger Shooting Suspect Charged With Federal Hate Crimes

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Kentucky Kroger Shooting Suspect Charged With Federal Hate Crimes

Gregory Alan Bush, who was indicted on hate crimes and firearm charges by a federal grand jury on Thursday.

Louisville Metro Department of Corrections /AP


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Louisville Metro Department of Corrections /AP

Gregory Bush, a white man accused of killing two black shoppers at a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Ky., last month, was indicted on hate crimes and firearm charges by a federal grand jury on Thursday.

The 51-year-old is charged with “shooting and killing two victims because of their race and color; and for shooting at a third man because of his race and color,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman in the Western District of Kentucky.

“There is no place for hate-fueled violence in our community or Commonwealth,” Coleman said in a statement. “Federal, state, and local law enforcement stand united to ensure that Kentuckians can shop, worship, or attend school without the specter of fear.”

The indictment alleges that Bush committed the killings “after substantial planning and premeditation.”

Investigators said Bush opened fire in the supermarket on Oct. 24, fatally shooting Maurice Stallard, 69, in the back of the head, then shooting him several more times. On his way out, Bush killed Vickie Lee Jones, 67, in the parking lot.

A white man who was in the same parking lot at the time of the shooting told reporters Bush walked by him and said, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”

Minutes before the ambush Bush was also captured on surveillance video trying to enter the First Baptist Church — a predominantly African-American congregation — during a service but locked doors prevented him from entering.

As NPR’s Laurel Walmsley reported, “Bush has a lengthy criminal record, including being convicted of domestic assault for punching his father in the face and lifting his mother by her neck.”

Bush is also charged with using and discharging a firearm during the commission of and in relation to the previously noted crimes of violence.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker called Bush’s alleged crimes “horrific.”

“We cannot and will not tolerate violence motivated by racism,” Whitaker said in a statement. “We will bring the full force of the law against these and any other alleged hate crimes against fellow Americans of any race,” he said.

If convicted, Bush could face life in prison or even execution. The Justice Department said it will decide at a later date whether it will pursue the death penalty.

Bush pleaded not guilty on Nov. 2 to two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and two counts of wanton endangerment.

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Tear-Jerker British Ad Recreates Elton John's Christmas Past

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Tear-Jerker British Ad Recreates Elton John's Christmas Past

Every year, the British department store chain John Lewis & Partners releases a hotly anticipated, big-budget Christmas ad. Last year’s had a lovable monster. Previous installments featured four-legged trampolinists, a lonely man on the moon, a lovelorn penguin, an animated woodland duo.

But this year’s advertisement opens with something far less fantastical: A pensive-looking Elton John, sitting at a piano in a quiet living room.

He starts to play the opening notes of “Your Song” and then — well, see for yourself.

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YouTube

The ad shows Elton John playing that song over the decades — from his Las Vegas residency in the 2000s back to his Top of the Pops performance in 1971. A series of actors play Elton John as he gets younger and younger (in true-to-life outfits: that hot pink mohawk and star-spangled suit is from 1986.)

Elton John and his mohawk perform at Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, Calif., in 1986.

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Mark Terrill/AP

From a packed stadium to rollicking tour plane to the sudden silence of a recording studio, the song shifts in its sound as the ad moves back in time.

And then, as the song continues playing, we see Elton John before “Your Song” ever existed: a young man entertaining his family, a kid at a recital and finally, a small boy enchanted by the gift of a piano.

A gift that would — let the music swell! — change his life.

“Some gifts are more than just a gift,” the ad concludes.

John was indeed introduced to music as a young boy, on his grandmother’s piano, although it’s not clear if the piano was ever wrapped up as a Christmas gift. His representatives have not responded to NPR’s requests for clarification.

In a statement, John said making the ad was “a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my Grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life.”

The ad has had a mixed response. It did bring many people (including, reluctantly, your humble reporter) to tears. But a number of people questioned whether it was truly “Christmassy.”

And it was also denounced as even more crassly commercial than usual — a high bar given that this is literally a commercial.

Elton John is currently on his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, and tickets for many U.K. venues go on sale Friday. And a biopic called Rocketman is coming out next year.

The timing screams “shameless plug” to many Brits.

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Watch Shame Perform 'Lampoon' Live In The Studio

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Watch Shame Perform 'Lampoon' Live In The Studio

British post-punk band Shame has developed a reputation as a must-see live act. The band brought a full-throttle performance to KCRW for a session on MBE. Check out “Lampoon.”

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U.K. Wracked By Political Turmoil As Top Ministers Reject Draft Brexit Deal

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U.K. Wracked By Political Turmoil As Top Ministers Reject Draft Brexit Deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves No. 10 Downing St. for the Houses of Parliament on Thursday. Her address there defending the tentative Brexit deal did little to calm critics — both among her political rivals and within her own party.

Tim Ireland/AP


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Tim Ireland/AP

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

Already reeling from a string of protests and resignations, British Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting for more than the draft Brexit deal she has negotiated with the European Union. With a mutiny afoot within her own Conservative Party, the prime minister may be battling for her political life, as well.

“Regrettably, the draft Withdrawal Agreement presented to Parliament today has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister, either on her own account or on behalf of us all in the Conservative Party Manifesto,” Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a letter requesting a vote of no-confidence on May.

Rees-Mogg leads the European Research Group, a hard-line faction within the Conservative Party that has pushed for as much distance as possible between Britain and the EU. At least two other Conservative members of Parliament, Henry Smith and Sheryll Murray, also submitted letters of no-confidence Thursday.

Graham Brady, the chair of a committee of backbench Conservatives, must receive 48 letters before such a vote is triggered within the party. It remains unclear whether Rees-Mogg and his fellow Brexiteers will have the numbers to do so.

My letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/Bind9T7ogO

— Henry Smith MP 🇬🇧 (@HenrySmithUK) November 15, 2018

Whatever the result of Rees-Mogg’s push, it’s a sign that things aren’t going as planned for May, who unveiled the 585-page draft text earlier this week after months of hard-fought negotiations. The tentative deal charts a course for the U.K. when it leaves the EU in March 2019.

It includes controversial solutions to some particularly difficult problems, foremost among them the status of Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. and shares an open land border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. Under the draft deal, Northern Ireland would largely remain in the European Union’s single market allowing free movement of goods and services and thus remain subject to EU regulations. That’s a nonstarter for critics including May’s key Northern Irish allies, the Democratic Unionist Party.

“I know it’s been a frustrating process. It has forced us to confront some very difficult issues. But a good Brexit — a Brexit which is in the national interest — is possible,” May told the House of Commons on Thursday. “We have persevered and have made a decisive breakthrough.”

“Voting against a deal,” she added, “would take us all back to square one.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the hard-line pro-Brexit European Research Group, speaks to the media Thursday outside the Palace of Westminster. The Conservative lawmaker requested a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May.

Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images


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Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Despite the collective backing of her Cabinet, several of her close allies made clear that they do not support the draft agreement. Among those to resign in protest were Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab — the second Brexit secretary to quit in dramatic fashion this year. And a handful of junior ministers have also joined them in bowing out.

Raab told the BBC that the deal May worked out contains too many provisions that would leave the U.K. subject to EU regulations “with no say over the rules and the laws being applied, with no exit mechanism.”

“I think that would be damaging for the economy,” he said, “but devastating for public trust in our democracy.”

The political turmoil has already taken a noticeable economic toll, helping to send the British pound into a skid Thursday. At one point, the currency had tumbled more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar following news of the high-level resignations.

A journalist looks on as the British pound tumbles against the U.S. dollar Thursday, not long after a string of U.K. government resignations.

Ben Fathers/AFP/Getty Images


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Ben Fathers/AFP/Getty Images

The tumult within the Conservative Party — many of whose members had campaigned for Brexit — has opened a window for political rivals still upset with the results of the fateful 2016 referendum. Many of them have leaped at the opportunity to reassess the situation and retake the vote — now with the benefit of having seen the tumult of the first go-round.

“The thing I think people need to remember from Theresa May’s extraordinary statement last night is she conceded that it isn’t a choice between no deal and this deal; it’s a choice between no deal, this deal and not doing Brexit,” MP Owen Smith of the opposition Labour Party told the BBC.

“The only way in which she gets out of this with any dignity,” Smith added, “is by going back to the people and holding another vote in order to determine whether they want this poor deal.”

An anti-Brexit protester shouts at a car he believes to be carrying Nigel Farage, a principal Brexit campaigner, in London on Thursday.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images


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Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The government in Scotland, whose voters cast ballots overwhelmingly against Brexit, called the draft deal “essentially dead” in a statement Thursday.

“Brexit isn’t a better future — it is a backward step into an imagined past,” said Scottish Government Business and Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell. “We must acknowledge that this deal is unacceptable to Scotland and her citizens. It therefore cannot be supported by this Government.”

The first ministers of both Wales and Scotland, Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon, respectively, also submitted a letter Thursday requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the agreement next week.

“If this ends up with a leadership election in the [Conservative] Tory party, which just leads to a new prime minister who then carries on without any kind of mandate from the people, that would be completely wrong,” Jones told the BBC.

“At that point if there is no election there has to be a referendum.”

Initial polling appears to throw weight behind the deal’s critics. At least one initial poll of British voters suggested that the number of people opposed to the deal more than double the number of supporters. Another poll found that a majority now prefer to stay in the EU altogether.

The British public does not back Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Support – 19%
Oppose – 42%
Don’t know – 39%

42% of Leave voters oppose the deal, as do 47% of Remain votershttps://t.co/DLVwqFaB0x pic.twitter.com/Lch2F0ICgy

— YouGov (@YouGov) November 15, 2018

Meanwhile, beyond the U.K.’s borders, reaction to the draft deal has been considerably more subdued. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that, while Brexit is “something we regret,” the agreement reflects that May “has been true to her word” in honoring the terms of the 20-year-old peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement.

European Council President Donald Tusk, too, offered what seemed backhanded words of support for the tentative deal on Thursday. “Since the very beginning, we’ve had no doubt that Brexit is a lose-lose situation and that our negotiations are only about damage control,” he said in Brussels.

“As much as I am sad to see you leave,” Tusk added, “I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible for both you and for us.”

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U.K. Wracked By Political Turmoil As Top Ministers Reject Draft Brexit Deal

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U.K. Wracked By Political Turmoil As Top Ministers Reject Draft Brexit Deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves No. 10 Downing St. for the Houses of Parliament on Thursday. Her address there defending the tentative Brexit deal did little to calm critics — both among her political rivals and within her own party.

Tim Ireland/AP


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Tim Ireland/AP

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

Already reeling from a string of protests and resignations, British Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting for more than the draft Brexit deal she has negotiated with the European Union. With a mutiny afoot within her own Conservative Party, the prime minister may be battling for her political life, as well.

“Regrettably, the draft Withdrawal Agreement presented to Parliament today has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister, either on her own account or on behalf of us all in the Conservative Party Manifesto,” Jacob Rees-Mogg said in a letter requesting a vote of no-confidence on May.

Rees-Mogg leads the European Research Group, a hard-line faction within the Conservative Party that has pushed for as much distance as possible between Britain and the EU. At least two other Conservative members of Parliament, Henry Smith and Sheryll Murray, also submitted letters of no-confidence Thursday.

Graham Brady, the chair of a committee of backbench Conservatives, must receive 48 letters before such a vote is triggered within the party. It remains unclear whether Rees-Mogg and his fellow Brexiteers will have the numbers to do so.

My letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/Bind9T7ogO

— Henry Smith MP 🇬🇧 (@HenrySmithUK) November 15, 2018

Whatever the result of Rees-Mogg’s push, it’s a sign that things aren’t going as planned for May, who unveiled the 585-page draft text earlier this week after months of hard-fought negotiations. The tentative deal charts a course for the U.K. when it leaves the EU in March 2019.

It includes controversial solutions to some particularly difficult problems, foremost among them the status of Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. and shares an open land border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. Under the draft deal, Northern Ireland would largely remain in the European Union’s single market allowing free movement of goods and services and thus remain subject to EU regulations. That’s a nonstarter for critics including May’s key Northern Irish allies, the Democratic Unionist Party.

“I know it’s been a frustrating process. It has forced us to confront some very difficult issues. But a good Brexit — a Brexit which is in the national interest — is possible,” May told the House of Commons on Thursday. “We have persevered and have made a decisive breakthrough.”

“Voting against a deal,” she added, “would take us all back to square one.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the hard-line pro-Brexit European Research Group, speaks to the media Thursday outside the Palace of Westminster. The Conservative lawmaker requested a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May.

Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images


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Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Despite the collective backing of her Cabinet, several of her close allies made clear that they do not support the draft agreement. Among those to resign in protest were Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab — the second Brexit secretary to quit in dramatic fashion this year. And a handful of junior ministers have also joined them in bowing out.

Raab told the BBC that the deal May worked out contains too many provisions that would leave the U.K. subject to EU regulations “with no say over the rules and the laws being applied, with no exit mechanism.”

“I think that would be damaging for the economy,” he said, “but devastating for public trust in our democracy.”

The political turmoil has already taken a noticeable economic toll, helping to send the British pound into a skid Thursday. At one point, the currency had tumbled more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar following news of the high-level resignations.

A journalist looks on as the British pound tumbles against the U.S. dollar Thursday, not long after a string of U.K. government resignations.

Ben Fathers/AFP/Getty Images


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Ben Fathers/AFP/Getty Images

The tumult within the Conservative Party — many of whose members had campaigned for Brexit — has opened a window for political rivals still upset with the results of the fateful 2016 referendum. Many of them have leaped at the opportunity to reassess the situation and retake the vote — now with the benefit of having seen the tumult of the first go-round.

“The thing I think people need to remember from Theresa May’s extraordinary statement last night is she conceded that it isn’t a choice between no deal and this deal; it’s a choice between no deal, this deal and not doing Brexit,” MP Owen Smith of the opposition Labour Party told the BBC.

“The only way in which she gets out of this with any dignity,” Smith added, “is by going back to the people and holding another vote in order to determine whether they want this poor deal.”

An anti-Brexit protester shouts at a car he believes to be carrying Nigel Farage, a principal Brexit campaigner, in London on Thursday.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images


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Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The government in Scotland, whose voters cast ballots overwhelmingly against Brexit, called the draft deal “essentially dead” in a statement Thursday.

“Brexit isn’t a better future — it is a backward step into an imagined past,” said Scottish Government Business and Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell. “We must acknowledge that this deal is unacceptable to Scotland and her citizens. It therefore cannot be supported by this Government.”

The first ministers of both Wales and Scotland, Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon, respectively, also submitted a letter Thursday requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the agreement next week.

“If this ends up with a leadership election in the [Conservative] Tory party, which just leads to a new prime minister who then carries on without any kind of mandate from the people, that would be completely wrong,” Jones told the BBC.

“At that point if there is no election there has to be a referendum.”

Initial polling appears to throw weight behind the deal’s critics. At least one initial poll of British voters suggested that the number of people opposed to the deal more than double the number of supporters. Another poll found that a majority now prefer to stay in the EU altogether.

The British public does not back Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Support – 19%
Oppose – 42%
Don’t know – 39%

42% of Leave voters oppose the deal, as do 47% of Remain votershttps://t.co/DLVwqFaB0x pic.twitter.com/Lch2F0ICgy

— YouGov (@YouGov) November 15, 2018

Meanwhile, beyond the U.K.’s borders, reaction to the draft deal has been considerably more subdued. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that, while Brexit is “something we regret,” the agreement reflects that May “has been true to her word” in honoring the terms of the 20-year-old peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement.

European Council President Donald Tusk, too, offered what seemed backhanded words of support for the tentative deal on Thursday. “Since the very beginning, we’ve had no doubt that Brexit is a lose-lose situation and that our negotiations are only about damage control,” he said in Brussels.

“As much as I am sad to see you leave,” Tusk added, “I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible for both you and for us.”

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Sigrid Nunez, Elizabeth Acevedo Among 2018 National Book Award Winners

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Sigrid Nunez, Elizabeth Acevedo Among 2018 National Book Award Winners
The National Book Awards.



Jo Naylor/Flickr

On a rather frigid night in New York City, hours after sundown, a constellation of the U.S. publishing industry’s bright lights gathered at the National Book Awards to honor their brightest this year — and to put forth a fiery defense of the possibilities of their medium.

“In our inexorable pursuit of freedom and human rights, books serve us as weapons and also as shields,” declared the ceremony’s MC, a shaggy-bearded and shaven-headed Nick Offerman. “They are perhaps the greatest creation of humankind.”

Then — fittingly for a ceremony that swung comfortably between resolve and ribaldry — he cracked a few sex jokes.

But as always, the winners were the real stars of the evening. The National Book Foundation awarded laurels to works in five categories Wednesday night, including a new one honoring translated literature.

Jump to see the full list of finalists they beat out.

Judges plucked the five works from a field of 1,637 books submitted by publishers. Now, they join a pantheon of National Book Award winners dating back to 1950 — including William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison and Flannery O’Connor.

But for all that tradition, the spotlight Wednesday fell partly on a fresh-faced newcomer: the translated literature category.

The focus was all the more accentuated by the National Book Foundation’s choice for this year’s lifetime achievement honors. Novelist Isabel Allende was the first Spanish-language author — and just the second born outside the U.S. — to receive the award.

Born in Peru, raised in Chile, Allende fled the country with her family when Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet took power in the 1970s. In the decades since, Allende has written about two dozen books, perhaps none more widely read than her debut novel, The House of the Spirits.

And all along, she said her sense of uprootedness has informed both her literature and her life. Appropriately enough, that led her to a sex joke of her own: “I dream, cook, make love and write in Spanish. Make love — I would feel ridiculous panting in English,” she quipped.

But her point was broader than a single one-liner could contain. In a “time of nationalism and racism, of cruelty and fanaticism,” she asserted that it’s crucial to remember that — especially in the U.S. — “everybody descends from someone who came from another place.”

In this respect, she said, writing and reading offer indispensable instruments.

“I write to preserve memory against the erosion of oblivion and to bring people together. I believe in the power of stories. If we listen to another person’s story, if we tell our own story, we start to heal from division and hatred,” Allende said, “because we realize that the similarities that bring us together are many more than the differences that separate us.”

It was a sentiment echoed later in the night by Acevedo, whose Poet X won the National Book Award for young people’s literature. The daughter of Dominican immigrants, she said she goes through the world “with a chip on my shoulder.”

“As the child of immigrants, as a black woman, as a Latina, as someone whose accented voice holds certain neighborhoods, whose body holds certain stories, I always feel like I have to prove that I am worthy enough and there will never be an award or accolade that will take that away,” she told the crowd.

“But every single time I meet a reader who looks at me and says, ‘I have never seen my story until I read yours,’ I’m reminded of why this matters. And that’s not going to be an award and it’s not going to be an accolade. It’s going to be looking someone in the face and saying, ‘I see you,’ and in return being told that I am seen.”


The Finalists

Fiction

Nonfiction

Poetry

Translated Literature

  • Négar Djavadi: Disoriental
    Translated by Tina Kover
  • Hanne Ørstavik: Love
    Translated by Martin Aitken
  • Domenico Starnone: Trick
    Translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Yoko Tawada: The Emissary
    Translated by Margaret Mitsutani
  • Olga Tokarczuk: Flights
    Translated by Jennifer Croft

Young People’s Literature

  • Elizabeth Acevedo: The Poet X
  • M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin: The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
  • Leslie Connor: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
  • Christopher Paul Curtis: The Journey of Little Charlie
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Hey, Kiddo

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Draft Brexit Deal Clears First Hurdle With Cabinet Support

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Draft Brexit Deal Clears First Hurdle With Cabinet Support

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves No. 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Now that May has reached an agreement with European Union negotiators, she faces still another difficult task: persuading skeptical Brits to get on board.

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images


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Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The draft Brexit agreement has cleared its first crucial obstacle. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday the tentative deal, which charts the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, has earned the support of her Cabinet of closest ministers.

“This is a decisive step, which enables us to move on and finalize the deal in the days ahead,” May explained to reporters outside the prime minister’s residence at No. 10 Downing St. “These decisions were not taken lightly, but I believe it is firmly in the national interest.”

The prime minister’s remarks were brief, deliberate — and spoken over the bellows of demonstrators gathered near the media. The scene made another thing clear: Cabinet approval is only the first step on the draft deal’s rather daunting path to adoption.

Dozens of British lawmakers across the ideological spectrum have already expressed their skepticism — or outright rejection — of the draft. Many of them began doing so even before they got a look at its formal details. Some of the loudest critics have come from within May’s own Conservative Party.

Brexit supporters demonstrate Wednesday in London, showing displeasure with a deal they believe does not go far enough toward distancing the U.K. from the European Union.

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Leon Neal/Getty Images

“Is the prime minister aware that, if the media reports about the EU agreement are in any way accurate, you are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative [members of Parliament] and millions of voters across the country?” Peter Bone, a Conservative hard-line Brexit supporter, told lawmakers Wednesday.

Many Conservatives are upset that the deal does not go far enough in separating the U.K. from the EU’s single market. They argue that several of the provisions in the 585-page draft agreement — now published in full online — leave the U.K. subject to EU regulations in several of the most contentious areas of the divorce, including a long transition period and protections for British and EU nationals abroad.

But perhaps the most divisive issue covered in the agreement comes some 300 pages in: the thorny matter of Northern Ireland.

A student walks past a billboard in Newry, Northern Ireland, protesting the U.K.’s departure from the European Union. A majority of voters cast ballots against Brexit in 2016; the region has become a central point of contention in negotiations.

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Under the 20-year-old Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of sectarian violence, the U.K. region shares an open land border with the Republic of Ireland, a committed member of the EU. That border has spelled trouble for negotiators, since it appears to run contradictory to a Brexit that would largely close U.K. borders to the EU’s single market.

It’s also trouble for May, in particular, since her fragile governing coalition depends on the support of the relatively tiny Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. Though a majority of the region in 2016 voted to remain in the EU, the DUP has vehemently objected to a deal leaving it “tied to EU regulations.”

“It’s a poor deal. It’s a bad deal. It’s a deal that [May] said she’d never accept,” Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesperson, told the BBC on Wednesday. “And I think that when it comes to the House of Commons, she’s going to find that there are many people who share that view.”

The draft has also come in for criticism from some of the more usual suspects — May’s rivals in the Labour Party and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, both of whom had campaigned to remain in the EU. In this case, Sturgeon’s complaint is the opposite of the one voiced by the DUP: She is upset with Scotland’s greater distance from the EU.

“It would take Scotland out of the single market, which would be bad enough in and of itself, but it would do so while leaving us competing for investment and jobs with a Northern Ireland that would effectively be staying in the single market,” Sturgeon told British broadcaster ITV. “That would be the worst of all possible worlds.”

Not long off call with PM. She tried to tell me Scotland’s ‘distinctive’ interests had been protected. I pointed out that there isn’t a single mention of Scotland in the agreement, that it disregards our interests, and puts Scotland at a serious competitive disadvantage.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 14, 2018

That said, the deal is far from dead. It has the backing not just of May’s Cabinet but of many EU members too — including the taoiseach (prime minister) of the Republic of Ireland, Leo Varadkar. He praised the agreement as “a very solid step on the journey.”

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier described the deal in similar terms when speaking to reporters in Brussels. “I have the feeling that we have taken a very decisive, and fundamental step today towards an orderly withdrawal,” he said.

The next step is expected to come Thursday, when May plans to pitch the deal in an address to the House of Commons in London. “It’s my job as prime minister to explain the decisions that the government has taken, and I stand ready to do that, beginning with a statement in Parliament,” she vowed Wednesday.

“When you strip away the detail, the choice before us is clear: This deal which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders; ends free movement; protects jobs, security and our union,” she added. “Or leave with no deal — or no Brexit at all.”

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German 'Playboy' Retracts Ennio Morricone Interview, Calling It A 'Farce'

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German 'Playboy' Retracts Ennio Morricone Interview, Calling It A 'Farce'

The composer Ennio Morricone, onstage in December 2017 in Milan.

Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images


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Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday

Quentin Tarantino is “a cretin,” his films are “garbage” and the Oscars are “boring,” the famed film composer Ennio Morricone ostensibly told the German edition of Playboy in an interview published online on Sunday. Except that Morricone — who won an Oscar for scoring Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight and whose early work Tarantino incorporated into previous films — didn’t say any such things, according to the magazine.

“It has come to my attention that Playboy Germany has come out with an article in which I have stated extremely negative comments about Tarantino and his films, and the Academy,” the composer wrote as part of a statement published on his website. “I have never expressed any negative statements about the Academy, Quentin, or his film — and certainly do not consider his films garbage. I have given a mandate to my lawyer in Italy to take civil and penal action.” (For what it’s worth, the composer described working with Tarantino on The Hateful Eight as “perfect” in an interview two years ago with The Guardian, “because he gave me no cues, no guidelines.”)

In the Playboy interview, conducted by veteran freelance journalist Marcel Anders — and which has been removed from the magazine’s website, but not before being preserved — Morricone was also quoted as calling America “dreadful.”

A statement issued on Wednesday by Playboy Germany’s editor-in-chief Florian Boitin explains, starkly, what happened. [Note: The link to Boitin’s statement on the magazine’s website contains material that is NSFW.]

“To our dismay, we have now established that sections of the interview published by us do not accurately reflect the words spoken by Mr. Morricone,” Boitin writes. “Mr. Anders has now addressed the accusations himself, and admits to making ‘terrible mistakes.’ In a letter made available to the editorial team, he apologizes to Mr. Morricone for his failure to adhere to the statements given when writing the interview for Playboy and for adding statements made at other times and in other media.

“Based on the information at our disposal,” Boitin continues, “his actions have resulted in irresponsible inaccuracies at best and, at worst, in intentional deceit. Whatever the circumstances, these deliberate falsifications are an intolerable breach of journalistic ethics.”

After apologizing for not saving readers from “this farce of an interview,” Boitin says the magazine is planning to file a criminal complaint against Anders for his alleged falsifications.

In an interview published Monday by The Guardian, Morricone initially denied even speaking to the magazine at all, saying: “This is totally false … I have not given an interview to Playboy Germany.”

Morricone’s promoter and the broker of the interview, Amsterdam-based General Entertainment Partners, says in a statement released Tuesday that it was under the impression the interview was primarily meant for Deutschlandfunk, not Playboy.

Within its statement, the company also shared an email it says it received from Anders in which he apologizes, writing in part: “I sincerely apologize to the Maestro and everybody involved. I should have sticked [sic] to the original interview conducted in Rome and not have added anything that is incorrect. It was a terrible mistake to do.”

Playboy Germany initially defended its piece following Morricone’s repudiation of its contents, telling The Guardian on Tuesday that the publication was “surprised to hear that Ennio Morricone denies having given an interview to German Playboy,” saying the interview took place in June and that it was published in celebration of the composer’s 90th birthday on Nov. 10.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the Playboy story was the second Morricone interview conducted by Anders that has been published in the past week. On Nov. 10, the day before Playboy ran its interview, German radio outlet Deutschlandfunk aired its own, also conducted by Anders. In that benign piece, the maestro discusses his prolific career — he has composed or arranged the music for hundreds of films — and his desire to compose work “that is not intended for the cinema.”

Deutschlandfunk did not respond on Wednesday to a request for comment. Multiple attempts to reach Anders were unsuccessful.

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