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You think you've read every permutation of a World War II novel possible — then along comes a Venetian fisherman and his unlikely first mate, a beautiful Jewish teenaged girl on the run from the last few Nazis occupying Italy. Venerable author Martin Cruz Smith has chosen, in The Girl from Venice, to put aside his usual spy stories (e.g. Gorky Park and Three Stations) for a straightforward wartime chase-cum-romance, a slice of La Serenissima life so perfectly researched that details melt into action like the local goby fish into risotto.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet for their third and final debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday — the only one held in the West — they'll be sparring in an important swing state where six electoral votes are up for grabs.

But there's another number you should know about that likely won't get much attention, even though it's hugely important to many Westerners: 81 percent. That's the amount of land in Nevada that's currently owned, operated and controlled by the federal government.

Brent Harger of Washoe County, Nev., says he has always voted, but until this year, he'd never really gotten involved in politics.

"I've always been told my voice means nothing. I don't believe that," Harger says. "And there's a lot of people that are scared to even say anything today because they don't think their voice means anything."

Many travelers have resigned themselves to paying $25 or more to check a bag when flying. But that fee becomes especially onerous when the bag doesn't show up on the carousel at baggage claim.

The White House is proposing a new rule that would require airlines to refund the checked baggage fee if luggage is "substantially delayed," though it does not define "substantially."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

The final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. It's the last chance either candidate will have to make a closing argument before tens of millions of voters.

It follows yet another unprecedented week in the campaign, in which Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, predicting that it will be stolen from him through media bias and massive voter fraud.

The unemployment rate for transgender people is double that of the general population. Now, California has set up the nation's first ever large-scale program to help transgender people find jobs.

And it's all because of Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who's employed trans people at her restaurants for years.

'I'm A Trans Owner Supporting Trans People'

Best-selling author Scott Turow once described the act of being a Chicago Cubs fan as "quasi-spiritual."

He's right. Generations of Cubs fans have come and gone without ever seeing their belief in the team validated. It's been 108 years running without a title.

There's something about that blind faith that feels holy to Chicago's North Siders. Their fandom is purer and more absolute because they give of themselves over and over again and get nothing in return. (No World Series wins, at least.)

At a hearing last month on the possible hacking of voting machines, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler said he was more worried about something else. The real threat on Election Day, said Schedler, is violence at the polls.

Ecuador acknowledges it restricted the Internet access of Julian Assange, who has lived at the country's London embassy for more than four years.

The government of President Rafael Correa released a statement that notes Assange's WikiLeaks website has published "a wealth of documents, impacting on the U.S. election campaign." The statement says the website released those documents on its own, and Ecuador "respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states."

Chuck Berry turns 90 Tuesday. I know he's a very important person in music history, but he's never been a guy I listened to much. I mean, I've heard hits like "Maybellene" from 1955, but I wanted to learn more.

So I called Tony Trov. He's an artist out of Philadelphia, but more important, he plays in a Chuck Berry cover band called It's Marvin, Your Cousin Marvin Berry, a reference to a memorable scene in Back to the Future.

Nobody loves pesticides, exactly. But one kind of pesticide, called neonicotinoids, is provoking a particularly bitter debate right now between environmentalists and farmers. The chemicals are highly toxic to bees. Some scientists think they are partly to blame for the decline in pollinators.

For the past year, the province of Ontario, in Canada, has responded to the controversy with a novel experiment. Ontario's government is asking farmers to prove that they actually need neonicotinoids, often called neonics. It turns out that "need" is a word that's hard to define.