Here & Now

Weekdays 12 Noon - 2 p.m.
Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson

Paddling in the middle of a fast moving stream of news and information, Here & Now is public radio’s daily digest of news and culture. Produced by WBUR in Boston.

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NPR Story
2:19 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Madoff Secretary Gets 6 Years For Role In Ponzi Scheme

Annette Bongiorno, age 65, who served as an executive assistant for Madoff Investment Securities, leaves federal court after being found guilty of charges of aiding, assisting and profiting from the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff on March 24, 2014 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 5:04 pm

Employees complicit in Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme were sentenced Tuesday, including his former secretary who became rich working for her disgraced boss.

Annette Bongiorno earned millions keeping the books as Madoff’s secretary. A federal judge in Manhattan sentenced her to six years in a Florida prison. The judge said Bongiorno wasn’t “fundamentally corrupt,” but she should have recognized the fraud she helped perpetuate. Bongiorno could have faced life in prison.

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World
12:40 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Reporter Opens Final Notebook From Afghanistan

ISAF Joint Command in Kabul lowered and folded its flag at a ceremony on Dec. 8, 2014. Launched in 2009, IJC is now closed. (Sean Carberry/Twitter)

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 12:21 pm

The U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ends this month and ending along with it, the NPR presence in Kabul. Reporter Sean Carberry is leaving Kabul just like most of the American troops are.

On Monday, the U.S. and NATO held a formal ceremony to mark the closing of their operational command center. Afghan security forces are supposed to take over January 1, but there will still be around 11,000 U.S. and NATO troops in the country and fighting is expected to continue.

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NPR Story
2:14 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Kidnapped In Yemen: A Former Diplomat Shares His Story

Former German deputy foreign minister Juergen Chrobog answers journalist's questions after his arrival at a military airport on January 1, 2006 in Cologne, Germany. Chrobog, his wife and his three children were taken hostage by armed tribesmen on December 28 during a holiday in eastern Yemen and were released on December 31, 2006 (Ralph Orlowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 2:58 pm

In 2005, German diplomat Juergen Chrobog and his family were traveling in Yemen when they were kidnapped by Bedouins who wanted the government to free their tribe members who were being held because of crimes committed against another tribe.

They were held for a few days before they were released when the Bedouins were convinced their demands would be met. No ransom was paid.

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NPR Story
2:14 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

McDonald's Tries To Put The Brakes On Steep Decline

McDonald’s reports that its sales in the U.S. fell 4.6 percent last month compared to a year ago — more than double what analysts expected. It comes after a 4.1 percent sales drop in September.

The fast food chain is trying to simplify its menu, enhance marketing and “implement a more locally driven organizational structure,” according to a press release.

Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal joined Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss what’s happening with McDonald’s.

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NPR Story
2:14 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

De-Cluttering Your House With Love

"Tidying consultant" Marie Kondo has built a huge following with her method of organizing and de-cluttering. (Ten Speed Press)

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 2:52 pm

Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go.

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NPR Story
1:51 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

In 'The Death of Santini' Pat Conroy Turns From Fiction To Memoir

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 1:12 pm

Readers of Pat Conroy‘s novels “The Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini” are very familiar with his troubled family history, in particular his harsh military father But last year, Pat decided to step out from behind the guise of fiction and write a memoir: “The

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NPR Story
1:51 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

With The Cost Of Beef Up, Pasture Prices Rise, Too

Cattle take a drink from a tank filled by a windmill. Rancher Dave Wright was hoping to buy part of a neighboring ranch to expand his herd, but it sold for extreme prices. (Grant Gerlock /Harvest Public Media)

The U.S. beef herd is smaller than it has been in decades, thanks to drought and low cattle prices. But Midwest ranchers are eager to grow. And that has turned grass into a hot commodity.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock has the story.

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NPR Story
1:51 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Menu Calorie Count Mandate Adds Up To $5 Billion In 'Lost Pleasure'

The FDA estimates that consumers will suffer more than $5 billion in lost pleasure over a 20 year period due to the calorie counts that will soon be required of fast food chains, movie theaters and certain sit-down restaurants next year.

This new lost pleasure calculation is part of the new regulations that are geared to discourage people from eating junk food and curbing obesity.

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Here & Now
3:53 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Gas Dips Below $2 In Oklahoma

Long lines formed after the OnCue gas station in Oklahoma City dropped its price to $1.99 a gallon. (@keatonfox/Twitter)

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:23 pm

Goldman Sachs estimates that Americans stand to save $75 billion from the recent drop in gasoline prices. That works out to about $1,100 a year per household.

Now, a gas station in Oklahoma City has apparently become the first in the nation to lower the price of gas below $2 a gallon since July 2010.

Yesterday, the OnCue station dropped its price from $2.11 to 1.99 for a gallon of regular gas. That prompted long lines of drivers waiting to fill up, and set off a price war with nearby competitors, who dropped their prices too.

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NPR Story
1:23 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Sharon Isbin, Guitarist Extraordinaire

Sharon Isbin has been called "the preeminent guitarist of our time." (J. Henry Fair/Shore Fire Media)

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:57 pm

Sharon Isbin has been called “the preeminent guitarist of our time,” and was voted “the best classical guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine.

She was one of the first woman musicians in a field where there are few. And she’s a guitarist in the classical world where few believed the instrument deserved a place.

After decades of pushing against those limitations, Isbin now has three Grammy Awards and numerous other awards under her belt, and has collaborated with many world class composers and musicians of various genres.

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