A member of Congress who's one of the staunchest defenders of Russia in American politics met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London on Wednesday.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., spent around three hours with Assange talking at the Ecuadorean Embassy there, where Assange sought refuge in 2012 in the face of sexual assault charges in Sweden.

A 20-year old South African model accusing Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe of beating her with an extension cord has rejected a proposed cash settlement, according to her legal team.

Mugabe's whereabouts are unknown, and South African Police Minister Fikile Mbalula told reporters that the country implemented a "red alert" for her at its borders. "She is not somebody who has been running away," Mbalula said, according to South Africa's News24.

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Spotify and other streaming services have begun removing white supremacist content from their platforms, as websites and musicians alike scramble to distance themselves from the white nationalist movement.

In a statement on Wednesday, Spotify blamed the labels and distributors that supply music to its database but said "material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us. Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention."

The production notes for Patti Cake$ describe the movie's heroine as "plain and plus-sized." Plus-sized she may be, but neither Patti Dombrowski, an aspiring rapper in her 20s, nor Danielle Macdonald, the gifted non-rapper who plays her, is plain in any sense unless your definition of beauty begins and ends with Angelina Jolie.

The Next Chapter For Dystopian Literature

Aug 17, 2017

Today’s book lovers are hungry for stories of dark, dystopian futures. Novels like “1984,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Parable of the Sower” are hard to keep in stock these days.

But what’s inspiring the next generation of dystopian narratives? We assemble a panel of authors to talk about how current events, national politics and international relations inspire their new works and appeal to an audience with an affinity for apocalyptic endings.

GUESTS

The typewriter is a marvelous invention, because with proper care, a single unit can last decades. And if you're still using one now, it would have to: since the mass adoption of personal computers in the 1980s, let's just say the ink on these once-inescapable household items has run dry. The brilliant mechanics, the elegance of pressing a key and leaving an instant, permanent imprint on the page, became obsolete the minute humankind invented the "delete" key.

The wildly inventive Dave Made a Maze creates a fantastic universe on a tiny budget, using mostly cardboard. Yet although it's a scrappy indie, the movie has something in common with many platinum-plated CGI blockbusters: The visuals are as strong as the script is feeble.

The term "Ocean's 7-Eleven" — a throwaway gag in first-time screenwriter's Rebecca Blunt's script for Logan Lucky — could have been the elevator pitch for this shaggy, Southern-fried caper comedy that marks workaholic director/cinematographer/editor Steven Soderbergh's return to feature filmmaking. (During his four-year "retirement" — his word — he kicked back and directed 20 hours of the Showtime series The Knick, and produced several other small-screen series. It's possible he did some sailing and maybe hit a few golf balls, too. Who can say?)

As we struggled this week to make sense of what happened in Charlottesville, Va., some big questions bubbled up:

What lessons does history teach about white resentment in the United States? How is the experience of other countries and other times — like Germany — relevant? How are those in power reacting to President Trump's shifting response?

At least 58 people were killed by police in the Philippines this week in two raids — the first and deadliest of which was celebrated by President Rodrigo Duterte as a successful part of his brutal war on drugs.

On Tuesday, a raid in the province of Bulacon left 32 people dead, The Associated Press reports. It was the highest single-day death toll of Duterte's crackdown on the drug trade. More than 100 accused drug offenders were arrested in the province, the news service says.

On Wednesday and into Thursday, operations in the capital city of Manila killed 26 more people.

How Did North Korea Get Nuclear Weapons?

Aug 17, 2017

In an interview with The American Prospect, White House strategist Steve Bannon said “there’s no military solution” to North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program. Going against President Trump’s threat of “fire and fury,” Bannon suggested Trump should tone down the brinkmanship with North Korea and focus on China instead.

But how did North Korea get its nuclear weapons in the first place?

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We begin the hour with the terrorist attack in Barcelona. Local officials say 13 people have died. More than a hundred were injured when a van drove into a walkway crowded with tourists. Andrew Roby of Washington, D.C., was near the attack when it happened.

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We talked earlier today with Fiona Govan. She's a journalist in Barcelona. And we asked her what the local authorities were saying about who did this.

Worried about Internet companies snooping on your online browsing? You might turn to something called a virtual private network to protect your privacy. But researchers say these networks can themselves be insecure.

Earlier this year, the federal government rolled back rules that would have prevented Internet service providers from tracking your activity online.

Attacker Drives Van Into Barcelona Crowd

Aug 17, 2017

A white van jumped up onto a sidewalk and sped down a pedestrian zone Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, swerving from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents.

NPR’s Camila Domonoske (@camilareads) joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young with the latest.

With reporting from The Associated Press

Three of the most visible leaders of Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement have been sentenced to jail time for their roles in the series of massive pro-democracy protests in 2014. The sentences announced Thursday, which range from six months to eight months, revise previous, lighter penalties handed down last year and effectively bar the men from holding office for the next five years.

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