One of the most frequently hailed signs of social progress in the last 50 years is the growing acceptance and mainstreaming of homosexuality in the Western world. No novelist has chronicled this salubrious sea change in cultural attitudes more beautifully than Alan Hollinghurst. Beginning with The Swimming-Pool Library in 1988 and continuing through The Sparsholt Affair, Hollinghurst's grand literary project has been nothing less than to convey the changing status of homosexuality in British society in the last century.

Three days after the U.K. said it was expelling 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent on U.K. soil, Russia says it's responding in kind, by kicking out 23 U.K. diplomats currently in Moscow.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Saturday that 23 British diplomats are "persona non grata" and must leave the country within a week.

I feel the urge again. My fingertips run along my face, feeling for imperfections, and I slip into the bathroom to be alone. After a glance in the mirror, I stalk back out, my nails digging into my palms. Not today.

Since my adolescence, I've had a tumultuous relationship with my reflection. That's because I suffered from trichotillomania, or hair pulling, and currently struggle with its cousin excoriation disorder, dermatillomania, or skin picking.

Hello and welcome to another edition of the weekly roundup. The nation's eyes have been on students this week, so let's check in.

National student walkout

There is a wonderful irony in a career retrospective of a living artist that becomes so popular it outlives its subject. In 2010 — long before David Bowie Is travelled to ten other locations around the world, before it landed in Brooklyn earlier this month — London's Victoria & Albert Museum was approached by the rock icon's management to create an exhibit out of the singer's archives. At the time, the idea that such a show would be taken seriously, much less prove to be a success, were hardly foregone conclusions.

This might very well be the ultimate lullaby. Right at the start of the 2018 SXSW Music Festival, Max Richter's eight-hour composition Sleep was performed overnight to an audience tucked into 150 beds. They — the audience, not the tireless group of musicians who performed the piece — slept, dreamed and sometimes snored through this trance-inducing experience.

President Trump's nominee for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency.

The NCAA men's basketball tournament has included 64 teams every year since 1985, split into four quadrants and seeded 1-16. In all those years — in 135 tries — no 16 seed had ever beaten a top-seeded team.

Until the University of Maryland Baltimore County beat the stuffing out of Virginia, the best team in the country, 74-54 on Friday night.

All of which is to say, if anyone claims they picked against Virginia in their tournament pool, you should feel comfortable not believing them.

President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is asking a federal court to enforce a nondisclosure agreement signed by porn star Stormy Daniels, claiming that the actress violated that pact and is liable to pay $20 million in damages.

The court filing was made through the limited liability corporation Essential Consultants that Cohen first established in 2016 to pay Daniels $130,000 to keep secret the details of her affair with Trump before he became president.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET Saturday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Friday even though he was on the doorstep of retirement and receiving his pension after two decades of service to the bureau.

President Trump responded on Twitter just after midnight Saturday morning, calling McCabe's firing "a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."

Constantin Reliu, a dead man, has been having himself a rough year.

The Turkish government deported him in January for having expired documents, sending him back to a Romania he says he hadn't seen since the late 1990s.

And you can imagine his surprise when, upon his return, he found out he died back in 2003. There was an official death certificate registered by his wife and everything.

After Hurricane Maria, some good news for Puerto Rico

13 hours ago

Six months ago, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. According to the official death toll, 64 people lost their lives, but other counts put the total closer to 1,000. The storm also knocked out power and destroyed homes. Thousands of people left the island but others stayed. Michelle Rodriguez is one of them. She's the executive director of Niños De Nueva Esperanza in the neighborhood of Sabana Seca, 15 miles outside San Juan. Marketplace Weekend's Lizzie O'Leary met with Rodriguez during a reporting trip to the island in November.

The CEO of the last company in the U.S. making beer kegs out of American steel says new steel tariffs may come with unintended consequences for his business.

Health care in the United States costs a lot of money. In fact, we, as a country, spend twice as much as other wealthy nations. And we're collectively less healthy than many others. But why is it like this? Conventional wisdom says that Americans use more health care — more tests, scans, screenings and prescriptions. But a group of researchers has some new information that doesn't fit into the old theories. Dr.

Ten years ago, Bear Stearns went under as the financial crisis was breaking. Ana Swanson of The New York Times and Sheelah Kolhatkar from The New Yorker share their most vivid memories of that time with us. We also get a taste of Kai Ryssdal's interview with Tim Geithner, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, airing on the show starting Monday. "We were using duct tape and string to try to hold the thing together," Geithner said of the economy. It's part of our Divided Decade project.

Russians head to the polls Sunday to vote in their presidential election. Vladimir Putin is expected to win handily. He has been in power now for 18 years — 14 as president and four as prime minister — and even he seems a little bored with his candidacy. A campaign speech he gave this week lasted just two minutes, and he didn't even say the word "election."

State lawmakers who oppose Maryland's official song are getting closer to putting the Confederate-era relic out to pasture, even though they have had to put aside their goal of jettisoning it altogether.

MD SB790, passed the Senate with a 30-13 vote Friday, and would reclassify "Maryland, My Maryland," as the state's "historical" song, rather than its official one.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that a trade war could be triggered by President Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum and could trash the global economic recovery. The tariffs are due to come into effect next week. The European Union has reacted angrily to the U.S. move, threatening to slap its own tariffs on a wide range of American products.   

Kentucky Votes To Ban Child Marriage

14 hours ago

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

Kentucky is one of 25 states where, provided certain conditions are met, a child can walk down the aisle to marry at any age – no bride or groom is too young.

A bill approved by the Kentucky Legislature and headed to the governor's desk would change that. Kentucky's S.B. 48 would make it illegal for anyone 16 and younger to marry. The bill cleared the Kentucky House of Representatives on Friday.

Debate On Role Of Islam Divides German Government

15 hours ago

Germany's new minister of interior, Horst Seehofer, has stirred up debate about the role of Islam in Germany.

In an interview with the German newspaper BILD Seehofer said: "Islam is not a part of Germany. Germany has been influenced by Christianity. This includes free Sundays, church holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. However, the Muslims living in Germany obviously do belong to Germany."

DeAndre Harris, a black man brutally beaten after a white nationalist rally last August in Charlottesville, Va., has been found not guilty of misdemeanor assault for his role in the incident. The city's General District Court handed down the ruling Friday.

Welcome to Invisibilia Season 4! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior, and we here at Goats and Soda are joining in for the podcast's look at how a reality show in Somalia tried to do far more than crown a winning singer. The ultimate goal: to change human behavior.

Sugar costs more in the U.S. than in the rest of the world. If you're in the candy business and make millions of lollipops a day, that's a big deal.

On today's show, we visit a lollipop factory in Ohio, whose fifth-generation owners want U.S. sugar to be cheaper, and a sugar-beet field in Minnesota, where fourth-generation farmers want it to be expensive. The two are fighting over one of the largest and oldest and most notorious price control systems in the country.

The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of orchestrating a campaign of cyberattacks that targeted the U.S. power grid.

Since at least March 2016, Russian hackers attempted to infiltrate numerous sectors of American infrastructure, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing, according to a Department of Homeland Security report published on Thursday.

The Oxfam sex scandal was not a one-time news story.

The report on sexual misconduct by Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011 made headlines last month. Since then, a number of other aid groups have come clean about similar problems — and revealed cases that victimized staffers as well.

Chef's Table restaurant in Moscow is a cozy space. There are about 20 seats at a horseshoe-shaped bar with a kitchen in the middle. It's a small room, but the man who runs this place has a big personality.

Diners seated around the horseshoe burst into applause when chef Vladimir Mukhin sweeps into the room in a snow-white, short-sleeved chef's jacket, his long hair tied back in a man bun.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


I'm Mary Louise Kelly in Moscow, where I am gauging Russian reaction to all the news you've been following there in Washington this week.


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Mary Louise, I don't need to tell you that Russia has been big news here in the U.S. this week but not because of the presidential elections.


So can I tell you it's the same thing here?