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The British car show Top Gear will have a fresh central cast when its 23rd season airs in May – but many TV fans will see a familiar face on the show, which announced Thursday that it has hired Matt LeBlanc, the former Friends star, as a new co-host.

Employers are pushing workers to get in shape and become more fit through workplace wellness programs. But if employers use body mass index as a yardstick for health, then that could unfairly penalize millions of Americans, a study finds.

Doctors contend that BMI's usefulness ends at a rough indication that a patient should be checked for things like high blood pressure or cholesterol.

So, you know that presidential election you've been hearing so much about?

Well, you're not alone.

A new survey conducted last month found there's a lot of interest in the presidential campaign; nine in 10 American adults had learned something about the election in the past week.

Eugene-based birder Noah Strycker just completed his "Big Year." That's what birders call an attempt to rack up the largest number of bird species sightings in one year within a certain geographical area. Strycker's area? The world. He traveled to 41 countries in 2015 and saw or heard 6,042 species of birds. The previous world record was 4,341. Think Out Loud interviewed Strycker. Here are six things we learned:

1. Just planning the complicated logistics of this trip took more than four months. But it sounds like it paid off.

A few short months from now, federal and state foresters around the West will purposely set controlled burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires later. This is a regular practice in Oregon, Idaho and California, but much less common in Washington state.

Two of the three brothers accused in last week’s fatal shooting at a Seattle homeless encampment have juvenile records. But neither qualified for supervised parole after they were released from juvenile lock-up.

A political showdown at the Oregon Capitol could result in some very long floor sessions this month. And at the heart of the debate is a clause in the state Constitution that dates back to 1859.

If you're a fan of trivia, you might want to remember the name Dree Hemingway. She's the first Playboy Playmate to be featured in the magazine's new life without full-frontal nudity.

Hemingway — Miss March 2016 — is the great-granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway. According to her bio sheet on Playboy's website, she's 28, drinks only tequila and is a fan of the band alt-J. Her mother, Mariel Hemingway, was on the cover of Playboy in 1982.

Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive who inspired wrath when he raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday for a hearing on prescription drug prices.

But his testimony was far from fruitful.

"Squat! Squat! Squat! Higher! Faster!"

In the basement of the Duane Physics and Astrophysics building at the University of Colorado Boulder, a science demonstration is going on, but it looks more like a vaudeville act.

One by one, students balance precariously on a rotating platform. Then they are handed what looks like a spinning bicycle wheel, holding it by two handles that stick out from either side of what would be the hub of the wheel. When you flip the wheel over, like a pizza, your body starts rotating in the opposite direction.

For the past 40 years, New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status has been vigorously defended by one man: Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

He is the nation's longest-serving secretary of state, taking office in 1976, one year before New Hampshire lawmakers mandated that the Granite State go first in primary voting.

Luxembourg hopes to spur the next 'gold rush' in space

Feb 4, 2016
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Reuters

The government of Luxembourg says it will work with space entrepreneurs to open up access to a wealth of rare minerals and resources in space.

To do this, it plans to partner with and invest in futuristic research projects to develop both new space mining technology and to build on existing technology such as autonomous robots and auto navigation systems.  

"In the long-term, space resources could lead to a thriving new space economy and human expansion into the solar system," Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg's economy minister, told a press conference.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Unpaid Water Bills In Flint Could Hinder Repairs

Feb 4, 2016

High levels of lead in their drinking water have Flint, Mich., residents relying on cases of bottled water for just about everything. So it may come as no surprise that thousands of them have stopped paying their water bills.

Lynna Kaucheck of the not-for-profit group Food and Water Watch delivered 21,000 signatures to the Flint mayor's office last week calling for a moratorium on drinking water bills.

"All of this is a lot for people to handle, and enough is enough," she said. "Flint residents need relief."

At a one-day donor meeting in London, leaders and diplomats from 20 countries around the world have gathered to pledge funds to help victims of the ongoing crisis in Syria.

They hoped to raise $9 billion; they pledged a total of nearly $11 billion.

You can see some of the pledges, and hear about the conference from NPR's Greg Myre, over at Here & Now.

Among the noteworthy pledges: The U.S. has committed about $900 million, and Britain has offered $1.75 billion between now and 2020.

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