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Two years before the once-a-decade count, Minnesota officials and civic groups are well into planning.

Copyright 2018 MPR News. To see more, visit MPR News.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

After you collect your cans, bottles and paper, then put them out by the curb, do you ever think about where everything goes after the truck picks things up? Largely, it goes to China.

Every day, nearly 4,000 shipping containers full of recyclables leave US ports bound for China. China sends the US toys, clothes and electronics; in return, some of America’s largest exports back are paper, plastic and aluminum.

The former Soviet states really whoop it up when it comes to New Year’s celebrations. They’ve got fictional characters like Father Frost and the Snow Maiden, a drawn-out dinner that doesn’t start until 9 or 10 p.m. and familiar-looking decorated trees. We dig into Novy Godt for our first course.

Next, now that New Year's festivities are over, we consider how various cultures battle hangovers with food.

Copyright 2018 WNYC Radio. To see more, visit WNYC Radio.

Public transit agencies throughout the Northwest are offering free rides and extended service on New Year’s Eve.

They say their goal is to keep people from driving impaired on the busy holiday.

Transit officials in King County and Vancouver, Washington will make some of their lines free as the state rings in the new year.

And in Portland, TriMet’s Tia York says the agency is working with the city to make sober rides available for everyone — whether it’s by bus, train or car.

Even if you haven’t cracked a book in 20 years, you may be familiar with novelist Tom Perrotta’s witty, affectionate satires of suburban life. In novels like “Election,” “Little Children” and “The Abstinence Teacher,” he creates set pieces where the surface appearance never tells the whole story. As his characters collide in stories of infidelity, political friction and emotional recklessness, Perrotta always keeps their humanity at the center.

Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann wants her board to clarify when commissioners need to resign before seeking another elected office.

At issue is whether her colleague, Commissioner Loretta Smith, can serve out the remainder of her term while campaigning for Portland City Council.

Smith’s team says yes.

The risks of war with North Korea in 2018

Dec 29, 2017

One of the most serious issues of 2017 has been what to do about North Korea.

In September, the regime of Kim Jong-un tested a large nuclear weapon underground, claiming it was a hydrogen bomb.

North Korea has also demonstrated this year that it has the missile technology to deliver its warheads pretty much anywhere in the world.

Yes, it's freezing. But climate change is still real.

Dec 29, 2017

It’s cold this week. Really cold.

Firefighters saw water freezing in their hoses as they fought a blaze south of Montreal Thursday night, and farmers in the upper Midwest are worried about the fate of their winter wheat crop.   

The bone-chilling temperatures that have settled over the central and eastern US and much of Canada this week will likely last into 2018.   

The National Weather Service forecasts wind chills around – 40 degrees Fahrenheit  for much of the upper Midwest on New Year’s Eve.

When the movie “Milk” reached theaters in the West African country of Togo a few years ago, Jean Pierre Nugloze made sure to go.

Though several decades and continents apart, the story of slain San Francisco activist Harvey Milk, as played by actor Sean Penn, felt very personal. Nugloze was openly gay in a country where homosexuality remains illegal.

“I don't know how to say it,” Nugloze said. “It was very emotional, because I am a gay man and was a gay activist too.”

'OPB Politics Now': In-Depth On Vera Katz

Dec 29, 2017

Vera Katz had a huge influence on Oregon politics. She was elected to three terms as Portland’s mayor and was the first woman to serve as speaker of the Oregon House. She died earlier this month at the age of 84 after a long battle with cancer.

We talked a bit about Katz and her political legacy on a recent episode, but this is a woman who did so much that it’s hard to capture in one conversation. So we’re bringing you a more in-depth look at Vera Katz.

Port Orford Looks To Its Port For Revitalization

Dec 29, 2017

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

How my grandparents celebrated the New Year in Russia

Dec 29, 2017

Last year, for the first time in my life, I purchased a Christmas tree.

I was 21, back home from college on break, happy to be done with another semester. Whenever I’m home, I visit my maternal grandparents, Nataliya and Mikhail Malkes, and they enjoy treating me with tea, sweets and pleasant conversations.

Nolvin García had never before received regular amounts of money from his relatives in the United States. That was not a problem for him. The 22-year-old and his family got along just fine, living in a small town in Guatemala’s western highlands. His undocumented relatives might send gifts for a birthday. But never large amounts of money, sent at regular intervals.

Year In Review News Roundtable

Dec 29, 2017

  

Former Oregon lawmaker Kevin Mannix, Urban League of Portland president Nkenge Harmon Johnson and OPB's news director Anna Griffin join us to discuss the some of the biggest news stories of 2017. 

More than 40 killed in a suicide blast in Kabul

Dec 29, 2017

More than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in a suicide blast targeting Shiites in Kabul Thursday, officials said, with chaotic scenes at the city's hospitals as anguished families sought loved ones.

The Sunni Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the gruesome assault on the pro-Iranian Tabayan cultural center, the third deadly attack it has claimed in the Afghan capital this month. 

Copyright 2018 WNYC Radio. To see more, visit WNYC Radio.

NOEL KING, HOST:

A fire tore through an apartment building in the Bronx last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

BILL DE BLASIO: This is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century.

More than half of the selfies uploaded on Chinese social media are believed to have been edited using apps made by just one company.

Meitu, which translates to “beautiful picture,” has been around for less than a decade. But as The New Yorker’s Jiayang Fan reported in her recent story, "China's Selfie Obsession,” Meitu is quite literally transforming the face of China.

What do we really know about Russia and the 2016 election?

Dec 28, 2017

The end of the year seems like a good time to review what is really known about Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the nature of the contacts between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The World's Marco Werman spoke with Mark Mazzetti, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with The New York Times.

Marco Werman: How do we know that Russia actually attempted to influence the election?

When Bill Gandy was growing up in Northview Heights in the 1970s and 80s, no one had to show identification to get in. But now there are armed guards and 200 security cameras dotted around this sprawling, isolated public housing project run by the Pittsburgh City Housing Authority. Everyone who enters has to show ID, every time.

"It just feels like a prison system to have a checkpoint in front of a neighborhood," Gandy says. "That's already a bad start, to tell you the truth. It's like going into a military camp."

Can Adventure Tourism Save Port Orford?

Dec 28, 2017

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

If you've ever flown out of the Toronto Pearson International Airport to the US, chances are you've passed through its US preclearance station.

These are US Customs and Border Protection facilities staffed with American agents that will clear passengers before they board a plane headed to the US. And there are several of them worldwide.

Mostafa Kishavarzi looks over the 10,000 watches crammed into his tiny store wedged between dozens of similar retailers in the jewelry section of the Tehran Bazaar.

Every watch in his store — and most of those sold by his competitors — come from one place, and it’s not Iran. It’s China.

Kishavarzi sells everything from knock-off Rolexes to nothing-fancy, off-brand watches. He flies to Shenzhen, China, several times a year to buy the timepieces and makes a tidy profit selling them back in Tehran. 

A glimmer of hope appeared this week for civilians trapped in a besieged Syrian district known as eastern Ghouta. Late on Tuesday, the Syrian government agreed to allow the evacuation of some sick and wounded people from the rebel-held area. They included several children with curable forms of cancer who could not get the treatment they need in Ghouta.

The highly decorated Ukrainian chess grandmaster Anna Muzychuk says she's boycotting the latest world championship competition because it's being held in Saudi Arabia, where women's rights are severely restricted.

The two-time world champion wrote on her Facebook page that she doesn't want to wear the abaya — the religious conservative covering — and abide by the rules of women's behavior in the kingdom.

Pointedly, she writes that she doesn't want to feel like a "secondary creature."

The Oregon Department of Justice has concluded an investigation into Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills.

The DOJ has forwarded the findings of its investigation to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.

The DOJ won’t discuss the details or the reason for the investigation, but the Sunriver Service District Managing Board placed Mills on paid administrative leave in early December.

Deschutes Public Library is looking at how to expand in the coming years to meet the needs of Central Oregon’s rapidly expanding communities.

The library surveyed the community this year and found that most people value the library for its sense of community and ability to bring people together. The way the library serves the community is far different from when the branches were constructed.

Catcalls. Obscene gestures. Inappropriate touching. And in some cases, physical and sexual assault.

According to a 2011 Gallup poll that surveyed 143 countries, almost 40 percent of women reportedly feel unsafe walking home alone at night. 

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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