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This small French city wants to be a good home for refugees

Dec 27, 2017

Saint-Nazaire is famous for its shipyards. Last year, workers completed the largest cruise ship ever built, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas.

But the small city on the coast of Brittany in western France is also known for something else — the welcome it gives to refugees.

Around much of France anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise. But Saint-Nazaire, a mostly working-class city that is a stronghold of the left, is bucking that trend.

The town of Chahuites, Oaxaca, is a sleepy little village surrounded by mango farms. A line of train tracks cuts through the southern edge of town.

Chahuites is in an isolated part of southern Oaxaca, about 170 miles north of the Guatemalan border. Migrants from Central America used to just pass through town riding on top of La Bestia, the train migrants traditionally traveled on across Mexico. But now immigration agents patrol the train, forcing migrants to walk northward along the railroad tracks. 

After Tumultuous Year, Eugene Opera Is Back

Dec 26, 2017

The Eugene Opera is preparing for a weekend of comeback performances.

This weekend’s productions of Gioachino Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, are the first since a leadership transition revealed a six-figure operating deficit.

If 2016 was the year that Russian trolls hacked the US election, 2017 has been the year of the evidence taps opening wide, showing how Russia did it.

Clark County’s public transit service, C-TRAN, is wrapping up sales of paper tickets this month at Vancouver-area grocery stores.

C-TRAN is joining with Portland public transit options in adopting a FastPass system that relies on debit fare cards. You can still get the FastPass cards at the same places paper passes were sold.

Christine Selk with C-TRAN says the new Hop FastPass has several advantages.

Twelve western Oregon museums are inviting members to get out and explore their counterparts throughout the region.

The Portland Attractions Marketing Alliance is a metro-area group of institutions. It recently expanded to museums in Newport, Astoria, and Clark County, Washington. Membership to any one museum in the group will get you admission for four at a different partner museum each month in 2018.

Bruce Jones is the deputy director of the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, one of the newest members of PAMA.

Concrete walls topped with concertina wire is what most South Koreans only ever see of the Yongsan Garrison, a sprawling US military base in the center of Seoul.

But as a teenage guitarist in 1955, Shin Joong-hyun remembers the first time he entered the base. He and other local musicians had been hired to entertain soldiers with American songs, which Shin says were all but unheard of to most Koreans at that time.

Many parts of the Portland metro area are seeing a slow melt Tuesday after two frozen days.

Andy Bryant, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, says predicting when the ice will be gone is not simple.

“Don’t assume that just because you hear a forecast one day that it’s a closed book. As many people know, when we’re dealing with these tricky winter weather conditions, forecasts can change and get updated," he said. "One day we’re saying it’ll be rain, and when we update that forecast maybe we’ve gotten a mix of precipitation conditions.”

Our 14 favorite albums of 2017

Dec 26, 2017

There was a lot of great music released in 2017. It was hard to narrow down our favorites, but here they are. 

Marco's picks: 

1. La Vida Boheme, "La Lucha"

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

Last year when I was walking around Ritsona refugee camp in Greece I heard wisps of music floating up from the dense sea of military tents. As I followed the sound I met a young woman with intense green eyes who invited me to sit with her.

Suham Noh was 23, and before she fled the conflict in her native Iraq, she had been studying Shakespeare at a university in Dohuk. The music came from one of her brothers strumming a long-necked saz as he sang a mournful tune in Kurdish.

'OregonSaves' Opens To Smaller Businesses

Dec 26, 2017

A state project to get more Oregonians saving for retirement is being so well received it’s being opened up to smaller employers.

Oregon is the first state in the nation to require employers make a basic retirement program available to their workers.

Under the OregonSaves program, staff are automatically signed up to save 5 percent of their paychecks — but they can opt out.

In the six months since the pilot program launched, state officials say about 70 percent of people have stayed in the program.

A fading Missouri monastery finds new life — in Vietnam

Dec 26, 2017

Assumption Abbey’s halls were once full of monks in simple robes.

Now its cemetery is full of simple crosses.

“We just lost two from deaths within three and a half weeks,” said the Rev. Cyprian Harrison, 85, in the library of Assumption Abbey, a Roman Catholic monastery tucked away in the rolling hills of southern Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. “It’s kind of a spiritual harvest time for our community.”

In countries near the Arctic Circle, it’s cold and dark for much of the year.

That, as you may have guessed, leads to some pretty specific drinking habits.

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned former autocrat Alberto Fujimori Sunday night. Fujimori was serving a 25-year prison sentence for corruption and human rights abuses.

Days earlier, Kuczynski himself narrowly defeated a bid by Congress to get him impeached.

And behind it all could be the Fujimori children, who are also politicians.

“So what people are now speculating — it’s the obvious theory — is that there was some kind of deal or quid pro quo [between] Kuczynski and the Fujimorista members of Congress,” says reporter Simeon Tegel in Lima.

The president of Guatemala announced Christmas Eve that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

President Jimmy Morales announced on Facebook that, after speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday, he has instructed the chancellor to begin the process of moving the embassy.

Just over a year ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw a picture of  a billboard in Haiti advertising Manischewitz wine. The kosher wine has been a constant in Jewish homes for Passover seders and sacramental occasions.

In Jewish circles, Manischewitz has a certain nostalgic value, but it’s not exactly considered a fine wine. 

Tracking some of the world's biggest killers, via cellphone

Dec 25, 2017

Over the last few years, Haripriya Mukundarajan has gotten intimately acquainted with the world’s most efficient serial killers.

“This is Anopheles gambiae, the most dangerous animal in the world,” she says, pulling up a recording of one flying around.

Slippery conditions returned to the Portland metro area just in time for holiday travel with snow, sleet and freezing rain Sunday.

After wet mix of precipitation through the morning, snow began to fall just before sunset in the city.

As of 5 p.m., the National Weather Service projected 2-3 inches of snow accumulation for the Portland metro area. More was expected in parts of Southwest Washington like Camas and Battle Ground.

NWS expects precipitation to wind down around midnight Sunday, with rain starting around 3 a.m.

Portland Police Clarify Policy On Cooperation With ICE

Dec 23, 2017

The Portland Police Bureau updated a directive clarifying guidance for police on federal immigration enforcement.

The directive explicitly prohibits cooperation with federal immigration officials in enforcing federal immigration laws. It also bars the use of bureau resources, including equipment and personnel, for federal immigration enforcement.

Revisions were made to the directive Dec. 19. The changes go into effect Jan. 18.

There’s nothing overtly religious about the giant Christmas tree at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in downtown Boston. It’s got lots of lights and generic holiday ornaments. 

But don’t call it a “holiday tree.”

Back in 2005, the city did just that. The intention was to remove any potentially offensive religious connotations contained in the name “Christmas tree.”

People got annoyed. And the generic name “holiday tree” never stuck.

What I learned by getting my very first Christmas tree

Dec 22, 2017

I've never had a Christmas tree.

Never bought one. Never decorated one.

I grew up in a Muslim family in Iran and moved to the US about a decade ago. Every Christmas, I watch as my non-Christian friends get in their cars, drive to a Christmas tree lot and pick out their favorite tree. And I wonder why.

When I ask them, they say it's because they want to get into the holiday spirit. Or, that it's pretty and smells good. If they have kids, the answer usually is "the kids love it."

If you happen to be traveling out of the country through certain US airports during this holiday season, you may have to go through yet another security check at the airport: a facial scan.

In fact, you may already have already been scanned and didn't even know it. That's what happened to Tanvi Misra before she boarded a flight to India from Washington Dulles International Airport.

After more than four years in immigration detention in the middle of the South Pacific, the Iranian cartoonist known as "Eaten Fish" has a new view: the fjords of Norway.

The Kenya-born Harvard scholar Calestous Juma saw innovations and opportunities bubbling up in African economies where others saw only poverty and despair. 

REBROADCAST: Living with Autism

Dec 22, 2017

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurological condition which affects approximately one in 68 children. We find out what life is like in one family where two of the four children fall on the autism spectrum. Angie Chapin’s two daughters, 16-year-old Imani and 10-year-old Asjia, are neurotypical. Their 12-year-old brother, Kaliq, is on the spectrum, while 14-year-old Mekhi has severe autism and is mostly non-verbal. The Chapins live in Camas, Washington, and spoke to us in their home.

The Ghost Of Portland Past: Remembering Elliott Smith

Dec 22, 2017

Twenty years ago, Elliott Smith opened a door into a hypnotic new world. The album “Either/Or,” released on Kill Rock Stars, marks a turning point in Smith’s transition from Portland rock journeyman to international star. This time had enormous consequences for Smith personally and professionally, but it also gave us heart-stopping music that continues to inspire fans and musicians all over the world.

Last March, we sat down with Smith’s friends, peers, and a live studio audience to talk about “Either/Or” and Smith’s legacy.

Producers' Choice 2017

Dec 22, 2017

Producers Samantha Matsumoto, Julie Sabatier, Allison Frost and Sage Van Wing join host Dave Miller in the studio to discuss some of our favorite moments from the show in the last year.

The engineer of the Amtrak train that derailed south of Tacoma, Washington, Monday made a comment about “over speed condition” six seconds before the train derailed, according to details released by the National Transportation Safety Board Friday.

While it's not clear, train safety experts say that likely means the engineer realized the train was going too fast just before the derailment.

"I interpret that as, at that point in time he realized he was going too fast with a curve approaching," said Keith Millhouse, an attorney and rail safety expert.

When it comes to art, the term “Old Master” is with us for a reason: For centuries it’s been the male artists who have attracted the interest of art historians. Great collectors and museums have paid scant attention to the existence of talented women artists from periods such as the Italian Renaissance.