Here and Now

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson

This midday newsmagazine combines updates on the top national and international news stories of the day with intelligent, broad-ranging conversations. This daily conversation about news, arts and culture is hosted by Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson.

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Distributed by: NPR, Produced at: WBUR

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Cossacks Are Back In Sochi

Russian Cossacks stand guard, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana outside the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

If you’re watching the Sochi Olympics coverage, you’ve probably seen them in their tall lambswool hats and long gray overcoats and boots. There are some 1,000 uniformed Cossacks among the 70,000 security officials in Sochi.

Cossacks have a complicated place in Russian history and their presence, both symbolic and serving a real purpose, is picking at old wounds in the region.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Obama, Hollande Push Message Of Renewed Ties

U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande hold a joint press conference during a State Visit in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 11, 2014. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

In Washington, D.C. today, French President François Hollande joined President Obama for a press conference at the White House ahead of a state dinner scheduled for tonight.

The men are pushing a message of a renewed relationship between France and the U.S., one that faltered over a decade ago when France opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

NPR’s Scott Horsley joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with details on what the two presidents had to say.

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NPR Story
3:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Tiny Birds Rock Out In Museum Exhibit

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's sonic installation introduces a flock of 70 Zebra Finches to Gibson Les Paul and Thunderbird bass guitars. (www.pem.org)

How do 70 live zebra finches play about a dozen electric guitars? It sounds like the start of a joke, but the answer can be found through a new art and sound exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., titled, “From Here To Ear.”

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Andrea Shea of WBUR has the story. The exhibition runs through April 13.

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NPR Story
3:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo Criticized For Giraffe Killing

A perfectly healthy young giraffe named Marius was shot dead and autopsied in the presence of visitors to the gardens at Copenhagen zoo on Febuary 9, 2014 despite an online petition to save it signed by thousands of animal lovers. (Kasper Palsnov/AFP/Getty Images)

Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched, ignoring a petition signed by thousands and offers from other zoos and a private individual to save the animal.

Marius, a healthy male, was put down Sunday using a bolt pistol, said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was then skinned and fed to the lions.

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NPR Story
3:57 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Puerto Ricans Leave Island Amid Economic Woes

Antonia Arroyo sits on a bench in November, 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After working for the Municipality of San Juan for 35 years she lives off her 500 dollar a month government pension. The government remains the largest employer in Puerto Rico and can only service about 11 percent of the pension costs out of it's budget. (Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:59 pm

Puerto Rico just had its bond rating downgraded to “junk status” by two of the three main rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s. The government is now starting a round of budget cuts and austerity measures to try to turn the economy around.

The economic problems in Puerto Rico have the potential to ripple through the U.S. bond market, since 70 percent of U.S. municipal funds hold some Puerto Rican debt.

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