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"Marcus Gavius Apicius purchased me on a day hot enough to fry sausage on the market stones."

So begins the tale of Thrasius, the fictional narrator of Feast of Sorrow. Released this week, the novel is based on the real life of ancient Roman noble Marcus Gavius Apicius, who is thought to have inspired and contributed to the world's oldest surviving cookbook, a ten-volume collection titled Apicius.

What makes a high-quality learning program effective not just for the child but the whole family? What else, besides a well-run pre-K, is essential to help families break out of intergenerational poverty?

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Rhode Island Sends Out Double Tax Rebates

2 hours ago

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When President Donald Trump selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary, it was a rare choice. No recently retired general had been selected for the top Pentagon job since George Marshall, some 66 years earlier.

Here is a proposition that may seem self-evident to many people: As societies become more modern, religion loses its grip. Superstition inevitably gives way to rationality. A belief in magic is replaced by a belief in science.

Sociologists call it the "secularization thesis." In 1822, Thomas Jefferson suggested an early version of it, predicting that Unitarianism "will, ere long, be the religion of the majority from north to south."

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Friday, for the first time since 1983, a sitting president will address the National Rifle Association at the group's annual convention — when President Trump, along with a who's who of gun rights advocates, is scheduled to talk at the NRA Leadership Forum in Atlanta, Ga.

Gerald Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, isn't quite at the end of his life, but the end is probably not far away. The 77-year-old's medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays. He fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair.

Above all, Chinchar hopes to avoid another long stint in the hospital. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren's sporting events and play blackjack at the casino.

Waffle House Founders Die Less Than 2 Months Apart

3 hours ago

In 1949, Thomas Forkner Sr. was in the real estate business when he helped Joe Rogers Sr. buy a house.

Rogers was working for the Toddle House restaurant chain and he convinced Forkner to join him in starting their own restaurant.

The two opened the first 24-hour Waffle House on Labor Day in 1955 in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates.

By the time they sold the business in the late 1970s, the chain had grown to 400 restaurants.

The Atlanta-based company that owns the chain now has more than 1,500 locations.

The final member of President Trump's Cabinet — secretary of labor — was confirmed by the Senate Thursday in a bipartisan vote of 60-38.

Alexander Acosta, 48, will be the Cabinet's first Latino member. Acosta is dean of the Florida International University College of Law in Miami.

Acosta was assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush, who later appointed him U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Fox News has been under fire in the past year for sexual harassment. First Fox chair Roger Ailes, then the network's favorite pundit, Bill O'Reilly, were forced to leave after multiple women complained of unwanted advances—and the blocked advancement they experienced when they didn't put out.

Arkansas Executes 4th Inmate In 8 Days

7 hours ago

Arkansas has put to death convicted murderer Kenneth Williams. His was the last of a series of executions accelerated because the state's lethal-injection drugs were about to expire.

Williams was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. Central time after the execution began at 10:52 p.m., Arkansas Public Media reports.

State officials initially scheduled eight condemned inmates to die over 11 days — the fastest pace of executions in decades. Some executions were blocked by the courts.

Looking back at the 1992 Los Angeles riots, people often remember tensions between African-Americans, white law enforcement officers and Korean small business owners. That story gets even more complicated when you step into Pico-Union — a neighborhood that was, and still is, predominantly Latino.

West Virginia State University announced Wednesday that it is suing Dow Chemical Co. for allegedly contaminating the groundwater beneath its campus. The school has accused the multinational chemical manufacturer of introducing three hazardous chemicals into the water in the community of Institute, near the city of Charleston.

Updated 11:00 p.m. ET

Competing demonstrations in support of and against conservative commentator Ann Coulter's controversial speech, which had been planned for Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley, were held amid a heavy police presence. Despite some shouting and harsh words, both groups were peaceful.

Coulter's planned appearance had been canceled Wednesday after school officials said they wouldn't be able to adequately secure the site and sponsors pulled out.

President Trump still calls the North American Free Trade Agreement "a horrible deal" for the United States. But in opting to renegotiate — rather than cancel — the agreement, Trump acknowledged that backing out of NAFTA would be "a pretty big shock to the system."

After more than two decades, NAFTA is tightly woven into the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trade among the three countries is much more robust and supply chains more tightly integrated than was the case in 1994 when NAFTA went into effect.

Accessing the Internet in Cuba isn't easy. Home Internet connections are rare, and public access Wi-Fi hotspots costs $1.50 an hour — very expensive for most Cubans.

But in the nation that has been called "one of the most restrictive media environments in the world," watching YouTube got faster this week.

Don't be distracted by the title of Netflix's latest, button-pushing TV series, Dear White People.

Because, one look at this insightful, irreverent examination of race and society at an Ivy League college reveals it really doesn't focus much on white folks at all.

Indeed, the title Dear White People is a bit of a head fake. This slyly assembled series is really about how a wide range of black and brown students at the fictional, predominantly white Winchester University deal with race, sexual orientation and other identity stuff in the modern age.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn each spent time in bands that never made it big. But when the two of them joined up to create Sylvan Esso, everything changed. They started filling up high-profile music venues, became famous internationally and almost immediately started to feel pressure to make magic a second time. Now, three years after the band's debut, Sylvan Esso has a sophomore album, out Friday. The name of the record, What Now, offers some insight into how Meath and Sanborn felt making it.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Because I Was Harmed

15 hours ago

Unlike my fellow Americans, the news of a Detroit doctor being arrested for performing female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) did not shock me. I grew up in the same religious sect (Dawoodi Bohra) as the doctor, and twenty-seven years earlier, in 1990, before U.S. federal legislation criminalizing FGM/C existed, I too was cut.

Why Do So Many Africans Drown?

15 hours ago

Peter Ssali makes his living on Lake Victoria. Most days he fishes on Africa's largest lake. Sometimes he ferries cargo to the lake's islands or gives tours to sightseers on the small boat he leases for around $5 a day.

The 34-year-old Ugandan with a scruffy beard and shaved head has been on the lake pretty much every day for the last 12 years.

But he can't swim.

As Republicans in Congress debate changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurance executives across the country are trying to make plans for next year.

Companies that sell policies on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, face fast-approaching deadlines to inform states about what plans they want to sell, and what they intend to charge.

Not my avocados!

President Trump's tough talk on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada has raised many questions — including how such a move might negatively affect the flow of beloved produce to the U.S.

Arkansas is scheduled to execute convicted murderer Kenneth William tonight, who has been on death row since 2000.

Williams is set to be the fourth and final inmate executed there this month, after the state initially scheduled eight condemned inmates to die over 11 days — the fastest pace of executions in decades.

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