NPR Staff

Citing an environment of fear, persecution and anti-gay violence in his home country of Uganda, John Abdallah Wambere has applied for asylum in the United States.

Wambere, 41, came to prominence for his work with Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights and provides health and education services.

He announced his decision to seek asylum at a news conference on May 6 in Boston. Wambere is currently living in Cambridge, Mass.

Philippe Petit says he hates books on creativity.

So his new book, Creativity: The Perfect Crime, isn't a compilation of ideas from great philosophers or creators.

The wirewalker, magician, street performer and artist breaks that mold with a book full of sketches and personal dialogue that captures his personal creative process.

And because it's so personal, he says, it will be more useful. "I'm not doing any rules. This is not a thesis on creativity. This is a kind of an outlaw confession," he tells NPR's Arun Rath.

A pair of former heavy metal guitarists who left Mexico for Ireland, Rodrigo y Gabriela developed an acoustic sound that has taken the duo from playing on the streets for change to some of the biggest stages on the festival circuit. Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero joined NPR's Arun Rath in the studio at NPR West to perform a few selections from their latest album, 9 Dead Alive. Hear the music, and their conversation, at the audio link.

As the Giro d'Italia bicycle race sets off in Ireland this weekend, the shadow of doping will not be far behind. In a competition to beat the cheaters, scientists are constantly trying to improve drug testing.

While it can be hard for regulators to keep up with new habits, when an athlete is finally caught doping, the result can be revolutionary.

Performance-enhancing drugs have plagued the sport of cycling for years, with Lance Armstrong at the center of the scandal. But he was not alone.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Director and producer Leah Warshawski's big break happened on the water.

It started when she was in college studying Japanese in Hawaii. Her dormmate worked on a boat and asked if Warshawksi wanted a job translating for Japanese tourists.

North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge — 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.

Monterey Bay on California's central coast rests atop one of the largest underwater canyons in the world. It's deeper than the Grand Canyon, making it possible for lots of ocean life — including humpback whales, orcas, dolphins and sea lions — to be seen extremely close to shore. That is, given the right circumstances. Lately, the right circumstances have converged, and there's more marine and wildlife in the bay than anyone's seen in recent memory.

William Shakespeare had a wildly extensive vocabulary. Of more than 800,000 total words in all of his works, almost 29,000 of them are unique.

Although impressive, there are a few rappers who give the Bard a run for his money. Data scientist Matt Daniels charted the vocabularies of hip-hop artists against Shakespeare and Herman Melville.

"This is not a serious academic study. This is an, like, 'I thought it'd be cool on the Internet [project],' " he says.

A number of federal agencies are grappling with rules around drones as the popularity of the unmanned aircraft is rising. The National Park Service recently banned their use in Yosemite, and the Federal Aviation Administration is under orders from Congress to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into U.S. airspace by September 2015.

On April 30, the Etiwanda Fire ignited in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, then quickly grew to more than 2,000 acres before crews were able to contain it.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers. The following is what you might call an "almost big break."

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a criminal justice reporter for The Associated Press, Michael Graczyk has covered hundreds of executions of death row inmates in the state of Texas. This means, of course, that he must be there to witness those deaths.

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

When you consider that critics have been writing about him for over 60 years, it can seem as if there's nothing left to say about Sonny Rollins. But there is – because over the decades, the "Saxophone Colossus" has never stopped growing or adding to his sound.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes the entire LA Clippers corporate organization is better off now that owner Donald Sterling has lost his standing with the NBA.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA last week for racist remarks made on a recording released by TMZ Sports. Abdul-Jabbar says the punishment announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver is wise and just, and has given the team confidence.

According to the American Freshman Survey, most students were accepted by their first-choice colleges last year — but almost half of them actually enrolled in other schools, primarily for financial reasons.

To find out more, Morning Edition's David Greene spoke with Sylvia Hurtado, head of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, which conducts the annual survey.


Interview Highlights

On forgoing their first-choice schools

In 2009, Frank Tempone was severely depressed. He had what he calls a midlife crisis, and left his wife and three kids in Massachusetts to live on his own in Chicago.

But after two years apart, Frank came back. The entire family moved to Chicago, and Frank brought his oldest son, Jack, to StoryCorps because he wanted to apologize.

"Do you remember that time?" Frank asks Jack.

Across the country this weekend, Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated with festivals, music, Mexican food and plenty of bar specials.

But south of the border, the holiday merits little more than a parade in the city of Puebla, east of Mexico City. There, in 1862, outgunned Mexican troops defeated an invading French army.

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And I'm Robert Siegel.

Now, a note about television from the other side of the earth, Australia.

A couple of months ago, I found myself watching an American show called "Rake." It starred Greg Kinnear as a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles, a man of many vices and more than a little charm.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RAKE")

BOJANA HARBOUR: (As Mikki) There's no future for us.

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We have to begin to view Russia no longer as a power but as more of an adversary - those are the words today of Alexander Vershbow, the deputy secretary-general of NATO. We, in this case, means NATO, and few people are as experienced when he is when it comes to the alliance and the Russians. Before becoming the number two man at NATO, he was U.S. ambassador to the alliance and then U.S. ambassador to Russia. And he joins us now. Alexander Vershbow, welcome to the program.

ALEXANDER VERSHBOW: Good to be here.

A small number of universities are starting to go against the grain, reducing amenities and frills in favor of keeping the costs relatively low.

Neil Theobald is the president of Temple University, which recently began offering students $4,000 per year in grants — if they promise to limit the number of hours they work during the school year and graduate on time.

Twitter is growing and its brand is spreading but Wall Street is unimpressed. On Tuesday, the company announced it had doubled its quarterly revenue from a year ago to $250 million. The social networking site also increased its number of active users to 255 million, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

But despite the gains, Wall Street analysts have called the growth tepid. Twitter went public last November, and its shares have traded as high as $74; on Wednesday, it opened at under $38.

For the first time since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011, Iraqis went to the polls to vote on their leaders. As Reuters reporter Ned Parker says, the day's events paint a grim future for Iraq's future.

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A day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and made clear his intention to force Sterling to sell the team, the question remains, just how will Silver do that?

In a town northeast of Baghdad, at least 17 people are dead and dozens wounded after a pair of bombs struck an outdoor market. As Tim Arango of The New York Times explains, it's just the latest deadly attack on the eve of Iraq's national parliamentary elections.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Keyon Dooling, a former Los Angeles Clipper and founder of the Respect Foundation, discusses his time playing for the team under owner Donald Sterling. Sterling has come under fire for racially inflammatory comments he allegedly made.

The memo arrived on paper.

Because it was 1994.

A notice, to all NPR staff, proclaiming, "Internet is coming to NPR!"

And there was no directive to log on to this fast-growing "organization," by the way. "If you do not want to use Internet," the memo read, "simply do nothing."

You can see more highlights from NPR's pre-Internet days at the Nprchives Tumblr.

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Among those on the sanctions list is an oligarch dubbed Darth Vader by the Russian press. To talk more about him and others targeted for U.S. sanctions, I'm joined here in the studio by David Kramer. He's the president of Freedom House, a pro-democracy watchdog group, and he was part of an independent taskforce of Russia experts that sent to the White House a suggest list of sanction targets. David, thanks for coming in.

DAVID J. KRAMER: Thanks for having me.

This is what an inclusive classroom looks like: Children with disabilities sit next to ones who've been deemed "gifted and talented." The mixing is done carefully, and quietly. Students don't necessarily know who's working at what level.

Despite a court ruling 25 years ago that gave children with disabilities equal access to general education activities, change has been slow.

Today, about 17 percent of students with any disability spend all or most of their days segregated. Children with severe disabilities can still expect that separation.

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