All Things Considered for Friday, May 23, 2014

Castro would take over the Department of Housing and Urban Development at a time when the nation's housing market has been treading water.
Robert Siegel speaks with E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review about the ongoing controversy at the VA and Tuesday's primary winners.
Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine says that Earth on Saturday may pass through relatively dense streams of debris, resulting in a vivid display of shooting stars — or it won't.
California produces most of America's vegetables and nuts. Yet there's little sign the drought there is creating food shortages in the U.S., because farmers are rationing water and draining aquifers.
Narendra Modi is a Hindu nationalist and political outsider who won India's election in a landslide. To understand India's political history, author Akash Kapur recommends a book by V.S. Naipaul.
The World Cup is three weeks away, but Brazeil is wracked with unrest. Demonstrations there are unified by one theme: anger over public spending on stadiums instead of on services and salaries.
The United States is not mad about soccer but it has some pretty dedicated fans — and they're up in arms over news that player Landon Donovan will not be going to the World Cup.
A year after President Obama urged for more safeguards for civil liberties in intelligence collection, the House passed new guidelines. But civil liberties watchdogs say they no longer support it.
A year ago, President Obama defended using drones to target terrorism suspects overseas and offered a rationale for reining in the program. Where do things stand on efforts to impose constraints?
The release of plutonium at a New Mexico nuclear dump may have been caused by a bad purchase at the pet shop.

Conor Oberst Releases Intimate New Solo Album

Conor Oberst, the singer, songwriter and leader of the trailblazing band Bright Eyes, has a new solo album. Critic Tom Moon thinks Upside Down Mountain is his most intimate and engaging work in years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow will respect the outcome of the upcoming election in Ukraine but later said he still has concerns about the legitimacy of the vote.
Robert Siegel speaks with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is in Kiev leading a team of international election observers set to monitor voting in Ukraine on Sunday.
Amazon is making it harder for customers to get books published by Hachette and its imprints. Amazon wants deeper discounts on the publisher's books; Hachette is balking. So if you go to the online retailer looking for, say, the new J.K. Rowling mystery, Amazon tells you the hardcover is currently unavailable.
The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates describes how the legacy of slavery extends to geographical and governmental policies in America and calls for a "collective introspection" on reparations.
In an age of smartphones, it's easy to take an overwhelming number of photos. NPR's picture editor, Kainaz Amaria, has some tips for creating a bounty of images without driving yourself crazy.
The National Transportation Safety Board calls on the FAA to take another look at the safety of the battery used in its Dreamliners.

Mourners In China Hold Vigils For Urumqi Victims

Security was heightened in Urumqi in China a day after a deadly attack in a market. Men in SUVs crashed into people and tossed explosives, killing at least 31. No group has claimed responsibility.
Kids can act out when they're feeling isolated, so one Philadelphia school encourages students to take the mic and reveal their deepest fears in front of their peers. The result? Honesty and kindness.
Bob Mondello says X-Men: Days of Future Past is awesomely urgent and utterly forgettable all at once, but it'll leave you bouncing with excitement — if you can keep the multiple mutants straight.
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