Mano Sundaresan

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Now we turn to a detective story involving the Dutch masters and white paint. Until the 20th century, one type of white paint made from lead reigned supreme.

The United States has been labeled a "backsliding democracy" in a new report from the European think tank International IDEA.

"I think for many of those studying U.S. democracy, this should not come as a surprise," the report's lead author, Annika Silva-Leander, said.

International IDEA measured the global state of democracy in 2020 and 2021 using 28 "indicators" of democracy based on five "core pillars."

The core pillars were representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration and participatory engagement.

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More than 700,000 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19. One of them was Lynne Balla. She was 75 years old.

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The Police — Every Breath You Take
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Some songs will never go away, like "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.

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Some songs will just never go away - like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE")

THE POLICE: (Singing) Every breath you take and every move you make.

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The NBA has been tough to watch this year.

Compared to this same point in previous seasons, the 3-point percentage is the lowest since 2015-16 as everyone from Jayson Tatum to Damian Lillard to Bradley Beal seems to be struggling to find the basket.

My fantasy basketball team is in shambles. My team is shooting 43% from the field, and my high school friends are roasting me in the group chat. Something's gotta give.

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If you have tuned in to an NBA game this season, you might have noticed something weird. A lot of this...

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Tatum is going to take. Nope.

Updated November 2, 2021 at 12:41 PM ET

The rapper Fetty Wap was arrested last week at Rolling Loud New York, on drug charges. But he's not the first rapper to be detained ahead of the annual hip-hop festival, or barred from performing by local authorities. There exists, says journalist Jayson Buford, a continued pattern of law enforcement "essentially using rap lyrics to try to prove that rappers are violent people in real life."

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Janet Jackson opened her album "Control" not with a song, but with a statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONTROL")

JANET JACKSON: This is a story about control, my control.

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Red light, green light - you know, a kid's classic - stop on red, run on green. And if you get caught moving on the red light, you're out.

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Well, what if the stakes were higher?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SQUID GAME")

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Sir Clive Sinclair has died. The British inventor helped revolutionize the computer industry.

WILL GUYATT: Well, you had everything going on in Palo Alto. And you had Wozniak and Jobs. We had our very own guy, and this was Sir Clive Sinclair.

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Before he produced some of the biggest rap and R&B songs of the 1990s, Chucky Thompson made a name for himself in his hometown of Washington, D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHUCK BROWN & THE SOUL SEARCHERS SONG, "BUSTIN' LOOSE")

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Last night, the city of Milwaukee celebrated the number 50, the Milwaukee Bucks' first NBA title in 50 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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You can't eat prestige. That's just one of the protest messages that greeted media mogul Anna Wintour on Tuesday night.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Bosses wear Prada.

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Giant sequoias live up to their name, soaring hundreds of feet into the sky. They are also some of the longest-living organisms on the planet. Some are more than 3,000 years old.

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Sheriff deputies shot and killed Andrew Brown, Jr., in Elizabeth City, N.C., last week. One of their bodycams captured the shooting, but Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster blocked the full release of the video for at least a month.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, who oversees the deputies who killed Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, told All Things Considered that he thinks releasing the video now will help people trust law enforcement

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the U.S. would withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively bringing an end to a "forever war" spurred by the terrorist attacks 20 years earlier on Sept. 11, 2001. His promise has been met with backlash from both Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress.

As of this week, you can buy relatively low-priced COVID-19 rapid tests to take at home. The tests are available through pharmacies and do not require a prescription to buy one.

As former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin awaits sentencing after his conviction on three counts of murder in the death of George Floyd, policymakers in Minneapolis are trying to figure out how to improve policing.

Concurrently, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the city's police department to address possible patterns of discrimination and excessive force.

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A recent study of mummified parrots found in a high-altitude desert region in South America suggests to researchers that, as far back as some 900 years ago, people went to arduous lengths to transport the prized birds across vast and complex trade routes.

The remains of more than two dozen scarlet macaws and Amazon parrots were found at five different sites in northern Chile's arid Atacama Desert — far from their home in the Amazon rainforest.

So how did they get there?

Bashar Jackson, better known as the Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles during what appeared to be a home invasion. He was 20 years old.

While the Los Angeles Police Department would not identify Jackson by name as the victim in Wednesday morning's shooting, NPR confirmed his death through his record label, Republic Records.