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Ailsa Chang

The question of how Billboard determines the most popular music in the country has gotten a lot harder in the digital age. It used to be a simple question of which album sold the most physical copies, but now Billboard needs to consider things like Spotify plays and mp3 downloads. Starting Jan. 3, it will also include YouTube streams.

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to Chris Molanphy, a chart analyst and pop critic at Slate, about the significance of this change. Listen at the audio link and read on for an edited version of their conversation.

In the industrial city of Dongguan, China, the effects of the trade war on the Chinese economy are measured in idled machinery and empty bar stools.

"One year ago, you probably couldn't even get through the crowd because it would be so busy. But right now, even the smallest vendors can't survive," says Song Guanghui, the owner of Crowdbar, a tricked-out food stall in an open-air market in Dongguan.

Seventy years ago, Mao Zedong appeared on a balcony overlooking Tiananmen Square and conjured a new country into being. On Tuesday, Xi Jinping, arguably the strongest leader since Mao, appeared on that same balcony to reaffirm his vision of modern China.

That vision includes what Xi has repeatedly referred to as the "Chinese Dream," one pillar of which is the idea that all Chinese should have access to the shared prosperity of the nation.

Common is no stranger to showing emotion. With more than 20 years in the spotlight, the Chicago-hailing rapper, actor and activist has worn his heart on his sleeve publicly for years and won plenty of accolades for it. Common is one of the few distinguished artists to have won an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar award in the span of his career.

As a kid, Enrique Olvera spent hours in his grandmother's bakery in Mexico City. He loved watching everyday ingredients like flour, sugar and eggs fuse into something entirely different.

For Olvera, even the simple act of baking a cake felt like magic.

He absorbed every detail as his grandmother gently coaxed masa into handmade tortillas. On Sundays, he joined his father in the kitchen, chopping onions and tomatoes for breakfasts of scrambled eggs and dry beef.

Lt. Col. Bree "B" Fram left a doctor's office on April 2. Presenting that day as Bryan, the name given to them at birth, B should have been relieved.

"Overall, it's a good thing," said B. "It just didn't feel great to have to do it on someone else's timeline other than my own."

"It" was an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria. As a transgender member of the military, B had to secure the diagnosis by April 12 in order to continue serving openly.

Quinn Robinson is only 18 years old, but she has already learned some hard lessons about the world. "It's scary being a trans person because I know there are people out there who just hate me for being myself," she says. "There's been kids who have approached me and say, 'Hey, you should burn in hell.' "

Robinson is a high school senior in Allendale, Mich., a small but growing town about 30 minutes outside Grand Rapids and smack dab in the middle of what's known as the state's "Bible Belt." Drive off the main road and you quickly find yourself in farm country.

Jennifer Eberhardt has been interested in issues of race and bias since she was a child.

The African-American Stanford University psychology professor — and author of a new book called Biased -- grew up in an all-black neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Then, one day, Eberhardt's parents announced the family was moving to the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood. When Eberhardt arrived there, she told NPR's Ailsa Chang, she noticed something strange: She could no longer tell people's faces apart.

As Congress prepares to adjourn for the holidays, one piece of legislation that's still on the table is a bipartisan criminal justice bill known as the First Step Act.

It aims to improve federal prison conditions and reduce some prison sentences, a sticking point for some lawmakers. But the bill also contains a less controversial provision: a ban on shackling pregnant women.

Incarcerated people outside prison walls are considered potential flight risks. That label applies even to pregnant women when they leave prisons for medical care or to give birth.

Cooking is about community. But it can also be about solitude.

That's where chef Anita Lo's latest cookbook, Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One, comes in.

"Food is culture, food is identity. So it's reaffirming to cook the things that either you grew up with or the things that you love," Lo says — whether it's for your whole family or just yourself.

When "Rooster" Bogle — born Dale Vincent Bogle — used to drive by the Oregon State Correctional Institution with his young sons, he'd gaze out at the prison with nostalgia.

"Look carefully, because when you grow up, you guys are going to end up there," he told his boys.

This wasn't a warning: It was a challenge. And so began the competition for who could be the meanest, baddest Bogle.

President Trump has a heaping plate of foreign policy background to consume in May, which will see a possible summit with the leader of North Korea, a deadline to decide on restoring Iranian sanctions, and the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In the past, most presidents have leaned on the intelligence community for guidance and context — but Trump has made plain his differences with the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.

In jails and prisons across the United States, mental illness is prevalent and psychiatric disorders often worsen because inmates don't get the treatment they need, says journalist Alisa Roth.

In her new book Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, Roth investigates the widespread incarceration of the mentally ill in the U.S., and what she sees as impossible burdens placed on correctional officers to act as mental health providers when they're not adequately trained.

In 1993, Alex Wagner saw a familiar face on the cover of Time magazine: It was a computer-generated picture of a multiethnic woman who reminded her of ... herself.

Wagner's father is white and from the Midwest; her mother is from what was then Burma. And after reading the Time story on "The New Face of America," Wagner, then a teenager, decided to embrace her identity as a "futureface."

A couple of years ago, Bernie Dalton was a strong, physically fit, 40-something-year-old surfer. Every morning, he would get up at 4 A.M. to watch the sunrise in Santa Cruz, Calif. Bernie wasn't a musician at the time, but he was passionate about music. His lifelong dream was to record an album.

Friday is April 20, a day that some people celebrate by smoking marijuana. The Police Department in Lawrence, Kan., is preparing for this week's pot holiday by sending safety tips via their official Twitter account, run by officer Drew Fennelly.

A sports editor at The Kansas City Star retweeted it, and Fennelly says it became the account's first tweet with national reach.

"It ended up getting a couple thousand likes, over 1,000 retweets," he says.

Last summer, on August 12, photographer Ryan Kelly arrived at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., to take pictures for the city's newspaper, The Daily Progress.

It was his last day on the job — and it was a memorable one. A photo he took of a car plowing through a crowd of counterprotesters became the defining image of the chaos that day.

On Monday, Kelly was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography for the photo he took.

The photo shows a car careening into a massive crowd, with bodies flying through the air.

Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985 — finishing 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 54 seconds on Monday.

The 34-year-old two-time Olympian lives in Michigan, and she finished second at the Boston Marathon in 2011. But her victory this week almost didn't happen.

In the cold rain and wind, Linden says she wasn't feeling well and thought about bailing out of the race.

The Flushing neighborhood of New York's Queens borough is home to the largest population of Chinese immigrants in any city outside Asia.

Zhuang Liehong is one of those immigrants. He arrived in 2014 from Wukan, a small village in the Guangdong province of southern China.

When he first arrived in Flushing, he says it felt like a city in China.

"Other than the buildings and Chinese store signs, just look at the pedestrians on the streets," he says. "They're mainly Chinese people."

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Next week the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether state lawmakers in Wisconsin went too far in preserving their political power. The case could be the first time the justices set limits on what's known as partisan gerrymandering. That's when the party in power deliberately redraws district lines to keep control of the legislature.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Meredith and Martha Holley-Miers live in a brick row house in Washington, D.C. with their two kids and a big rainbow flag in front. The couple has been legally married for seven years — and together for 14 years.

When they decided to have a baby, they "went through a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of heartache trying to get pregnant," Martha says. They used an anonymous sperm donor, and it took them many months. When Martha gave birth to daughter Janey — now a bubbly 8-year-old — in 2009, they knew that they'd need to put forth yet more time, money, and heartache.

Long after the floodwaters recede and the debris is cleared, the mental health impacts of disasters like hurricanes can linger.

Psychologist Jean Rhodes of the University of Massachusetts-Boston has spent more than a decade studying what happens to people years after a natural disaster — in this case, Hurricane Katrina.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Susan Collins has broken both of her ankles. She broke her left one when she was running in high heels to the Senate chamber because she so desperately refused to miss a vote. The Maine Republican has the second-longest voting streak in the Senate, by the way, after fellow Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

"He has a longer streak, but I'm the only one who's never missed a single vote," said Collins in a recent interview in her office, referring to Grassley missing votes early in his Senate career.

Not that she's keeping track.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Trump has made his pick to fill the ninth seat on the Supreme Court.

So now what?

At about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans moved one step closer to repealing a law they have railed against since the moment it was passed nearly seven years ago.

By a final vote of 51-48, the Senate approved a budget resolution that sets the stage for broad swaths of the Affordable Care Act to be repealed through a process known as budget reconciliation. The resolution now goes to the House, where leaders are hoping to approve it by the end of the week.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Much has been said about the physical and psychological injuries of war, like traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. But what we talk about less is how these conditions affect the sexual relationships of service members after they return from combat.

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