How Mortal Kombat Konquered Gaming

When the video game Mortal Kombat released in 1992, it took arcades — and later the American home — by storm. Thirty years on, the franchise is still going strong.

NPR’s Scott Detrow faces off against co-host Juana Summers in the latest version of the game, Mortal Kombat 1, and speaks with co-creator Ed Boon.

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Here’s How a Government Shutdown Could Impact Millions of Americans

The federal government will shut down on October 1st if Congress doesn’t pass funding legislation for the next fiscal year before then.

That looks increasingly likely as House Republicans continue to hold out for deep spending cuts before agreeing to any deal to keep the government running.

A shutdown could potentially affect millions of Americans, among them some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

Host Ari Shapiro speaks with a trio of NPR correspondents about the potential impact of a government shutdown.

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Could The Big Antitrust Lawsuit End Amazon As We Know It?

The U.S. government and 17 states sued Amazon on Tuesday in a landmark case that could take down the tech giant.

The Federal Trade Commission and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general say that Amazon is a monopolist that chokes competitors and raises costs for both sellers and shoppers.

Lina Khan, the head of the Federal Trade Commission, has spent years arguing that a few big companies have too much control over corporate America. The new lawsuit against Amazon is the biggest test of these arguments yet.

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to FTC Chair Lina Khan, the driving force behind the case.

Biden On The Picket Line

President Biden made history on Tuesday when he joined members of the United Auto Workers union on a picket line outside Detroit as they strike for better pay and benefits from the Big Three automakers.

Biden is walking a political tightrope. He wants a better contract for workers–and to win union members’ votes in battleground states. He also wants to support carmakers as they transition to a future of electric vehicles.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Micheline Maynard, the author of The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market, to understand how profitable the big carmakers are right now. And NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with historian Jefferson Cowie about the unprecedented nature of Biden walking the picket lines.

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WGA Reached A Tentative Deal With Studios. But The Strike Isn’t Over Yet

146 days.

That’s how long it took for the WGA to reach a tentative agreement with major Hollywood studios.

WGA leadership is scheduled to vote Tuesday on accepting the new three-year deal. They’ll pass it on to the guild’s entire membership for ratification. It will take longer for the WGA membership to learn the details and vote.

While this is happening, actors are still on the picket line. SAG-AFTRA hasn’t reached an agreement yet.

Until then, writers say they will stand in solidarity with actors, which means many TV shows and movies won’t be resuming production right away.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Kim Masters, The Hollywood Reporter’s editor, about the WGA’s new deal and what it means for the industry at large as actors continue to strike.

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How Important Are Biden And Trump’s Ages? We Asked Older Voters.

As president Joe Biden’s campaign for a second term gets underway, a slew of recent polls show that voters have concerns about his age. At the end of a second term, he would be 86 years old. The Republican frontrunner, former president Donald Trump, is just a few years younger.

We wanted to check in with some voters who have first-hand experience with aging: seniors. So we headed to Pittsburgh and the surrounding suburbs, a pivotal region in a pivotal state in the 2024 race, and spoke with older voters how they’re thinking about age in this election.

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Why Are So Many Inmates at This Federal Prison Dying?

Close to five thousand people have died in federal prison since 2009.

There are 100 federal prisons across the U.S. An NPR investigation found that a quarter of those deaths happened at one federal prison.

Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

Inmates have a constitutional right to health care. Being denied care is considered cruel and unusual punishment.

But many of the sick inmates who wind up at Butner don’t get the healthcare they are entitled to – and some end up dying.

NPR’s Meg Anderson tried to find out why.

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How New York City Became the Center Of a Debate Over Immigration

New York City has become an unlikely battleground for migrant rights.

The city, like others, has struggled to deal with the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants – bussed in from Republican-led states like Texas and Florida.

Amid rising pressure to do something to alleviate this problem, the Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it was granting Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, to nearly a half million Venezuelans – thousands of whom are in New York City. TPS protects them from deportation and allows them to apply for work permits.

Host Ailsa Chang speaks with NPR’s Jasmine Garsd about how New York has landed at the center of America’s immigration debate and what the Biden administration’s policy announcement means for migrants.

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What the US-Iran Prisoner Swap Means For the Family of a Man Freed After 8 Years

On Tuesday, five Americans detained for years in Iran stepped off a plane back onto US soil.

They were released in the US-Iran prisoner swap that also saw five Iranians freed and the US agreeing to 6 billion dollars of Iranian oil money being unfrozen. Per the deal, Iran is supposed to spend the money only on humanitarian goods like food and medicine.

Among the five freed Americans: Siamak Namazi. The longest-held US citizen in Iran, detained since 2015.

When he stepped off that plane yesterday, his brother Babak was there to greet him.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Babak Namazi on what the prisoner swap means for his family.

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California’s Big Oil Lawsuit Strategy Mirrors Fight Against Big Tobacco

The state of California has filed a massive lawsuit against oil companies.

The charge is that oil companies knew they were causing climate change, and lied to cover it up. And now, California is suing for damages.

The state is suing to force fossil fuel companies to help fund recovery efforts related to California’s extreme weather related events — floods, fire, dangerous heat –which have been made more common and intense by climate change.

Back in the 1990s, states across the country sued tobacco companies – demanding that they be compensated for healthcare costs associated with treating people for smoking-related illnesses.

It was a long and complicated process, but states won more than $360 billion. The victory brought a big change to the tobacco industry, forcing companies to accurately label cigarettes as potentially lethal, and limiting where and how cigarettes could be marketed.

Host Ailsa Chang speaks with Richard Wiles, president of the Center for Climate Integrity on the ramifications of the climate lawsuit.