From NPR News

These are tough times for Washington's roughly 400 think tanks — the policy factories where scholars get paid to study issues and give politicians advice. Powerful external forces are reshaping the industry.

One current example is the left-leaning New America Foundation, founded in 1999. It works on public policies for the digital age. Last month it landed in the think tank industry's latest money controversy.

Updated at 2:45 a.m. ET Thursday

Hurricane Maria has damaged Puerto Rico's power infrastructure in ways that, in a worst-case scenario, could take months to repair, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN late Wednesday.

"Our telecommunications system is partially down," he said. "Our energy infrastructure is completely down."

The Trump administration says many of the organizations that help people enroll in health plans on the federal insurance marketplaces don't provide enough bang for the buck, sometimes costing thousands of dollars to sign up each customer. So it is cutting their funding, some by as much as 90 percent, the government told the groups last week.

The letters "CFPB" may not be much more than alphabet soup to your average student loan borrower. They stand for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new-ish federal agency — created in 2011 — with a unique mission and a big effect on student lenders and for-profit colleges accused of defrauding or otherwise mistreating Americans.

An estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. each year, enough to fill Chicago's Willis Tower 44 times. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted annually.

There's a chance Republicans wouldn't be so close to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act if former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania hadn't dropped into the Capitol barbershop this spring.

"I was up on the Hill, I happened to just go by the barbershop to see if I could get a haircut, and Lindsey was in the chair," Santorum said. "And Lindsey asked me what I was doing, and I thought to myself, 'Well, let me just bounce it off Lindsey.' "

The Republican Party's infighting is on full display in Alabama ahead of next week's Senate runoff — a race that's getting nastier by the day.

A Girl's Love For Bugs Goes Viral

Sep 19, 2017

Canadian Sophia Spencer, 8, loves bugs. A tweet her mom sent out about that made headlines and led to a paper the girl co-authored in a science journal. NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Spencer and her co-author, scientist Morgan Jackson.

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Hurricane Maria threatens to devastate Puerto Rico, mere weeks after the U.S. territory was battered by Hurricane Irma. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello tells NPR's Ailsa Chang how the island is preparing ahead of one of the worst storms in recorded history.

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Facebook under new pressure and scrutiny from many sides as it ends up in the middle of national, international politics.

Taking Stock Of The American Family Farm

Sep 19, 2017

US farmers up against it from shifting trade policies to a changing climate. We’ll look at the state of the US frontier now.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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