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Sec. Van Der Vaart Defends Oft-Criticized DEQ

The state agency tasked with protecting the environment has been under scathing, near-constant criticism from environmentalists during the tenure of Governor Pat McCrory. The state saw a dramatic political shift with McCrory's 2012 election and the subsequent election of Republican super-majorities to the House and Senate. Since then, lawmakers have rolled back environmental regulations and McCrory redirected what was then known as DENR, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in...
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Another  weekend of with plenty to offer. Tony Kiss takes a look at some of what's happening in Western North Carolina.

A major natural gas storage well in Southern California is still leaking, though less so than back in late October, when the giant gas leak was first reported. More than 5,000 families and two schools have been relocated since then, and the local utility that operates the facility is now facing several legal actions.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook the city of Tainan, on the southern end of Taiwan, just before 4 a.m. local time Saturday. The shallow quake reportedly caused multiple structures to collapse, including one residential building where it is thought hundreds live.

NPR's Elise Hu, in Taiwan, tells All Things Considered that the residential building of most concern was 17 stories tall but collapsed down to the height of about four stories.

Authorities in Tainan say 221 people have been rescued from collapsed buildings.

The Jordanian movie Theeb has been nominated for a best foreign language film Oscar. It's a beautiful, sweeping story set in 1916 in an area of western Saudi Arabia then known as the Hejaz. The film's director, Naji Abu Nowar, says Theeb covers a pivotal moment in the region's history.

"The First World War is kicking off ... and the war is coming toward this area of Hejaz," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "The British are ... inciting the Arab tribes to revolt against the Ottoman imperialists. And so you're on the brink of a massive change."

On Friday's All Things Considered, I have a story about how a recent federal court ruling is restricting when police are may use Tasers in the five Southeastern states covered by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a nutshell, police there may no longer shock a nonviolent, noncooperative suspect with a Taser stun gun— even if he is trying to escape custody.

The new movie, Rams, has absolutely nothing to do with Peyton Manning. It's a story from Iceland that involves sheep, snow, a herd-afflicting virus called scrapie, and sufficient sibling rivalry to power a Greek tragedy.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., had strong words for Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Thursday regarding the VA's failure to compensate thousands of World War II veterans who were exposed to mustard gas.

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