Rose Friedman

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A few weeks ago, standing outside his New York City apartment building, Bill Buford handed me a bag. Inside was what looked like a deflated, veiny football, wrapped loosely in plastic. It was the dried-out bladder of a pig.

Buford was a little sketchy about the specifics, like who he got it from. "I think it arrived in a DHL parcel labeled 'Documents,'" he told me. I tried not to laugh as he evaded the details and then disappeared upstairs for more ingredients.

The iconic score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: This is the sound of the American West, at least filtered through the ears of an Italian — specifically, composer Ennio Morricone. He was a giant in the world of film scores who wrote the music for more than 500 movies.

It's powwow season — the time of year when across the country, Native American tribes should be getting together to celebrate their culture with food, dancing, singing and drumming. Kay Oxendine is a member of the Haliwa Saponi Tribe in North Carolina.

"Every year we know it's coming; like, the birds sing differently," she told NPR. "It's almost like spring arrives when the powwow does."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis the number of people in intensive care units has gone down.

The difference was small. Speaking to reporters Friday, Cuomo said that across the state there were 17 fewer ICU patients than the day before. But he said he's cautiously optimistic that the infection rate is slowing, and urged people to continue staying at home.

Another 777 people died, bringing the total so far to 7,844.

In separate press conferences, both the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City said social distancing as well as the restrictions on nonessential businesses are working to flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking in Albany, pointed to lowering rates in the state of hospitalizations, intubations and people admitted to ICUs, telling reporters, "Our efforts are working. They're working better than anyone projected they would work. That's because people are complying with them."

Publishing house Macmillan is backing off a controversial policy restricting e-book sales to libraries, announcing in a letter to librarians, authors, illustrators and agents on Tuesday that "There are times in life when differences should be put aside."

In November, NPR's Lynn Neary reported on the restrictive policy:

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Before we get to this next story, we should let you know that we will be talking about sexual assault, and it might be disturbing to some of you. We are talking about Harvey Weinstein's trial, which continues in Manhattan this week.

Actress Annabella Sciorra took the stand Thursday in the criminal sex crimes trial of movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

She is the first of six women expected to testify that they were raped or sexually assaulted by Weinstein.

Weinstein is charged with five counts of rape and assault against two women in New York City. Weinstein maintains all of the sexual contact was consensual.

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Editor's note: This report includes descriptions of sexual assault.

Once one of Hollywood's most powerful men, whose very reputation could help determine the fate of the films he financed, Harvey Weinstein is set for a starring role on a very different kind of stage: The former megaproducer's criminal trial opens Monday in Manhattan, where Weinstein faces sexual assault charges that may land him in prison for a very long time.

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How does impeachment work exactly? If only there were some sort of handbook ...

Turns out, there is.

Impeachment: A Handbook began as an essay of about 60 pages, written by Charles L. Black Jr. in 1974. President Richard Nixon's impeachment was heating up, and Black was a law professor (first at Columbia, then at Yale), who saw the need for a clear piece on the subject.

For anyone involved in writing or publishing books, the New York Times bestseller list is the holy grail.

"I still remember the very first time that I got on the list," says Dominique Raccah. She's the founder of Sourcebooks, a publishing house based just outside Chicago. "For an indie press in the middle of the Midwest, yeah, it was absolutely the most extraordinary moment in my life."

Archie Williams likes his odds. He's made it through two rounds in the legendary Amateur Night competition at New York's Apollo Theater, where he'll perform Wednesday evening. "I'mma win," he says, chuckling. "That's how I feel."

Willams, 58, says it's always been his dream to sing on that vaunted stage. But his backstory is different from the average contestant's: His Apollo debut comes after 36 years in prison for a 1982 crime he didn't commit.

The author of an anonymous op-ed in that ran in The New York Times on September 5, 2018, and created a stir both inside the White House and beyond, has expanded the article into a book that will be published next month. It will be called A Warning, and published by Twelve Books, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, which announced the publication on Tuesday.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk has died. Wouk was famous for his sprawling World War II novels, including The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, and for his portrayal of Jewish Americans in the novel Marjorie Morningstar. He died in his sleep Friday at his home in Palm Springs, Calif., at age 103.

Harvey Weinstein's arrest in May marked a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement. Weinstein was charged with sexually assaulting three women after dozens came forward to accuse the movie mogul of rape and sexual misconduct.

But six months after his dramatic arrest, the criminal case against Weinstein hasn't turned out to be the slam dunk that many people expected.

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