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On Oct. 16, 1939, just weeks after Germany invaded Poland and Britain was at war, Winston Churchill, who had warned of Germany's wicked and avaricious ambitions, was called out of political isolation to become First Lord of the Admiralty and drafted an essay in which he asked, perhaps himself as much as anyone who would read it, "Are We Alone in the Universe?"

Here's a quick roundup of some of the mini-moments you may have missed on this week's Morning Edition.

Bah, Bah, Bye.

With Secretary Betsy DeVos rolling up her sleeves at the Education Department and, at one point this week, joining Donald Trump at the White House to talk with educators and parents, Washington, D.C., is making a lot of education news these days.

For those of you struggling to keep up, the NPR Ed Team is trying something new: a weekly recap of the latest national education news.

Editor's Note: This story was updated Saturday afternoon to reflect DeVos' interview with Townhall and the subsequent response by Jefferson Academy in Washington, D.C.

Editor's note: This story contains language that may be offensive to some readers.

Harassment, threats and intimidation of minorities and immigrants spiked nationwide after President Trump's election in November. Comprehensive statistics are hard to come by, but officials and watch groups say hate-motivated incidents remain higher than usual more than three months after Election Day.

Massachusetts is among the many states that have seen such a spike.

Some Republicans looking to scrap the Affordable Care Act say monthly health insurance premiums need to be lower for the individuals who have to buy insurance on their own. One way to do that, GOP leaders say, would be to return to the use of what are called high-risk insurance pools.

Iran tested a ballistic missile barely a week into Donald Trump's presidency. North Korea then shot off a missile of its own. A Russian warship has been hanging out about 30 miles off the U.S. East Coast, and Moscow's fighter jets recently buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea.

Vice President Mike Pence told European allies Saturday that the U.S. remains committed to NATO, despite President Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated interest in pursuing better relations with Russia.

In a speech during his first overseas trip since taking office, Pence told leaders at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that the U.S. "strongly supports" NATO and that "the United States is now and will always be your greatest ally."

Beginning Friday, the New York branch of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will host the exhibit Native Fashion Now, a traveling show from the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. It highlights a dazzling array of contemporary fashion made by dozens of Native American designers.

Why Oh Why Is There Phlegm?

Feb 18, 2017

Struggling through a nasty round of bronchitis with little better to do than binge watch Netflix and feel epically sorry for myself, I pondered the ageless cold-and-flu-season question: Phlegm. Why?

It begs an answer. The human body is capable of such constant wonder, so much to awe and inspire. And then, phlegm. And not just a little phlegm. Gobs. It's the only word that really describes the whole phlegm experience.

So I started asking around, and in so doing have learned that there's a lot more to phlegm than meets the Kleenex.

After years of declining numbers, hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are rising exponentially. A report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations found that crimes targeting Asian-Americans tripled in that county between 2014 and 2015. In addition, the FBI found that the number of hate crimes against Muslim communities rose dramatically between 2014 and 2015 (67 percent).

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