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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is bidding farewell this week to one of its most popular bamboo-loving residents: Bei Bei.

Why? The black-and-white bear is on temporary loan to the National Zoo from the Chinese government. That’s the case with the majority of captive pandas around the world. Bei Bei’s loan agreement stipulated that he must go to China when he reached 4 years of age.

Bei Bei will be sent to China on Tuesday to live at the Bifengxia Panda Base, run by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. Once he reaches sexual maturity, he’ll enter its breeding program with the ultimate goal of expanding the captive panda population.

Bei Bei’s siblings, Bao Bao and Tian Shan, were sent to China in 2016 and 2010, respectively. With Bei Bei’s departure, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will be without an adolescent panda.

Bei Bei, which means “precious, treasure” in Mandarin Chinese, was born at the zoo on Aug. 22, 2015. He came into the world pink, hairless and blind, approximately the size of a stick of butter. Now he weighs 240 pounds.

With 65 Pounds Of Bamboo, Giant Panda ‘Bei Bei’ Prepares For Flight To China

Photo: Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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As the Founding Fathers were drafting the U.S. Constitution, they were explicitly trying to avoid a repeat of the situation they had just fought a war to free themselves from — a ruler with unchecked power.

While they wrote a bare minimum about impeachment in the country’s essential governing document, other writings from the time provide rich insights about their intentions.

In Federalist No. 69, Alexander Hamilton described impeachment essentially as a release valve from another “crisis of a national revolution.” He and other founders grappled with how best to execute such a check, and eventually they settled on the system we have today.

Even more than 230 years ago, they were eerily prescient in fearing how the impeachment process could play out: beset by partisanship and broken down by factions. Every impeachment proceeding so far — from Andrew Johnson to Bill Clinton and now President Trump — was split along those lines.

Fractured Into Factions? What The Founders Feared About Impeachment

Image: Stock Montage/Getty Images

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For many people, turning on the tap or flushing the toilet is something we take for granted. But a report released Monday, called “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States,” shows that more than 2 million Americans live without these conveniences and that Native Americans are more likely to have trouble accessing water than any other group.

The nearest water station for Darlene Yazzie is 9 miles away at the Dennehotso Chapter House — a community center — in the Four Corners region of the Navajo Nation. On Tuesday, she counted her dimes and nickels to pay for water. It costs $1.10 plus gas money to fill up two 50-gallon barrels, and she has just been told the price is going up next month.

Yazzie lugged a T-shaped key as tall as her out to the well, where she dropped it down into the hole and turned the crank to open the valve.

Water gushed into the plastic barrel. A cool mist from a leak in the hose rained over her. This is Yazzie’s drinking water. For her animals, she usually drives to a windmill, but on this day it was empty and the sheep were thirsty.

“There’s no water in the windmill,” Yazzie said. “It’s dry because it’s not blowing. The only way they have water is if it’s blowing.”

Yazzie said the windmill water isn’t safe for humans anyway. Officials told her arsenic and uranium levels are too high. Yazzie and many others give the water to their animals, even though they plan to eat them.

Many Native Americans Can’t Get Clean Water, Report Finds

Photo: Laurel Morales/KJZZ
Caption: Darlene Yazzie typically hauls water from a windmill 5 miles from her house for her sheep. Officials tell her it’s unsafe for humans but OK for livestock.

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Knowing what to recycle is confusing. And with 11,000 recycling programs in the U.S., it varies from one community to the next. Learn more with our interactive feature.

Plastics: What’s Recyclable, And What Becomes Trash

Photo: Meredith Rizzo/NPR

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The U.S. Department of Education agreed to hand over department records late Thursday to Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House education committee, just hours before Scott was set to subpoena Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for the records.

The information relates to the Education Department’s unwillingness to fully forgive the federal student loans of borrowers who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges, including the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.

“We’ve been asking for information since last year,” Scott told NPR on Thursday, before the department promised the documents. “We expect answers.”

According to the most recent federal data, as of June 2019 more than 210,000 borrowers were waiting to have their claims processed under a 1995 rule known as “borrower defense.” The department’s decision is just the latest development in an ongoing dispute between DeVos and Scott about this previously little-used provision.

Betsy DeVos And The High-Stakes Standoff Over Student Loan Forgiveness

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

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The most striking thing about Disney+ as of its launch is that even most of what’s new isn’t new.

The originals include The Mandalorian, which is a Star Wars series; High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a scripted mockumentary connected to High School Musical; a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp; Marvel Hero Project, which capitalizes on the Marvel brand by making inspirational kids into superheroes with their own commemorative comics; and the short series Forky Asks A Question, in which the Toy Story 4 breakout star considers quandaries like “What Is Money?” Even Noelle, a new kids’ Christmas movie starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader as Santa’s children, was originally set up as a theatrical film and only later rejiggered as a streaming original.

It’s too early to have seen everything that’s new, but let’s take a look at some of the originals on offer — or the semi-originals, let’s say.

What’s Good, What’s Bad And What’s Back On Disney+

Photo: Natalie Cass/Disney+
Caption: Olivia Rodrigo and Matt Cornett in
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

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When the halloween candy goes on sale and the dulcet tones of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” are piping out of every store speaker, it can mean GO TIME for some folks. But there are also a lot of people who get a very familiar pit in their stomach when the holidays roll around. Holidays can mean exhaustion, confronting familial trauma, managing your uncle’s opinions and all kinds of overload.

We asked Life Kit listeners for their trickiest situations around family and the holidays and invited Dr. Andrea Bonior, Licensed Clinical Psychologist to offer advice. Here are some excerpts of the letters we received along with some advice that will hopefully help you weather this holiday season with strength if the cheer and goodwill are hard to find.

Holiday Survival Guide: Family Style

Illustration: Shannon Wright for NPR

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