NPR Staff

Joe Serna served three tours in Afghanistan as a Green Beret. Judge Lou Olivera is a veteran, too, who served in the Army as an intelligence officer. But when they met, it wasn't on base. It was in a North Carolina courtroom.

Serna had been struggling to adapt to life back home, and, after violating probation on DWI charge, he was sentenced by Olivera to a night in jail. He would have spent that time in his cell alone with his thoughts, if Olivera hadn't joined him.

The Nobel committee made a bit of a surprising announcement Thursday morning: Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for, according to the Swedish Academy, "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Here at Goats and Soda, we're trying something new: We want to know what you want us to investigate. The first topic is girls in developing countries.

Earlier this month, we gathered over 100 questions from our readers. We put three of them up for vote. More than 600 people voted, and this question was the winner:

I would like to know more about about microloans, and if they are in fact helping women start businesses in the developing world.

Paternity leave can make a big difference in a dad's long-term engagement with the child, doctors find. Paid family leave also fosters breastfeeding and reduces the incidence of maternal depression.

Last October, Goats and Soda began a series called #15Girls. The stories explored the lives of 15-year-olds who sought to take control and change their fate — despite daunting obstacles.

It's been a year, and we wanted to check back with the girls we profiled and see how their lives have changed. We weren't able to reach them all, but we did find out how five of the teens are faring in 2016.

John Locher / AP

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the second presidential debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

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Tim Bauerschmidt left home when he was 19. He would call or visit his parents in Michigan occasionally. Decades went by.

After his father died last year, he knew his mother couldn't live by herself. She was 90, and he realized he didn't know her that well.

"I had some stilted conversations," says Bauerschmidt. "She'd be on the other end of the phone when I talked to my dad. I'd have to say, 'Mom, are you there? Are you on the line?' [She would say] 'Oh yeah, I'm here.' "

On a late summer day in 2010, John T. Williams, a Native American woodcarver, was walking across the street carrying his carving knife and a small piece of wood when he was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer.

"He was carving an eagle at the moment," his brother Rick recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. Rick tells his friend Jay Hollingsworth that his brother loved to carve — had been carving even at age 4, when he completed his first totem pole. He says John could walk and carve at the same time, and that was just what he was doing, carrying his knife openly.

In the world of illegal wildlife trade, the most valuable appendage — even more than elephant ivory — is the horn of the rhinoceros. Investigative journalist Bryan Christy estimates that the wholesale market for rhino horn is roughly a quarter of a billion dollars.

It's hard to imagine a less likely Hillary Clinton supporter than Michael Chertoff.

Chertoff led the Republicans' 1990s probe into the Clintons' land deal, known as the Whitewater investigation — and that led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Clinton would later vote against Chertoff for other key positions requiring Senate approval.

In a dramatic turnaround, Chertoff just came out in support of Hillary Clinton for president.

Mike Cruse is the father of a new baby. His daughter Olivia was born in July. But like most fathers in the U.S., he doesn't get paid parental leave. That means his wife, Stephanie, will have to take care of the baby mostly herself — an already difficult task that may be even harder for her since she's dealing with postpartum anxiety.

Cruse, who manages the warehouse for a lighting company, had to take vacation days from his job to stay home and help for those first 10 days. Now he has no vacation left for the next calendar year.

The idea behind the company Blue Apron is simple: Each week, it sends customers a box with recipe cards and fresh ingredients to make a handful of meals, each of them in just under 35 minutes.

The company has grown quickly since its founding in 2012: It delivers around 8 million meals per month.

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence square off in the vice-presidential debate Tuesday night. NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, has annotated the debate.

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