NPR News

On Saturday the moment that tennis fans had been talking about for weeks finally came, a “Serena Slam” – four consecutive major titles. This is the 33-year-old American tennis player’s second Serena Slam.

Next month, Serena is positioned to make history if she wins the U.S. Open. It would be the first time a woman has completed a Grand Slam – winning all four majors in a calendar year – since Steffi Graf did that in 1988.

Several of the nation’s largest companies, including Starbucks, CVS and Walmart, have signed on to a pledge to hire 100,000 16 to 24-year-olds who are out of school and out of work.

It’s called the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, and it’s designed to target “disconnected youth.” Roben Farzad, the host of Full Disclosure on NPR One, discusses this with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti.

Alice Bowman oversees daily operations for NASA's mission to Pluto. Her language is peppered with technical terms — like "astronomical units" and "aim points."

But there's one piece of scientific nomenclature you won't hear coming from Bowman's lips: dwarf planet.

"Pluto is a planet," she says. "And that's the way I will always think of it."

Concerns over the safety of drivers and passengers has prompted Land Rover to issue a recall of more than 65,000 recently made SUVs. The problem stems from keyless entry software that can allow seemingly latched doors to open.

"Some customers have reported that one door has opened while the vehicle was in motion," the company said in an initial report on the flaw in June.

John A. Williams might be one of the most prolific writers most people have never heard of.

Although he was often compared to Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Williams didn't much like that. He felt that when black writers were lumped together by the literary establishment, only one at a time would be allowed to succeed. His novels, which were always focused through the prism of race and were told from his black characters' point of view, were well-reviewed. But Williams never reached the level of fame of writers like Wright, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.

Growing up in West Baltimore, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was no stranger to violence. "Everyone had lost a child, somehow, to the streets, to jail, to drugs, to guns," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Coates' new book, Between the World and Me, is an effort to protect his son from the same threats he experienced as a youth. Written in the form of a letter, Coates draws on history as well as personal experience to discuss the different forms of violence young African-Americans face on the street, in school and from the police.

As another Southern writer once said, "You can't go home again." In Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, which takes place in the mid-1950s, a 26-year-old Scout Finch takes the train from New York City home to Maycomb, Ala., and finds the familiar world turned mighty strange.

TV and air-conditioning have changed the landscape, and beloved childhood friends like Dill and her brother Jem have vanished. Others, like Calpurnia, look at Scout, here called by her grown-up name of "Jean Louise," as though she were, well, a white lady.

Saroj is a cook at a public school in her village, Dujana, in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Like most people in this state, she doesn't have a last name.

She walks to work down narrow streets of concrete homes with cows and buffaloes outside. She is short, only about 5 feet 2, but she walks tall and confident in her traditional mustard-colored tunic and pants. Her tanned face is framed by big, dark eyes and a square jaw.

As Saroj passes an old man sitting outside a house, she leans in close to me and starts whispering.

Updated at 1:11 p.m. ET

President Obama has commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders, nearly all of whom, the White House says, would have already served their time if they were convicted of the same crime today.

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