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'Smoke' Is A Gloriously Murky Vision Of The Past

May 24, 2016

"There's no more hateful smell in the world than the smell of Smoke," writes Dan Vyleta in his compelling new novel, Smoke. "Smoke" is capitalized for a reason — and a sinister one at that. In Vyleta's grim, deliriously imagined vision of early-20th-century England, living human bodies produce Smoke (and Soot) according to their guilt.

Mosquito control is serious business in Harris County, Texas.

The county, which includes Houston, stretches across 1,777 square miles and is the third most populous county in the U.S. The area's warm, muggy climate and snaking system of bayous provide an ideal habitat for mosquitoes — and the diseases they carry.

The county began battling mosquitoes in earnest in 1965, after an outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis. Hundreds of people contracted the virus and 32 died.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

President Obama's decision to lift a decades-old ban on the sale of lethal military equipment to Vietnam opens up potentially lucrative contracts for U.S. defense companies.

The Vietnamese leadership has been pushing hard for access to American military systems and has a relatively small but quickly growing defense budget, says Ben Moores, a defense specialist at the consultancy IHS Janes. He says that includes a roughly $13 billion wish list for military equipment.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

There are over 3 million people of Filipino heritage living in the U.S., and many say they relate better to Latino Americans than other Asian American groups. In part, that can be traced to the history of the Philippines, which was ruled by Spain for more than 300 years. That colonial relationship created a cultural bond that persists to this day.

It's the topic of the book The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race. Author Anthony Ocampo spoke about the book with Morning Edition's Renee Montagne.

At London's annual Chelsea Flower Show, the flora is fit for a queen: shaped in her likeness and crafted in honor of her 90th birthday. The new princess has her own chrysanthemum too.

But this year's event, which opens Tuesday, kicks off with a warning from the Royal Horticultural Society: Britain has a "lost generation of gardeners."

Khaled Ali Hassanin opens his silver minivan and pulls into Cairo's busy traffic. He is a freelance driver. He used to ferry foreign tourists all around Egypt as a staff member of a tour company. It was a great job.

"There was so much work. I never worried about money. If I spent one [Egyptian] pound, I'd get two back. We had more work than we could handle," he says.

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