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Anthony Roth Costanzo is a feisty performer who knows a thing or two about busting down barriers in classical music. After all, opera singers don't normally belt out arias behind office desks, and they don't insist on lugging harpsichords with them. They also don't routinely sing in Bronx middle school classrooms and get students talking about emotions. But Costanzo is fearless. (And after seeing this amazing Tiny Desk performance, watch him melt the hearts of distracted sixth-graders.)

It's another busy release week, with intimate home recordings from Prince, ragged rock from Metric, the angelic harmonies of Mountain Man and Richard Swift's final recordings among our shortlist for the must-hear albums out on Sep. 21. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks with NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich, Rodney Carmichael and Stephe Thompson, along with Nate Chinen from WBGO about the music you need to hear now.

Featured Albums:

  1. Metric: Art of Doubt
    Featured Song: "Die Happy"

Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, one of three top leaders in the Southeast Asian country, has died at age 61, according to state media, which says he suffered from a "serious illness."

Quang was sworn in as president in 2016 and served in the largely ceremonial post alongside Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and secretary-general of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, who experts believe wields the bulk of the power in the country's leadership triumvirate.

After years of successfully operating as an independent entity, 14-member hip-hop boy band Brockhampton unveiled its major label debut, iridescence, late Thursday night.

For nearly two decades Enric Marco was a highly respected figure in Spain, widely known as a Holocaust survivor, Civil War hero and resistance fighter against the Francisco Franco regime. He even held public speaking engagements detailing his experiences in a concentration camp.

But every bit of it was a lie.

In 2005 Marco's masquerade was exposed to the world by historian Benito Bermejo — piquing the interest of novelist Javier Cercas. As Cercas soon discovered, "he had made up everything. Not only about that, I mean — he invented his whole life."

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And we're going to take you next to a place few Americans have ever seen - the inside of a classroom in North Korea.

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Updated at 12:10 p.m. Friday

Newly unsealed court documents have explained the mysterious closure of a New Mexico observatory earlier this month, revealing that authorities were investigating one of the facility's janitors for possession and distribution of child pornography.

The Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak was shut for 11 days for "a security issue," and its closure drew cheeky speculation that authorities were investigating the presence of UFOs.

Florence may have concluded its crawl over the Carolinas, but officials are warning residents not to let the fairer weather deceive them. For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and as all that water continues to make its way downstream, rivers keep on rising.

The storm's death toll ticked up to 41 people on Thursday; 31 people in North Carolina alone, which entered its 13th day under a state of emergency.

Google has warned some senators and Senate aides that their personal Google accounts have been targets of attempted hacks backed by foreign governments, the company confirmed on Thursday.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., wrote to Senate leaders on Wednesday that his office has discovered a number of senators and Senate staff members were warned by a major technology company "that their personal email accounts were targeted by foreign government hackers."

Updated on Sept. 21 at 2:33 p.m. ET

If you feel like your commute is taking longer, that's because it is.

New survey data show the average American's commute inched up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey.

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Last week, hackers stole an estimated $59 million from a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange called Zaif, according to a statement released Thursday by the owners of the exchange.

According to Cointelegraph, the Tech Bureau Corp. said the breach occurred on September 14. The company discovered something was wrong on September 17, and realized it was a hack the following day, September 18.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has reinstated Russia's state anti-doping regulator after a major doping scandal that reverberated across international sports. The move has been roundly condemned by anti-doping advocates.

The reinstatement of RUSADA, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, is subject to conditions. Nine members of WADA's executive committee backed the decision. Two voted against it – the agency's vice president and Oceania. Europe abstained.

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