Trump Awards Purple Heart In First Visit To Walter Reed Military Hospital

President Donald Trump shakes hands with U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Alvaro Barrientos, after awarding him with a Purple Heart , as first lady Melania Trump, right, stands with Tammy Barrientos second from right, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Saturday.

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Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump awarded the Purple Heart to Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

Barrientos was wounded in Afghanistan on March 17 and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee, according to The Associated Press. He was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Tammi. First Lady Melania Trump was also in attendance.

The Purple Heart is awarded to service members killed or wounded in action.

According to pool reports, Trump kept his remarks brief. “When I heard about this I wanted to do it myself,” Trump said. “Congratulations. Tremendous.”

It was Trump’s first visit to the medical center.

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted, “Looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans!” The AP reports he was expected to meet privately with about a dozen service members receiving care at the medical center.

As Trump’s motorcade made its way north from the White House to Walter Reed, located less than 10 miles away, it passed dozens of protesters gathered along the route, holding signs for the March for Science in downtown Washington, D.C.

Saturday was also Earth Day. President Trump released a statement, saying, “My administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species.” It goes on to say, “Rigorous science is critical to my Administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection.”

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More Than 100 Dead In Taliban Attack On Afghan Army Base

Afghan soldiers stand guard at the gate of a military compound after a deadly attack by Taliban gunmen at an Afghan Army base, Friday.

Mirwais Najand/AP

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Mirwais Najand/AP

Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers killed more than 100 Afghan Army soldiers Friday at a base in northern Afghanistan, according to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. It is one of the deadliest attacks on an Afghan military base since the war began.

The Taliban fighters disguised themselves as fellow soldiers as they launched the attack on those attending Mosque prayer services on a compound of the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps in Balkh Province, reports The Associated Press.

“Today, there was even a shortage of coffins,” Ibrahim Khairandish, a member of the provincial council in Balkh Province, tells The New York Times.

An Afghan army spokesman tells CNN the attack lasted six hours and by the end at least five attackers were killed and one was arrested.

A U.S. Navy spokesman tells NPR’s Tom Bowman, while there were more than two dozen Coalition forces at the base at the time of the attack, they sheltered in place and there were no Coalition casualties.

By Saturday, the Taliban had claimed responsibility, with a spokesman saying the attack was carried out by ten assailants as retribution for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders.

President Ashraf Ghani declared Saturday a national day of morning.

As Tom notes, the attack comes shortly after National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster’s visit to Afghanistan, amid calls for the U.S. to send a few thousand additional troops to train Afghans.

The U.S. officially withdrew from the war in 2014, but maintains a presence of more than 8,000 troops in the International Coalition.

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Sobbing Passenger, Near Fight Caught On Video Of American Airlines Incident

A passenger and an American Airlines employee stand face-to-face in a video captured by a passenger on an American Airlines flight on Friday.


Surain Adyanthaya/Screengrab by NPR
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Surain Adyanthaya/Screengrab by NPR

Another nightmare encounter between a passenger and an airline is going viral and sparking an outcry against an industry accused of routinely mistreating its customers.

An American Airlines employee allegedly took a stroller from a woman boarding Flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas Friday, and knocked her with it while she held a baby in her arms.

A video uploaded Friday to Facebook by Surain Adyanthaya has already been viewed more than 1.5 million times. Adyanthaya writes in the caption, “OMG! AA Flight attendant violently took a stroller from a lady with her baby on my flight, hitting her and just missing the baby.”

But the recording does not capture the alleged stroller incident and begins instead with a woman holding a baby and sobbing.

An unidentified male passenger then appears to come to her defense saying, “What’s the guy’s name that did that with the stroller?” An employee comes into the frame and the male passenger says, “You do that to me and I’ll knock you flat.” The two men approach each other, jabbing their fingers. The employee repeats “Hit me,” and the passenger says “I’ll knock you out.” The captain pulls the employee away.

You can watch the video at the end of this story.

The incident comes on the heels of another confrontation during boarding, when a passenger was violently dragged from his United Airlines seat after refusing to give it up.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz initially appeared to blame a “belligerent” passenger, saying it was “necessary” for him to be removed from the flight. It was only after the public outcry swelled, that the company backtracked with Munoz apologizing. “I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again,” Munoz said in a statement.

American may have taken a page from United’s public relations response. The company issued its own statement within hours of Friday’s incident, saying the “The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”

The statement goes on to say, “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident.”

The airline adds that the woman and her family have been upgraded to first class for the remainder of their international trip.

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For Carrie Brownstein, Music Fandom Started At The Record Store

Carrie Brownstein performs at Riot Fest on Sept. 2, 2016, in Denver, Colo.

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Thomas Cooper/Getty Images

Carrie Brownstein has made a name for herself as creator and star of Portlandia and as one-third of the beloved riot grrl band Sleater-Kinney, whose seminal album Dig Me Out recently turned 20. But before all that, Brownstein was just another music fan — and as she tells NPR, her local record store, Rubato Records, was the site of an awakening.

As record shop owners and fans celebrate Record Store Day, Brownstein shares some of the defining moments of her early life as a music lover, including how she first felt the pull of vinyl records. Read highlights below and hear more at the audio link.

Interview Highlights

On discovering vinyl

In the center of the store are two rows of vinyl, and that became this light in the middle of the room that I gravitated towards. I just remember that feeling when you first put your fingertips on the top of the vinyl … it feels almost like typing, because you have all 10 fingers moving across this stack of records. I just spent about two hours literally looking at every single record they had in that store. I felt like I had discovered a treasure chest, and I dove in.

On the advent of CDs

[They’re] so ugly, but at the time they sort of signaled the future. And people just sort of picked them like berries — people were just pulling them off the racks. Everyone was sort of forgetting about their vinyl and they wanted to get everything digital, so you had people just getting like, “Ah, I’m gonna get all my favorite Grateful Dead records on CD now.” So people were just walking around the store with these precarious towers of CDs in their arms.

On being both fan and performer

I don’t think I realized right away that I was switching from being a fan into being a performer. I’ve always tried to maintain that duality, because I think fandom is a way of being porous and curious, but it did feel like a step forward. It’s almost like you’re kind of going from someone that sees yourself in black and white to someone that’s starting to see themselves in color. You start to build up to having a body and a voice that you believe in, and I think that was what it was more so than, “OK, well now I’ve switched over,” ’cause I don’t think I ever quite want to switch over. I just want to be able to dance between the two.

Web intern Jake Witz and web editor Rachel Horn contributed to this story.

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