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FROM THIS EPISODE

The day after the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, we look at upheaval in the Middle East. Then, how and why are western women getting recruited into Islamic extremist groups like ISIS? Next up, a tech reporter tells us about her experience testing a smartphone app that generates fake significant others for those trying to fool their families and friends. In our weekly film segment, we discuss new box office releases including The Boy Next Door and Cake. And finally, why are automakers piping fake engine noise into new cars, and who’s raising a stink about it?

Banner Image: Salman ibn Abdilaziz Al Saud, pictured, became president of Saudi Arabia on January 23, 2015 upong the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah. Credit: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Producers:
Andrew Walsh
Christian Bordal
Matt Holzman
Jolie Myers
Anna Scott

Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the U.S. 10 MIN, 28 SEC

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died yesterday at age 90. His brother, Prince Salman, who is 79 years old, has taken over the throne. In a country where human rights are sharply curtailed by conservative Islamic law, King Abdullah was sometimes described as a cautious reformer during his some 20 years in power. Saudi women got the right to vote during his rule, but did not make good on his promise to allow them to drive. We take a look at his legacy and the larger upheaval happening in the region.

Guests:
Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)

Women and Terrorism 5 MIN, 35 SEC

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of one of the terrorists who attacked Paris two weeks ago, may be in Syria. French police are still searching for her, and the hunt highlights one of the more overlooked aspects of jihadism: the role of women. About 10 percent of Westerners recruited into the Islamic extremist group ISIS are women. That number is twice as high in France. And they’re taking active roles in planning and executing attacks. What draws them in?

Guests:
Jayne Huckerby, Duke University School of Law (@jaynehuckerby)

More:
When Women Become Terrorists

Invisible Boyfriend 8 MIN, 12 SEC

Are you single? Tired of fielding questions about your love life? Here’s one way to shut everyone up: sign up for a new service called Invisible Boyfriend, which sends texts and photos from a fake significant other to your smartphone. We hear from a reporter who tried it.

Guests:
Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post (@caitlindewey)

More:
I paid $25 for an Invisible Boyfriend, and I think I might be in love.

'The Boy Next Door,' 'Cake' and Other New Releases 14 MIN, 5 SEC

It’s January, which means slim pickin’ at the box office, now that the awards season craze has died down. However, it is Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly movies segment. We catch up on what is coming out today, including a J-Lo thriller and the movie that was supposed to earn Jennifer Aniston an Oscar nomination but didn’t.

Guests:
Matt Atchity, Rotten Tomatoes (@Matchity)
Jenna Busch, Legion of Leia (@JennaBusch)

Car Roundup: Fake Engine Noise, New Braking Recommendations 9 MIN, 27 SEC

The sound of a V8 engine is classic Americana: it represents power, the freedom of the open road and independence. But if your vehicle was made in the past few years, the sound might just be fake noise. Carmakers are making up for quieter new engines by piping in recorded engine sounds. And some auto purists aren’t happy about it. We catch up on the controversy and other automotive news in our regular cars roundup.

Guests:
Aaron Robinson, Car and Driver magazine

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