At this hour, final preparations are underway for the launch of Atlantis, the last American shuttle to venture into space.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Hundreds of thousands of spectators will be on hand in Central Florida to watch the final shuttle launch if the weather permits that launch. We're going to talk about that and more with NPR's science correspondent Joe Palca, who's in our studios here in Washington. Joe, good morning.
Among the prisoners held by anti-Gadhafi rebels in western Libya are many sub-Saharan Africans --from Ghana, Chad and other countries. Rebel leaders have long accused Moammar Gadhafi of recruiting black African mercenaries. Interviews at a rebel prison appear to corroborate the allegations. The prisoners — Libyans as well as sub-Saharan Africans — say Gadhafi's army is running short of food and ammunition, and is plagued by desertions. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports.
Rupert Murdoch's media company News Corp. seemed to catch everyone off guard when the company took an unexpected step Thursday. Murdoch's son James announced that Sunday would mark the last edition of the scandal-tarred but top-selling U.K. tabloid News of the World.
The move revealed the typically masterful and influential Murdoch clan scrambling desperately for once to contain damage — and its willingness to kill one of its own titles in the effort to do so.
In the original trailer for John Singleton's 1991 film Boyz N The Hood, violent images play over a thudding drum track, as voice over introduces viewers to the hard heart of South Central Los Angeles. "This is Los Angeles, gang capital of the nation." Then, "In South Central L.A., it's tough to beat the streets."
Six months after Jared Loughner allegedly fired a fusillade of shots into a crowd of people in Tucson, Ariz., gun control advocates are asking why there has been no change to the policies that let him buy and carry a semi-automatic weapon without a permit.
Even the staunchest gun control activists suppressed their disappointment when President Obama skirted the issue during his speech in Tucson four days after the shooting, which left six people dead and more than a dozen wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
This may be the most harrowing assignment I have ever tackled for NPR: spending a day watching Oprah Winfrey's new cable channel. Winfrey has admitted she could have done a better job with OWN, which launched in January. Ratings have been disappointing and the original CEO has left. Now that her daily talk show is over, Winfrey says that she's going to focus her attention on making OWN more successful. I figured I could check it out to see how it's doing.
Betsy Brooks remembers her father, Charles, as a "razor-sharp" former Marine. The two had their share of arguments, she says. But that all changed late in her father's life, as Betsy recently told her boyfriend, John Grecsek.
Charles was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when he was 78. Betsy tells John about her relationship with her dad before, and after, the diagnosis.
"We butted heads from the moment we could," Betsy says.
Michel Kilo's book-lined apartment in a Christian neighborhood in Damascus is a quiet contrast to streets where protesters demand an end to Syria's repressive regime.
But Kilo has never been silent, despite years in jail for directly criticizing what he calls a military dictatorship run by one family. At 71, Syria's best-known dissident watches the protest movement that has thrown the country into turmoil and reflects on the failures of his own generation.