Weekend Edition

Weekends at 8-10AM
Scott Simon

Whether revealing events in small-town America or overseas, or profiling notable personalities, Weekend Edition from NPR News appreciates the extraordinary details that make up every story. This two-hour morning newsmagazine covers hard news, a wide variety of newsmakers, and cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor, courtesy of hosts Scott Simon and Liane Hansen.

On Saturdays, Simon's award-winning commentaries sum up an idea or event related to the week's news. There are fresh reports from a cross-section of NPR correspondents on topics from religion to health to food to politics. Simon's interviews with key artists, authors, performers and personalities are always memorable.

On Sundays, Weekend Edition combines the news with colorful arts and human-interest features, appealing to the curious and eclectic. With a nod to traditional Sunday habits, the program offers a fix for diehard crossword addicts-word games and brainteasers with The Puzzlemaster, a.k.a. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times. With Hansen on the sidelines, a caller plays the latest word game on the air while listeners compete silently at home. The NPR mailbag is proof that the competition to go head-to-head with Shortz is rather vigorous.

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7:39am

Sat March 28, 2015
Africa

Nigerians Vote In Tight Presidential Election

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 10:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:39am

Sat March 28, 2015
Music News

Influential Guitarist John Renbourn, Co-Founder Of Pentagle, Dies

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 1:41 pm

John Renbourn performs onstage at the Royal Festival Hall in London June 29, 2008. The influential guitarist died at his home in Scotland Thursday. He was 70.
Barney Britton Redferns

Guitarist and composer John Renbourn co-founded the group Pentangle and went on to become revered by guitarists around the world. Renbourn was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in Scotland on Thursday, after failing to show up for a concert. He was 70 years old.

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7:39am

Sat March 28, 2015
Sports

Oil Can Boyd And Shoeless Joe: Legends Of Baseball

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 10:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Squeaky, salty - it's time for sports. (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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7:39am

Sat March 28, 2015
On Aging

At Aging Conference, Old Is The New Black

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 10:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JAILHOUSE ROCK")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Warden threw a party in the county jail. The prison band was there, they began to wail.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RESPECT")

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9:34am

Sat March 21, 2015
Business

As Americans Eat Healthier, Processed Foods Starting To Spoil

Originally published on Sun March 22, 2015 2:24 pm

This week Kraft Foods recalled nearly 2.5 million boxes of macaroni and cheese that were potentially contaminated with metal pieces. Kraft and other processed food manufacturers are facing many challenges.
Toby Talbot AP

Kraft Foods is going through a rough patch.

This week, Kraft recalled nearly 2.5 million boxes of macaroni and cheese that were potentially contaminated with metal pieces.

Also, Kraft Singles, a pre-sliced processed cheese product, earned a nutritional seal from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The seal prompted outrage from nutritionists.

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8:18am

Sat March 21, 2015
Around the Nation

New York Is Losing The Accent That Gave It 'Toidy-Toid Street'

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 12:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You can tell which city some people are from as soon as they say...

DONALD SEMENZA: Come on, forget about it. What are you, serious? You didn't think I know that? Of course I know that.

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7:49am

Sat March 21, 2015
Around the Nation

The Definitive Road Trip? It's Data-Driven

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 10:56 am

Randy Olson's algorithm devised the optimal driving route to 50 tourist spots in the Lower 48 states.
Randy Olson

Spring is here, and a number of families are plotting road trips for school break.

Randy Olson, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University and a self-proclaimed "data tinkerer," believes he's devised a route that could allow a family to hit a landmark in each of the Lower 48 states, from Grand Canyon in Arizona to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to the Statue of Liberty in New York, in just nine days of driving.

"About 9.33 days, if you drove non-stop," Olson clarifies.

That means no time sleeping or using the restroom — and no bad traffic.

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7:11am

Sat March 21, 2015
Theater

Detroit's 'Frida' Aims To Build Latino Audiences For Opera

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:18 pm

Soprano Catalina Cuervo, singing the role of Frida Kahlo, rehearses with bass baritone Ricardo Herrera, singing the role of Diego Rivera, on Feb. 21, 2015 at the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit.
Veronica Zaragovia KUT

A few months ago, inside her stall in a Mexico City market, Ofelia Contreras showed Monika Essen the intricate handwork on an indigenous Mexican skirt. She pointed out how many months it took to complete the patterns by hand.

Essen is the costume designer for the Michigan Opera Theatre's revival of the opera Frida, and came to Mexico City to get the look of the opera right, since Kahlo was so particular about her traditional wardrobe.

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7:11am

Sat March 21, 2015
Strange News

Patent Sketch Appears To Resolves Toilet Roll Tensions

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 10:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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9:50am

Sat March 14, 2015
Middle East

Syrian Rebels Will Face ISIS, But The U.S. May Not Have Their Backs

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Fighters from the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish People's Protection Units battle ISIS militants in Kobani, Syria, in November. U.S. officials haven't said whether they will defend the forces if they are attacked by Bashar al-Assad.
Jake Simkin AP

The U.S. air war in Iraq and Syria against the self-proclaimed Islamic State is now in its eighth month.

American officials say dropping bombs won't be enough to defeat that group; it will also require fighting on the ground. So the U.S. is trying to put together a ground force in Syria by training and equipping thousands of Syrians.

One big question is what the U.S. will do if these Syrian rebel forces get attacked by the regime of Bashar Assad — and so far, the U.S. doesn't have an answer.

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8:26am

Sat March 14, 2015
U.S.

Razing Liberty: Miami's Gambit To Fix A Crime-Plagued Neighborhood

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 3:52 pm

Liberty Square, a 700-unit low-rise complex, is in the heart of one of Miami's most crime-plagued neighborhoods. Miami officials recently announced plans to demolish the building and relocate residents to new public housing.
Nadege Green WLRN

In Miami, officials have announced plans to replace a troubled public housing complex.

Liberty Square, in the heart of one of Miami's most crime-plagued neighborhoods, will be demolished; residents will be relocated to new public housing. Officials say it will improve living conditions and reduce violent crime.

Residents like the county's plan, but worry it may be the latest in a string of broken promises.

A Storied History

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7:36am

Sat March 14, 2015
Religion

Pope Francis' Financial Reforms Rattle Vatican's Old Guard

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Australian Cardinal George Pell arrives for a meeting at the Vatican. Last year, Pope Francis named Pell as prefect of the newly formed Secretariat for the Economy to oversee the Vatican's finances.
Andrew Medichini AP

When the College of Cardinals elected the new head of the Roman Catholic Church two years ago, Pope Francis was given the mandate to put the Vatican's dysfunctional administration in order.

As the papacy's enters its third year, some of the biggest reforms have been achieved in the Vatican's finances, long tainted by scandal.

Three days after his election, Pope Francis made clear his vision of what the Catholic Church should be when he exclaimed, "Oh, how I would love a poor church ... for the poor."

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7:36am

Sat March 14, 2015
Animals

From Bored To Blown Away: Feline Reactions To 'Music For Cats'

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Last week we invited you to bring your cat closer to your speakers, not to hear anything I had to say, but this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPOOKS DITTY")

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7:36am

Sat March 14, 2015
Sports

$24B TV Deal Puts Cash In NBA Pockets

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: No need to take in any NBA stars - a new TV contract will raise the team's salary cap before players have to start bussing tables at Applebee's. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us from Portlandia.

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7:36am

Sat March 14, 2015
Music Reviews

Ooze, Fog And Climate Change Threaten Mummies

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Northern Chile is home to some 7,000-year-old mummies, some of the oldest mummies in the world. But scientists say the mummies are in danger. NPR's Jasmine Garsd has this story about mummies, strange oozing substances and a mysterious fog.

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10:29am

Sat March 7, 2015
It's All Politics

How To Oust A House Speaker (Hint: Don't Even Try)

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 12:53 pm

House Speaker John Boehner's job is secure, despite passing a bill to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security — a bill that most of his Republican colleagues opposed.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Here's one story in Washington that just won't go away.

It's the tale of conservatives who are frustrated with House Speaker John Boehner and want to replace him midsession.

The latest murmurs of a coup surfaced after more than 50 Republicans voted against Boehner's plan last week to avert a partial-shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

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8:26am

Sat March 7, 2015
History

Teaching The Grim Reality Of The Donner Party

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 10:29 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:26am

Sat March 7, 2015
Sports

NCAA Sanctions Syracuse Coach: The Week In Sports

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 10:29 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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8:26am

Sat March 7, 2015
Digital Life

U.S. Aims To Speed Up The Internet For The Disabled

Originally published on Sat March 7, 2015 10:29 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:04am

Sat February 28, 2015
Remembrances

Nimoy Is Gone, But Mr. Spock WIll Live Forever

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:04am

Sat February 28, 2015
Author Interviews

'The Sellout' Is A Profane Riff On Race And Culture

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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8:04am

Sat February 28, 2015
Television

Ex-'Weekend Edition' Producer Tight-Lipped On Her 'Jeopardy!' Appearance

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:40 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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10:18am

Sat February 21, 2015
Law

Police Are Learning To Accept Civilian Oversight, But Distrust Lingers

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:48 am

Late last month, a scuffle cut short a St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting where a committee was to discuss a proposed civilian review board for the city's police force.
Robert Cohen Courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Late last month, during a meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, a shoving match broke out among members of the public — some of them off-duty police officers.

The cause of the tension was a proposal to create a new civilian oversight authority for the police. Advocates of police reform like civilian oversight, but police officers say the boards are often politicized and unfair to them.

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9:20am

Sat February 21, 2015
The Two-Way

There's A Reason We Say 'Self-Declared Islamic State'

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:14 pm

Fighters from the self-declared Islamic State parade through Raqqa, Syria, in June 2014.
Raqqa Media Center AP

Eight months after a notorious group of fighters in Iraq and Syria became regular characters in the news, NPR still begins most of its reports with words such as these:

-- "Self-declared Islamic State."

-- "Self-proclaimed Islamic State."

-- "The group that calls itself the Islamic State."

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8:19am

Sat February 21, 2015
Simon Says

The Heavy Moral Weight Of Carnegie Mellon's 800 Botched Acceptances

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

A lot of people saw their hopes and dreams fulfilled this week — for just a few hours.

Carnegie Mellon University emailed about 800 people who had applied to graduate school to say, 'Congratulations, you're in.' They were — to quote the message of acceptance — "one of the select few" to be accepted into Carnegie Mellon's prestigious Master of Science in Computer Science program.

A young woman in India who was accepted wrote on Facebook that she quit her job, bolstered by this act of faith in her future. Her boyfriend proposed marriage.

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8:17am

Sat February 21, 2015
Around the Nation

Superstorm Sandy Victims Say FEMA's Role Is Fatally Conflicted

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

Kathy Hanlon and her sons, Sergio (left) and Cristian, were traumatized by Superstorm Sandy. Hanlon says her flood insurance company made life after Sandy even more horrible
Charles Lane NPR

After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Kathy Hanlon's life crumbled. Her Long Beach, N.Y., home had no electricity, her family was traumatized and one of her sons was getting sick. On top of that, there was the bureaucratic maze of flood insurance.

"I cried many times because I was so angry when I got off the phone with the insurance company," Hanlon says. "It was demeaning. We had to send them things repeatedly. We had to wait for phone calls. We had to wait for people to come visit the house."

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8:17am

Sat February 21, 2015
Music Interviews

The Mavericks Release An Album, Minus Robert Reynolds

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

8:17am

Sat February 21, 2015
Sports

NASCAR And Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao: The Week In Sports

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

9:51am

Sat February 14, 2015
It's All Politics

Around The U.S., Voting Technology Is All Over The Place

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 12:46 pm

Election worker Bradley Kryst loads voting machines onto a truck at the Clark County election warehouse on Nov. 3, in North Las Vegas. As voting machine technology changes, state elections officials are trying to keep up.
John Locher AP

Remember all that new voting equipment purchased after the 2000 presidential election, when those discredited punch card machines were tossed out? Now, the newer machines are starting to wear out.

Election officials are trying to figure out what to do before there's another big voting disaster and vendors have lined up to help.

During their annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week, state election officials previewed the latest voting equipment from one of the industry's big vendors, Election Systems and Software.

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8:32am

Sat February 14, 2015
Around the Nation

West Coast Port Closures Are Hitting Several Industries Hard

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 12:53 pm

A few trucks move along the docks at the Port of Los Angeles on Thursday. Seaports in major West Coast cities that normally are abuzz with the sound of commerce are falling unusually quiet due to an ongoing labor dispute.
Nick Ut AP

No cargo will go in or out of 29 West Coast ports this weekend.

It's the third partial shutdown in operations at these ports in a week, the result of a bitter labor dispute between shipping lines and the union representing 20,000 dock workers. The dispute has been dragging on for eight months, and now the economic impacts of the shutdown are starting to be felt.

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