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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6:05am

Sat September 15, 2012
Author Interviews

'Skagboys': Heroin Highs In 'Trainspotting' Prequel

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 2:43 pm

The boys are back — Mark Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, Begbie and other memorable characters from Irvine Welsh's 1994 novel, Trainspotting, come back to life in Welsh's new book, Skagboys.

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2:03am

Sat September 15, 2012
Music Interviews

Calexico: Road Songs For Wandering Souls

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 10:55 am

John Convertino and Joey Burns have been performing as Calexico since 1996. Their latest album is called Algiers.
Jairo Zavala Courtesy of the artist

At 11 a.m. on a weekday, Calexico rehearses for its upcoming tour in a cramped studio on the south side of Tucson, Ariz. The stereotypical musician would just be getting up, but lead singer and songwriter Joey Burns has been up since dawn with his twin baby girls.

Trumpet player Jacob Valenzuela arrives late to the rehearsal — and that's because his washing machine broke and he had to deal with a small flood. Valenzuela grabs his trumpet as the band launches into "Splitter," the first single from Calexico's new album.

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2:03am

Sat September 15, 2012
Music Interviews

Radiohead's Guitarist Adapts To Life In Widescreen

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 1:47 pm

Jonny Greenwood is responsible for the score of The Master and There Will Be Blood.
S. Katan Courtesy of the artist

Reviews of the new film The Master have ranged from acclaim to disdain. Almost all the critics, though, seem to admire the film's music, composed by Jonny Greenwood.

Greenwood's story begins in the early 1990s, when he was playing the viola at Oxford University and not making much of an impression — even on himself.

"I was headed for the back of the viola section in some orchestra," Greenwood says. "If I practiced hard enough."

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2:03am

Sat September 15, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Trouble In The Twin Cities: Two Orchestras In Labor Disputes

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:47 pm

The Minnesota Orchestra may go on strike after management proposed to cut musicians' salaries by 28 percent.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

For a metro area of only about 3.5 million people, the Twin Cities region is unusual in the way it supports not one, but two world-class orchestras. Now, with looming deficits on the horizon and musicians' contracts at both the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra expiring Sept. 30, the Twin Cities may have two orchestras on strike.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Music

Canadian Poet Inspires Men's Community Choir

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Leonard Cohen is known for distinctive, haunting and provocative songs. His music inspired one artist in the Bay Area with amounts to a vision: that there ought to be a community choir of men singing a cappella exclusively from the Leonard Cohen songbook. Lisa Morehouse spent some time with the group. They call themselves the Conspiracy of Beards.

LISA MOREHOUSE, BYLINE: The Beards, as they're known, don't all have beards, but they do stand out.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Author Interviews

'Yankee Miracles': Rising Through Baseball Ranks

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Politics

Labor Report Has Romney And Obama On Down Note

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The presidential candidates are back on the campaign trail, sprinting, now that the political conventions are behind them. President Obama and Mitt Romney were both in Iowa and New Hampshire yesterday. Both of their message were affected by some bad news on the job's front as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Politics

Split Polls In Iowa Boost State's Importance

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The bright lights of the political conventions dimmed. President Obama and Mitt Romney hit the campaign trail Friday. Both candidates headed for the politically critical states of Iowa and New Hampshire. We asked reporters in those both those places to find out how voters are feeling about the two questions that dominated the conventions: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? And which presidential candidate has the best plan for country? We go first to Sarah McCammon of Iowa Public Radio.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Europe

Europe Debt Plan Raises Hopes, With Much To Do

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Once again, this week, European officials sat down and tried to figure out what to do about the debt crisis, and once again, they came up with a plan that they say will help heavily indebted countries, including Spain and Italy, turn a corner. Investors seemed to like the plan. Stock prices rose, but the plan still faces hurdles, including a major court ruling in Germany next week.

NPR's Jim Zarroli joins us from Berlin. Jim, thanks for being with us.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Around the Nation

The Burn Of Unemployment Still Stings New Hampshire

Transcript

JOSH ROGERS, BYLINE: I'm Josh Rogers in Concord, New Hampshire. Pretty much every poll in this race shows the Granite State as a tossup. Economic issues tend to dominate here, and even though New Hampshire has weathered the recession relatively well - unemployment stands at just 5.2 percent - you wouldn't know it by talking to voters at Manchester's Red Arrow Diner.

NEAL POITRAS: I ran into a tough situation where I actually bought a house five years ago and I just recently sold it for a $46,000 loss.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Middle East

Inside Security Council Talks On Syria

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last week, the French ended their rotation at the head of United Nations Security Council. Their permanent representative, Ambassador Gerard Araud, had one preeminently difficult issue on his agenda while in charge. And, of course, that was the question of what to do about Syria. Ambassador Araud joins us from his office in New York City. Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for being with us.

AMBASSADOR GERARD ARAUD: Good morning.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Around the Nation

Gamblers Win Big In Atlantic City With Unshuffled Decks

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A case of unshuffled card decks has riled up casino owners and players in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Fourteen gamblers at the Golden Nugget there raked in more than $1.5 million playing a game called mini-baccarat in April. But they didn't have Lady Luck to thank so much as a technical malfunction. The players realized after a few hands that they were being dealt cards in the exact same sequence.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
U.S.

The 'Skills Missmatch': Failing To Meet Job Demand

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. More dismal economic news this week. The U.S. economy created slightly fewer than 100,000 new jobs - worse than what many economists expected and what millions of Americans had hoped for. The unemployment rate dropped slightly, but possibly because half a million Americans just gave up and stopped looking for work. NPR's Steve Henn reports on whether the jobs lost during the great recession will ever come back.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
World

Haqqani Designation Complicates Pakistan Relations

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

After long deliberations, the U.S. State Department has designated one of Afghanistan's deadliest insurgent groups to be a terrorist organization. The Haqqani network has been blamed for many attacks on U.S. troops and the embassy in Afghanistan. Although the group is made up primarily of Afghan fighters, it is based in northwest Pakistan.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Presidential Race

Will Convention Give Obama A Boost In N.C.?

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Democrats in North Carolina are hoping to extend the momentum of the convention, organizing to get out the vote in November. President Obama narrowly won the state four years ago, but recent polls have shown Mitt Romney now ahead. The weak economy still looms over their organizing efforts. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Health

What To Do In Case Of A Zombie Apocalypse

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now to an odd potential problem here.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME FROM "THE WALKING DEAD")

SIMON: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging all Americans to...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

SIMON: At least a zombie visit. They even put a to-do list on their "Public Health Matters" blog. The guidelines don't much resemble the rules of survival in the movie "Zombieland."

(SOUNDBITE OF THE MOVIE, "ZOMBIELAND")

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Europe

Investors Comb Greece's Finances To Check On Bailout

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Envoys from what they call the Troika, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, are back in Greece today and will resume combing through the country's finances to determine if Greece ought to keep receiving bailout loans. They're also expected to push for more austerity measures in exchange for those loans.

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Europe

Violence Seizes French Port City

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:16am

Sat September 8, 2012
Sports

A Star At U.S. Open, NFL Opens, Paralympics To Close

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: (Singing) Ah, to remember the kind of September.... The seasons are flipping, and so Serena's poised to win again, not just today. NFL season opens in earnest, and the real Olympic spirit still lives on in London. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us.

Morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Seasons are flipping, I fear you are too.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Tom, I'll make the jokes here, please.

GOLDMAN: Thank you.

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6:06am

Sat September 8, 2012
Around the Nation

Looking To 'Future,' Ga. Schools Require Mandarin

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 11:57 am

Instructor Huiling Li encourages second-grader Trinity Faulkner on the first day of Mandarin Chinese classes at Brookdale Elementary School in Macon, Ga.
Adam Ragusea for NPR

Public schools in Macon, Ga., and surrounding Bibb County have a lot of problems. Most of the 25,000 students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced lunch, and about half don't graduate.

Bibb County's Haitian-born superintendent Romain Dallemand came into the job last year with a bag of changes he calls "The Macon Miracle." There are now longer schools days, year-round instruction, and one mandate nobody saw coming: Mandarin Chinese for every student, pre-K through 12th grade.

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6:03am

Sat September 8, 2012
Latin America

Plan For Cuban Ballet School A Dance Of Art, Politics

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 9:39 pm

Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta has a bold plan to transform a long-abandoned, incompletely built ballet school in Havana into a global cultural and dance center. But some fear the plan is a step toward "privatization."
Nick Miroff for NPR

A radical proposal to restore one of Cuba's most important architectural landmarks is rekindling a 50-year-old controversy. At the center is ballet superstar Carlos Acosta, who left the island and went on to a lead role in London's Royal Ballet. Acosta wants to return to the island and restore an abandoned ballet school with help from one of the world's most famous architects.

But the proposal has opened old wounds from the school's past and stirred a debate about the future of Cuba's state-sponsored cultural model.

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6:00am

Sat September 8, 2012
Author Interviews

An Invitation To Join 'The Dangerous Animals Club'

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 8:16 am

Stephen Tobolowsky is an actor and writer. He also hosts the podcast The Tobolowsky Files.
Jim Britt Simon & Schuster

Stephen Tobolowsky calls his book, The Dangerous Animals Club, a group of "pieces." They are partly essays, partly short stories, partly memoir. They are anecdotes, stories and insights that are shuffled in and out of order, like cards in a deck.

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2:03am

Sat September 8, 2012
Music News

Sauti Sol: Native Sons Sing Straight To Kenya's Youth

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 9:40 pm

Sauti Sol has become the most popular band in Kenya.
Courtesy of the artist

The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Presidential Race

Romney Visits Storm-Stricken La. Ahead Of Obama

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And there are a little more than 60 days left until the presidential election. Democrats are gearing up for their nominating convention, in North Carolina next week. Republicans, of course, held their convention this week, in Florida. And in a moment, we'll hear a report on President Obama's visit to a U.S. military base.

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Around the Nation

Gone But Not Forgotten, Isaac Leaves Messy Wake

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The remnants of Hurricane Isaac have now moved north, dumping heavy rain in Arkansas and Missouri. In Louisiana and Mississippi, it will take many weeks - if not months - to clean up the mess from the flooding and torrential downpours. As NPR's Russell Lewis reports, residents there are taking things kind of in stride, even as they need to rebuild yet again.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPLASHING WATER)

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Sports

Week In Sports: U.S. Open To Be Roddick's Last

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And I wait all week to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The 2012 tennis season is in the home stretch - or is it the last set? What do we call it? The U.S. Open in New York, and it's been eventful. We'll also hit the gridiron in a moment. First, Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now from New York. Howard, good morning.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Economy

The Economy: What Are The Central Bankers Saying?

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Every year at this time, many of the world's central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an annual economic policy symposium, within sight of snow-capped mountain peaks. The economy continues to be weak in much of the world. A select group of journalists is allowed to attend - and Robin Harding, the U.S. Economics Editor of the Financial Times, is one of those journalists.

He joins us from Jackson Hole. Mr. Harding, thank you for being with us.

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Politics

The GOP Convention Is Done, But The Swag Lives On

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Finally, a story of a couple of guys on a road trip to find a few things that may be priceless. Remember, it's a road trip. Our two stars are...

LARRY BIRD: I'm Larry Bird.

HARRY RUBENSTEIN: Hi, this is Harry Rubenstein.

SIMON: Larry Bird and Harry Rubenstein are curators at the National Museum of American History. They've been in Tampa this week and will be in Charlotte next to collect stuff.

BIRD: I mean, it could be anything - banner, badges, buttons, ribbons.

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6:12am

Sat September 1, 2012
Book Reviews

'Headbangers' And The New American Pastime

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Baseball is still called the national pastime, and poets still compose paeans to its subtlety and gentle pace. But in the 1970s, pro football began to become America's defining game, and it was about as subtle as a kick in the head. As Kevin Cook suggests in his new book, the '70s - the days of Mean Joe, "Mad Dog" John Madden, buttoned-up Tom Landry and Howard Cosell - the days when football was raw and unfiltered.

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6:04am

Sat September 1, 2012
Europe

In Bike-Friendly Copenhagen, Highways For Cyclists

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 10:17 pm

Many Copenhagen residents already travel by bike, and now the city is building high-speed routes designed to encourage commuters even in the outlying suburbs.
Slim Allagui AFP/Getty Images

Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.

So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed "the cycling superhighway," is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen.

Lars Gaardhoj, an official with the Copenhagen capital region, says the routes will be straight and direct.

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