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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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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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

The Tobolowsky Files." href="/post/invitation-join-dangerous-animals-club" class="noexit lightbox">
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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5:47am

Sat September 1, 2012
'Weekend Edition's' Taste Of Summer

Swimming And Snacking On Egypt's North Coast

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

Freska are small, sweet treats — thin, crispy wafers sandwiching patties of sesame, peanuts or coconut, often held together by honey or sugar.
Kimberly Adams

In the summer, many middle- and upper-class Egyptians flee the sweltering heat and humidity of Cairo to a string of private beach communities that hug the Mediterranean coast. Here, the weather is cooler and the breeze off the sea carries the shouts of snack sellers. Those vendors make it possible for beachgoers to purchase snacks without leaving the shade of their umbrellas.

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5:58pm

Fri August 31, 2012
Simon Says

Without A Career, How Do We Know Who We Are?

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

Are we what we do?

A lot of Americans identify themselves by their work. It's often how we introduce ourselves or describe our friends and parents: "I'm a police officer." "I'm a spot-welder." "My dad was a druggist." "My mom was a teacher." "My wife is a pilot." "My friend is a firefighter." "I sell insurance."

Our work has been a kind of identity stamp, defining us as much as our last name or place of birth. As Studs Terkel wrote in his 1974 classic, Working, "Our jobs give us daily meaning as well as daily bread."

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10:16am

Sat August 25, 2012
Food

Not All Chinese Restaurants Are Created Equal

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hungry? You might give a listen now to David Chan. Mr. Chan is a Los Angeles tax lawyer who says he's eaten in more than 6,000 Chinese restaurants in North America and knows how to identify the best. David Chan joins us on the line now.

Thanks very much for being with us.

DAVID CHAN: Well, thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: So what do you look for?

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9:45am

Sat August 25, 2012
Simon Says

Phyllis Diller: Showing, And Celebrating, Her Age

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Phyllis Diller attends an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences event in North Hollywood, Calif., in 2008. The comedic legend died this week at 95.
Charley Gallay Getty Images

When Phyllis Diller died this week at the age of 95, much was made of the way she burst open doors for women in comedy. But she also showed a way for people to make a midlife crisis into a breakthrough.

Diller was an Eisenhower-era housewife in the smokestack-and-factory-whistle suburbs of Oakland, Calif., whose husband worked at the naval air base. They had five children and could use some extra income. Phyllis, who had been an art and music student in her youth, also had extra, unfulfilled ambitions to entertain. She volunteered at veteran's hospitals for the Red Cross.

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Africa

Remembering Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's Champion

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 8:35 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Ethiopia's longtime prime minister died this week. Meles Zenawi was 57. He came to power in 1991 when a rebel army toppled that nation's Marxist dictator and the Ethiopian leader became a trusted U.S. ally in the war against terrorism. As NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, he leaves behind a mixed legacy.

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Afghanistan

New U.S. Ambassador To Afghanistan Faces Tough Job

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. James Cunningham has taken one of the most difficult diplomatic posts in the world. He is the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

AMBASSADOR JAMES CUNNINGHAM: I, James D. Cunningham...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do solemnly swear.

CUNNINGHAM: ...do solemnly swear...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That I will support and defend.

CUNNINGHAM: ...that I will support and defend...

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Around the Nation

Hurricane Andrew: Florida's Unwelcome Visitor

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Politics

Ahead Of Conventions, Candidates Hone Message

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Republicans and Democrats will talk a lot about the economy during their national conventions over the next couple of weeks. And yet, the man who is about to be nominated by the Republican convention, Mitt Romney, briefly strayed from an economic message yesterday, while speaking in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Michigan.

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Strange News

Need A Soprano? Get A Gibbon On Helium

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This just in: Gibbons on helium sing like sopranos. Wired magazine reports on a study at Kyoto University in which an ape named Fuku-chan was placed in a chamber filled with helium enriched air. This was not a party trick. Helium-rich air apparently allows scientists to more easily analyze vocalizations. Fuku-chan's bellow went from this:

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLOWING)

SIMON: To this:

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLOWING)

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Politics

Revisiting Conventions Of Elections Past

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Political conventions used to be dramatic events that made history. They nominated candidates for president. They debated crucial issues under glaring lights. Now, not so much. Presidential candidates win or lose nominations in primaries, and parties tend to see - and use - conventions as what amounts to advertisements for themselves. Our apologies to Norman Mailer.

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6:28am

Sat August 25, 2012
Around the Nation

'D'oh!' Simpsons Stamps A Flop For Postal Service

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's only one way to begin this item.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME FROM "THE SIMPSONS")

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5:47am

Sat August 25, 2012
NPR Story

What's Next For Jailed Pakistani Christian

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 8:31 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's been international outcry over the arrest of a young Christian girl in Pakistan, who's charged with blasphemy. A Muslim neighbor denounced her for allegedly burning parts of the Quran, a crime that's punishable by death in Pakistan. An Islamic cleric caught word of it and stirred up an angry mob that beat the young girl. NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad, the girl is now behind bars and unable to see her lawyer or family.

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5:47am

Sat August 25, 2012
NPR Story

Armstrong's Decision Ripples Outside Of Sporting World

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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5:47am

Sat August 25, 2012
NPR Story

Apple Win Over Samsung Sends Message To Industry

Originally published on Sat August 25, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Apple has won a decisive victory in a closely watched patent lawsuit. A federal jury in California yesterday ordered Samsung to pay Apple slightly more than $1 billion. The jury found that the world's largest maker of smartphones had essentially stolen iPhone and iPad technology. As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, the impact of the ruling is likely to be felt throughout the tech industry.

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