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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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Sports

What's Coming Over The Olympic Horizon

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: OK, maybe that should be the (hums Olympic theme) because in just a few days, all the pomp and patriotism, the grit and athleticism, the sweat and pomposity of the 2010 Olympic Summer Games begins. Here with a preview NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Did I just hear doves released in the studio there, Scott?

(LAUGHTER)

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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Author Interviews

'Our Kind': Unpacking Misconceptions About AIDS

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new book about global attitudes to the AIDS epidemic in Africa, lays some of the blame at the door of Joseph Conrad. Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness," says the author - who's Uzodinma Iweala - connected inferiority and disease with Africa and Africans, in way which is still evident today. Uzodinma Iweala was himself was born in Washington D.C., the city with the worst incidence of AIDS in the United States. His first book, a novel called "Beasts of No Nation," told the harrowing story of child soldiers in Africa.

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6:06am

Sat July 21, 2012
Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty

The Modjeska: A Star On Stage, Sweetly Remembered

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 10:20 am

The modjeska owes its name to a Victorian-era candy maker's infatuation with a Polish actress.
Melisa Goh NPR

In the back room of Muth's Candies in Louisville, Ky., Jonathon Skaggs and Bobby Masterson are busy dipping marshmallows into a copper pot.

The pot is filled with a top-secret hot caramel mixture. Skaggs and Masterson tap the excess golden caramel off each candy before placing it on a board to cool.

Masterson says it's a rhythm repeated hundreds of times each day.

"They're good ... they're a big-time seller in here in Kentucky, especially right here in Louisville," Masterson says. "There's a lot of people that come and get 'em."

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6:06am

Sat July 21, 2012
Books

Get Revved Up: London Cabbie Picks Olympic Reads

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 7:35 am

Black taxis drive through London. Weekend Edition knows one London cabbie who treats reading like an Olympic sport.
Pierre-Philippe Marcou AFP/Getty Images

At the end of July, thousands of visitors will descend on one of the great literary landscapes of history for the London Olympics. And if they're lucky, they may find themselves getting a ride from a man who drives for a living, but lives to read. London cabbie Will Grozier occasionally joins Weekend Edition to discuss what he's been reading. Lately, he's been thinking about books for the London Olympics visitor — reads that put both the games and the host city in context. He shares his recommendations with NPR's Scott Simon.

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6:05am

Sat July 21, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

A Grand Soviet Symphony, By Way Of Brazil

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:08 am

Sergei Prokofiev (pictured) wrote a Fifth Symphony that has special resonance in Sao Paulo for conductor Marin Alsop.
Library of Congress

People keep asking me why I recorded Sergei Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony for my first CD release in my new post leading the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. The simple answer is that it just felt right. But in thinking about it, I can now see many parallels — at least for me — between Prokofiev's music, the city of Sao Paulo and the country of Brazil.

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6:05am

Sat July 21, 2012
Music Interviews

A Tribal Anthem's Author — And A Cult Rock Hero

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:39 am

In 1969, Plant and See, a band led by the late Lumbee Indian singer Willie Lowery (second from left), made its only album, a cult classic rereleased this month.
Courtesy of the artist

In the 1960s, the late Lumbee Indian singer, composer and activist Willie Lowery led a band called Plant and See — as in, plant the seed in the ground and see what comes up.

The band recorded only one album, Plant and See, which went out of print shortly after it was released in 1969, but psychedelic rock fans have always held it in high esteem.

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6:02am

Sat July 21, 2012
The Aurora Theater Shootings

From Top Student To Top Suspect: A Mystery Between

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 8:49 am

A photo of James Holmes released by the University of Colorado Denver.
University of Colorado Denver

Police are still not saying what motivated the gunman who walked into a crowded Aurora, Colo., movie theater, shot 12 people dead and injured more than 50. The shooter was well-armed and believed to have acted alone.

Police immediately apprehended the suspect, identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, outside the multiplex. Until recently, Holmes was a student in a graduate program at the University of Colorado, Denver.

The Gunman's Entrance

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6:02am

Sat July 21, 2012
AIDS: A Turning Point

Know Your HIV Status? D.C.'s Asking

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 2:38 pm

HIV counselor Natrussa Williams explains the results of the oral HIV test to Katherine Tapp at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles in southeast Washington. There have been no babies born with HIV in the city since 2009, in part because of increased testing at locations including some high schools and the DMV.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of HIV infection in the nation, almost 3 percent. It's considered an epidemic. Health officials believe one way to halt the spread of the disease is to encourage people to get tested and "know their status." They hope this will encourage residents to seek treatment and reduce the chances of them passing on the virus.

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6:00am

Sat July 21, 2012
The Aurora Theater Shootings

In Chaos And 'Severe Trauma,' Colo. Lives At Risk

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:48 pm

Mourners also held a candelight vigil in Devner, Colo., Friday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

In Colorado, authorities are investigating why a gunman opened fire in a movie theater on Friday. Suspect James Holmes is in custody, and police say they have talked with the 24-year-old, but won't say yet what they've learned.

Meanwhile, vigils are planned this weekend to remember the 12 people who died and to support the dozens injured. In all, there were 70 casualties — police say nearly all of them suffered gunshot wounds.

'It Was Like A Dream'

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Presidential Race

Obama On The Stump In Virginia

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As Mitt Romney defends his business record, President Barack Obama is on the campaign trail. He'll be in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C. today. Yesterday, the president traveled to the Tidewater region of southeastern Virginia, and he continued to make his pitch that he is the best champion for the middle class. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Business

$6B Deal Eases Credit Card Surcharge Restrictions

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Visa, MasterCard, some of the nation's other largest banks have agreed to a multibillion dollar settlement of a class action suit involving credit card transaction fees. Now, those are what merchants pay when you use plastic instead of cash. Retailers allege that the two largest payment networks conspired with the banks to keep so-called swipe fees high. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Europe

Italians Commemorate Costa Concordia Wreck

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Work has begun to remove the tons of rocky reef embedded into the Concordia cruise ship's hull, off Giglio Island in Italy. The plan is to eventually tow the wreck away from the island in one piece.
Gregorio Borgia AP

Last January, the captain of the Italian mega-cruise ship Costa Concordia committed an apparent act of maritime bravado a few yards from the shore of a Tuscan island. Thirty people were killed, and two are still missing.

Six months after one of the biggest passenger shipwrecks in recent history, relatives of the dead attended a memorial service Friday near the site of the disaster.

The solemn notes of Mozart's Requiem echoed through the small church of Saints Lorenzo and Mamiliano on the island of Giglio.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
History

50 Years Ago, Communications Became Global

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Fifty years ago this week, communications went global. July 12, 1962 the Telstar 1 satellite from AT&T became the first commercial spacecraft to beam television images from the United States to Europe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Science

Starry-Eyed In Arizona Observe The Heavens

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There may be no better town in America for observing the heavens than Tucson, Arizona. It has low humidity, high elevation and a darkened desert. That part of the state has attracted quite a few astronomers, both professional and amateur. We sent NPR's Peter Breslow to Tucson to seek out this community of stargazers.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Europe

Toil And Trouble: Eurozone Pot Continues To Boil

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

There's more gloomy news from the eurozone this week. Italy saw its sovereign debt rating lowered by one agency, at just a couple of notches above junk status. In Spain, civil servants, coalminers, and others took to the streets once again to protest more spending cuts and tax hikes. And Germany's highest court heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of two measures considered central to efforts to try to contain the euro crisis.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Science

Found In Musical Translation: Higgs Boson Explained

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's been over a week since scientists announced that they've found the Higgs boson particle. It's an important discovery. They say that although the Higgs boson particle is small - or, come to think of it, perhaps because of it - it holds the universe together. But for all the publicity the particle's received, how many of us could explain what it actually does? Well, here's the announcement from scientists in Switzerland.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Around the Nation

Black Lung Makes A Deadly Resurgence

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Earlier this week, NPR and the Center for Public Integrity reported astonishing news: the coal miners' disease called black lung is a growing problem again. The investigative report also showed that weak regulation and industry deception has thwarted the effort to protect miners from the coal mine dust that causes black lung.

NPR's Howard Berkes joins us. Howard, thanks for being with us. first,

HOWARD BERKES, BYLINE: It's good to be with you, Scott.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Sports

Sports Roundup: LA Angels, Drew Brees, Jeremy Lin

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:27 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Mark Teixeira of the Yankees gets five RBIs to beat the Angels. And if beating Angels isn't bad enough, Saints from New Orleans throwing money at Drew Brees. And why do U.S. lawmakers want to put the torch to U.S. Olympic uniforms? Howard Bryant joins us now, senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine, joins us from New England Public Radio in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Howard, thanks for being with us.

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7:54am

Sat July 14, 2012
Sports

Power To The Pedal: Sky Stands Out In Tour De France

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Saturday is Bastille Day, and the Tour de France is underway. Nearly 200 cyclists have just finished a grueling three-day stretch in the mountains and are headed down to the southern coast. Host Scott Simon talks about the race and its so-called doping era with reporter Joe Lindsey of Bicycling Magazine.

6:20am

Sat July 14, 2012
The Record

He Keeps fun. Running

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:31 pm

Shane Timm tunes Jack Antonoff's guitar on the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn before a fun. show in June.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

When NPR's Scott Simon spoke with singer Nate Ruess of the band fun. three weeks ago, the band was wrapping up a marathon tour of the United States in support of its album Some Nights and the hit single "We Are Young."

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5:51am

Sat July 14, 2012
Food

Three Beers To Cheer Your Summer Suppers

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:58 am

iStockphoto.com

When the mercury's soaring, a cold, refreshing beer can be the best part of summer. As part of our occasional Taste of Summer series, we asked beer expert Graham Haverfield to recommend a few of his seasonal favorites.

Haverfield is the beer director for the Wine Library in Springfield Township, N.J. He's also a certified cicerone, or beer server. "Summer beers are typically lighter in body, they're typically a little lower in alcohol," he tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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5:51am

Sat July 14, 2012
History

Winston Churchill's Way With Words

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 4:54 pm

Fox Photos Getty Images

Winston Churchill is best remembered as the British prime minister whose speeches rallied a nation under a relentless Nazi onslaught in World War II. But few people know that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature — in part for his mastery of speechmaking.

Now, a new exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City, Churchill: The Power of Words, holds a megaphone to Churchill's extraordinary oratory.

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2:03am

Sat July 14, 2012
Music Interviews

Milo Greene: Born Of A Music-Industry Phantom

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 3:49 pm

Milo Greene's self-titled debut comes out Tuesday.
L. Gray

Buzz has been building. There were standing ovations when Milo Greene toured with The Civil Wars. Esquire magazine put Milo Greene on its list of artists to watch in 2012, and Milo Greene will perform songs from its debut album on David Letterman's show later this month. But this budding star is probably not who you think he is.

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2:03am

Sat July 14, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Tanglewood: Celebrating Beethoven In The Backwoods For 75 Years

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:22 pm

Christoph von Dohnanyi and the Boston Symphony play Beethoven in the opening night concert of the Tanglewood Festival's 75th anniversary.
Hilary Scott Boston Symphony

It now seems like a natural rite of summer — open-air classical music festivals where audiences can hear great music while picnicking under the stars. But 75 years ago, when the Boston Symphony first performed on a former estate called Tanglewood in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, it was a novel idea.

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8:57am

Sat July 7, 2012
Around the Nation

Scranton's Public Workers' Pay Cut to Minimum Wage

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 4:29 pm

The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay — including his own — to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

Doherty says his city has run out of money.

Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades — the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.

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7:58am

Sat July 7, 2012
Economy

Adjustments Behind The Numbers Shape Job News

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Eight-point-two percent, that's the number economists and politicians are looking at closely. It is the unemployment rate for the month of June. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy added only 80,000 jobs last month. As the economy continues its very slow recovery, it's worth asking, is the jobs report always the best indicator? NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

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7:58am

Sat July 7, 2012
Economy

CEO Spill The Beans On Hiring Hesitancy

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, another month passes with U.S. stuck in a jobless recovery. Yet many major businesses are reportedly doing well. Their stock price is up. They have cash on hand. So why aren't more companies hiring?

I'm joined now by two chief executive officers. Christopher Gorman is the president of Key Corporate Bank and the CEO of KeyBank in Cleveland. He joins us from his office there. Mr. Gorman, thanks for being with us.

CHRISTOPHER GORMAN: Good morning, Scott.

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7:58am

Sat July 7, 2012
Around the Nation

Anchorage Mayor Takes Oath Under Hawaiian Sun

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Dan Sullivan was sworn in for a second term as the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Daniel Sullivan...

MAYOR DAN SULLIVAN: I, Daniel Sullivan...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Solemnly swear or affirm...

SULLIVAN: Solemnly swear...

SIMON: The mayor sounded a little distant. He was. Nearly 3,000 miles from Anchorage - in Honolulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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7:58am

Sat July 7, 2012
Africa

Libyan Elections Seen As Test Of Uncertain Peace

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And today, less than a year after the death of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans are electing a new parliament. But in the months since the dictator was killed by a mob in his stronghold of Sirte, life in Libya has been troubled. This election's being seen as a test for an uncertain peace.

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7:58am

Sat July 7, 2012
Africa

Foreign Workers Trek Across Sahel To Libya, Again

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 8:57 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Over a half million foreign workers fled the violence in Libya last spring during the fall of Tripoli. Most migrants were from Egypt, Tunisia or sub-Saharan Africa. Thousands came from a single town in the West African nation of Ghana. That town is called Nkoranza and it's nearly 3,000 miles away from Libya's capital of Tripoli.

But reporter Marine Olivesi says that despite the risks and uncertainty they face in post liberation Libya, many Ghanaians are once again taking the road north.

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