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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7:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Politics

Congress Takes A Break With Looming To-Do List

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. Congress wrapped up its summer session this week and members headed back to their home district. But with public approval ratings of Congress wallowing in the teens and constant headlines about gridlock, a lot of people might be wondering what exactly did the Congress accomplish anyway? For some answers about congressional actions and what is still unfinished, we are joined by NPR's David Welna. Hiya, David.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Hi, Susan.

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6:39am

Sat August 4, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Gathering Of The Viols: The 50th Annual Viola Da Gamba Conclave

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:59 pm

Jack Ashworth, Tina Chancey, Lisa Terry and Phillip Serna perform Sunday during the closing banquet of the weeklong conclave at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Scott Mason

Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.

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5:54am

Sat August 4, 2012
World

No Space, Mate: Koalas' Habitat Under Threat

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

A male koala visits the female enclosure at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Koalas are dwindling in number as their habitat along Australia's east coast gives way to urban growth.
Stuart Cohen for NPR

Earlier this year, the Australian government added the koala to the country's list of endangered species. By some counts, only about 100,000 remain in the wild in a country that once boasted a population in the millions. But many conservationists say the listing doesn't go far enough.

Paul O'Donnell is one of the many volunteers at Friends of the Koala in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore.

"We go out every day for about an hour or so collecting leaf; usually we get about one bin per koala," O'Donnell says.

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5:53am

Sat August 4, 2012
The Veepstakes

Ayotte Would Add Youth, Conservatism As VP Choice

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Sen. Kelly Ayotte campaigns with Mitt Romney in Portsmouth, N.H., in April.
Jim Cole AP

That New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is even being considered as Mitt Romney's running mate is somewhat remarkable. After all, New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, and Ayotte has been a U.S. senator — her first elected office — for less than two years.

But if any senator could be said to possess a refreshing charm, it might be Ayotte, 44, a mother of two young children, who still lives in her hometown of Nashua and is married to a former combat pilot.

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5:53am

Sat August 4, 2012
Opinion

India's Blackout A Reminder Of How Far We've Come

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

A girl prepares a meal by candlelight in Jammu, India, during the massive blackout last week.
Channi Anand AP

This week, the world's largest democracy experienced the world's largest power outage. Nearly 700 million — that's more than half a billion — Indians were said to have been without power Tuesday. No air conditioning. No traffic lights. No metro system.

Most of the power is back now, but the outage had resonance for me from the long-ago years when I lived in New Delhi and experienced power failures almost as regularly as I did steaming cups of dark, sweet Indian tea.

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2:03am

Sat August 4, 2012
Music Interviews

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Scat Singing To Its Own Tune

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, left to right: Ginny Carr, alto; Robert McBride, tenor; Holly Shockey, soprano; and Andre Enceneat, bass. The group's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig, came out in May.
Michael G. Stewart

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.

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7:52am

Sat July 28, 2012
Sports

A British Critique Of The Olympic Opening

The 2012 Olympic Games opened Friday, with a ceremony that included James Bond and Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium, flyovers, rippling Union Jacks, Shakespeare, sheep and fireworks. Host Scott Simon talks to Simon Hoggart, political sketch writer for The Guardian about the opening ceremony.

7:52am

Sat July 28, 2012
Sports

As The Games Begin, A Look At Early Results

NPR's Tom Goldman talks with host Scott Simon about the first medal events, including cycling and swimming.

7:50am

Sat July 28, 2012
NPR Story

Romney's Olympic Slip-Up: A Lasting Impression?

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Mitt Romney is set to depart from London Saturday, after three days of photo ops and closed meetings. But his assessment of London's handling of the games drew a rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron. Host Scott Simon chats with Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman about the visit and the perceptions formed by Romney's hosts.

7:50am

Sat July 28, 2012
NPR Story

On Syria's Front Lines: A Week With The Rebels

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Throughout this week, NPR's Kelly McEvers has been bringing us stories from parts of Syria controlled by the rebels who are fighting to oust the regime of Bashar Assad. She talks with host Scott Simon about her reporting.

7:50am

Sat July 28, 2012
NPR Story

Test Your Olympic Trivia Knowledge

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Our marathon man of trivia is A.J. Jacobs, who once read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to learn more and get a book contract. Why didn't he just write 50 Shades of Knowledge? A.J. joins us now to talk about Olympic facts, some of which may actually be true.

A.J., thanks for being with us.

A.J. JACOBS: And thank you for having me.

SIMON: Let's start with the marathon, A.J. Apparently, one of your favorite athletes in history was Spiridon Louis, who was the winner of the first modern marathon back in 1896.

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6:22am

Sat July 28, 2012
Food

You Won't Throw Tomatoes At These Recipes

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:50 pm

Chef Cassy Vires uses heirloom tomatoes like these in her tomato terrine.
iStockphoto.com

Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.

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6:21am

Sat July 28, 2012
Author Interviews

Before The D-Day Invasion, Double Talk And Deceit

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Allied troops invade Juno Beach on D-Day. Ben MacIntyre's latest book, Double Cross, recounts the grand deception beforehand that helped make the invasion a success.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Early in 1944, Southern England bristled with 150,000 American, British and Canadian soldiers gathered for an invasion the Allies hoped would end World War II.

The soldiers, pilots, sailors and Marines knew they were there to be launched into Nazi-occupied Europe. But surely the Germans knew also. It's hard to hide the largest invasion force in history. LIFE Magazine even ran photos of GIs in Piccadilly.

The question was: Where would they attack?

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6:21am

Sat July 28, 2012
World

Egyptians Break Fast, Beat Heat At The Same Time

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Mohamed Godb works at Paradise Juices in a Cairo suburb. One way Egyptians are trying to beat the heat this Ramadan season is breaking the fast by drinking fresh juice.
Kimberly Adams for NPR

On a sweltering day in July, Cairo temperatures top 100 degrees and the humidity is an oppressive 83 percent. There hasn't been a single day this month with a high of less than 90 — in a country where access to air conditioning is much more limited than in the United States.

Add to that the fact that much of the country is fasting for Ramadan and it gives a new dimension to what the Egyptian Meteorological Association calls a "humid heat wave."

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6:21am

Sat July 28, 2012
Around the Nation

Gang Violence Smolders On Hot Chicago Streets

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 6:12 pm

The Chicago police gang enforcement unit makes an arrest after stopping a car with four suspected gang members in June.
Robert Ray AP

This has been a summer of blood, sweat and tears in Chicago. The city has been scorched by historic heat, and the homicide rate has soared. When the sun goes down behind the glimmering lakeshore skyline, blocks on the South and West Side of the city can ring with shots and sirens.

The streets of neighborhoods like Englewood, Grand Crossing and Garfield Park are empty, even during the day. In the middle of this summer, it is rare to see a child ride a bike or walk a dog.

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6:58am

Sun July 22, 2012
Music Interviews

Janet Feder: An Avant-Garde Artist Takes A Real Risk

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 11:46 am

Janet Feder built a career on unusual instrumental guitar playing. Her new album, Songs With Words, will feature her singing for the first time.
Courtesy of the artist

Janet Feder does things to her guitar.

"If I play the second string with nothing on it, it sounds like this," Feder says, plucking out a note. "Just a pure pitch."

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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
NPR Story

Aurora Businesses Pull Resources To Help Victims

Businesses in Aurora, Colo., sprang into action Friday to assist victims and their families. Kevin Hougen, president of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, worked with businesses to help provide necessities to victims of the shooting. Host Scott Simon spoke with Hougen Friday from his office, which overlooks the movie theater.

7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
NPR Story

Deadly Shootings Put Politics In Suspense

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

American flags are flying at half-staff today over the White House, and elsewhere in the country. The shootings in Aurora have silenced politics as usual - at least, for the moment. The Romney and Obama campaigns have both pulled their TV ads from the air in Colorado, a state that had three top political advertising markets in the country this week. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on a somber day on the campaign trail.

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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
NPR Story

Stream Of Refugees Leave Syria With Heavy Violence

Opposition activists in Syria report that there's been another day of heavy shelling in a number of cities, as rebel fighters continue their guerrilla war to topple President Bashar Assad. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Peter Kenyon in Beirut, which has seen a huge increase in refugees in recent days.

7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Middle East

In Syria, An Urgent Effort To Organize Rebels

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:47 pm

Members of the group Hamza Abdualmuttalib trained this week near the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

The battle for Syria appears to have reached a decisive stage. Tanks are on the streets of Damascus as civilians flee the city, and rebels have seized outposts on the borders with Turkey and Iraq.

The opposition has shown a surprising military capability over the past few days. As fighting intensifies in the Syrian capital, there's an urgent push under way to organize the rebel force.

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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Economy

LIBOR Spotlight Shifts To U.S. Regulators

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's another dimension to that unfolding LIBOR scandal which cost Barclays, the British bank, its CEO and $450 million in fines after it was revealed that the bank had been manipulating international lending rates. Attention has shifted to why U.S. financial regulators, who knew about the rate rigging, didn't move to stop it more swiftly.

We're going to put that question to Robert Smith, correspondent for NPR's Planet Money. He joins us from New York. Robert, thanks for being with us.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: My pleasure.

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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Around the Nation

How Columbine Shaped Police Response To Shootings

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Around the Nation

Man-Volvo Love Story May Hit 3 Million-Mile Mark

Host Scott Simon talks with 72-year-old Irv Gordon. His 1966 Volvo P1800S needs about 30,000 more miles to reach the 3 million-mile mark. His license plate reads, "MILNMILER."

7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Mental Health

Treating Mental Trauma: Lessons From Tragedy

Host Scott Simon talks with Tom Olbrich of the Jefferson Center for Mental Health in Denver about some of the lessons learned about treating patients post-Columbine shooting.

7:35am

Sat July 21, 2012
Around the Nation

Tragedy In Colo. Hits Movie Audiences Nationwide

The phrase "theater number 9" may soon be one of those added to our collective memory. That is where the shootings in Aurora, Colo., took place. It has some movie goers wondering about their safety in cities across the country.

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
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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6:06am

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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6:05am

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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