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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10:58am

Sat June 9, 2012
Around the Nation

At N.Y. Speedway, Families Join Dreams Of Race Glory

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To the daredevils of motor sports now - stock car racers. The Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, New York - racing takes on a hometown feel. North Country Public Radio's Sarah Harris went to an early season race and has our story.

SARAH HARRIS, BYLINE: At the Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, it's all stock car racing all day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ENGINE REVVING)

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9:33am

Sat June 9, 2012
Middle East

Finally Inside Syria, What A Reporter Sees

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

It's been another bloody week in Syria. This week, dozens of people were reportedly killed in cold blood in a tiny farming hamlet in Central Syria by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. It is the latest atrocity in a 15-month revolt against the regime.

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9:33am

Sat June 9, 2012
World

Bahrain's Crackdown On Activists Extends To Twitter

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 1:42 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

From Syria we head now to Bahrain, where a prominent human rights activist is back in detention this time for what he's been writing on Twitter. The U.S. says it's looking into the case and continuing to encourage Bahrain to allow free speech. Activists say the U.S. isn't pushing its ally hard enough.

NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke with a Bahraini human rights advocate who was in Washington, D.C. this week to remind U.S. officials that activists are still under pressure a year after Bahrain cracked down on anti-government protesters.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
NPR Story

New Plan Sees More Illegal Immigrants Deported From U.S.

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made a significant policy change. They increased the number of agents responsible for finding and deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records by nearly 25 percent. Now, the agency says it wants to remove offenders who pose the greatest threat to public safety or national security.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
NPR Story

What's That Sound? Preserving The Noise Of Old Gadgets

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Technology is making a lot of things quieter. A dozen years ago, we recorded a lot of our interviews on magnetic tape.

LIANE HANSEN: This is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
NPR Story

Conservative Confab Rallies Behind Wisconsin Victory

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It seems that every week, there's a new study out on political polarization in America. More and more, we talk to, vote with, and get our news from only those who think the way that we do. So, this week we sent reporters on a couple of polar expeditions to political gatherings on the left and the right. And in a moment, we'll hear from NPR's Scott Horsley at Netroots Nation in Rhode Island. First, now here's NPR's David Schaper at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
Sports

Safety Concerns Scratch Triple Crown Hopes

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:41 pm

Today had the promise of history — that is, until the horse I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont Stakes. Also scratched: hopes for a long-awaited Triple Crown winner. It was yet another piece of bad news for the horse racing industry, which is under new scrutiny over the safety and treatment of the horses.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
Politics

Licking Their Wounds, Progressives Regroup

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley in Providence. Netroots Nation is part pep rally, part technology seminar, and - this year at least - part postmortem. Netroots chairman Adam Bonin kicked off the gathering just two days after the Wisconsin vote, which was viewed very differently in this crowd than it was by the audience at CPAC.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
Sports

Sports Roundup: Basketball, Boxing And Euro Soccer

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And there won't be a Triple Crown winner this year. But it's still a weekend for major matchups of all kinds, with Nadal and Djokovic, LeBron James and the Boston Celtics, and the peerless Manny Pacquiao in action. NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman joins us.

Morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.

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7:46am

Sat June 9, 2012
Europe

Restructuring Europe Amid A Complex Political Climate

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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6:10am

Sat June 9, 2012
Author Interviews

'Mission': Secrecy And Stardom On The Edge Of War

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Mission to Paris book cover

Fredric Stahl is "the sympathetic lawyer, the kind aristocrat, the saintly husband, the comforting doctor, or the good lover." At least onscreen.

He's an American movie star, born in Vienna, and says "my dear" with a kind of dreamy, trans-European cosmopolitan allure that makes him seem "a warm man in a cold world." He's also the hero of Alan Furst's new novel, Mission to Paris, set in Furst's favorite locale: Europe on the brink of war.

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6:09am

Sat June 9, 2012
Around the Nation

Saving Niagra Falls, One (Tightrope) Step At A Time

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:42 pm

Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope in the rain during a training session for his upcoming stunt in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Gary Wiepert AP

Niagara Falls has long been a magnet for daredevils, but strict laws have kept them away for more than a century. That's expected to change Friday, when circus performer Nik Wallenda will walk a two-inch-thick wire above the giant waterfall. It's an exception officials hope will rescue tourism — and the city's economy.

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6:08am

Sat June 9, 2012
World

The Young And The Jobless: Hopes On Hold In Spain

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 9:46 pm

Graffiti on a wall in Madrid reads, "We want to work, let the businessmen who have gotten rich from our labor pay for the crisis." Nearly 50 percent of young adults in Spain are unemployed.
Denis Doyle Getty Images

The crowd of job seekers at an unemployment office in downtown Madrid looks different than it did a few years ago.

When the housing market went bust, construction workers flooded the lobby. Now, labor reforms have made it easier for corporations to fire workers without seniority. So now young people, including those with an education, are unable to find work.

Jaime Garcia de Sola, a former intern at an investment bank, was one of those waiting in the unemployment line.

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2:03am

Sat June 9, 2012
Author Interviews

How 'The Queen Of British Ska' Wrestled With Race

Originally published on Sun June 10, 2012 7:44 am

The British ska-revival band The Selecter formed in the late 1970s, playing what can be described as rock fused with calypso and American jazz.

Much of what set the band apart was its charismatic lead singer, Pauline Black. As one of few women in a musical movement dominated by men, she was called "The Queen of British Ska."

That experience is one of many recounted in her new memoir, Black by Design, which has just been released in the U.S.

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8:29pm

Fri June 8, 2012
Music

Kishi Bashi: Unique Performances In Time

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Kishi Bashi is the stage name of Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist K. Ishibashi.
Jennifer Leigh

Consider this name: Kishi Bashi. It has a pleasant, repetitive character with a nice — if unusual — little loop. It's an apt stage name for a musician who's creating something haunting, beautiful and maybe a little off-kilter through the technology of looping.

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8:35am

Sat June 2, 2012
Simon Says

Just Deserts Follow Attempted Pasty Tax

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 2:39 pm

Protesters gather outside Downing Street in London to deliver a petition against the so-called "pasty tax," a government bid to levy 20 percent tax on hot takeaway food.
Justin Tallis AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes, politicians eat their words. This week, the British government reversed course on a plan to place a 20 percent tax on all foods sold hot — with no exemption for pasties.

Pasties are hand food, baked for Cornish miners to eat when they could put aside their pickaxes. People eat pasties today as they sit on a bench for a few minutes' respite or walk along the street between chores. They have become comfort, convenience, pub-crawling and football-watching food.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Religion

Nuns Fight Back Against Vatican Report

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There's a showdown between American sisters and the Vatican. The Vatican is cracking down on the largest organization for U.S. sisters, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Pope Benedict has appointed an archbishop to oversee and reform the organization, accusing it of what amounts to doctrinal dissidence. Now, the sisters are fighting back - at least verbally. We're joined by NPR's religion correspondent, Barbara Bradley Hagerty. Barbara, thanks for being with us.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Media

Britain's Ad Authority Releases Most-Hated List

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 1:30 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The agency that monitors advertising in Britain turned 50 this week and in honor of the occasion it released a list of the most-hated ads ever to air on the telly. Vicki Barker reports.

VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: In this ad from 2010 for Paddy Power, an Irish-based betting company some blind soccer players kick a ball with a bell on it. They don't see but we see and the ref sees Tiddles the cat wander onto the field and then...

(SOUNDBITE OF CAT SCREECHING)

BARKER: ...the ref puts a consoling arm over the player's shoulder.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Sports

French Open Hasn't Been Great For Americans In Paris

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for sports!

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: It's the French Open and you know, already, there's almost not an American left in Paris - Andy Roddick, Serena and Venus Williams all out already. And elsewhere, the NBA semifinals are in full swing. But let's hold the hardwood and go first to the clay. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine joins us now from the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. Howard, thanks for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Hey, Scott, how are you doing?

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

Mubarak Convicted In Charges Of Protesters' Deaths

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Hosni Mubarak has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in deaths of hundreds of protesters during the revolution that ousted him last year. The former Egyptian president is the first Arab leader to be hauled in for trial by his own people.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

As Killings Continue In Syria, A Look At UN's Role

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Last night in Syria, the third massacre in a week. This time a dozen workers were found shot to death, their bodies dumped in a field. The United Nations has called for an investigation into the mass killings last weekend in Houla of more than 100 people, many of them women and children. We're joined now from the United Nations in New York by Kieran Dwyer. He's the chief spokesman for the U.N. Peacekeeping Department. Mr. Dwyer, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

KIERAN DWYER: Hello.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Middle East

A Case For Military Intervention In Syria

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

For more on possible options in Syria, we're joined by Thomas P.M. Barnett. He is a former Pentagon analyst who's written in support of military intervention in Syria on Time magazine's Battleland blog. Mr. Barnett's also chief analyst at Wikistrat, a consultancy firm on geopolitical analysis. He joins us from his office in Indianapolis. Mr. Barnett, thanks for being with us.

THOMAS P.M. BARNETT: Thanks for having me on.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Business

Implications Of The Facebook Let-Down

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, if Facebook were a Broadway show, they'd be firing the director and rewriting the script. Facebook share price closed this week at $27.72. That's more than a 25 percent drop from its initial public offering price. The social networks debut as a publically traded company last month has been panned, questioned and trouble by a Securities and Exchange Commission probe and shareholder lawsuits.

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7:55am

Sat June 2, 2012
Economy

Europe's Debt Weighs On U.S. Employers

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, why is job growth slowing? Well, part of the problem, as we just heard, appears to be in Europe. The economic turmoil there is looking worse, and that has ripped into the U.S. economy and slowing down hiring. NPR's Chris Arnold has more from Boston.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: The weather this week was beautiful in Boston, so it's perfect for tourists having lunch outside by the harbor or taking a trolley bus around to do some sightseeing.

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6:43am

Sat June 2, 2012
Monkey See

For Impressionist Jim Meskimen, The Voice Is 'A Sample Of Who We Are'

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:50 pm

Jim Meskimen arrives at the premiere of Frost/Nixon in November 2008.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Jim Meskimen is the only person I've ever heard open an interview with NPR's Scott Simon in the voice of NPR's Robert Siegel.

In fairness, he's the one most likely to do so, since he is a noted impressionist. He acknowledges "you don't see people doing their Robert Siegel in nightclubs much," though he's noted what he calls Siegel's "bemused kind of delivery."

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6:20am

Sat June 2, 2012
Food

America's Gone Bananas: Here's How It Happened

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

iStockphoto.com

Today, Americans take bananas for granted. They're cheap, they're ripe, they're everywhere. But take a moment and consider: How did a pale, fragile tropical fruit become so commonplace in America? Immigrants arriving at the South Ferry terminal, where the Ellis Island ferry landed, were once handed bananas and told, "Welcome to America."

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6:09am

Sat June 2, 2012
Books

London's Mayor On 'The City That Made The World'

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 11:01 am

London Mayor Boris Johnson stands atop the ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower in London's Olympic Park, at its unveiling on May 11. Johnson is the author of Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World.
Christopher Lee Getty Images

In just a few weeks, the world will descend on London for the Olympic Games.

But the world goes to London every day, according to Boris Johnson, the former journalist who has just been re-elected mayor of London. In his new book, Johnson says people don't just visit the city, they've made their lives there for centuries now. It's a city, Johnson writes, where national soccer teams from all over the world can show up and count on crowds of thousands of fans to support them.

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5:57am

Sat June 2, 2012
Religion

Conspiracies Swirl As Vatican Scandal Engulfs Rome

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 7:13 pm

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives for his weekly general audience on May 30 at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

The scandal over leaked documents that has been engulfing the Vatican is the biggest breach of confidence and security at the Holy See in recent memory.

Known as Vatileaks, the crisis has shed light on a Vatican gripped by intrigue and power struggles like a Renaissance court.

Vatileaks erupted into a full-blown scandal with the publication two weeks ago of a book of Vatican documents alleging corruption and conspiracies among cardinals.

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5:56am

Sat June 2, 2012
National Security

'Flame' Virus Fuels Political Heat Over Cyber Threats

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 1:51 pm

iStockphoto.com

New information about computer viruses shows how countries may be lining up to fight a cyberwar. The New York Times reported that former President George W. Bush and President Obama both authorized computer attacks against Iran, culminating in the Stuxnet virus, which targeted Iranian nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, a United Nations agency raised alarms about another virus, dubbed "Flame," which may also have been designed for use against Iran.

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5:53am

Sat June 2, 2012
Politics

Fingers Point As Job Numbers Fall

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 2:01 pm

Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the close of trading Friday. The stock market suffered its worst day of the year after a surprisingly weak jobs report.
Richard Drew AP

If unusually warm weather helped encourage job growth earlier this year, May was like a wet, cold rain. A report from the Labor Department on Friday showed that U.S. employers added just 69,000 jobs last month — far fewer than expected.

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