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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10:03am

Sat January 25, 2014
Sports

Li Wins Australian Open; Ralph Lauren Overdoes Olympic Cardigan

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

The Australian Open is drawing to a close with Li Na of China winning the women's tournament on Saturday. If Rafael Nadal wins on Sunday, he'll be the first man to win all the majors twice in the era of opens. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins NPR's Jacki Lyden to talk tennis and weigh in on the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms.

10:00am

Sat January 25, 2014
NPR Story

Brushing Off The Mockery, Curlers Push For Olympic Glory

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

It's difficult to find a sport more maligned than curling, but curlers say that's changing. NPR's Jacki Lyden talks with Paul Savage, a formerly overweight Canadian curling champion who took home an Olympic medal at age 50. These days, the sport is more about fitness than it is about the beer.

9:57am

Sat January 25, 2014
Sports

Security Fears Jangle Olympic Nerves In Sochi

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 12:14 pm

The Olympics are less than two weeks away. The Russian host city of Sochi is busily preparing for the influx of athletes and media, but it's the security preparations that have people talking. Andrei Soldatov, the editor-in-chief of www.Agentura.ru, spoke to NPR's Jacki Lyden about security for the Games.

11:35am

Sat January 18, 2014
Latin America

Under Government Pressure, Mexican Vigilantes Vow To Fight On

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 7:20 pm

Civilian militia members stand guard in the town of Nueva Italia on Monday. Since a government crackdown last weekend, militia groups say they have laid down their weapons against drug traffickers.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

After a week of fighting between civilian militias, drug traffickers and federal forces, there is a tense calm in the western Mexico state of Michoacan.

It's been the site of clashes between civilian militias defending themselves from ruthless drug traffickers, and federal forces trying to regain control.

For now, businesses are slowly reopening, school will restart on Monday, and the militias who took up arms have put down their weapons. It's unclear how long this fragile peace will last.

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10:56am

Sat January 18, 2014
Reporter's Notebook

In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 2:21 pm

President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful.

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9:31am

Sat January 18, 2014
Around the Nation

Donors Pitch In To Protect Detroit's Art And Pensions

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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9:09am

Sat January 18, 2014
Author Interviews

Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Knopf

A lot of writers can be fairly easily stereotyped. They write stories about dysfunctional families, star crossed lovers, endearing losers; they write historical fiction, literary fiction or crime novels. But Jay Cantor's body of work defies categorization. His fiction has been inspired by topics as wide-ranging as the revolutionary life of Che Guevara and the comic strip world of Krazy Kat.

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8:01am

Sat January 18, 2014
NPR Story

Countdown To The Super Bowl

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NEARY: And then there were four. Tomorrow is the Sunday before the Sunday before the Super Bowl. And that means New England takes on Denver and San Francisco goes up against Seattle to see who's headed to the big game. NPR's Tom Goldman, who's caught in the middle of that San Fran-Seattle crossfire, joins us on the line from Portland. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: I'm ducking here. Hiya, Lynn.

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8:01am

Sat January 18, 2014
NPR Story

Ford's New Truck, GM's New CEO Star At Detroit Auto Show

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

The North American International Auto Show opens to the public today. That's the fancy name for the Detroit car show. NPR's Sonari Glinton has been getting a sneak preview in the Motor City, hanging out with engineers and auto execs. And he's with us now. Good to talk with you, Sonari.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: It's good to be here, Lynn.

NEARY: Now, you've spent, I think, four days at the car show. What are the standouts?

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8:01am

Sat January 18, 2014
NPR Story

Nigeria's New Anti-Gay Law A Harsh Reminder Of Global Attitudes

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. This week, it came out that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan quietly signed into law one of the most repressive anti-gay measures in the world. The law punishes violators with up to 14 years in prison. The development got us thinking about just how difficult it is to be homosexual in so many different parts of the world. To hear more about this, we've reached Jonathan Cooper, the chief executive of the U.K.-based gay rights organization Human Dignity Trust. Thanks for joining us.

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7:59am

Sat January 18, 2014
Music Interviews

'Made For This': The Rootless Life Of A Roving Musician

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 11:35 am

David Dondero performs at D.G.'s Tap House in Ames, Iowa.
John Pemble

Guitarist and songwriter David Dondero is a transient. He's lived all over the country, from Alaska to Texas. When he's not touring, he finds work — most recently as a carpenter in California. But it never lasts. Music always finds its way back into his life.

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12:37pm

Sat January 11, 2014
Politics

The War Over Poverty: A Deep Divide On How To Help

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:51 pm

Homeless women sit amid their belongings in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday. Democrats and Republicans say income inequality is a problem, but they disagree over a solution.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

All this week, Majority Leader Harry Reid declared over and over on the Senate floor that there's a downside to the recovering economy.

"It's true," he said. "The rich are getting a lot richer, and the poor are getting poorer."

That observation may not be surprising, coming from a Democrat. Less expected, perhaps, is a similar lament made the same day by the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

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12:37pm

Sat January 11, 2014
Technology

A First Look At New Tech Products To Hit The Market

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

The biggest show in Vegas this week wasn't Celine Dion or DJ Afrojack. It was the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual show where buyers, journalists and consumers get a first look at new tech products that are about to hit the market. Snoop Dogg was there, Secretary of Commerce Pritzker was there. And so was NPR's Steve Henn, who joined us as the show was packing up, from the floor of the Consumer Electronic Show on Friday. Steve, thanks so much for being with us.

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12:37pm

Sat January 11, 2014
Movie Interviews

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

From left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star in August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.

His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.

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11:31am

Sat January 11, 2014
National Security

Gates Memoir Tests Civilian-Military Rules Of Engagement

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:52 pm

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he didn't want to wait until Obama's term was up before releasing his memoir because the issues were too urgent.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book, Duty, Memoirs of a Secretary at War, paints a picture of a White House suspicious of military leaders and their motives.

In the book, Gates criticizes both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden over issues like the Afghanistan war. It's a case study of civilian-military tensions that are as old as the Republic.

A President Wary Of Being Boxed In

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11:31am

Sat January 11, 2014
Deceptive Cadence

Oppression To Opera: Could A Woman's Courage Change Pakistan?

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Left to right: Kamala Sankaram as Mukhtar Mai, Steve Gokool, Theodora Hanslowe, Leela Subramaniam, Kannan Vasudevan, Manu Narayan.
Prototype Opera Festival

Mukhtar Mai is from a small tribal village in Pakistan. In 2002, her brother was accused of sexually molesting a woman from a wealthy land-owning clan. What happened next was horrifying, says singer and composer Kamala Sankaram.

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10:10am

Sat January 11, 2014
Simon Says

Rodman's Tour Of North Korea: Diplomacy Or Propaganda?

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman leaves a sports arena after a practice session for North Korean basketball players in Pyongyang in December 2013.
David Guttenfelder AP

There's been a publicity circus trailing Dennis Rodman to North Korea to present a big, bouncing birthday present of a basketball game to Kim Jong Un. But did you see the score of the game?

The U.S. team of former NBA players lost the first half, 47 to 39, before the sides were combined.

Well, if you play a team sponsored by a ruthless leader who recently had his own uncle iced, losing is probably the smart move.

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10:05am

Sat January 11, 2014
Sports

Will The Colts Run Out Of Luck Against Patriots?

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Saturday's NFL playoffs pits Tom Brady's Patriots against the Colts and the Seahawks against the Saints. Over on the other side of the world, will Serena serve herself into history — again? NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, about the sports stories of the week and sports to come.

8:42am

Sat January 11, 2014
Middle East

Ariel Sharon, Whose Life And Career Shaped Israeli History, Dies

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:09 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks during a news conference in his offices on Nov. 21, 2005, in Jerusalem. Sharon announced his split from his right-wing Likud party to form a new political party, Kadima. He was on the way to re-election in 2006 when he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma from which he never awoke.
David Silverman Getty Images

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering figure in the history of Israel as a soldier and politician, died on Saturday. He was 85.

His death was announced by Shlomo Noy, the director of Sheba Medical Center where Sharon was being treated. Sharon had been in a coma since he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 during the last Israeli election campaign, in which he was assured of re-election.

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12:53pm

Sat January 4, 2014
Afghanistan

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 6:14 pm

Conditions are spare at the Window of Hope orphanage in Kabul, but American NGO worker Siavash Rahbari (upper left) says it's still better than how many Afghan children live.
Sean Carberry NPR

On Saturday afternoons, sometimes with a coworker or two, Siavash Rahbari drives up a rutted side street in Kabul to visit the Window of Hope orphanage.

In the living room, there are a dozen boys and two girls. Some are playing, while others lie around on mats on the floor, clearly suffering from a range of disabilities. Rahbari, a Texan who works at an NGO in Kabul, gives the children a cursory inspection.

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8:52am

Sat January 4, 2014
Research News

Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:13 am

Jazz singer Ella Fitzergerald was said to have perfect pitch.
Klaus Frings AP

In the world of music, there is no more remarkable gift than having perfect pitch. As the story goes, Ella Fitzgerald's band would use her perfect pitch to tune their instruments.

Although it has a genetic component, most believe that perfect pitch — or absolute pitch — is a primarily a function of early life exposure and training in music, says Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard.

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8:19am

Sat January 4, 2014
Sports

Football Fans Say Farewell To The Bowl Championship Series

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: College football fans are saying goodbye forever to the bowl championship series, and as NFL playoffs skip a kickoff today, wild card weather could be a game changer. For more, I'm joined by NPR's sports correspondent, Tom Goldman. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Happy New Year to you.

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8:19am

Sat January 4, 2014
Movies

Theaters Hope Recliners Lure Homebodies Off Their Sofas

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Movie theatres have tried different ways over the years to combat declining ticket sales. In this encore broadcast, Topher Forhecz reports on the latest attempt to bring in audience by recreating the comforts of home.

TOPHER FORHECZ, BYLINE: When I decided to see a movie at an AMC Theatre in upper Manhattan, the first change I noticed was I had to reserve my seat when I bought my ticket beforehand. So I just walked in and there are about nine rows of leather seats and I am in D6, so I've got to go find it.

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8:19am

Sat January 4, 2014
Movies

Revenues, But Not Profits, Soar For Hollywood In 2013

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

2013 was an up and down year at the movies. There was a crop of box office flops. "The Lone Ranger" and "After Earth" fell into that trap. Steven Spielberg went so far as to predict an implosion of the film industry. Despite all that, 2013 looks to be the most lucrative year ever at the box office, but don't get your hopes up for the movie business just yet.

Stephen Galloway, executive features editor at the Hollywood Reporter, is not impressed by breaking that particular record.

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12:54pm

Sat December 28, 2013
Research News

The Hunt For Meteorites Begins In Antarctica

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 10:07 am

The most abundant meteorites found in Antarctica are called chondrites. They are some of the oldest objects known in the solar system.
Katherine Joy Antarctic Search for Meteorites Program / Case Western Reserve University

Antarctica is one of the best places on Earth to spot these fallen stars.

Each winter — which is summer in down south — a team of geologists camps out on an Antarctic glacier in the middle of nowhere, often where no human has ever tread. It's kind of like a space voyage, but a lot cheaper.

And it's the meteorite that's done most of the traveling.

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10:10am

Sat December 28, 2013
Environment

A Scientist's New Job: Keeping The Polar Bears' Plight Public

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:43 pm

The Endangered Species Act, which turns 40 on Saturday, helped bring back iconic species such as the wolf, grizzly bear and bald eagle, after hunting, trapping and pesticides almost wiped those animals out.

But a very different kind of threat — global warming — is pushing some species like the polar bear to the brink of extinction.

One government biologist discovered the best way he could help save polar bears was to quit his job.

A New Kind Of Conservation Problem

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9:48am

Sat December 28, 2013
Number Of The Year

A Tragic Year For Wildland Firefighters Ends In Reflection

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:22 am

The wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., last June destroyed homes and killed 19 firefighters. Experts say expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters.
Andy Tobin AP

Thirty-four wildland firefighters died in the line of duty this year. Some of those fatalities were isolated incidents, but one event captured the nation's attention, sparking a larger conversation about the new dangers firefighters face.

That event unfolded in central Arizona the afternoon of June 30, a Sunday.

"I'm here with Granite Mountain Hot Shots. Our escape route has been cut off," says a crew boss on recently released radio traffic from the Yarnell Hill Fire. "We are preparing a deployment site, and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

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9:27am

Sat December 28, 2013
Politics

Up Next For Joe Biden, A Busy Year — And A Choice

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 4:24 pm

Joe Biden has a light-hearted moment in the Old Senate Chambers in January. The vice president has not ruled out running for president in 2016.
Cliff Owen AP

This was a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden: He was President Obama's point man on gun control; he traveled widely, pushing for infrastructure spending; and he recently returned form a trip to Asia, where he met with the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.

In 2014, Biden may face an even busier schedule, as he stumps for Democratic congressional candidates in advance of November's midterm elections and tries to decide whether to make another run for president himself.

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9:03am

Sat December 28, 2013
Health

Helping Families Have The Most Difficult Conversation

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. I hope that most of the people listening to us today have been with their families and friends during this holiday season. We've all had nice dinners and nice talks, but maybe there is one more talk we ought to have and the subject maybe won't sound quite right for the holidays.

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9:01am

Sat December 28, 2013
Africa

In Conflict-Torn Africa, Senegal Shows A Way To Religious Harmony

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Inter-religious tensions have been in the headlines in parts of Africa lately. Christian-Muslim clashes have left many dead in places like Nigeria and Central African Republic. But there are also examples of peaceful inter-religious co-existence in Africa, such as Senegal.

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