All Things Considered

Weekdays from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
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In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

The violence in Syria is increasingly being called a civil war, and it can also be called a sectarian war, because much of the fighting pits the majority Sunni Muslims against the minority Alawites who make up much of the country's leadership.

Yet not everyone fits neatly into a category. There are some Alawites who have joined the uprising.

One 30-year-old Alawite man, who doesn't want his name revealed, is nervous as he lights another cigarette and tells the story of how he came to side with the opposition and turned his back on the Alawite rulers.

The increasing debt load of college graduates has affected young people's lives in untold ways, from career choices to living arrangements. Now add another impact on a key part of young adult life: dating and marriage.

Rachel Bingham, an art teacher in Portland, Maine, learned this a few years back, when a guy broke it off after four months of a budding relationship. Among other reasons, he cited her $80,000 in student loan debt.

"He said it scared him," she recalls, "that it really made him anxious. And he just did not want to take on my responsibility."

As legal observers have sifted through the ashes and the tea leaves of the recent Supreme Court term, one justice has stood out for his dissents.

Justice Antonin Scalia was the first name on the joint dissent filed by four justices in the health care case. But it was Scalia's dissent in the Arizona immigration case, written for himself alone, that drew particular attention, and especially harsh criticism.

Parents of U.S. students often complain about things like too many standardized tests or unhealthful school lunches. Kenya wishes it had such problems.

Kenya dropped or greatly reduced fees at public schools nearly a decade ago in an effort to make education available to all children. On one level, it's been a success — school attendance has soared. Yet this has also exacerbated chronic problems that include shortages of qualified teachers, books, desks and just about every other basic need.

The new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, is perhaps the most anticipated movie of the summer. It's the last film in the Batman trilogy that writer-director Christopher Nolan has crafted over the past 7 years.

Nolan wanted The Dark Knight Rises, which will be released in theaters July 20, to feel like a historical epic. As he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, he looked to films like Fritz Lang's Metropolis, David Lean's Dr. Zhivago, and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

This past week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report linking climate change to some of the extreme weather events of 2011, like the devastating drought in Texas and record high temperatures in Britain.

None of this bodes well for the future, but there is a glimmer of hope. It turns out that U.S. carbon emissions are down nearly 8 percent since 2006.

A legal showdown is evolving. It affects an American university, the British government, a brutal Irish paramilitary organization and the murdered mother of 10 children.

Journalist Ed Moloney is fighting to keep secret interviews with former paramilitary members of the Irish Republican Army out of the British government's hands. Those interviews are kept under lock and key at Boston College as part of an oral history project that Moloney started in 2001.

Chewing Chia Packs A Superfood Punch

Jul 15, 2012

When you hear the word chia, you probably think of chia pets. Maybe you even mutter that catchy slogan: "ch-ch-ch-chia."

Or maybe not, but lately, chia seed has been getting buzz beyond those terra cotta figurines. It's becoming a popular health food. Rich in fiber, protein and the highest plant source of Omega 3s, the little seeds pack a major nutritional punch.

Wayne Coates grows and sells chia seeds and has a book called Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood.

Academy Award-winning actress Celeste Holm has died. A star on both stage and screen, Holm was best known for roles in Gentleman's Agreement, All About Eve and Oklahoma! She was 95.

Holm died early Sunday morning in her Manhattan apartment with her husband, family and close friends by her side. She had been hospitalized a couple weeks ago following a fire in actor Robert De Niro's apartment in the same building.

If there was one role that put Holm on the map, it was as the coquettish Ado Annie, in the 1943 hit musical, Oklahoma!

Miners Weather The Slow Burn Of Coal's Demise

Jul 14, 2012

At some point today, you will probably flip on a light switch. That simple action connects you to the oldest and most plentiful source of American electricity: coal.

Since the early 1880s — when Edison and Tesla pioneered the distribution of electrical power into our homes — most of that power has come from the process of burning coal.

Marcia Esters needs crowns fused to six of her bottom teeth and new dentures. But because of changes made to Medicaid in Pennsylvania, she now has to pay for it all herself.

"It's thousands of dollars' worth of work that I cannot afford," she says.

Esters also uses a wheelchair. Because she couldn't get get her teeth fixed, she has spent the last few months eating pureed food and avoiding people.

"I don't go anywhere unless I have to," she says. "If you could look or feel halfway decent, it just helps, it really does."

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

MITT ROMNEY: I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think most Americans figure if you're the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does.

ROMNEY: That's ridiculous and disturbing to come from their campaign and beneath the dignity of the president.

In some of the dirtiest places on Earth, author and environmentalist Andrew Blackwell found some beauty. His book, Visit Sunny Chernobyl, tours the deforestation of the Amazon, the oil sand mines in Canada and the world's most polluted city, located in China.

Blackwell says his ode to polluted locales is a bid for re-engagement with places people have shrunk away from in disgust.

Radioactive To Its Core

His first stop was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl.

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen a Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

Opinions about Dirty Projectors couldn't be more divided. At a recent NPR Music listening party, audience members gave the band's new album, Swing Lo Magellan, both very high marks and very low marks. It was a genuine split decision.

Intrigued, weekends on All Things Considered spoke with Dirty Projectors bandleader Dave Longstreth to figure out why. One thing became clear pretty quickly: Longstreth and Dirty Projectors take a lot of risks.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Republican Mitt Romney gave a rare round of interviews today to reporters from five TV networks, in which he stood by his assertions that he had no active role in running Bain Capital after 1999. And he called on President Obama to apologize for comments from his campaign.

MITT ROMNEY: It's disgusting. It's demeaning. It's something which I think the president should take responsibility for, and stop.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

Visa, MasterCard and some of the biggest banks in the U.S. have agreed to a historic settlement of more than $6 billion in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of more than 7 million merchants. NPR's Steve Henn has been reviewing this settlement agreement. He joins me now. And, Steve, what's this case about?

Mitt Romney is the most famous Mormon running for office this fall. But he's far from the only one.

In Arizona, two other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Rep. Jeff Flake and businessman Wil Cardon — are vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

All three candidates have said they'll be tough on immigration. And while Mormons in Arizona have been closely identified with conservative politics, the immigration debate has exposed a rare divide on the issue.

Shared Faith, Different Political Views

It's not often that one of the world's biggest companies says, "We goofed."

But in a surprising turn of events Friday, Apple admitted it made a mistake in pulling out of an environmental rating system for computers and other electronics. The company said it would rejoin the so-called EPEAT certification system, placing all 39 of its originally certified products back on the list. The company is also requesting certification for more products, including its new MacBook Pro model.

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