Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays 5:00 a.m - 9:00 a.m.
  • Hosted by Scott Simon

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The first great sequester showdown has ended and the White House says President Obama will sign a bill that effectively ends furloughs for air traffic controllers. The House yesterday approved the measure, which was passed by the Senate Thursday night, and the action comes after a week of flight delays that angered air travelers and set off a flurry of finger-pointing in Washington, D.C. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Today in Long Beach, California, Cambodian-Americans are celebrating their new year with traditional foods, dance and songs. But the festivities also coincide with the anniversary of the Cambodian genocide. During the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror between 1975 and 1979, cities were emptied and nearly one-fourth of the population was executed, starved or worked to death. Doualy Xaykaothao reports.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week the calls for U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war got a bit louder. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters that U.S. intelligence sources now believe with, quote, varying degrees of confidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in Syria.

After World War II, America became a superpower. New York experienced a global rise; Los Angeles was sprawling. But in a new book, Thomas Dyja writes that "the most profound aspects of American Modernity grew up out of the flat, prairie land next to Lake Michigan" — Chicago.

The Chapin Sisters are a critically acclaimed duo, with tinges of folk, country and pop in their songs. For their latest project, Lily and Abigail Chapin looked to another famous set of singing siblings: Don and Phil, The Everly Brothers.

Lily Chapin says the genesis of their new tribute album, A Date with The Everly Brothers, was a creative workaround of sorts. The duo was once a trio featuring another Chapin sister, Jessica; the three siblings grew up singing three-part harmonies together. Several years ago, Jessica left the group to start a family.

Since Egypt's revolution began, tensions among Egypt's Muslims and Christians have only increased. Earlier this month, it once again turned deadly. Tit-for-tat killings left three Muslims and at least six Christians dead.

That and other religious violence is prompting a public debate about religious identity in Egypt. One group of young Egyptians wants to remove religious labels from national ID cards.

'Where The Trouble Starts'

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems determined to become the formidable adversary the National Rifle Association has never had.

The billionaire mayor is spending from his personal fortune to help defeat lawmakers who voted against gun control proposals last week and to prop up those who supported the measures.

Bloomberg's first target is a Democratic senator facing a tough fight for re-election in 2014: Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Ahmed Fahad is a savior on a hot day. Yelling "Ice cream, ice cream!" in Arabic, the Palestinian man carries a Styrofoam cooler through tangled traffic at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. I roll down my window to signal to him but taste the sting of dissipating tear gas instead.

In Boston, The Search For Answers Begins

Apr 20, 2013

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People who knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just have a hard time squaring the man they knew, with the violence in Boston. Sierra Schwartz went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school with the suspect, who's now in custody.

SIERRA SCHWARTZ: The Dzhokhar that I knew at the time was friendly, quiet but not in a - alarming way. He was just - you know, soft-spoken but very - you know, funny, very sweet, wouldn't harm a fly; someone that you would want to talk to.

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While many universities try to win national attention with their sports programs, one school is dominating a lesser-known competitive arena: speech teams. Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., will defend its U.S. title again this weekend at the National Forensic Association tournament in Huntington, W.Va. Jonathan Ahl reports.

JONATHAN AHL, BYLINE: Cecil Blutcher is on stage, practicing his poetry recitation in front of his fellow speech team members.

CECIL BLUTCHER: Now my face is stuck to lamppost, glued to plate-glass windows.

Witness To A Manhunt In Your Own Backyard

Apr 20, 2013

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Back now to our coverage of the tense night and police activity that brought an end to the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Franklin Street in Watertown was the epicenter of that massive search. Police and SWAT teams took over the suburban neighborhood looking for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Keith Glavish lives nearby. He was in his house while the search unfolded. Thanks for being with us.

KEITH GLAVISH: Good morning.

SIMON: Quiet again?

Week Of Hardship Strains City Of Boston

Apr 20, 2013

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The city of Boston has been through an extraordinary string of challenges this week. The city's famous race was bombed, killing three people, injuring scores of others. The city was locked down for nearly a full day in order to search for the killers.

People in Boston can speak for themselves. And do. Loudly, bluntly and often with humor that bites.

It's a city that speaks with both its own broad, homebrew, local accent — although no one really pahks thea cah in Havahd Yahd — and dialects from around the world. It is home to some of America's oldest founding families, and fathers, mothers and children who have just arrived from Jamaica, Ireland, Bangladesh and Ghana.

There are people in Boston who dress in pinstripes and tweeds, and tattoos and spiked hair. Sometimes, they are even the same person.

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Tracing the Tsarnaev family roots back to Russia is going to require cooperation between Washington, D.C., and Moscow and of course, as we just heard, this comes at a frosty time in relations between the two countries. NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen joins us. Thanks for being with us.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Thanks, Scott.

SIMON: And first, any signs of cooperation so far?

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Soon after federal authorities disclosed that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were Muslims of Chechen descent, many American Muslims began bracing for a backlash. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has more.

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Al Neuharth, the man who launched "USA Today" against all expert advice, has died at the age of 89. He was the chairman of Gannett newspapers who called himself a dreamer and schemer when he got the idea that satellite communications could make a daily national newspaper popular.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Isn't it nice to be able to say time for sports?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The country was focused on tragedy and mayhem this week, but sports abides, including some remarkable tributes to Boston. And the NBA playoffs begin today and run until, I don't know, I think December. Can anyone beat the Heat? For now we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott.

How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?

"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."

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