Weekend Edition Saturday

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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.

On Saturdays, host Scott 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 Cornish 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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Movies
10:59 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Hollywood Pros Fear A Chilling Effect After Sony Bows To Hackers

A worker carries a poster for the movie The Interview away from its display case at a theater in Atlanta. "It feels like the margin's narrowed about what kind of movies Hollywood will be making," says veteran Hollywood producer Stephanie Striegel.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 12:05 pm

President Obama is not the only one thinking about the precedent set when Sony decided not to release the comedy The Interview. Around Hollywood, the action drew immediate rebuke as celebrities took to Twitter — like director and producer Judd Apatow:

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel agreed, writing, "An un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent."

In writing rooms and comedy clubs in Los Angeles, however, the conversations are more nuanced.

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Simon Says
10:56 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Despite Its Beauty, Cuba Isn't Quite Ready For Tourists

In 1959, Fidel Castro imposed a law forbidding the import of foreign cars, so many Cubans drive and maintain older models.
Kate Skogen JetKat Photo

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

I've always had a good time in Cuba. The people are friendly and funny, the rum is smooth, the music intoxicating and the beaches wide, white and soft.

But you're accompanied everywhere by government minders. They call them responsables. Any Cuban you interview knows your microphone might as well run straight to their government.

If you want to talk to someone with a different view, you have to slip out of your hotel in the middle of the night without your minder — though dissidents say other security people follow you.

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Animals
9:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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Sports
7:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

What A Thaw In Cuba Relations Means For Baseball

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

How every week I look forward to saying, time for BJ Leiderman's Sports theme.

(MUSIC)

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NPR Story
7:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Cubans Blame Their Woes On The U.S. Embargo

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 4:08 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Remembrances
7:47 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Bridwell Created A Big Red Dog That Grew With Readers' Love

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Politics
10:55 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Government Funding Bill Rolls Back Trucker Rest Requirements

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:21 pm

The spending bill in Congress is not just about money. Tucked inside the bill are provisions to change regulations affecting everything from banking to the environment. One regulatory rollback has those concerned about truck safety especially upset.

The regulation is part of a series of rules that spell out the number of hours that long-haul truck drivers, the ones behind the wheel of the big rigs on the interstates, can be on the road.

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Race
9:53 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Forced To Seat Blacks, Ala. Restaurant Complied With History

Ollies Barbecue was a Birmingham, Ala., landmark where where white plumbers and electricians sat next to white doctors and bank presidents,” but in 1964, blacks weren't allowed to eat there.
Courtesy Ollie McClung Jr.

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:21 pm

At Lena's, a diner in Birmingham, Ala., the cashier hands a customer a plastic bag with food which he carries out of the restaurant. There's nothing noteworthy about it now, but that action — taking out the meal — is a faint echo of the Jim Crow South.

Fifty years ago Sunday, the Supreme Court effectively ended segregation in restaurants. Before that ruling, restaurants were segregated, but some white establishments would serve black customers take-out.

Washington Booker, eating breakfast at Lena's, remembers the routine.

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Arts & Life
9:18 am
Sat December 13, 2014

It's Ugly Christmas Sweater Season — Share Your Best (Bad) Attire

So bad it's ... good? Consumer appetite for ugly Christmas sweaters — the tackier, the better — has had an impact on how retailers stock for the season.
TheUglySweaterShop.com Flickr

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 9:56 pm

Looking for a stylish sweater for the holidays? Forget cashmere. Instead, go for the light-up, dancing Santa.

This season, holiday shoppers are demanding the ugliest, gaudiest, tackiest sweaters out there. They need them for ugly sweater parties, ugly sweater fun runs — even an ugly sweater party cruise.

All that demand has had an impact on stores large and small. On the national level, Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Target all sell vintage-looking sweaters with all the bells and tinsel you could want.

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Movie Interviews
8:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Finland's HIM Releases Early Work In 'Lashes to Ashes'

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 1:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It is very cold and very dark in Finland this time of year - every time of year, I understand. But there's a band that finds inspiration in that dark and cold. For more than 20 years, the group HIM has been heating up Helsinki nights.

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Strange News
8:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

London Men Decks Their Beards With Beads And Baubles

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:21 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Space
8:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Geminids Promise A Light Show In The Night Sky

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 12:52 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
11:53 am
Sat December 6, 2014

American Hostage Killed During Rescue Attempt In Yemen

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR Story
11:51 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Mourning Turns To Protest At Brooklyn Victim's Funeral

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 1:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sports
7:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Less Wrestling, More Sport In Roller Derby World Cup

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 3:03 pm

Copyright 2014 KERA Unlimited. To see more, visit http://www.kera.org/.

Sports
7:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Pro Athletes Show Support For Ferguson Protesters

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 11:51 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now it's time for Sports, which can get caught up in real life, too.

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Space
7:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

NASA's Orion Capsule Looks And Acts Like Apollo

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 11:51 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Author Interviews
7:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

First-Generation 'Boston Girl' Becomes Career Woman In Diamant's Latest

cover crop
Scribner

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 11:51 am

Anita Diamant's new novel Boston Girl begins with a question: a granddaughter asks her grandmother, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"

Addie Baum was "the other one"-- an afterthought — the youngest of three sisters, born in 1900 in Boston's North End to Jewish immigrant parents. It was a time when most women didn't finish school, couldn't vote, and worked at low-level jobs just until they were married, to men they likely didn't choose for themselves.

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Code Switch
12:05 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

A Musical Tribute For A Waiter Who Spoke Out Against Racism

Justin Hopkins sings during a tribute show for Booker Wright, who worked in a whites-only restaurant in the Mississippi Delta.
Brandall Atkinson Courtesy of Southern Foodways Alliance

Editor's note: This story contains racial slurs.

A new musical work pays tribute to an unlikely and little-known civil rights activist: Booker T. Wright. You won't find his name in history textbooks. But his story is a testament to the everyday experiences of blacks in the Jim Crow South.

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History
11:15 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Jesus Started A Chain Letter — And Other Hoaxes

Published in London around 1795, this "copy" of a letter from Jesus in heaven was the imagined correspondence between Jesus and King Abgar of Edessa.
Sheridan Libraries JHU

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 2:26 pm

William Shakespeare wrote in the margins of his books. Noah washed up in Vienna after the flood. Jesus sent a letter back to Earth after his ascension to heaven.

Did you miss those artifacts of history?

Of course you did. They're all frauds, concocted to convince the unsuspecting — and often they did.

These frauds are part of a new exhibit, "Fakes, Lies and Forgeries," at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore.

Curator Earle Havens says the exhibit is timely — these days, the media presents us with fakes and lies all the time.

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Around the Nation
9:59 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Foreign Dollars Fuel A New Condo Boom In Miami

The $1 billion Brickell City Centre, currently under construction, will house condos, a hotel and a retail and entertainment complex. Condo projects are booming in Miami, financed mostly by foreign buyers.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:34 am

Few people track Miami development closer than Peter Zalewski. He runs Cranespotters.com, a business that keeps tabs on all the new construction proposed in downtown Miami.

In an area that covers less than 4 square miles, he notes, there's a lot going on. In "downtown Miami, we're looking at 69 towers, 18,400 units," all residential condominiums, Zalewski says.

If history is any guide, not all of the projects will be built. But Zalewski says there are other big projects coming that are likely to add to the total.

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StoryCorps
9:42 am
Sat November 29, 2014

A Decade After Battle, Medic And Wounded Soldier Reunite

Retired 1st Sgt. Keith Melick (right) and retired Army Special Forces Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Wilkins met when Melick, a medic, treated Wilkins after an IED explosion. They were reunited nearly 10 years later.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:05 pm

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years ago, Keith Melick was a medic in the Army, and Roy Wilkins was a command sergeant major in the Army's Special Forces.

They crossed paths in Afghanistan, where Wilkins was wounded in an IED explosion.

And then this August, by chance, they met again — in the gym at a VA medical center in North Carolina, where Wilkins was playing with his wheelchair basketball team.

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Sports
7:46 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Honoring His Grandfather, Boy Breaks Baseball News

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Around the Nation
7:46 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Red Tape Ties Up Purchases Of D.C. Affordable Housing

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Nearly 1 in 5 Washington, D.C., residents live at or below the poverty line, but affordable-housing developers are having trouble selling units. This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Nov. 25, 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Author Interviews
7:46 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Art And Death Are Two Things At Once In 'How To Be Both'

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Goats and Soda
2:25 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Ebola Survey Teams Take A Grim Census In Sierra Leone

Surveillance team member Osman Sow washes his boots after working in a potentially contaminated area of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Survey teams are sent out every day to assess sick people and dispatch burial teams to collect the dead.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 4:16 pm

Ebola is on the rise in Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown. Just this week, 234 new confirmed infections were reported, and every day hundreds of residents call the emergency line to report more possible cases in their neighborhoods.

To deal with the surge, the nation sends health surveillance teams into the community to investigate the alerts, visiting up to five homes a day to check on residents.

The junior member of one team is Osman Sow, a young man with a wisp of a beard and a serious manner.

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Parallels
2:06 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Rumors Of Boko Haram Attack Send Nigerian Refugees Fleeing Again

Civilians who had just recently arrived in Yola prepare to flee again, this time in a large open-top truck headed to the city of Jos.
Ofeibea Quist-Arcton NPR

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 3:54 pm

As Nigeria's military continues to battle Boko Haram fighters for control of towns and territory in the turbulent northeast, fearful residents are leaving — or being driven out of town. More than 200 schoolgirls, abducted by the Islamist extremists in April, are still missing.

Hoisting the black flag of al-Qaida, the insurgents have imposed strict Islamic law in areas under their control, vowing to establish a caliphate.

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Parallels
12:05 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

In Response To Attacks, Israel Takes Down Palestinian Homes

After Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi killed two people with a car in an attack last month, Israel destroyed his family's apartment in East Jerusalem by blowing up the front outside and most internal walls. Israel says the aim is deterrence, while the Palestinians call it collective punishment.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 11:28 am

After a spate of deadly violence in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to speed up home demolitions of attackers as a punishment and deterrent.

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Environment
7:55 am
Sat November 22, 2014

What We Learn When Find Silence

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:21 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sports
7:55 am
Sat November 22, 2014

Cavaliers, Lakers Lagging: The Week In Sports

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:21 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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