Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturday, 7a.m. - 9 a.m.

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.

Learn more about the program on their website.

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Middle East
10:21 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Three Years Later, Tahrir Protesters Drained And Defeated

Egyptian security forces close Tahrir Square to disperse protesters in December.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 7:17 pm

Three years after the start of the 2011 revolution, many of the young secular activists who led the protests are behind bars.

Others have gone silent, afraid to speak out as the military and the ousted Muslim Brotherhood are locked in a battle for Egypt itself.

For most of those revolutionaries, this is a dark and bitter time.

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Sports
9:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Li Wins Australian Open; Ralph Lauren Overdoes Olympic Cardigan

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

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.

Author Interviews
9:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

An Admitted 'Ham' Shares Slices Of Show-Biz Life

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Sam Harris says he's been a ham all his life. He's been drawn to the spotlight since he was a kid, belting out "Sound of Music" tunes in a makeshift nun's habit, in his family's garage. Practice, practice, practice - and plenty of audacity - paid off all the way to Carnegie Hall. In 1983, Harris won the very first season of the television show "Star Search" with his performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW")

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NPR Story
9:04 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Brushing Off The Mockery, Curlers Push For Olympic Glory

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

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.

Middle East
8:40 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Aid Organizations Hope Talks Lead To Mobility In Syria

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

Fighting in Syria has internally displaced some 4 million people, and aid has only reached half of them. Humanitarian groups hope the talks in Geneva will allow them to get more aid into the country. NPR's Jacki Lyden speaks with Khaled Erksoussi, the head of operations for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

NPR Story
8:38 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Brief Meeting Still Significant For Syria Talks

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

There were signs of progress at the Syria peace conference Saturday after the government and the opposition agreed to meet in the same room for the first time. Reporter Deborah Amos shares the latest from the talks in Geneva with NPR's Jacki Lyden.

Politics
8:08 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Eyes On 2016, GOP Revisits The Rebranding

Mike Huckabee, left, sits with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus before Huckabee spoke at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in Washington on Thursday,
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat January 25, 2014 11:14 am

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington this week for their annual winter meetings. They approved new rules for the 2016 presidential primaries designed to create a more orderly path to the GOP nomination — and, the party hopes, to the White House.

But this week's meeting also provided an opportunity to see how far Republicans have come in an effort begun a year ago to reach out to new voters — especially young people, minorities and women.

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Latin America
10:35 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Under Government Pressure, Mexican Vigilantes Vow To Fight On

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

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 6:20 pm

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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Reporter's Notebook
9:38 am
Sat January 18, 2014

In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 1:21 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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Around the Nation
8:31 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Donors Pitch In To Protect Detroit's Art And Pensions

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 10:35 am

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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Author Interviews
8:09 am
Sat January 18, 2014

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

Knopf

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 10:35 am

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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NPR Story
7:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Countdown To The Super Bowl

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 10:35 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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NPR Story
7:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

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

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 10:35 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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NPR Story
7:01 am
Sat January 18, 2014

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

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 10:35 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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Technology
11:53 am
Sat January 11, 2014

A First Look At New Tech Products To Hit The Market

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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Movie Interviews
11:08 am
Sat January 11, 2014

'Osage' Hits Close To Home For Writer Tracy Letts

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

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:53 am

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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Politics
10:46 am
Sat January 11, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 5:51 pm

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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National Security
10:17 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Gates Memoir Tests Civilian-Military Rules Of Engagement

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

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:52 am

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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Simon Says
9:10 am
Sat January 11, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:53 am

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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Middle East
7:14 am
Sat January 11, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 11:09 am

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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Afghanistan
11:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

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

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 5:14 pm

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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Sports
8:00 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Football Fans Say Farewell To The Bowl Championship Series

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 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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Movies
7:52 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Theaters Hope Recliners Lure Homebodies Off Their Sofas

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 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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Movies
7:52 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Revenues, But Not Profits, Soar For Hollywood In 2013

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 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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Research News
7:52 am
Sat January 4, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 9:13 am

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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Author Interviews
4:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

Rube Goldberg drew many of his devices, like this one for a machine that disposes of cigarette ashes, for his series, "The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K," published in Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931.
Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg Abrams ComicArts

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 1:38 pm

Many people know Rube Goldberg as an adjective — a shorthand description for a convoluted device or contraption. But Rube Goldberg was a real person — one who earned a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and who captivated imaginations with drawings of complex chain reactions that completed the simplest of tasks.

Goldberg died in 1970, but Jennifer George, his granddaughter, has collected the zany world he created in a coffee table book, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius.

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Research News
11:54 am
Sat December 28, 2013

The Hunt For Meteorites Begins In Antarctica

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

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 9:07 am

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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Environment
9:42 am
Sat December 28, 2013

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

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 2:43 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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Number Of The Year
8:48 am
Sat December 28, 2013

A Tragic Year For Wildland Firefighters Ends In Reflection

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

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:22 am

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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Politics
8:27 am
Sat December 28, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:24 pm

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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