The National Mall might be known as America's front yard, but it's always something of a work in progress: buildings undergo facelifts, grass is patched and restored and millions of people continue to troop through, snapping photos. And now one of the biggest attractions is being covered up for repairs. NPR's Christopher Connelly has this report.
Childhood is a complicated journey for most of us: trying to fit in, trying to stand out; wanting to distance yourself from your parents one minute, wanting to grab onto them the next. Now on top of all that, imagine being raised by a single, gay father in the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco of the 1980s. That was the frame of Alysia Abbott's childhood. She writes about it in her book. It is called "Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father."
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Perhaps no active climber is more closely associated with Mount Everest these days than Conrad Anker. He has reached the highest point on Earth three times, and he discovered the body of George Mallory — the British climber who may or may not have reached Everest's summit before disappearing in 1924.
After two hours of yelling, shooting and getting tough with a group of American businessmen one hot spring afternoon, Steve Gar turned to storytelling.
Gar is an instructor at Caliber3, a private counterterrorism training center in an Israeli settlement area south of Jerusalem that offers short shooting courses for tourists. Wrapping up the Americans' two-hour session, he called them all to gather around.
It starts with the nodding — otherwise normal children begin to nod their heads, pathologically. Then come the seizures. The children stop growing and stop talking. Ultimately, the disease wrecks the children, physically and mentally.
The strange and deadly illness known as nodding syndrome affects only children, and only in a small pocket of East Africa. It has affected more than 3,000 children since the late 1990s, when it first appeared in what was then southern Sudan. And for more than three years, the cause of nodding syndrome has eluded epidemiologists around the globe.
On the same day this week that House Tea Party Caucus co-founder Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced she won't seek re-election, the fortunes of another Tea Party favorite continued to soar.
Freshman GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas headlined a big fundraiser thrown by the New York Republican Party in the heart of Manhattan. More than 600 Republicans gathered to write checks to their struggling party, which has no statewide officeholders.
But it was not exactly a welcoming committee that awaited Cruz outside the Grand Hyatt hotel.
Friday's tornadoes came less than two weeks after an F-5 tornado destroyed a large section of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City. Both episodes raise two sides of one question: When caught in a tornado's path, should you run or hide?
For Morning Edition the day after the powerful tornado on May 20, NPR's Wade Goodwyn spoke with Molly Edwards, who was covered in pink insulation and standing on the rubble of her home with her family.
New York kicked off a new bike-sharing program this week, with Chicago and San Francisco both close behind. Those cities are expected to launch similar systems this summer.
The sharing programs are all check-in, check-out systems, with automated stations spread throughout a city, designed for point-to-point trips. "We try to encourage people to use it ... almost like a taxi," says Gabe Klein, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation.
When her beloved Aunt Mary passed away, 15-year-old Sheri Booker sought solace in an unusual summer job — at the Albert P. Wylie Funeral Home in the heart of Baltimore.
Booker's new memoir, Nine Years Under, describes the job that became a nine-year career and lifelong fascination with the business of burials.
"After Aunt Mary died, I felt like I needed closure," Booker explains. "I wanted answers. I wanted to make sure that she was in good hands, so I found a way into the funeral home, and it was only supposed to be a summer, but it ended up being nine years!"
It's not unusual for the Supreme Court to find itself at the center of roiling national debates.
But this month, justices are poised to deliver blockbuster opinions involving three of the most divisive issues in the public arena. And in doing so, they will write new and potentially groundbreaking chapters in America's civil rights story.
Affirmative action. Voting rights law. Same-sex marriage.
By June's end, Americans will know if and how public colleges and universities may administer programs designed to enroll more minority students.
Today marks the beginning of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season. Maybe it's a good sign, then, that it's pretty quiet out there. The National Hurricane Center is watching only a small wave near Mexico that has a low possibility of developing into a tropical system.
NPR's Debbie Elliott, however, reports the season is expected to be pretty busy. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Note: This post contains strong language, including racial and ethnic slurs.
Geography professor Monica Stephens has spent a lot of time putting haters on the map. Over at Humboldt State University in California where she is a professor, Stephens and a team of undergraduate students spent a year sorting through racial slurs on Twitter by location. And then she mapped them.
What started as a small protest against the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul, Turkey, has spread to other cities and turned into one of the largest government protests in recent memory. While numbers are hard to come by, Al Jazeera reports that about 10,000 people gathered in Ankara chanting "government resign" and "unite against fascism."
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Still recovering from a monster EF-5 tornado that leveled parts of the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, the area was hit hard again Friday night. At least nine people — including a mother and child — were reported dead by Canadian County Under Sheriff Chris West in the wake of multiple violent tornadoes.
Hurricane season begins Saturday, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an active season, with perhaps seven to 11 hurricanes.
With memories of last year's destruction from Hurricane Sandy still fresh, meteorologists are working on ways to improve how they forecast storms and communicate warnings to the public.
When Sandy was making its way northward in the Atlantic and began to turn toward the East Coast, the National Hurricane Center tried to emphasize the danger that storm surge posed for residents, especially those near New York City.
As you head out for summer vacation, ponder this: There's a 1 in 9 chance that the bridge you're crossing has been deemed structurally deficient or basically in bad shape by the federal government.
The collapse of the I-5 bridge in Washington last week has once again raised questions about the state of the nation's infrastructure. But there is no consensus on how to tackle the problem or how to pay for proposed solutions.