This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
NATO allies officially handed over responsibility to the Afghanistan security forces this past week. President Obama has said that all U.S. combat troops will be out by the end of 2014. In this hour, we'll get several perspectives on what that means for Afghanistan. In a moment, we'll hear from one American businesswoman who left her Kabul business behind after five years.
In the years following the U.S. invasion, the Afghan capital teemed with Americans and Europeans. Most of them moved in with the security forces and the United Nations. Others, like Sarah Takesh, came to Kabul for a very different reason - to start businesses. In 2003, just a year after the U.S. invasion, Takesh set up a clothing company, employing Afghan women to embroider skirts and tops. She was optimistic about Afghanistan, as were most Afghans. But by 2008, it felt dangerous.
Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:05 am
(This story was last updated at 10:40 a.m. ET)
Armed assailants attacked a hotel at a Himalayan base camp in Pakistan, gunning down nine foreign climbers and a local guide as the group prepared for an ascent of one of the world's tallest peaks.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports that Ukrainians and Chinese climbers, as well as a Pakistani guide, were killed in the attack at 26,246-foot Nanga Parbat, about 150 miles northeast of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.
WEEKEND EDITION's travel segment Winging It aims to bring you advice and ideas about different ways to spend your free time. Winging It also gives you the chance to get on the air, to share your own personal experiences with the more unusual and innovative ways you spend your vacation time.
"We want all of our rights!" Martin Luther King, Jr. told a throng of people gathered in and around Detroit's Cobo Arena on June 23, 1963. He was speaking at what he called the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States. "We want them here, and we want them now!" he said.
Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 10:19 am
Federal air safety officials say they will investigate the fiery crash of a stunt plane at an Ohio air show that killed the pilot and a wing walker.
Thousands of spectators at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton, Ohio, watched on Saturday as the biplane, with wing walker Jane Law Wicker, 46, and pilot Charlie Schwenker, 64, careened into the ground and exploded during a low-altitude maneuver. No one in the audience was hurt.
One hundred and fifty years ago this week, West Virginia became the 35th state in the union.
Born in in 1863, the middle of the Civil War, the state was created by patriots who didn't want to join the Confederacy — no mean feat considering the political climate of the time.
Western Virginians were fed up with their eastern-dominated government, says Joe Geiger, director of the West Virginia State Archives. He says they also felt they didn't get fair funding for education and infrastructure.
Michael Semple has been working in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. He is a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. And he joins us now from the studios of WGBH in Boston.
Welcome to the program, Mr. Semple.
MICHAEL SEMPLE: Hello.
MARTIN: So, what does the United States want from talks with the Taliban?
Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 11:01 am
The national debate over immigration may be churning on in Washington, D.C., but there's one policy a growing number of states can agree on: driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Vermont, Connecticut and Colorado passed new laws this month allowing drivers without Social Security numbers to receive licenses or authorization cards. They join Nevada, Maryland and Oregon, whose governors signed similar laws in May. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn started the trend this year when he signed Senate Bill 957 in January.
A couple of weeks ago, a group of lawyers gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia for some extra legal training. Not unusual, you might say, but this wasn't your every day legal training. These are Army lawyers getting training on what they can do to help the Pentagon fight sexual assault in the military.
NPR's Larry Abramson was in the room for some of that training, and he's here with us now in the studio. Hi, Larry.
The protests that started almost a month ago in Istanbul's Gezi Park have brought all different kinds of people out onto the streets. Most of the protesters are young and many have described themselves as being previously apolitical. Ayse Ozdel is a 21-year-old college student who grew up in Istanbul. Ayse, thanks so much for being with us.
AYSE OZDEL: You're welcome.
MARTIN: When did you first get involved in these protests and what triggered your involvement?
Working its way through the Ohio Legislature is a state budget bill that has major implications for the way family-planning services are provided. The Ohio budget contains language that puts family-planning clinics at the bottom of the list to receive funding.
Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio operates several independent family-planning clinics. They do not provide abortions and have no affiliation with Planned Parenthood, but the clinics are still at the end of the line under a new tiered system because they give referrals.
Poached ivory is destroying wild populations of elephants and rhinos across Africa and Asia. The strong demand for ivory takes an estimated 25,000 elephant lives each year.
Now, the government of the Philippines is sending a message to poachers and smugglers, by destroying five tons of ivory confiscated in the country. On Friday, environmentalists, government officials, and the public gathered in Quezon City to witness the pulverization.
Jimmy Eat World is perhaps best known for its hit "The Middle." The peppy tune, released in November 2001, may have been just what an America recovering from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, needed. But the band's timeline extends for years in both directions; this year it celebrates two decades together.
We don't mean to be offensive, but someone has to say it: Walle, a 4-year-old beagle-basset mix who was just crowned the 2013 World's Ugliest Dog, is just NOT that ugly.
In fact, Walle is downright cute.
There's something not quite right in Petaluma, Calif., where the annual competition is held. Genuinely ugly (and, in our opinion, totally deserving) Icky, Josie, Rascal and Mugly — all Chinese cresteds — were shut out.
A judge in the murder trial of George Zimmerman has excluded testimony from two audio experts who've suggested that Trayvon Martin can be heard screaming on a 911 call moments before the unarmed teen was fatally shot.
Judge Debra Nelson issued the 12-page ruling on Saturday after hearing days of arguments on whether to allow the testimony.
The Associated Press says one expert ruled out Zimmerman as the screamer and another said it was Martin. Defense experts argued there was not enough audio to determine whom the screams are coming from.
Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 12:16 pm
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has pledged a nationwide overhaul of public transportation, improved funding for schools and a crackdown on corruption in response to sometimes violent anti-government protests that have roiled the country for the past week.
In a 10-minute address broadcast on Friday, Rousseff broke her silence on the protests, saying she would spend more money on public transportation and divert some of the country's oil revenues to pay for education, The Associated Press reported. She also addressed widespread anger over government corruption.
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:
Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 11:49 am
Update At 11:30 a.m. ET:
Secretary of State John Kerry called the current situation in Syria "unacceptable by anyone's standard" and lashed out at the government of President Bashar al-Assad for using Hezbollah in the fight against rebels.
"Assad chose to raise the stakes militarily," Kerry said. "He chose to attack the Syrian people, but this time using Iranian supporters and using Hezbollah, which is a terrorist organization.
Now, we're going to remember the man known as Mr. Valet. He pioneered valet parking in Los Angeles more than sixty years ago. He died this past week at the age of 93. NPR's Mandalit del Barco profiled Herb Citrin a few years ago, and we're going to hear a bit of her story right now.
Here in the United States, the NSA revelations are also prompting concerns about privacy as well as questions about the involvement of private companies in government spying. Robert O'Harrow, an investigative reporter with The Washington Post wrote in his 2005 book, "No Place to Hide", about what he calls the security industrial complex in this country. Mr. O'Harrow believes the NSA's dealings with private companies are much wider than what we've been told.
BILL SUPERNOR: I was in a business lounge at an airport in Newark. I look at my phone and I'm moving the buttons and it was definitely behaving a little strange, maybe it was a little slow. I ripped the back off the phone, I pulled the battery out. I mean, I got off the network quickly and I didn't turn the phone back on again until I was out of that airport.