NPR's Weekend Edition on KUER 1

Weekends from 6:00am to 10:00am
  • Hosted by Scott Simon and Liane Hansen

Weekend Edition Saturday 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.

Weekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians.

Afghanistan's leaders were in Washington last week asking for more assistance from the U.S. They got what they wanted: President Obama announced he would postpone the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops this year. Those forces are needed to help Afghanistan troops battle the Taliban as the spring
fighting season heats up.

President Ashraf Ghani was accompanied on this trip by Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Afghan government. They were bitter rivals in Afghanistan's presidential election last year and are now sharing power in a unity government.

Danger, subterfuge, adrenaline — as more agencies use undercover operatives, we take a look at what it's like to take on a false identity professionally.

A recent report out says the agency has made major improvements since Sept. 11, but still needs to boost its ability to collect intelligence.

On-air challenge: The challenge is a game of Categories based on the word "watch." For each category provided, name something in the category starting with each of the letters W-A-T-C-H. For example, parts of the human body would be "waist," "arm," "thigh," "chest" and "head."

Last week's challenge: Take the word "die." Think of two synonyms for this word that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What two words are these? A hint: they have the same number of letters.

Answer: Pass, fail

Singapore has been called the 20th century's most successful development story.

"I don't think any other economy," says Linda Lim, an economist at the University of Michigan, "even the other Asian tigers, have that a good a statistical record of rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators — life expectancy, education, housing, etc. — in the first 20 years," she says.

The U.S. Postal Service has just unveiled five new stamps depicting the paintings and drawings of Martin Ramirez.

An immigrant from Mexico, Ramirez was a self-taught artist who spent almost half of his life in California mental hospitals after being diagnosed as schizophrenic.

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All was not prim and proper when actress Cate Blanchett sat down for an interview for the Australian show called "The Project." The interviewer took a decidedly casual tone.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE PROJECT")

The songs our grandparents sang can tell us who we are. Here in the U.S., the Lomax family became famous in the 1930s, when they recorded America's folk music.

In other countries that are changing fast, people are also trying to hold onto their heritage. The tiny, super-rich state of Qatar takes pride in its modernity, with its gleaming skyscrapers and lucrative gas fields. But it is also investing in a huge history project.

Back in the pre-digital era — when telephones were used for talking, not photographing and filming, and before YouTube came along to broadcast everyone's videos — capturing and disseminating moving images was expensive, time consuming and decidedly non-portable.

But that changed in 1967, when Sony introduced the world's first portable video tape recorder. Before long, enthusiasts formed "media collectives" that captured the social and cultural upheaval of the era. Fueled by a mix of the tunes, the tokes and the times, video became part of the revolution it was documenting.

Spring is finally here, and in the coming weeks many of us may find ourselves infected with a fever to clean. It's time to weed out your wardrobe, vacuum behind the couch, and maybe even dig into the depths of your pantry and chuck those decade-old granola bars.

But there's one place that might get a pass: the junk drawer. You know you've got one.

"Everyone has a junk drawer," says Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University.

Yarrow should know. As part of her job, she pokes around in other people's junk drawers.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Scott Sampson has a big fancy title. He's the vice president of research and collections at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. But to a whole lot of American kids, he's this guy...

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Police in Farmington, N.H., are issuing tickets all over town. But these are tickets you might not mind getting.

CHIEF JOHN DRURY: They're for a slice of pizza or a small French fry.

The Syrian civil war has dragged on for four years now. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died and more than 3 million have been displaced.

The refugee crisis there has attracted humanitarian aid workers hoping to make a difference. Kayla Mueller was one of them. The 26-year-old Arizona native was captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in August of 2013. She was killed last month.

Gather Ye Rosebuds: 'Citizen Kane' Screened At Hearst Castle

Mar 15, 2015

Citizen Kane has been called the best film ever made. It was also at the center of an epic battle of egos.

The main character was modeled after media titan William Randolph Hearst, who in real life tried ruthlessly to keep the movie from being released.

Almost 75 years later, the family has called a truce, of sorts: This weekend, Citizen Kane was screened for the first time inside the millionaire's legendary home, the Hearst Castle.

Some childhood symbols straddle the line between adorable and terrifying. Like clowns. Or Furbys.

Some dolls fit the category, too, with spooky eyes that seem to move or a porcelain pallor. They're not all Chucky, but some of them just don't seem quite right.

Listener Anne McLaughlin grew up with a cabinet full of dolls — including a pretty dancer doll and a set of wooden nesting dolls. But one, she says, stood out.

Say Yes To The Puzzle

Mar 15, 2015

On-air challenge: "Yes" is supposed to be the most pleasing word in the English language. And if that's true, today's puzzle will be very pleasing indeed. Every answer is an anagram of "yes" plus two or three other letters.

Last week's challenge: Take a familiar phrase in the form "[blank] and [blank]." Put the second word in front of the first, and you'll name a common part of a large company. What is it?

Answer: "Room and board," boardroom

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The Elixir Du Jour: Bone Broth

Mar 15, 2015
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As the U.S. prepares to reopen its embassy in communist Cuba, relations with another Latin American nation — oil-rich Venezuela — are crumbling.

President Nicolas Maduro accuses the U.S. of plotting a coup against him, and is expelling most U.S. diplomats from Venezuela. He is also demanding that Americans secure visas to enter the country.

The visa requirement is still so new that upon my arrival in Caracas this week without one, the immigration official doesn't even notice. She stamps my U.S. passport and says, "Welcome."

Paying for college gets more expensive every year.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars in outstanding student loan payments.

The result can be a lot of pressure for college grads. The four seniors participating in our Howard Project — Ariel Alford, Taylor Davis, Leighton Watson and Kevin Peterman — talk to us about finances.

We all lie sometimes. But if you're in the public eye, the lie can take on a life of its own.

NBC's Brian Williams became the victim of his own story last month, exaggerating the danger he faced while reporting in Iraq in 2003. It lead to an on-air mea culpa and a temporary suspension from the anchor desk.

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There's a new documentary out with a very simple message - people want to find that someone special no matter their age. It's called "The Age Of Love," and it takes us to a speed dating event for seniors. NPR's Ina Jaffe has more.

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In Israel, religious law governs family matters.

For a Jewish divorce, an Orthodox rabbi oversees a ritual that begins with the husband placing a folded decree, called a get or gett, into the wife's cupped hands. But that paper can be hard to obtain, because the husband can refuse to grant the divorce.

A new Israeli film playing in the U.S. shows how patriarchal Jewish divorce laws can trap even secular women for years.

The film is a drama called Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem. Viviane wants a divorce but needs her husband's permission.

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It is the ultimate apocalyptic fantasy or nightmare really. Imagine you are the last person on Earth. You might start talking to yourself, and you might start to go a little crazy.

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Andrew McCarthy is probably best known to a lot of us as Blane, the object of Molly Ringwald's affection in the movie "Pretty In Pink."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PRETTY IN PINK")

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