Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:51 am
The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.
But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.
In HBO's Enlightened, Laura Dern stars as corporate executive Amy Jellicoe, who returns from a post-meltdown retreat to pick up the pieces of her broken life. Series creator Mike White stars as Tyler, Amy's friend and co-worker.
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:
Wednesday was more or less canceled this week in official Washington, D.C. An enormous winter storm bore down on the region, threatening ice, a foot of snow in the city (more in the suburbs), and wind and misery throughout the region.
Most of the federal government was closed. I know, I know. How could they tell? Local governments and schools, too. Flights were canceled, planes diverted, and throngs descended on grocery stores, picking the shelves clean of bread, milk and toilet tissue.
Not every Syrian American can go to the lengths that Abu Ahmed did, but here in the United States, they are watching the conflict closely. Muna Jondy was born in this country, but her father's family is from Daraa where the first protest back in 2011 began. She's an immigration lawyer in Flint, Michigan and president of a group called United for a Free Syria. She joins us from Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. Thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A court in Egypt today upheld the death sentences of 21 soccer fans from Port Said for murder during a bloody soccer riot that occurred there last year. And the court's decision apparently enraged the city.
Some Syrians in the U.S. are wracked with guilt that they can't do more to help their countrymen. Others are taking action. One Syrian-American gun enthusiast is doing his part to arm and train the rebels, and a Syrian doctor hopes to help train civilian doctors in conflict zones on trauma medicine. (This piece initially aired March 5, 2013 on All Things Considered.)
Host Scott Simon talks with reporter and author John Thavis about the divisions among cardinals voting at the conclave to select a new pope for the Catholic Church. Thavis is the author of The Vatican Diaries.
It takes an adventurous palate to be a food journalist, who must sample and judge from a wide world of cuisines. So it's understandable why some chefs and foodies might be suspicious of a food editor who decides to cut himself off from a broad swath of eating possibilities by becoming vegetarian.
StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the participants in this project have been speaking about being separated from their loved ones.
This week, Weekend Edition is featuring two stories of families reuniting after deployment.
Both of the Radlinski brothers served in the Navy. Luke deployed in 2001 to the Persian Gulf in support of the conflict in Afghanistan. His brother, Mark, went to Iraq in 2006.
Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez, was a tremendous supporter of Latin American countries, especially those sympathetic to his socialist ideals.
The country's vast oil reserves are a key source of economic aid, but the Chavez didn't just help out his ideological peers like Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also a great benefactor to key U.S. allies in the Caribbean — many of whom now worry whether their vital oil lifeline is about to be shut off.
She left her job as an award-winning criminal courts reporter for The Palm Beach Post and went to the Yukon to see the northern lights. Then to Cyprus, to meet family that she never knew. She and her husband, John, took their children on trips on which her daughter got to try on wedding dresses and Susan got kissed by a dolphin.
An Egyptian farmer drinks tea near his home on Qursaya island, in the Nile River, next to Cairo, in January. The Egyptian military says it is the registered owner of the island's land, a claim disputed by the farmers and fishermen who live there.
Credit Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters /Landov
The 70 acres of Qursaya island are largely agricultural. Residents are now fighting the government, which has sold the land to an investor for a tourism project.
It's not easy to get to Qursaya island, a tiny bit of land in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt's capital. You have to take a boat from the riverbank. There are no cars on the island, and it's only had running water for a few years.
It's a quiet 70-acre patch of agricultural land amid a megacity, where mooing cows provide the soundtrack, and farmers and fishermen have lived for generations.
But not all is as bucolic as it seems: The island is at the heart of a yearslong legal battle between those farmers and the government.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:18 am
When it comes to talking a big game, no one does it better than the North Koreans.
Just this week, Pyongyang vowed to turn Seoul, the capital of archrival South Korea, into a "sea of fire," promised to launch a "pre-emptive strike on the headquarters of the aggressors" (read: the United States) and called on its army to "annihilate the enemy."
Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 12:38 pm
A bomb exploded near the Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday morning as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was visiting in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility, calling it a message to the new Pentagon chief.
Update At 10:49 a.m. ET: Hagel Not Surprised
Hagel was nowhere near the attack, but the AP reports he heard the blast:
Coming up, it's Lightning Fill in the Blank, but first it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924. You can click the contact us link on our website waitwait.npr.org.
There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows here at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago and our shows in Rockford, Illinois at the beautiful Coronado Theater there on April 4th. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
We want to remind everybody about the upcoming WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! cinema event, happening on May 2nd. You could witness the magic of WAIT WAIT live in a movie theater near you. Finally, an opportunity to enjoy this same radio show among a crowd of strangers, while paying $8 for a box of Milk Duds.
SAGAL: Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Paula, in some alarming news, al Qaeda is now drawing inspiration for their attacks from what?
Arne Duncan is President Obama's secretary of education, and if, while he's on this show, a disaster befalls the president, the vice president, the speaker of the House and every other member of the Cabinet except Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, he would be president.
We've invited Duncan to play a game called "Now, don't be fresh ... I just take dictation!" Three questions for the secretary of education about the education of secretaries.
A French mother was in court Wednesday for what she says was a simple birthday celebration but what the government alleges is a clear provocation, an allusion to terrorism.
The BBC reports that Bouchra Bagour, 35, has been charged with "glorifying crime" after she sent her three-year-old son — named Jihad — to school wearing a T-shirt that read "I am a bomb" and "Born on 11 September."