Sixteen-year-old Katniss is an accomplished archer in Suzanne Collins' young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games, so it should be no surprise that in her film incarnation, she's hit the box office bulls-eye. This dystopian wonder (for those who've been living in a cave of late, The Hunger Games is a thriller about a totalitarian society that forces teens to participate in a televised fight to the death) appears poised to join the Harry Potter and Twilight movies in the top echelon of teen-oriented page-to-screen blockbusters.
Saturday should be another good day for Rick Santorum, as his strength has been in Southern states. Polls in Louisiana, which is holding its primary, also gave him a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney coming into the weekend.
The Sportsman's Paradise has 46 Republican delegates to send to the party's presidential-nominating convention. But the very helpful Frontloading HQ blog informs us that only 20 of 25 at-large delegates will be doled out based on Saturday's results.
The situation in Syria has deteriorated further this week. Government troops once again opened fire on thousands of protesters, armed rebels continued their own resistance, which looks more and more like an insurgency. All this despite a push by the United Nations fro a cease-fire. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Syria. First, let's go the protests that continued despite the fact that violence is on the rise.
A rally organizers have billed as the "largest secular event in world history" will be held on the National Mall today.
The Reason Rally will bring atheists and nonbelievers together in a hallowed American place.
But Paul Fidalgo of the Center for Inquiry, one of the organizations involved, says, "It's not a march on Washington where we're picketing anything. It's a celebration of the fact that the secular movement is really starting to come into its own."
The MF Life is the second album by R&B singer Melanie Fiona, released this past week. The two-time Grammy winner says the title has sparked a lot of discussion.
"It gets people talking to each other," Fiona says. "I wanted it to be a collection of music and songs that make people think about the things that we actually go through and feel, and to acknowledge that — to know that there's someone out there singing their story, as well."
Outrage over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin spread across the country this week following the release of the recordings of 911 calls. Trayvon Martin was unarmed. He'd gone out to purchase candy. Thousands of people protested this week, donning hooded sweatshirts in solidarity with Trayvon Martin, who was wearing one when he was shot. Many called for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who says he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Murder charges have been filed against the U.S. Army Sergeant accused of killing 17 Afghan men, women and children. Now, an investigative officer will decide whether there's enough evidence to go forward with a court martial. NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman, walks us through the legal challenges ahead for the defense and the prosecution.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Be careful what you wish for. After John McCain so quickly clinched the Republican presidential nomination the last time around, the party changed its rules with an eye to extending their primary season, reaping public interest for months like the long Democratic primary season of 2008. You might wonder how they feel about that now. John McCain himself has dubbed this campaign the nastiest he's ever seen - akin to watching a Greek tragedy.
This week, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum got their secret service code names. Mr. Romney is Javelin. Mr. Santorum is Petrus. We asked Ian Chillag and Mike Danforth from the NPR podcast How to Do Everything to look into how secret service code names are assigned.
IAN CHILLAG, BYLINE: Presidents have been getting codenames all the way back to Harry Truman. The secret service called him General.
MIKE DANFORTH, BYLINE: Here's historian Michael Beschloss.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: And coming up, we'll talk about the scandal rocking the NFL. But first, in the NCAA last night: North Carolina needed overtime to put away Ohio. Kansas defeated NC State. Baylor beat Xavier. And Kentucky toppled Indiana 102 to 90. And with that win, the powerhouse Wildcats moved into the elite 8 of the tournament. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.
Now, from March Madness to the scandal called Bountygate. And can a virtuous young man find happiness in the big city that never sleeps, but sure swears a lot. Senior write for ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine, Howard Bryant, joins us.
In a cave-like basement bursting with rickety old bicycles, tires and churning middle-schoolers, Daniel Furbish barks orders.
Close-cropped beard, pen behind his ear, Furbish is an artist-turned-teacher from a military family — creative and disciplined. He started his Nashville, Tenn., bike-building workshop as a summer experiment. He thought, "What if I take donated bike parts and teach kids to put them together?"
Americans have always been fascinated by con men. Why else would we have so many movies about legendary swindlers? Most real-life cons are probably less entertaining than the ones on the silver screen, but in her new book, Amy Reading unearths a historical swindle that rivals anything ever imagined by Hollywood.
To reach Oakhurst, Calif., drive away from the green fields of the Central Valley, past miles of pistachio trees showing their spring buds and up toward the snow-topped peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
Here, just a few miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park, is the Sweetwater Steakhouse, a local watering hole where no one is shy about their opinions of President Obama's signature initiative.
Crowds of people dressed in white and waving yellow flags lined the highway outside the Leon airport in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato to welcome Pope Benedict XVI. They cheered wildly when the grinning, 84-year-old pontiff sped past in his glass-sided popemobile.
The pope began his weeklong trip to Latin America on Friday afternoon. He's spending the weekend in Mexico before heading to Cuba.