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Middle East
5:18 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Syrian Rebel Leader: We Won't Share U.S. Arms With Extremists

Free Syrian Army fighters sit behind an anti-aircraft weapon in Aleppo, Syria, in February. The rebels say U.S.-provided weapons would help in their fight against Bashar Assad's regime.
Abdullah al-Yassin AP

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 11:01 am

The Obama administration says it's considering providing arms to rebels fighting to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad if the U.S. can confirm his forces did in fact use the debilitating nerve gas sarin in recent attacks. Coupled with news that Israel reportedly launched an airstrike at a target in Syria to prevent a shipment of missiles from reaching Hezbollah, these events could represent a game changer in the conflict-ravaged nation.

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Music
5:17 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Big Songs, Big Hype (Oh Yeah, They're Women)

Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches performs at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, in March.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 1:19 pm

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Star Wars Fans 'Use The Fourth' To Celebrate

Fans are celebrating Star Wars Day today, May 4. Here, actor David Prowse (center), who played Darth Vader in the first Star Wars trilogy, poses with costumed fans in France last week.
Thierry Zoccolan AFP/Getty Images

Today is May 4, unofficially known as Star Wars Day — seemingly for the lone reason that it presents an opportunity for people to tell one another, "May the Fourth be with you." But fans of the George Lucas films are also using the day as an excuse to break out costumes and photos, and generally let their Jedi flag fly.

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Around the Nation
4:52 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Times Square's Naked Cowboy Wrangles Some Co-Workers

The original Naked Cowboy, Robert Burck (second from right), shows off with new naked cowfolk, from left, Karen Munos, Titus Gandy, Alejandra Quinones and Patricia Burck in New York's Times Square.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 10:21 am

In the bustle and craziness of New York's Times Square on a busy afternoon or night, you will see scores of costumed figures: Batman, Elmo, the Statue of Liberty.

But for more than a dozen years, arguably the most original of these is the Naked Cowboy. His fame has now spawned a franchise, with eight different cowboys and cowgirls.

Almost anytime you go to Times Square, you will see the original Naked Cowboy in a white cowboy hat, white boots and white underwear briefs, with the words "Naked Cowboy" written across his butt. That's all he's wearing.

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Around the Nation
4:52 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Schools On Military Bases Also Fall Victim To Sequester Cuts

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 5:28 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It's been two months since the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration officially went into effect. The decision on that was made here in Washington, but the effects are being felt all over the country. Take, for example, a chunk of money called impact aid.

JACK BOOGAARD: There's three different kids that can receive this type of money called impact aid.

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

To Silence Discontent, Chinese Officials Alter Workweek

Protesters demonstrate against plans for a factory to produce paraxylene, a toxic chemical used to make fabrics, in China's Yunnan province on Saturday. In nearby Chengdu, planned protests were thwarted.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:03 am

How do you prevent protests in China? Move the weekend.

That's the Orwellian step taken by local authorities in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. May 4 is a sensitive date commemorating an influential student movement in 1919. It's especially potent in Chengdu, where it marks the fifth anniversary of a protest against the construction of a $6 billion crude oil refinery and petrochemical facility in Pengzhou, 25 miles away.

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Sports
3:34 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Kentucky Derby: Rain-Soaked Track Awaits A New Champion

Joel Rosario rides Orb during the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday in Louisville, Ky. The odds-on favorite won the race.
Morry Gash AP

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 7:01 pm

Update at 6:45 p.m. Orb Takes Derby Title:

Favored heavily 5-1 prior to the race, Orb has taken the title of the 139th Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The win gives Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first victory in the race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.

"It's like living a dream," Orb's jockey, Joel Rosario, told NBC after the race, calling it "a perfect trip."

The other top finishers were Golden Soul in second, Revolutionary in third and Normandy Invasion in fourth place.

Orb ran the 1 1/4 mile race in 2:02.89.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Seven U.S. Troops Die In Attacks In Afghanistan

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 9:30 am

A roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan killed five members of the U.S. Army Saturday, according to military officials. The International Security Assistance Force says an improvised explosive device was used in the attack.

Update at 5:15 p.m. EDT. Another Deadly Attack:

An Afghan National Army soldier "turned his weapon on coalition troops in the west, killing two in the most recent of so-called insider attacks, the AP reports. NPR has confirmed that both victims of that attack are American.

Our original post continues:

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Arts + Life
12:07 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

A 'Decadent And Depraved' Derby With Hunter S. Thompson

When illustrator Ralph Steadman accepted an assignment with writer Hunter S. Thompson at the Kentucky Derby, he never imagined the weekend that would ensue. Here, Steadman depicts the race's winner, a colt named Dust Commander.
Ralph Steadman

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 6:27 pm

In the spring of 1970, a British illustrator named Ralph Steadman had just moved to America, hoping to find some work. His first call came from a small literary journal called Scanlan's. It was looking for a cartoonist to send to the Kentucky Derby. Steadman had heard of neither the race nor the writer he was to accompany, a fellow named Hunter S. Thompson.

Steadman hadn't read any of Thompson's work, and he certainly didn't know that the writer had a bit of a drinking tendency, but he agreed to go.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Sat May 4, 2013

World War II Code Is Broken, Decades After POW Used It

As a prisoner of war, Sub Lieut. John Pryor encrypted information and requests for supplies in letters sent from a German camp to his family in Cornwall.
Plymouth University

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:04 am

It's been 70 years since the letters of John Pryor were understood in their full meaning. That's because as a British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, Pryor's letters home to his family also included intricate codes that were recently deciphered for the first time since the 1940s.

Pryor's letters served their purpose in World War II, as Britain's MI9 agents decoded the messages hidden within them — requests for supplies, notes about German activities — before sending them along to Pryor's family in Cornwall.

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Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Maron, Violent Minds And A Classic Documentary

Marc Maron, whose latest book is Attempting Normal, is also the author of The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life As a Reluctant Messiah.
Leigh Righton Spiegel & Grau

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 12:44 pm

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:

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Shifts In Weather And Strategy Help Slow Springs Wildfire

Standing on a rooftop, a man looks at the Springs fire's approaching flames in California Friday. The wildfire, reportedly, 20 percent contained, might be weakened by high humidity and cooler temperatures Saturday.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 12:11 pm

Firefighters in Southern California are welcoming the latest weather forecast, as lower temperatures and higher humidity could help them control the Camarillo Springs Fire. But the wildfire along the coast remains formidable: It has reportedly burned at least 43 square miles of land and property, nearly doubling in size Friday.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sat May 4, 2013

As Syria Melts Down, Ice Cream Shop Sets Up In Jordan

Employees scoop ice cream, which is topped with pistachios, at Bakdash's opening in Amman, Jordan, this week. Bakdash has been a landmark in Damascus, Syria, since 1895. But the war there has made it hard to get supplies, so the owners have set up a new shop in Amman.
Nabih Bulos for NPR

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 1:15 am

Bakdash is a landmark in the Syrian capital, serving the Arab world's most famous ice cream since 1895. Manually churned with wooden paddles, loaded with milk, sugar and a generous coating of pistachios, Bakdash ice cream is memorable treat for any visitor to Damascus.

But, when a branch opened this week in Amman, Jordan, it was seen as another casualty of the Syrian war.

"It means there is no sense of security and safety in Damascus," says journalist Fahd al Kheytaan, "which forced the company to move some of its operation to Jordan."

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Children's Health
6:02 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Bulletproof Whiteboards And The Marketing Of School Safety

This type of bulletproof whiteboard, produced by the Maryland company Hardwire, has been purchased by a Minnesota school district.
Hardwire, LLC

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 8:58 pm

A recent news item out of Minnesota caught our eye: "Bulletproof Whiteboards Unveiled at Rocori Schools."

Bulletproof what? Where?

That would be whiteboards, at the small central Minnesota Rocori School District, which will spend upward of $25,000 for the protective devices produced by a company better known for its military armor products.

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U.S.
5:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

At NRA Convention, Dueling Narratives Displayed With Guns

An ammunition display at the NRA's annual convention in Houston on Friday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 12:50 pm

The National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention in Houston this weekend. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend for speeches and demos and acres of guns, ammo and camo.

The NRA is coming off of a major victory: the defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate. While the talk in the convention hall is about keeping up the fight and staying true to the Constitution, a small protest against gun violence is being held outside.

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Sports
5:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Confessions Of A Kentucky Derby Gate-Crasher

Stephen Johnstone and his niece, Sarah, crashed the Kentucky Derby celebration together in 2008.
Courtesy of Stephen Johnstone

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 1:21 pm

On Saturday night, 150,000 people will pack Louisville's Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby. But only a few will celebrate the victory from the winner's circle.

Stephen Johnstone has experienced that celebration many times. He's been in the winner's circle with the winning families, jockeys and governors — but not once was he invited.

Johnstone is a retired gate-crasher. The first time he crashed the Kentucky Derby was in 1963. Johnstone and several college friends slipped underneath a fence at Churchill Downs.

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All Tech Considered
5:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Please Don't Delete This Interview About Spam

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 11:53 am

Open up your email on any given morning and you might get two or three notes from friends — and twice as many from people trying to sell you energy pills, offshore real estate or virility enhancers.

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Middle East
5:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Places Transformed: Syrian Refugees Overwhelm Camps, Towns

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 11:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
5:47 am
Sat May 4, 2013

On Mexico Trip, Obama Maintains Economic Focus

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 11:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Costa Rica today. He's talking with leaders of Central American nations about security and economic trade. Yesterday, the president wrapped up a two-day visit in Mexico, where he tried to steer the focus away from contentious issues like immigration and drug violence. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: During their quick visit, Presidents Obama and Pena Nieto stuck to their focus: the economy.

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NPR Story
5:47 am
Sat May 4, 2013

'The Great Gatsby': Retold Again, With A Distinct Treatment

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 11:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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