Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays, 8am - 10am

NPR's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon captures the spirit of Saturday with an informative and worldly blend of news and analysis, and special features including the topics of sports, gardening, entertainment and more.

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Politics
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Congress Takes A Break With Looming To-Do List

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. Congress wrapped up its summer session this week and members headed back to their home district. But with public approval ratings of Congress wallowing in the teens and constant headlines about gridlock, a lot of people might be wondering what exactly did the Congress accomplish anyway? For some answers about congressional actions and what is still unfinished, we are joined by NPR's David Welna. Hiya, David.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Hi, Susan.

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Space
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Anxiety Hovers Over Rover's Mars Landing

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

These are tense times for scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Late Sunday night Pacific Time, they'll learn if nearly a decade of hard work will result in a priceless scientific laboratory landing safely on Mars or if the rover known as Curiosity will turn into a useless pile of junk. Everything depends on what happens during the seven minutes of terror, the time it takes the probe to go from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the planet's surface.

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Sports
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

An Olympic Impression Of London 2012 So Far

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPANDAU BALLET: (Singing) Gold. Always believe in your soul, you've got the power...

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Europe
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Olympics Sets Off British Tears

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

You find out so much about a country, you know, when it's hosting the Olympics. It's almost as if the games lay bare a nation's soul. NPR's Philip Reeves says that is what's happening in Britain. He's finding the experience unnerving, as he explains, in this letter from the Olympics.

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Economy
7:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Economists Cautiously Applaud Jobs Report

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. In an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, the Labor Department told us yesterday that the country gained 163,000 jobs in July. That was better than expected but not all signs are pointing up. In a separate government survey, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3 percent. NPR's Chris Arnold is at a gathering of economists in northern Maine. He sent this report.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:39 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Gathering Of The Viols: The 50th Annual Viola Da Gamba Conclave

Jack Ashworth, Tina Chancey, Lisa Terry and Phillip Serna perform Sunday during the closing banquet of the weeklong conclave at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Scott Mason

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:59 pm

Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.

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World
5:54 am
Sat August 4, 2012

No Space, Mate: Koalas' Habitat Under Threat

A male koala visits the female enclosure at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Koalas are dwindling in number as their habitat along Australia's east coast gives way to urban growth.
Stuart Cohen for NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Earlier this year, the Australian government added the koala to the country's list of endangered species. By some counts, only about 100,000 remain in the wild in a country that once boasted a population in the millions. But many conservationists say the listing doesn't go far enough.

Paul O'Donnell is one of the many volunteers at Friends of the Koala in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore.

"We go out every day for about an hour or so collecting leaf; usually we get about one bin per koala," O'Donnell says.

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The Veepstakes
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Ayotte Would Add Youth, Conservatism As VP Choice

Sen. Kelly Ayotte campaigns with Mitt Romney in Portsmouth, N.H., in April.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

That New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is even being considered as Mitt Romney's running mate is somewhat remarkable. After all, New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, and Ayotte has been a U.S. senator — her first elected office — for less than two years.

But if any senator could be said to possess a refreshing charm, it might be Ayotte, 44, a mother of two young children, who still lives in her hometown of Nashua and is married to a former combat pilot.

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Africa
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Mali's Cultural Heritage, Old And New, Faces Threats

Mali's popular Festival of the Desert, held each year near Timbuktu, attracts both local and international music stars. The festival took place in January, but the Islamists who have taken control of the area have since banned all entertainment.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

Mali is a country rich in culture, both old and new.

The banging of hammers on silver echos through the main crafts market in Bamako, Mali's capital. It's usually teeming in a place where you can buy anything, from silver earrings to batik fabric, all of it handmade.

And despite its remote location, Mali has enhanced its cultural reputation in recent years with an annual international music and arts festival in the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu, drawing both African and Western artists.

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Americandy: Sweet Land Of Liberty
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Grand Ole Goo Goo Sweetens Fans Old And New

The Goo Goo Cluster, a classic gooey treat from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Melisa Goh NPR

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

No one's entirely sure where the Southern treat called the Goo Goo Cluster got its name.

The iconic candy from Nashville, Tenn., celebrates its 100th birthday this year. The confection of marshmallow, peanuts and caramel wrapped in milk chocolate may owe its longevity in part to another Nashville icon: the Grand Ole Opry.

Goo Goo Cluster sponsored the venue's radio broadcasts from 1966 until 2006. In one popular advertisement, stage performers crooned, "Go get a Goo Goo ... it's gooooooood!"

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Opinion
5:53 am
Sat August 4, 2012

India's Blackout A Reminder Of How Far We've Come

A girl prepares a meal by candlelight in Jammu, India, during the massive blackout last week.
Channi Anand AP

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

This week, the world's largest democracy experienced the world's largest power outage. Nearly 700 million — that's more than half a billion — Indians were said to have been without power Tuesday. No air conditioning. No traffic lights. No metro system.

Most of the power is back now, but the outage had resonance for me from the long-ago years when I lived in New Delhi and experienced power failures almost as regularly as I did steaming cups of dark, sweet Indian tea.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Scat Singing To Its Own Tune

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, left to right: Ginny Carr, alto; Robert McBride, tenor; Holly Shockey, soprano; and Andre Enceneat, bass. The group's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig, came out in May.
Michael G. Stewart

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.

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Sports
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

As The Games Begin, A Look At Early Results

NPR's Tom Goldman talks with host Scott Simon about the first medal events, including cycling and swimming.

Sports
7:52 am
Sat July 28, 2012

A British Critique Of The Olympic Opening

The 2012 Olympic Games opened Friday, with a ceremony that included James Bond and Queen Elizabeth parachuting into the stadium, flyovers, rippling Union Jacks, Shakespeare, sheep and fireworks. Host Scott Simon talks to Simon Hoggart, political sketch writer for The Guardian about the opening ceremony.

NPR Story
7:50 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Romney's Olympic Slip-Up: A Lasting Impression?

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Mitt Romney is set to depart from London Saturday, after three days of photo ops and closed meetings. But his assessment of London's handling of the games drew a rebuke from Prime Minister David Cameron. Host Scott Simon chats with Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman about the visit and the perceptions formed by Romney's hosts.

NPR Story
7:50 am
Sat July 28, 2012

On Syria's Front Lines: A Week With The Rebels

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Throughout this week, NPR's Kelly McEvers has been bringing us stories from parts of Syria controlled by the rebels who are fighting to oust the regime of Bashar Assad. She talks with host Scott Simon about her reporting.

NPR Story
7:50 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Test Your Olympic Trivia Knowledge

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Our marathon man of trivia is A.J. Jacobs, who once read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica to learn more and get a book contract. Why didn't he just write 50 Shades of Knowledge? A.J. joins us now to talk about Olympic facts, some of which may actually be true.

A.J., thanks for being with us.

A.J. JACOBS: And thank you for having me.

SIMON: Let's start with the marathon, A.J. Apparently, one of your favorite athletes in history was Spiridon Louis, who was the winner of the first modern marathon back in 1896.

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Food
6:22 am
Sat July 28, 2012

You Won't Throw Tomatoes At These Recipes

Chef Cassy Vires uses heirloom tomatoes like these in her tomato terrine.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 12:50 pm

Late July is peak tomato season in much of the country, so for some fresh and inventive twists on the fruit — and yes, it is botanically a fruit, no matter what the Supreme Court says — we're heading to Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, Mo.

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World
6:21 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Egyptians Break Fast, Beat Heat At The Same Time

Mohamed Godb works at Paradise Juices in a Cairo suburb. One way Egyptians are trying to beat the heat this Ramadan season is breaking the fast by drinking fresh juice.
Kimberly Adams for NPR

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:52 am

On a sweltering day in July, Cairo temperatures top 100 degrees and the humidity is an oppressive 83 percent. There hasn't been a single day this month with a high of less than 90 — in a country where access to air conditioning is much more limited than in the United States.

Add to that the fact that much of the country is fasting for Ramadan and it gives a new dimension to what the Egyptian Meteorological Association calls a "humid heat wave."

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Around the Nation
6:21 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Gang Violence Smolders On Hot Chicago Streets

The Chicago police gang enforcement unit makes an arrest after stopping a car with four suspected gang members in June.
Robert Ray AP

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 6:12 pm

This has been a summer of blood, sweat and tears in Chicago. The city has been scorched by historic heat, and the homicide rate has soared. When the sun goes down behind the glimmering lakeshore skyline, blocks on the South and West Side of the city can ring with shots and sirens.

The streets of neighborhoods like Englewood, Grand Crossing and Garfield Park are empty, even during the day. In the middle of this summer, it is rare to see a child ride a bike or walk a dog.

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