This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The sun is shining in Israel and the Palestinian territories today, a welcome reprieve after a major winter storm. Nearly two feet of snow crippled Jerusalem and Ramallah over the past few days. Floods forced thousands of people in the Gaza Strip to leave their homes.
The rising sectarian violence and general lawlessness in the Central African Republic presents a growing humanitarian concern. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Doctors Without Borders' Sylvain Groulx in the Central African Republic about the the humanitarian and security situation there.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Today was the final goodbye. South Africans and visitors from around the world, including world leaders and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson, descended on the village of Qunu in South Africa's Eastern Cape to bury Nelson Mandela. Of the week long farewell to Mandela, this state funeral in a underdeveloped rural village was arguably the biggest logistical challenge.
Rwanda is a young nation. Some 80 percent of the population there is under the age of 35. That means most of them weren't even teenagers when the country endured the genocide that killed hundreds of thousands almost 20 years ago. President Paul Kagame is credited with rebuilding the African country's government and economy. But young people, call them the post-reconstruction generation, can take credit for reconstructing something else: Rwanda's music scene.
Iran says it will continue to negotiate over its nuclear program, despite a U.S. decision to expand its blacklist to include more than a dozen firms doing business with Iran's national tanker company.
Iran, if you remember, struck a temporary six-month deal with world powers that paused some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Iran had said that any new sanctions would kill the prospects for a long-term deal.
Each year, millions of people from different faiths make religious journeys. They travel far, to Mecca, Jerusalem, the Ganges River or Lourdes, France, to walk the paths of prophets, saints and martyrs.
"Pilgrimage is something built into the human condition," says George Weigel, author of Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches. "There seems to be something hardwired into us, spiritually, that the idea of a journey from A to B becomes part of the rhythm of the spiritual life."
Princess Vinnea, guardian of plant life (left), and Princess Terra, protector of the land, examine one of many "gulavores" plaguing the land of Hortensis in the children's book <em>Princess Vinnea and the Gulavores</em>.
Credit Courtesy Setsu Shigematsu
The Guardian Princesses, created by University of California, Riverside, professor Setsu Shigematsu, are a multi-ethnic group of heroines who each protect a different aspect of nature.
The princess industry is lucrative: DVDs, dresses, crowns, theme parties. But the story of going to the ball and waiting for Prince Charming is outdated.
So one Southern California mom has created a new princess series with modern sensibilities. Creator Setsu Shigematsu recasts princesses as environmentally conscious and not waiting around to be rescued.
At the heart of her series, The Guardian Princess Alliance, is what animates any fairy tale: simple storytelling.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You'll be given a clue for the word. Besides giving you a direct hint to the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "push over hard," you would say "shove."
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
In 2008, attorney Kimberly Motley picked up and left her native Milwaukee, where she lived with her husband and two kids, and moved to Kabul. It wasn't just the first time she's been to a conflict zone, it was the first time she'd ever been out of the country.
Once again, French television screens are full of images of joyous Africans welcoming French troops.
In January, the French military intervened in Mali to help liberate large swaths of the country from radical jihadists. Now, for the second time this year, France has sent troops into an African country to quell violence.
Last week, French soldiers went into the Central African Republic to stop sectarian killings. In news reports from the Central African Republic, crowds yell, "Vive la France!" as they run out to greet convoys of French soldiers.
As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. Numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we're living in, right now. Over the next two weeks, you'll hear the stories behind numbers, ranging from zero to 1 trillion.
The lowest number of polio cases ever recorded in the world during one year was 223. And 2013 was on track for an even lower number.
I came to Amis late. I wasn't born when he published his most esteemed book, Money, and I was a 4-year-old with no great passion for Holocaust novels when Time's Arrow was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Amis has always divided critics (all writers worth their salt do), and by the time I read him in the late-noughties the naysayers were beginning to form a grumbling consensus. I quickly found that loving Amis meant having to fight his corner.
Born in Los Angeles, Suzette Field moved to England in 1996 and founded the Modern Times Club cabaret. She is the tribune of the Last Tuesday Society, an event promotion company and curiosity shop in London.
Throwing a perfect holiday party is no simple task. Do you want a swanky cocktail party, an intimate dinner party, or a huge New Year's bash? A whole host of decisions revolve around the menu — and don't forget your gluten-free or vegan invitees. Then there's the decor (is tinsel too much?), the music (festive, but not cheesy) and, of course, the guest list.
Mitt Romney speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 15. New research suggests Democrats and Republicans had different perceptions of his physical appearance during the 2012 election.
It's clear that Republicans and Democrats had different political opinions about Mitt Romney. But did Romney literally look different to the two sides? A forthcoming study suggests that might be the case.
According to new research from Ohio State University psychologists, individual political biases might have caused 2012 GOP presidential nominee's physical appearance to appear different to Republicans and Democrats.
Most of us like to think we comport ourselves with a certain level of civility. But apparently, phone calls with customer service representatives of all stripes can lead us into more colorful speech. And some people like to track it.
"There's just something about big data and sailor-cursing that complement each other — like peanut butter and mothereffing jelly," writes Megan Garber of The Atlantic.
Large video screens were set up around the village of Qunu for the more than 4,000 mourners who gathered for the service.
Credit Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
The coffin of South African former president Nelson Mandela is brought on a gun carriage for a traditional burial during his funeral in Qunu on Sunday.
Credit Odd Andersen / AFP/Getty Images
Nelson Mandela's casket was escorted to the funeral service by senior members of South Africa's military.
Credit Odd Andersen / AFP/Getty Images
Ahmed Kathrada knew Mandela as a longtime fellow prisoner and ANC activist. He spoke of Mandela and another ANC leader, Walter Sisulu, who died a decade ago. With both now dead, he said, "My life is in a void. I don't know who to turn to."
Originally published on Sun December 15, 2013 5:09 pm
Updated at 6:22 a.m. ET
Under a sunny African sky, Nelson Mandela was buried Sunday on a hill overlooking his beloved boyhood village. Members of his clan, national leaders and a global audience bid farewell to the man who transformed his country and became one of the world's most revered figures.
The burial marked the culmination of 10 days of mourning and tributes to Mandela's remarkable journey, which began and ended in Qunu. Home to a few hundred farmers, the village is little-changed since Mandela's childhood.
Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 9:40 am
Celebrate the Jewish holiday with Hanukkah Lights — selected stories commissioned by NPR. In this edition, a young boy learns that bigger and brighter things are not necessarily better; a lonely and alienated immigrant finds hope for the future while searching for potatoes to use in her family's Hanukkah latkes; an aging couple exchange awkwardly ironic Hanukkah presents; two men engage in a lively discussion over the traditions of the menorah and discover the healing power of an argument; and a precious gift leads to the reunion of old friends and a reconciliation of ancient cultures.
Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston won the 2013 Heisman Trophy as college football's best player. He's shown here in a Nov. 2 game against Miami.
Credit Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images
The Heisman Trophy finalists pose with the award Saturday. From left are Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Auburn running back Tre Mason, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Boston College quarterback Andre Williams and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the nation's top-rated passer who led his team to college football's title game in his first season, was named the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Saturday as the country's best collegiate player.
Winston, 19, became the youngest player and second straight redshirt freshman to win the award, following Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Winston completed nearly 68 percent of his passes for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Undefeated Florida State plays Auburn in the Jan. 6 Bowl Championship Series title game.
British-Iranian comedian and actor Omid Djalili gained a degree of fame in the United States talking about and even joking about issues of terrorism and the Middle East following 9/11. After several years and success in Britain, he's coming back to the States.
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 4:19 pm
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.
This week, Ozy co-founder Carlos Watson tells NPR's Arun Rath about a gangster-turned-astrophysicist and a race car driver working to making science "sexy" again. Plus, a look at the changing landscape of African art — no tribal masks allowed.
Thanks again for listening. This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
RATH: That is one of the most celebrated voices the world has ever heard, the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Khan died in 1997, but his recordings continue to inspire. Artists like jazz flautist Jamie Baum.