Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 3:12 pm
Way, way back in the 20th century, American teenagers turned to the local public library as a great good place to hang out. It was a hotspot for meeting up, and sharing thoughts with, other like-minded people – in books and in the flesh. It was a wormhole in the universe that gave us tunnels into the past and into the future. It was a quiet spot in an ever-noisier world.
As U.S.-Russian relations sour, some observers fear the plan to eliminate Syria's chemical arsenal might stall.
This past week, the removal of chemicals from Syria reached the halfway mark. Without pressure from both superpowers, however, some believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will begin to drag his feet.
"I think what you're likely to see is that the Assad regime will comply just enough, at a slower pace, as it consolidates its hold over the country militarily," says Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 5:59 am
Mercer University's stunning upset of Duke on Friday in the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship ruined most fans' brackets — the guesses they make before the 64 teams face each other about which team's going to win every game.
French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier has done some serious work. In The Clockmaker, a man's adult son commits an act of terrorism. In 'Round Midnight, an aging jazz musician struggles with addictions. And Sunday in the Country is about a man visiting his aging father.
But Tavernier's new film, The French Minister, is a comedy, inspired by both real life and old movies. It's based on a graphic novel the director read in a single night, in the first week the book was published.
The film Noah, with Russell Crowe in the title role, opens in the U.S. March 28. It's already been banned in several Muslim countries for portraying a man considered a prophet, and here in this country it's stirred controversy among some Christians for not being a sufficiently literal telling of the Bible story. NPR's Scott Simon spoke with Rajinder Dudrah, senior lecturer in screen studies at the University of Manchester, on why religious figures in film can cause both fascination and offense.
Narcocorridos are a form of Mexican folk music that tell the tales of drug traffickers. They are tremendously popular in Mexico and the Southwest borderlands. NPR's John Burnett has this story of one ex-Narcocorrido singer who escaped that life and lived to tell the tale.
JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: When Jorge Rivera, stage name El Imperial, watches old images of himself on YouTube these days, he's filled with conflicted feelings.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. U.S. and European leaders have been weighing how to try to tighten economic screws on Russia following its seizure of Crimea. But how much economic pain can the U.S. inflict on Russia without hurting itself in return? We're joined now by Ian Bremmer, who's president of the global risk research firm Eurasia Group. He joins us from New York. Thanks so much for being with us.
The U.S. and Russia are also supposed to be cooperating on Iran. Russia's played an important role in attempting to negotiate restrictions on Iran's nuclear program. But Russia's deputy foreign minister recently suggested that Moscow might change it's position on those talks because of the disagreement over Crimea and Ukraine. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Istanbul. Peter, thanks for being with us.
What will Mr. Putin do next? A lot of people want to know but the question is especially urgent and personal for those living in a country that shares a border with Ukraine and that have a long and bitter history of being invaded, occupied and dominated: Poland. We're joined now by Konstanty Gebert. He's a columnist for Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the leading newspapers in Poland. He joins us from his home in Warsaw. Mr. Gebert, thanks very much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Russian forces have taken a major air force base in the Crimea. Belbek airbase was one of the few military facilities in the Crimean Peninsula that was still controlled by Ukraine after the annexation of the peninsula by Russian forces. NPR's Gregory Warner is in Crimea's capital of Simferopol. Gregory, thanks for being with us.
Amid all the of necessary analysis of what Russia's move into Crimea means geopolitically and strategically, it might also be good to remember Reshat Ametov.
Mr. Ametov was buried this week. He was 39 years old, married and the father of three young children.
He was last seen at a demonstration on March 3 in Simferopol, where he joined other Crimean Tatars held a silent protest before the pro-Russian armed men in unmarked uniforms who surrounded the cabinet ministers building.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: And the upsets keep coming in the NCAA tournament. Do they call it March Madness because Coach K at Duke, probably a little mad at the way his Blue Devils played. ESPN.com's Howard Bryant joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.
Springtime is just about to bloom. So how do you attract a few good-looking birds? To the gardener balcony, that is. We're joined now by Malcie Smith, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He joins us from the studios of the BBC in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Thanks very much for being with us.
MALCIE SMITH: Hi, Scott. You're welcome.
SIMON: What kind of food do you put out this time of year?
SMITH: Just a wide range of nuts and seeds would be quite good. Sunflower seeds particularly are very good.
Grab your spats and your ray gun! It's time for another volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's adventures. Nemo: The Roses of Berlin has everything one looks for in Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's saga: steampunk, alternate history, elements from boys' adventure tales and the flavor of '30s movie serials. The latest episode might better be called the League of Extraordinary Ladies, actually: There's a female protagonist, a female villain and a female robot — the latter none other than the false Maria from the 1927 film Metropolis.
Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 2:05 pm
Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. "The Object Was Not Sighted" Today Australian Authorities Say:
Aircraft searching the Indian Ocean on Saturday for any sign of a Malaysia Airlines jet that's been missing for two weeks did not spot the large object seen in a newly analyzed satellite image, Australia's Maritime Safety Authority reports.
There are budget earmarks from powerful congressmen, earmarks from not-so-powerful congressmen and, as it turns out for an old mining town in Pennsylvania's Appalachians, there's even an earmark from a long-dead congressman.
In the 1960s and 70s, powerful Democrat Daniel Flood worked to find a federal government buyer for the anthracite coal mined in his district. He succeeded: Some five decades later, the heat coming off the radiators at the U.S. military's installation at Kaiserslautern, Germany, is still generated by burning Pennsylvania anthracite.
Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 9:19 am
Two weeks ago this animal was frozen solid. If you found one in the woods, packed in the topsoil, hiding under a leaf, you could pull it from the ground and it would feel like an ashtray. You could bang it (lightly) on a table — it would go, "Konk!" like a rock. It doesn't seem to be breathing. It reacts to nothing. It's so dead. Or seems to be. And then, this (I want to call it a miracle) happens ...
Dune, by Alejandro Jodorowsky, was an ambitious and expensive film that was going to change cinema — and, the filmmaker imagined, the world.
Jodorowsky had already made a name for himself with El Topo in 1970 and The Holy Mountain in 1973, two movies that more or less invented the "midnight movie" phenomenon back when that was a euphemism for tripping.
Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:12 pm
The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is now concentrated in the southern Indian Ocean, with satellite clues bringing aircraft and ships closer to objects that could be the debris from the missing airliner.
But as NPR's Robert Siegel said on All Things Considered Friday, "This is not like finding a needle in a haystack. In this case, the haystack is vast and the needle could be moving."
Before he was the star of a hilarious series of Old Spice commercials, Terry Crews played for the championship Western Michigan University Broncos in Kalamazoo, where we are taping the show this week. He went on to play in the NFL and have a successful acting career, including roles in Everybody Hates Chris, Idiocracy, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.