South African paralympian Oscar Pistorius goes on trial next week for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Guardian reporter David Smith about the upcoming court case.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
We're going to begin this hour with a developing situation in Crimea. Russian Parliment has approved President Vladimir Putin's request to send Russian troops into Ukraine. Now Russia has a naval base in Crimea, a semiautonomous region that is predominately pro-Russian. The request did not specify when or how many troops might be deployed but armed men in uniform are already on the ground.
And we are joined in the studio now by Ambassador Thomas Pickering. He has served his nation in many different posts, including U.S. ambassador to Russia. He was also, of course, the U.S. representative of the United Nations. Mr. Ambassador, thanks so much for being with us.
THOMAS PICKERING: Good morning, Scott.
SIMON: You just heard our correspondent on the ground in Kiev. President Obama said there will be costs. What could that be?
Professor Longhair's house has been saved. Now, last year we brought you a story about the piano legend and the nationwide effort to rebuild his home following Hurricane Katrina. Henry Roeland Byrd, better known as Professor Longhair, is widely considered to be the father of modern New Orleans music. He died in 1980, but at carnival time especially, it's evident that Professor Longhair's influence endures. Now, his house will too. Gwen Thompkins brings us this story of music and more.
Konrad Wert is a teacher by day, but when he plays his country-folk songs for fans in his home of Austin, Texas and elsewhere, he goes by the moniker Possessed By Paul James. In truth, "Paul James" is a fiction, a combination of the names of Wert's father and grandfather. Those who have seen him perform, however, would agree he seems possessed by something.
Online personality quizzes are going viral. The website BuzzFeed says their quizzes, which ask questions like which Harry Potter character are you or which city should you actually live in, break Web traffic records. But are these seemingly silly and inconsequential quizzes only for fun? With tens of millions of people filling them out, it could be a marketer's dream.
Contractors working for the state of Washington are planning a high-stakes operation to rescue Bertha — the world's largest tunneling machine.
Bertha is supposed to be boring a 2-mile highway tunnel under downtown Seattle, but it got stuck in December.
Bertha is on Seattle's waterfront, between South Main and South Jackson streets, about 60 feet straight down. At first, they thought the machine was being stymied by a big glacial rock. Then attention focused on the chewed-up remains of a metal pipe. But now it seems Bertha's ailment is mechanical.
Social media monitoring started in the world of marketing, allowing companies to track what people were saying about their brands. But now, with software that allows users to scan huge volumes of public postings on social media, police are starting to embrace it as well.
Many police departments in Britain use a product sold by CrowdControlHQ. CEO James Leavesley says the company is in the business of monitoring "social media risk."
Pelicans have the life. They live by the water, fly over the ocean, and eat lots of fish. Among humans, only T.C. from Magnum P.I. comes close to matching them. And he's just a fictional character, played by Roger E. Mosley.
Idaho's Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has signed a bill that criminalizes the act of secretly filming animal abuse at agricultural facilities. The move comes days after the state's legislature approved the measure.
"Otter, a rancher, said the measure promoted by the dairy industry 'is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood,'" according to the AP.
From a young age, Warren Wolf studied piano and drums, and you can still see him gig on those instruments. But the Baltimore native and resident has made his biggest mark as a vibraphone and marimba player — whether with Christian McBride's Inside Straight group, or with the SFJAZZ Collective, or, increasingly, as a bandleader himself. His 2013 album Wolfgang, his second LP, turns up the spotlight on his composing, and his Wolfpack band showcases his mallets up front.
On Friday's All Things Considered, Bob Mondello and I — fresh off our run of video salutes to Internet comments — chat with Melissa Block about what, if anything, is satisfying about the Oscars.
Bob points out the difficulty in bringing yourself to care about a contest that so often leaves out the worthiest contenders; I make the best case I can for Oscar season as a potential time of discovery; and we consider a couple of canards about best picture that might help you pick a winner.
Earlier this month, reporters at Bloomberg and the Financial Times suggested that we might be nearing "peak salmon" — a play on peak oil, in which we theoretically reach maximum production, and the only direction left to go is down.
Their logic? The price for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of Norwegian farmed salmon at the end of 2013 was 50 percent higher than it had been the previous year.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:46 pm
Saying that the United States is "deeply concerned" by reports that Russia is taking military action in Ukraine, President Obama urged Russia not to intervene in the destabilized country, where tensions have reached new highs this week.
Obama said that he had spoken to Russia's President Putin in recent days, to foster cooperation in coping with the situation.
A photo from Syria is grabbing the world's attention: a sea of people lining up for food amid the rubble of a Palestinian refugee camp inside Syria.
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia was so moved by the image, he took to the Senate floor, saying "a country of 23 million people, a proud country, is being transformed before our eyes to a land of rubble, skeletons, refugees and ghosts."
The Grammy Award-winning Bobby McFerrin joins host Michael Feinstein to talk about his musical evolution. In addition to demonstrations of his a cappella style, McFerrin performs a number of songs from Porgy and Bess and shares a bluegrass track from his 2013 album Spirityouall.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:41 pm
George Prescott Bush.
Ring a bell?
It should, and if it doesn't, it soon will. George P. Bush, 37, is a great-grandson of a late U.S. senator from Connecticut; a grandson and nephew of former U.S. presidents; and the eldest son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who just may run for president himself in 2016.
On Tuesday, George P., referred to by some as the "Hispanic George Bush" because of his mother's Mexican heritage, will take his generation's first crack at the family business when he runs in a statewide Republican primary for Texas land commissioner.
It's Carnival this weekend in Brazil. While it costs hundreds of dollars just to get a bad seat in Rio de Janeiro, the northern city of Recife hosts the most unique and varied celebration in the country, with two million people expected to attend.
This week's headlines have been dominated by the violent protests in Kiev, the ousting of President Victor Yanukovych, and the amassing of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border. Writer Anthony Marra says that if Soviet war journalist Vasily Grossman were alive today, he'd likely be breaking news from Independence Square.
87-year-old John Dingell, the longest-serving member in the history of Congress, retires at the end of his current term. When he goes, another Dingell hopes to win his seat. Today, in the city of Dearborn, in the heart of Michigan's 12th district, Debbie Dingell, the congressman's wife, announced her candidacy. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.