Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 2:38 pm
Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat. It's hard to speak of one and not mention the other. They were inextricably linked by the Israel-Palestinian conflict, symbolizing a feud so enduring it's now outlasted two of its most prominent protagonists.
Neither would appreciate being compared to the other. But you could track the conflict from its earliest days to its present state by charting the lives of Sharon, who died Saturday, and Arafat, who was recently in the news following the latest inquiries into the still-fuzzy cause of his 2004 death.
Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 3:26 pm
In the end, Mark Darr had to give in.
Darr, the Republican lieutenant governor of Arkansas, announced Friday that he will resign Feb 1. Earlier this month, he agreed to pay the state ethics commission $11,000 in fines for making personal use of campaign funds and receiving improper expense reimbursements from the state.
Darr called his errors "careless and lazy," but said they were not intentional violations of the law. In a series of interviews with Arkansas news outlets Tuesday, Darr said he would refuse to resign.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
The biggest show in Vegas this week wasn't Celine Dion or DJ Afrojack. It was the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual show where buyers, journalists and consumers get a first look at new tech products that are about to hit the market. Snoop Dogg was there, Secretary of Commerce Pritzker was there. And so was NPR's Steve Henn, who joined us as the show was packing up, from the floor of the Consumer Electronic Show on Friday. Steve, thanks so much for being with us.
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:
The movie August: Osage County has just opened, with its all-star cast.
Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and more play various members of the Weston clan. They converge on their Oklahoma home when the patriarch, Beverly, who is a poet somewhat past his rhymes, goes missing.
His wife, Violet, gobbles pills, some of which are for the pain of mouth cancer and some of which are just because.
Hayley Kincain is 15 years old and on the run — with her father, Andy.
He's come home from the war in Iraq, both honored for his service and haunted by it. He drinks and does drugs, can't hold a job, is unreliable behind the wheel of his big rig, and often seems to be the real adolescent in the family. Father and daughter try to stop running by moving back to Andy's hometown in upstate New York. But the war still goes on inside of him, and threatens to make Hayley one more casualty.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Yesterday's jobs report came as something of a surprise after several months of positive economic news. Employers added just 74,000 jobs. Economists had been expecting businesses to generate nearly three times that many. A few people were heartened by the fact that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008. As NPR's Chris Arnold reports, the numbers reflect that many of the long-term unemployed have simply given up looking for work.
This week, the war in Syria jumped two borders - East into Iraq and west into Lebanon. And the combatants come in at all three countries, but belong to an extremist group affiliated with al Qaida, know by the name ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. Now, they claimed a car bombing in Lebanon and seized parts of two towns in Iraq's Anbar Province. But in Syria, the homegrown rebel groups mounted a surprising challenge to the extremists, kicking them out of some safe havens in Northern Syria.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I'm going to take this moment to remember the life of Ariel Sharon, Israel's former prime minister. Mr. Sharon suffered a devastating stroke in 2006 at the height of his political power. He died today after spending years in a coma. Former ambassador Dennis Ross has played a leading role in shaping U.S. policy on Israel and the Middle East and he first met Ariel Sharon in 1982, and joins us now. Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for being with us.
Saturday's NFL playoffs pits Tom Brady's Patriots against the Colts and the Seahawks against the Saints. Over on the other side of the world, will Serena serve herself into history — again? NPR's Scott Simon talks with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, about the sports stories of the week and sports to come.
So people still smoke in spite of the many good reasons not to. It certainly is addictive, but the cigarette also has a certain allure. Think of a man leaning into to light a lady's cigarette, or the pack preferred in a tense moment. Cigarettes are part of our culture. Richard Klein has written a book about that, "Cigarettes are Sublime." He joins us from New York City. Thanks so much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Fifty years ago, the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health came out, and said that smoking is bad for you. So much has changed since then. Cigarette jingles and commercials, gone now from the airwaves. Warnings are on cigarette packs; taxes on cigarettes are huge in many states.
Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering figure in the history of Israel as a soldier and politician, died on Saturday. He was 85.
His death was announced by Shlomo Noy, the director of Sheba Medical Center where Sharon was being treated. Sharon had been in a coma since he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 during the last Israeli election campaign, in which he was assured of re-election.
Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:32 am
I don't remember how old I was when I discovered some of the more harrowing chapters of human history — the Holocaust and American slavery — but I do remember convincing my young self that I would have been brave had I lived in those times. I would have hidden my Jewish friend Anne Frank; I would have been a station on the Underground Railroad. I would have stood up for humanity and against injustice.
When does our brain become our mind? Our heart? How does it become us, whatever we are? And how do we live with memories when they begin to burst inside?
E.L. Doctorow's new novel is called Andrew's Brain, and it plunges inside the brain of a man who tells the story of trying to outrun the memories rattling around in there, of a disaster he blames on himself, a daughter he couldn't hold close, and an indelible crime that overwhelms his world.
The old bathroom building behind Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in rural Vacherie, La., was little more than a shack. Hurricane Rita almost knocked it down in 2005. It finally got bulldozed in October.
Some members of the parish say that was long overdue.
When the bathroom building went up in 1959, one set of doors was painted white; the others were a different color. Ushers would follow black parishioners outside to make sure they entered the correct door.
In the room he uses as a practice space and office in his apartment in Corona, Queens, Jimmy Heath recalls a hit record from long ago.
"It's a song Bill Farrell, a popular singer, had years ago," he says, and then sings: "You've changed, you're not the angel I once knew / No need to tell me that we're through / It's all over now, you've changed." Then the 5'3" musician with the big sound picks up his tenor saxophone and blows.
Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus isn't yet saying how many customers might be at risk, but it is confirming that a breach of credit card data took place. The company says it learned of "potentially unauthorized payment card activity" before Christmas. The company says it is working with federal investigators, and a forensics team is trying to determine the size of the breach.
Nevada's big casinos are on a losing streak. For the fifth straight year, the state's largest casinos are reporting net losses – in this case, a total of $1.35 billion in the most recent fiscal year. That's the news from a report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board Friday, which focuses on casinos that gross at least $1 million in gaming revenue.
Just as the Senate seemed to descend into another round of partisan gridlock, this time over extending emergency jobless benefits, the arrival of a surprisingly weak December jobs report raised the pressure on Congress to act.
The question is whether news that the economy created a mere 74,000 jobs last month — far fewer than the 200,000 forecasters predicted — delivered enough of a jolt to Capitol Hill, where what seemed like bipartisan progress on the issue early in the week had reverted to partisan nastiness.
While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.
That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.