This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Last week, the Justice Department put the breaks on a deal that could create the world's largest airline. The government has blocked a proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways with a lawsuit. The action elicited some surprise because the airline industry has had a major run of mergers in recent years.
On Aug. 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender to Allied forces, putting an end to World War II. With the peace deal, Japan was forced to demilitarize.
Now, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is suggesting it may be time for Japan to shake off its postwar identity. This past week, Abe sent senior officials to a shrine glorifying Japan's soldiers, including some who were prosecuted for war crimes. The government of China protested. South Korea, which also suffered under Japan during the war, is concerned as well.
China executes more people each year than the rest of the world put together. That's according to human rights groups. China's government doesn't release execution figures, but it appears that executions in China are declining. Last year, an estimated 3,000 people were put to death. That's down from an average of 15,000 per year in the 1990s. In the 1980s, 24,000 people were sentenced to death in one year alone.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In Egypt, an emergency cabinet meeting is scheduled for today and more anti-government marches are planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. The government says 173 people were killed in recent days, bringing the week's death toll to nearly 800, with more than a thousand arrested. As international criticism of the violence mounts, Egypt's stock market opened sharply lower and businesses are suspending operations out of security concerns.
The violence that has gripped Egypt since the removal of President Mohamed Morsi has increased tensions between the majority Sunni Muslims and minority Christian communities. Reverend Mikhail is a Christian pastor in Alexandria. For safety concerns he asked us not to use his first name or the name of his church.
Reverend, first of all thank you very much for joining us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. At least 800 people have been killed in Egypt since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi last month and the subsequent protests launched by his supporters. Yesterday, a Cairo mosque was the scene of a struggle between police and soldiers and Morsi supporters who had taken shelter there.
Off the coast of Southern California, on Santa Catalina Island, the vacation town of Avalon is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer. NPR's Kirk Siegler paid a visit and he met a man who keeps once piece of the town's history alive.
This weekend, the city of Atlanta kicked off its own celebration to mark the anniversary. People gathered at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site and at the Center for Nonviolence. This is the beginning of more than a week of national events to commemorate King's "I Have a Dream," speech.
As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports, the festivities started in the city where King was born.
The Martin Luther King Junior memorial in Washington, D.C. will be ready for the 50th anniversary of the civil rights March on Washington. The sculpture, which looks out on the city's tidal basin has been covered in scaffolding to correct an inscription on the monument. Since it was put up in 2011, it has had a truncated version of a quotation from a speech King gave in 1968.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 9:48 am
Can there be any experience more kaleidoscopic in its emotions, more full of hopes and fears and just plain confusions, than that of coming to America? I'm no expert, certainly — but my research on immigration for my recent novel, as well as my own family history, points to a process of continual surprises, endless adjustments, and, at times, exhausting isolation. Old habits crash up against new ideas; the desire for a "clean slate" is betrayed by the inevitable baggage of a former life.
Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 4:20 pm
The raucous comedy Austenland, in theaters this week, pokes fun at Americans' reverence for what they have been taught to see as a gracious British heritage — muslin, bonnets, tea time at the stately home with the blue-bloods, good manners.
As well it might. For most of the English 99-percenters I grew up with, heritage meant feet up in front of the telly, watching Top of the Pops.
Ushio Shinohara is best known for his "boxing paintings" — performance pieces often created for an audience, in which he strikes at his canvases with gloves dipped in pigments — and for his fanciful, brightly colored <a href="http://artasiamerica.org/works/6024/68">sculptures of motorcycles</a> adorned with all manner of extras.
The small-scale intimacy of the documentary <em>Cutie and the Boxer </em>belies the outsize creativity of its Brooklyn-based subjects: the artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. He made his name as a bad-boy rebel beginning in the 1950s; she's only recently emerged from his professional shadow.
Noriko Shinohara, known to friends and audiences alike as Cutie, paints sprawling comic-style narratives on the walls of the galleries where she's invited to exhibit. They chronicle the adventures of a couple called Bullie and Cutie, who may or may not be reflections of her and her husband.
Japanese painter and sculptor Ushio Shinohara was the bad boy of the avant-garde when he came to the U.S. more than 50 years ago. He knew Andy Warhol, hung with Red Grooms and polarized audiences with his vivid work.
And Ushio met his wife, Noriko Shinohara, not long after arriving here. She's an artist, too, but she's spent most of her career living in his shadow.
Less so recently, though. Noriko is coming into her own. And now the story of their life together is the subject of an intimate new documentary called Cutie and the Boxer.
The Obama administration is in a difficult situation with its Egypt policy.
President Obama, who often talks about free speech and human rights, has cancelled joint military exercises with Egypt but has stopped short of cutting off aid to the Egyptian military. As the violence continues in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, all sides seem unhappy with the U.S. approach.
In 2009, on his first trip to the Middle East as president, in the same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama spoke of a new approach to relations with the Islamic world.
Supporters of the deposed Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, carry an injured demonstrator who was shot during clashes in Ramses Square in Cairo on Friday. Dozens were killed nationwide in escalating violence.
Credit AMR ABDALLAH DALSH / Reuters /Landov
An army officer escorts an Islamist man from Cairo's Fateh mosque on Saturday. Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi holed up in the mosque on Friday, instigating a standoff with security forces surrounding the building.
Credit Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP/Getty Images
Egyptians lie on the ground after being injured during clashes between security forces and Morsi supporters in Ramses Square in Cairo on Friday.
Credit Khalil Hamra / AP
Egyptian army soldiers take their positions around Tahrir Square in central Cairo on Friday.
Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 10:27 am
For two years, the conversation on Egypt centered on how to build a democracy. Suddenly the discussion has turned much darker, with some wondering aloud whether the largest Arab nation is hurtling toward civil war.
The bloody crackdown by Egypt's security forces has raised the specter of a protracted conflict pitting the military against the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most powerful political force.
Egypt's escalating crisis is far too volatile for any declarative statements, analysts say. But here are three possible scenarios that could play out:
Tales of Jesse James's exploits have grown to almost mythological proportions since the actual man and his gang galloped over the plains stealing horses, holding up trains, and robbing banks in the years after the Civil War. Shot All To Hell: Jesse James, The Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape is a new book about the legendary man.
Amid violence in Egypt, there are reportedly calls for dismantling the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Guest host Don Gonyea speaks with Shadi Hamid, the director of research for the Brookings Doha Center, about political and security issues in the country.
Security forces cleared a central Cairo Mosque Saturday, where hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi had gathered overnight. Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been arrested, charged with murder and terrorism. Guest host Don Gonyea speaks with NPR's Peter Kenyon about the ongoing crisis.
If the past few months have taught us anything, it's that everything we do online leaves a digital trail. While it may seem like there's not much we can do about it, there are some tech companies that are working to obscure that trail a little bit, with a process known as encryption.
Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 6:47 pm
Kansas City Royals infielder Miguel Tejada has been suspended by order of the commissioner of baseball after he was found to be in violation of Major League Baseball's drug program.
Marc Garber of member station WNYC says Tejada, 39, will get a 105-game suspension — one of the longest in major league history — after he reportedly tested positive on multiple occasions for Adderall, an amphetamine used to treat attention-deficit disorder.
"There is no question that there is a civil war that is waging within the party."
That Republican conflict, political science professor David Cohen adds, isn't between just two sides, but among a number of factions, including libertarians.
One of the most public battles has involved national security and civil liberties. Leaks about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs raised alarms for libertarians about the government's reach.
Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 2:10 pm
The Muslim Brotherhood, which has a presence in dozens of Muslim countries, has been banned, repressed or restricted for much of its more than eight-decade history in Egypt, the place where it was born.
Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 6:31 pm
Alabama has snagged the top spot in The Associated Press preseason college football poll as the team sets its sights on a third-straight national title.
The AP writes:
"The [Crimson] Tide received 58 of 60 first-place votes from the media panel to easily outdistance No. 2 Ohio State and match Florida in 2009 for the highest percentage of first-place votes received in the 63-year history of the preseason rankings.
Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 7:06 am
Elissa Schappell is the author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls.
In the good old, bad old days of book publishing, screaming matches happened in public, not online; the boss' philandering was an open secret never leaked to the press, and authors actually had to turn in their manuscripts in order to get money out of their publisher.
Vince Gill has been making records since he was a teenager. Paul Franklin plays pedal-steel guitar like few others have. The two country legends have a new album together titled Bakersfield.
It's a tribute to a particular kind of country music that came out of Bakersfield, Calif., and was created and championed by a couple of guys from that town named Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Gill says the Bakersfield sound grew out of musicians moving west in the hope of scratching out a living.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus introduces the first four members of its new "Rising Stars" program at the RNC summer meeting on Thursday in Boston. From left are Karin Agness, founder of Network of Enlightened Women; T.W. Shannon, Oklahoma speaker of the House; Priebus; New Hampshire state Rep. Marilinda Garcia; and San Jose, Calif., police officer Scott Erickson.
They talked about the Hillary Clinton documentary and miniseries. They talked about how well they're doing raising money. They talked about how they're building a state-of-the-art data mining and voter turnout operation.
Here's what the Republican National Committee members didn't talk about at their summer meeting, but, rather, talked around: their existential need to broaden their base of support, and how so far their traditional base is not exactly embracing the idea.