"A powerful earthquake jolted China's Sichuan province Saturday near where a devastating quake struck five years ago," The Associated Press writes. According to CNN, early estimates put the death toll around 100. More than 1,000 other people were reportedly injured. Both figures could change substantially as more information comes in.
The Boston Marathon bombing suspects are ethnic Chechens with links to the volatile North Caucasus region of Russia. Moscow's reaction to that fact appears to be as complex as the region's turbulent history.
Tracing the Tsarnaev family roots back to Russia is going to require cooperation between Washington, D.C., and Moscow and of course, as we just heard, this comes at a frosty time in relations between the two countries. NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen joins us. Thanks for being with us.
MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Thanks, Scott.
SIMON: And first, any signs of cooperation so far?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Isn't it nice to be able to say time for sports?
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: The country was focused on tragedy and mayhem this week, but sports abides, including some remarkable tributes to Boston. And the NBA playoffs begin today and run until, I don't know, I think December. Can anyone beat the Heat? For now we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.
People who knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just have a hard time squaring the man they knew, with the violence in Boston. Sierra Schwartz went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school with the suspect, who's now in custody.
SIERRA SCHWARTZ: The Dzhokhar that I knew at the time was friendly, quiet but not in a - alarming way. He was just - you know, soft-spoken but very - you know, funny, very sweet, wouldn't harm a fly; someone that you would want to talk to.
Soon after federal authorities disclosed that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were Muslims of Chechen descent, many American Muslims began bracing for a backlash. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has more.
This is weekend edition from NPR NEWS, I'm Scott Simon. The intense manhunt of the brothers suspected of carrying out Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon ended with the arrest last night of a 19-year-old college student, the only surviving suspect. And as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been taken into custody and resident in the suburban neighborhood where he was found erupted in cheers of joy and relief.
How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?
"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."
Twenty years ago, federal agents clashed with David Koresh's Branch Davidian community near Waco, Texas. The standoff ended with a raid and fire that killed some 80 people. It's remembered as one of the darkest chapters in American law enforcement history.
Two decades later, some of the Branch Davidians who survived the raid are still believers, while a new church group has moved onto the land.
With the house-to-house search over and the living and dead largely accounted for, the town of West, Texas, began the transition from shock and disbelief to communal grieving.
On Friday night, mourners gathered at St. Mary Church of the Assumption to remember the dead. Many of the dead were first responders who were fighting a roaring fire for 30 minutes before the explosion, which was felt 80 miles away in Fort Worth.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn caused a stir when he suggested that there might be many more people missing than thought.
When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City last fall, the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, like most everything else, totally shut down. It was a week before power returned to FSG, according to Brian Gittis, a senior publicist. When he got back to his office, he began sorting through galleys — advance copies of books. And one of them caught him off guard.
Its cover had an illustration of the Manhattan skyline half-submerged in water.
"It was definitely sort of a Twilight Zone moment," Gittis recalls.
Well, Robert McFadden is senior vice president of the Soufan Group. He's a 30-year veteran of U.S. federal law enforcement, and he spent many of those years in counterterrorism, and Mr. McFadden, a question I have for you is now that this very important suspect is in custody, what do you do? How do you question him? What do you do now?
Big cheers in Watertown, Massachusetts, tonight and this tweet from the Boston Police Department, captured with three exclamation points, the hunt is over, the search is done, the terror is over, and justice has won, suspect in custody. We've been gathering a lot of information all day on the bombing suspects' backgrounds. NPR's Laura Sullivan reached three women who were roommates with a longtime girlfriend of the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
And as we continue to cover the events in the Boston area, we want to also talk about one other story, Boeing 787. The jet known as the Dreamliner will be back in the air soon. This afternoon, the FAA approved Boeing's redesign of the plane's battery system. Fifty 787s have been grounded for the last three months following two serious battery failures, one which led to a fire.
This week the FBI and IRS raided the headquarters of one of the country's largest private employers: Pilot Flying J. The chain operates more than 600 gas stations and convenience stores in 44 states. It's owned by billionaire Jimmy Haslam. Haslam also owns the Cleveland Browns and his brother is Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who owns shares in the company.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., meets in his office last week with families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. A bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun buyers was defeated Wednesday in the Senate.
Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 3:49 pm
Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who lent his name to bipartisan legislation that would have extended background checks for gun purchasers to gun shows and online sales, isn't letting go.
At least not yet.
To Manchin, the bipartisan compromise he co-sponsored with Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican of consistent conservative credentials, fell victim to a steady stream of misinformation spread by some gun rights absolutists, including the National Rifle Association.
Fresh Air pays tribute to Boston with a 1988 performance by the late jazz pianist Dave McKenna. From 1981 to 1991, McKenna had a standing gig at Boston's Grand Dame Copley Plaza Hotel. He was also a loyal Red Sox fan. He died in 2008.
This is FRESH AIR and we're talking about what's happening in Boston. With me now is our TV critic David Bianculli. And David, usually when there's breaking news like this you're watching, like, a lot of TVs at a time.
DAVID BIANCULLI, BYLINE: Right.
GROSS: Trying to see how different networks are covering it. And you've done this for years. You've done this through many different crises. So how does this past week compare to other crises that you've monitored in the media in terms of the coverage?
Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 4:07 pm
It's a perfect illustration of the current age of music fandom that this year's Record Store Day comes at the end of the week when Twitter introduced its music service — an online streaming music tool that tethers discovery to acquaintances who probably know your taste about as well as the checkout girl at the grocery store does.
Updated 1:50 p.m. ET: (Correcting that brothers shared an apartment in Cambridge, not Watertown.)
The suspects in Monday's deadly Boston Marathon explosions and the Thursday night murder of a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are two brothers from a former Soviet republic who were in the United States legally for years, and lived together in a Cambridge, Mass., apartment.
Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 12:57 pm
U.S. hospitals have been urged to be on the lookout for symptoms of bird flu among patients who have recently traveled to China, where a new strain of the virus has killed 17 people and infected more than 70.
This is not an ordinary day. It has not been an ordinary week. We taped this week's podcast on Monday at 6:00 p.m., in the first hours of coverage of the bombings in Boston. We are posting it on Friday, in the first hours of coverage of a series of events that currently have many of our good pals — and many of our listeners — "sheltering in place" at home.
Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 8:09 am
The Divine Miss M — singer, actress and comedian Bette Midler — is Song Travels host Michael Feinstein's guest for an hour of pure radio fun. Midler opens a crate of favorite tunes from her record collection, from Louis Jordan to vintage Hawaiian music to Destiny's Child, along with stories from her multifaceted career.
Here, Feinstein presents her with a solo arrangement of "And I'll Be There," a song written for her by the legendary songwriting team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
On this Piano Jazz from 2008, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding brings her neo-soul style to a set of standards with the aid of pianist Leo Genovese. Spalding is one of the most talked about artists in jazz today.