Drivers will find this summer's gas prices are lower than last year's, the result of a spike in crude oil production. Government forecasters say a gallon of regular gasoline will cost about $3.50 this summer — a slide of more than 10 cents from last year.
Four Filipino peacekeepers are now free, days after being abducted by Syrian rebels. They had been patrolling near the area that divides Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The rebels said Wednesday that the four had been held for their own protection. But Filipino officials say they were used as human shields.
Partial, unofficial election results in Pakistan show former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party as the clear victor. Defying militant threats millions of voters turned out and sent the incumbent Pakistan People's Party packing after five years of rule marked by corruption allegations and a failing economy. Host Rachel Martin gets more on the election from NPR's Julie McCarthy in Lahore.
Anchee Min's best-selling memoir Red Azalea told the story of her youth in China during the Cultural Revolution. Her followup, The Cooked Seed, picks up nearly 20 years later as she arrives in America with $500 in her pocket, no English and a plan to study art in Chicago.
Min tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her life in China ended because of her relationship with Madame Mao, a former actress and the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong.
On-air challenge: You are given two words starting with M-A. The answer is a third word that can follow the first one and precede the second one, in each case to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.
Last week's challenge: Name a famous performer whose last name has six letters. Move the first three letters to the end — without otherwise changing the order of the letters — and add one more letter at the end. The result, in seven letters, will name a place where this person famously performed. Who is it, and what's the place?
NPR's Frank Langfitt and Gregory Warner have teamed up for a series about how myth and money are driving extraordinary slaughter of rhinos. They talk with host Rachel Martin about the issue, which has repercussions from the African continent all the way to Asia.
The office is immaculate, as you would expect in an upscale neighborhood in Sao Paulo — all sterile, white, modish plastic furniture and green plants. Behind the reception desk are pictures that would look more appropriate in a pop art gallery than a private maternity clinic.
The list of services at the clinic in Brazil's largest city is long: fertility treatments, specialized gynecology and, of course, obstetrics. But one thing they rarely do here is preside over a vaginal delivery.
COLONEL JEANNIE LEAVITT: I was fascinated with flying. I loved everything about flying from the time I was a child. The more I learned about the more I just loved aviation and flying, and that's what made me want to be a pilot.
Three years ago, Navy corpsman Angelo Anderson was shot in his arm and leg in Afghanistan and he thought he was going to die. Sunday, he's competing at the fourth-annual Warrior Games in Colorado, along with more than 200 wounded service members. Eric Whitney of Colorado Public radio has this profile of Anderson, who credits the paralympic-style competition with restoring him physically and mentally.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
This coming week, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are supposed to submit their plans for ending what's called the combat exclusion. This is the rule that says women cannot serve in most ground combat positions. The Pentagon announced plans to lift the ban earlier this year. The move comes as the military is under growing pressure to deal with an increasing number of sexual assault cases.
Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation, and decades-long efforts to improve birth outcomes are finally having an impact. Host Rachel Martin speaks with experts in the medical field who are working to promote healthy pregnancies and reduce infant mortality.
It's been an unusual semester at the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts. Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a student at the school, and three of his friends were also arrested on charges related to the bombing. Anne Mostue of WGBH reports the school and its students are trying to move beyond the bombing as they celebrate commencement this weekend.
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Arizona mass shooter Jared Loughner all have one thing in common: defense attorney Judy Clarke. With her help, all three avoided the death penalty.
Clarke routinely faces an enraged public, top-notch prosecutors and difficult, often disturbed clients. Now, Clarke is soon to face those things again with another high-profile client, alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
With such notorious clients, you might assume Clarke is tough, aggressive and happy in the spotlight.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.: (as Tony Stark) No politics here. Just good old-fashioned revenge.
ARUN RATH, HOST:
That's Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man 3," which opened in theaters last weekend and has grossed nearly 800 million worldwide. The movie also broke box office records in China where Marvel Studios tried something new. They created a special cut that will only be seen by audiences in China and includes extra scenes featuring big-name Chinese actors.
The crisis at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp keeps growing in size and intensity. According to the military's own count, 100 of the 166 men held in the prison there are now on hunger strike, and the 27 most in danger of dying are being force-fed.
Last month, guards had to forcibly subdue a camp where even the most cooperativedetainees are held.
LL Cool J has been making music for more than 25 years. Through it all, he says, he's tried his best to remain authentic.
"The last thing that I want to do is be a hack," says the rapper and actor, born James Todd Smith. "Someone who is adapting to whatever the current trend is, and manipulating the public into being on board with me even though, from an artistic standpoint, I'm not doing anything."
In Pakistan today, millions went to the polls to elect new government. NPR's Julie McCarthy has been following the candidates, their campaigns and issues leading up to this. She joins us now from Lahore. Welcome, Julie.
JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: Thank you.
RATH: So in the last 24 hours, we've heard a lot about the threats and violence aimed at stopping voters, and even shutting down polling places. What's the significance of this election? Can you put it into context for people?
Until today, there's been a rush of news related to the kidnapping of three young women in Cleveland, their rescue after a decade in captivity and the chilling details that have emerged about what they went through. Now, the news has slowed. We suspect there will be less to report in coming days, but we'll watch for important developments.
Despite attacks in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's voting — and deadly bombings and other attacks on the very day they're going to the polls — Pakistanis are showing they're willing to "defy the violence," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore.
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:
Mothers have eyes in the back of their heads. They may not show up on X-rays, but they're there.
Like a lot of youngsters, I used to get my mother to turn her head so I could search through her hair for the eyeballs she claimed to have back there, telling her, "No you don't! No you don't!" But when I'd scamper off to another part of the apartment and pick up an ashtray or fiddle with the window blinds, I'd hear my mother's voice ring out, "I can see you! I know what you're up to!"