For more than 40 years, Leon Panetta has split his life on two coasts: his home in California and his work in Washington, D.C. It's a career that included 16 years in Congress, stints as White House chief of staff for President Clinton, and as the head of the CIA and the Pentagon under President Obama.
As Panetta prepares to leave his job as defense secretary, he sat down with Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday, to talk about his years in Washington and serving in the Obama administration.
On-air challenge: In recognition of the Super Bowl, the key word is "yards." You will be given some categories. For each one, name something in the category beginning with each of the letters Y, A, R, D and S. For example, if the category were "Girls' Names," you might say Yvonne, Alice, Rachel, Donna and Sally.
Five men accused of the brutal rape and murder of a woman student in New Delhi were charged today. The attack in December launched an international outcry and led to nationwide protests. NPR's Julie McCarthy joins host Laura Sullivan from the Indian capital with the latest.
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan. And if it's anything like last year, tomorrow's Super Bowl will reach more than 111 million viewers, in this country alone. And while the game ends for the fans tomorrow night, for players, the effects will likely linger on.
Host Laura Sullivan talks with The Atlantic's James Fallows about the news this week Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing, the Chinese cyber-attack of The New York Times, and that newspaper's obituary of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
Americans seeking stem cell replacement therapy hope the process can heal them of myriad diseases, and a 2011 report by the Baker Institute estimated the industry could bring in $16 billion in revenue by 2020.
In 2008, reports of polar bears' inevitable march toward extinction gripped headlines. Stories of thinning Arctic ice and even polar bear cannibalism combined to make these predators into a powerful symbol in the debate about climate change.
The headlines caught Zac Unger's attention, and he decided to write a book about the bears.
Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 11:02 am
The Japanese Meteorological Agency says an extremely strong earthquake rattled the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Saturday. The magnitude was 6.4. The U.S. Geological Survey's report puts the tremor at a higher magnitude of 6.9; the epicenter was very deep, about 65 miles below ground, near the city of Obihiro. That's about 120 miles east of Hokkaido's largest city, Sapporo.
Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 9:15 am
The security situation in Northern Mali has improved with the arrival of the French military last month, so French president Francois Hollande traveled there Saturday for a one-day visit. He didn't stay in the southern capital, Bamako, which has remained under Malian government control, but instead flew north to the ancient city of Timbuktu to meet residents and thank French troops for their work in ousting Islamist rebels from the historic city.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
A boy hitches a ride on a suitcase as he waits to board a train at Beijing West Railway Station during Chunyun travel peak on Feb. 8, 2007.
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A boy hitches a ride on a suitcase as he waits to board a train at Beijing West Railway Station during the peak of travel for the Chunyun Spring Festival, in February 2007.
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Two holidaymakers amuse themselves with a porter's trolley as they wait for their train at Euston Station in London in August 1939.
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Chinese passengers line up to buy train tickets as the summer holiday starts in Hefei, in eastern China's Anhui province, in June 2012. China's railways transported some 453 million passengers during the first quarter of 2012.
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Passengers wait for their train in Rome's Termini Station, in April 2011, during a transport strike that idled trains, buses and subways across Italy.
Credit Gregorio Borgia / AP
Indian passengers wait on the platform of Sealdah train station for the resumption of services during a power failure in Kolkata in July 2012.
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A woman stands on a station platform, watching for her train.
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A sailor reads with his child as he waits for a holiday train at Waterloo station in London in 1927.
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A man and his child check out photos they took while waiting to board trains at the south train station in Beijing, in February 2010.
Credit Andy Wong / AP
Three French children wait on a railway platform with their toys and luggage in September 1962.
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Nuns wait together on a platform at Euston station in London.
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A party of holidaymakers waits for a train at Waterloo station in London, in July 1913.
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A Chinese boy wearing a People's Liberation Army uniform sits on his family's belongings while waiting for a train at the crowded Beijing railway station in December 1992.
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Jose, Oscar and Eduardo Aguilar, sons of a Venezuelan official, leave Waterloo station in London for home, wearing Eton suits and toppers in May 1936.
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An Indian girl sits on her family's luggage as she waits for a train at a railway station in New Delhi, India, in January 2013.
Credit Manish Swarup / AP
Lunar New Year travelers wait for their train at the West Railway Station in Beijing on Jan. 31, 2013. Tens of millions of people across China board trains to journey home for Lunar New Year celebrations in the world's largest annual migration.
Credit Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images
Two young women wait for the train at a subway station in Mexico City during the worldwide "No Pants Subway Ride" on Jan. 13, 2013.
Credit Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP/Getty Images
Andrew Michael, who had been waiting for hours, takes a nap as he waits for a train at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia in May 2006. Thousands of Amtrak passengers were stranded from Washington, D.C., to New York during a power outage along the Eastern corridor.
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 3:30 pm
Grand Central Terminal, one of world's most iconic commuter destinations (or departure points, depending on which way you're going), celebrated a big birthday this week. Friday marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the largest railroad terminal in the world.
Stand aside Beyonce, there's a new sound in town. More than 9,000 sounds, to be more precise. The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its huge archive of wildlife sounds and made it available online.
"It represents the voice of the world — all the voices of the world," Greg Budney, audio curator for the archive, tells NPR's Scott Simon. Among the vast collection are birds, mammals, insects and amphibians, Budney says, all made available "to anyone who has an interest in nature, in conservation and in the world around them."
The Superdome in New Orleans has hosted heavyweight fights, papal visits, and — after this weekend — seven Super Bowls, an NFL record. But no event looms larger in the dome's history than Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that turned the stadium into a teeming shelter of last resort.
During the storm, reporters spared no hyperbole when describing scenes of human suffering. The Superdome, in particular, was described as a "hellhole" and "apocalyptic," and it was sort of true.
Manil Suri's new novel, The City of Devi, opens with India and Pakistan on the verge of nuclear war. India is roiled by factional violence between Hindus and Muslims. Bombers strafe citizens, vigilantes settle scores, and terrorists set off dirty bombs around the country as Mumbai boils over with fear and fury. And if that's not enough, it's also a sex comedy.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the U.S. stock market's on a tear. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 14,000 yesterday, for the first time in more than five years. Investors seized on encouraging news about factory orders and auto sales. They chose to look past a report that unemployment inched up last month, too, to 7.9 percent. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Kevin Spacey's got a memorable entrance in the new series "House of Cards." He looks into the camera and talks to the audience while he strangles an injured dog.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HOUSE OF CARDS")
KEVIN SPACEY: (as Francis Underwood) There are two kinds of pain: the sort of pain that makes you strong; or useless pain, the sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.
In Cairo you can get most anything — food, medicine, groceries — delivered right to your door, anytime. But civil unrest in the streets of the Egyptian capital has made it a riskier job for deliverymen.
Tabouleh restaurant, an upscale Lebanese joint, is tucked into a quiet neighborhood just south of Tahrir Square, the center of Egypt's revolution.
It's usually packed. But clashes between protesters and police have been ongoing for a week just two blocks away. On a recent night, there's only one table of diners.
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and it's a number you might have heard a lot about this week from Washington lawmakers.
Since the 1970s, Jeff Passel, now senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, has been keeping tabs on a group that actively tries to stay off the radar. He says many actually do participate in the census count and other surveys.
The seed library is a partnership between the Basalt Public Library and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Seed packets encourage gardeners to write their names and take credit for their harvested seeds.
Despite the cold and snow, some signs of spring are starting to break through in Colorado. The public library in the small town of Basalt is trying an experiment: In addition to borrowing books, residents can now check out seeds.
In a corner of the library, Stephanie Syson and her 4-year-old daughter, Gray, are just finishing a book with a white rabbit on the cover.
When Gray approaches the knee-high shelves filled with seed packets, she zeroes in on a pack labeled "rainbow carrots."
You might look for a player along the sidelines in the Super Bowl on Sunday named Alex Smith and wonder, as he might, if he'll be the next Wally Pipp or Ken Mattingly.
Pipp was the Yankee first baseman in 1925 who had a headache and was told to take two aspirin and sit out the game. A young player named Lou Gehrig took his place — and stayed at first base for 14 years, becoming one of baseball's most storied players.
Pipp wound up working in a screw factory. He was a good sport who told fans in later years, "I took the two most expensive aspirin in history."
Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 7:10 am
Armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, militants attacked an army camp in Northwestern Pakistan early Saturday morning.
According to officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, 12 militants and 13 security officials were killed in the attack. TheNew York Times is reporting that 10 civilians — including three women and three children — who were living in a nearby compound, were also killed.
Author Mona Simpson is the judge for Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction. She has written five works of fiction (among other short stories and essays): <em>Anywhere but Here</em>, <em>The Lost Father</em>, <em>A Regular Guy</em>, <em>Off Keck Road</em> and <em>My Hollywood</em>.
It's Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction, the short story contest from weekends on All Things Considered. Here's the premise: Write a piece of original fiction that can be read in about three minutes (no more than 600 words).
Our judge for this round is author Mona Simpson, whose most recent book is My Hollywood. She most recently won a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes. Here's her twist for Round 10:
Write a story in the form of a voice-mail message.
The Obama administration on Friday issued another set of proposed rules — and asked for yet another round of public comments — in a continuing quest to find a way to ensure that women receive no-cost contraception as part of a package of preventive health services under the 2010 Affordable Care Act without requiring religious employers to violate their beliefs.