NPR has learned that the Obama administration, under pressure to lift a cloak of secrecy, is considering whether to declassify a court order that gives the National Security Agency the power to gather phone call record information on millions of Americans.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that patenting natural human genetic material must stop. But the court also ruled that synthetically produced DNA is fair. The decision was prompted by patents on a gene test for breast cancer which was issued to Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City. We're joined now in our studio by Arthur Caplan, who's head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. Thanks very much for being with us.
David Berg is a big-name Texas lawyer who founded his own firm and has won cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He's also been a civil rights activist and a Clarence Darrow-style defender of the damned: disgraced politicians, grungy protesters and celebrities.
Protesters who were camped out in Istanbul's Gezi Park say they won't pack up and go home despite a government offer to avoid bulldozing the park without court approval and a public referendum. Protest organizers say that other demands such as releasing detained protesters have not been met.
We have to remind ourselves now, the nationwide protests in Turkey began with a small group of people who were protesting the government's plans to pave over a small park in Istanbul. Elif Shafak is an award-winning writer who divides her time between Istanbul and London. We spoke with her yesterday, and asked her how what began as a kind of modest stand to protect a city park broadened into nationwide protests.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In Colorado, cooler weather and some rain has helped crews begin to get a handle on the Black Forest fire that's burning just north of Colorado Springs. Yesterday, several thousand people were allowed back into their homes, but an estimated 30,000 people remain evacuated from the area.
The blaze has claimed two lives, and it has destroyed at least 473 homes. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports from Colorado Springs.
Whitey Bulger is finally on trial ,after 16 years on the run. The Boston mobster who was once on the FBI's Most Wanted List is accused of murdering 19 people, as well as extortion and racketeering. Prosecution alleges he worked as an FBI informant in exchange for protection. Dick Lehr is the co-author, with Gerald O'Neill, of "Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mobster." He joins us from member station WBUR in Boston. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Dick Lehr's co-author is Gerard O'Neill.] Dick, thanks for being with us.
Tomorrow isn't just Father's Day. It's also National Fudge Day if that didn't come up on your calendar. By most accounts, the first batch of fudge was cooked up in Baltimore in the 1880s, but Mackinac Island in northern Michigan is considered the modern day fudge capital of America.
Last year, we brought you the story of Music Man Murray. Murray Gershenz was looking for a buyer for the enormous record collection that was shelved in his store in Los Angeles. Now, notice I said record. Most of his music was indeed on old vinyl. Murray was turning 90 and his overstuffed store was becoming more than he could handle.
The Lois McClure, a replica of an 1862 canal schooner, is also a floating museum. This summer she's sailing historic waterways in Vermont, New York, Ontario and Quebec, docking in towns for a history lesson.
The Lois starts from her berth at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vt. First mate Tom Larsen, a strapping guy with a long ponytail and glasses, pulls hand-over-hand on a thick white rope, getting the Lois into the open water. A tugboat comes up alongside the schooner, ties a line and tows her out onto Lake Champlain.
Russia's foreign minister on Saturday warned that any effort by the U.S. and its allies to impose a no-fly zone over Syria would violate international law.
Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a news conference in Moscow with his Italian counterpart, referred to "leaks from Western media" that U.S. F-16 fighters and Patriot missile in Jordan might be used in neighboring Syria to suppress government forces fighting insurgents there.
"You don't have to be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law," Lavrov said.
Lawmakers in Illinois are headed back to work next week to address the state's $100 billion pension crisis, the worst unfunded pension liability in the nation. While almost all states faced pension funding issues during the recession, none of them are looking at a predicament as severe as in Illinois. Every day it doesn't get fixed, the burden on taxpayers grows larger.
Here's what we know about a National Security Agency program that collects vast amounts of data on the electronic activity of Americans: While controversial, a leaked secret document authorizing the collection makes it clear that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has decided that the collection of metadata for every call made in and into the United States is legal under Section 215 of the U.S.A.
This week, the Internet radio broadcaster Pandora made what seems like a backward move — technologically speaking. Pandora purchased a local radio station in Rapid City, S.D. The company says it's aiming to get the more favorable royalty rates given to terrestrial broadcasters, but the move has songwriters and composers up in arms.
Despite a number of victories for gay rights and national polls reflecting a growing acceptance of gay men and women, there is a population within the LGBT community that often feels left out of the national debate.
Just southeast of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus in Richmond, Va., lies a compact neighborhood called Oregon Hill. Historically, it's been a (white) working-class part of town, affordable for students and various bohemian types. Recording engineer Lance Koehler was drawn to the place when he moved to Richmond from New Orleans; it's where he eventually found a two-story garage and converted it into his own recording studio and home. It didn't take him long to start doing business across the Richmond music map: Koehler is good at his job, and he's affordable.
Since public revelations that the National Security Agency is collecting telephone records and reviewing Internet communications in the U.S. and abroad, officials have been making the case that the programs are vital. They argue that the tactics match the new ways terrorists are planning and communicating.
There was a time when America's enemies conspired face-to-face, or communicated through couriers, or by leaving messages for each other somewhere. But in the digital age, that has changed.
White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.
"And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: 'Rockanomics,' the economics of rock and roll," the president said. "This is something that Alan actually cares about."
You probably know that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon. But that guy in all the pictures from the first moon landing? That's Buzz Aldrin. So here's a lesson for you all: It doesn't matter if you're the first guy out of the spaceship, just as long as you make the other guy hold the camera.
So sure, Aldrin has been to the moon, but what does he know about mooning? We've invited him to play a game called "Drop your pants and take a bow" — three questions about exposing one's buttocks.
We want to remind everyone to join us here most weeks at the Chase Bank Auditorium in beautiful downtown Chicago, Illinois. For tickets and more information, go to wbez.org. You can find a link at our website, waitwait.npr.org. Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news.
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, filling in for Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with Bobcat Goldthwait, Faith Salie, and Luke Burbank.
KURTIS: And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
BILL KURTIS ANNOUNCER: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis filling in for Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Bobcat Goldthwait, Faith Salie, and Luke Burbank. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.