They call the Danish port city of Aarhus the City of Smiles, but not many smiling today. Police are patrolling the streets to stop violence from erupting, as far-right anti-Muslim groups from around Europe gather for a demonstration. Observers say it's the first time these hard-line groups have gotten together like this. NPR's Philip Reeves is on the streets of Aarhus, Denmark. Phil, thanks for being with us.
French voters go to the polls three weeks from today to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. Current president Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting for his life in a close race against a man who has never held national office, and is virtually unknown outside of France. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this profile of socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Tonight, the party begins on Bourbon Street. Hey, wait. Do parties on Bourbon Street ever end? Anyway, the NCAA men's basketball tournament is down to its Final Four teams. They're four famous basketball programs and the women's Final Four starts tomorrow night in Denver with another quartet of traditional powerhouses.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman Tom joins us. Tom, thanks for being with us.
Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 9:00 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Big event of the week in Washington, D.C. was the three-day argument at the U.S. Supreme Court over the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. The justices asked questions aimed at forming their minds to decide whether the Affordable Care Act properly regulates commerce or overreaches the Constitution.
The new movie Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. In June, another Snow White movie opens starring another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, in the same role. And Disney is working on a new animated film loosely based on Snow White set in 19th-century China. So what makes Snow White so right for right now?
After clashes between protesters and security forces, Cairo's police erected walls to keep demonstrators away from the Interior Ministry. Street artists then painted this wall across Sheik Rihan Street.
Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 4:12 pm
A government advisory committee has reconsidered its advice to keep certain details of bird flu experiments secret.
Revised versions of manuscripts that describe two recent studies can be openly published, the committee now says. The decision could help end a contentious debate that has raged within the scientific community for months.
In response, the editors of two journals immediately said they planned to publish the research soon.
Call it the tempest in the Frappuccino. Some Starbucks patrons have been distressed to learn that the chain's Strawberry and Creme Frappuccino owes its pink coloring to crushed insects.
The coloring in question, cochineal, is made from a tiny white insect, Dactylopius coccus. When crushed, its body exudes a brilliant red color. Cochineal has been used as a coloring for foods and makeup for centuries.
Every day in New Orleans, Lily Keber rolls out of bed and walks to a flat, minor office building to meet her muse. Keber makes a cup of coffee with chicory, hooks up her computer and waits for what sounds like a dozen spiders to crawl across a piano.
A man holds a portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally for a candidate of her National League for Democracy party on Friday. The country is holding elections for some parliamentary seats on Sunday.
Credit Anthony Kuhn / NPR
National League for Democracy members sit in the party's youth division office under pictures of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and her father, Burmese independence hero Gen. Aung San.
In Myanmar's capital, Yangon, there's an unremarkable old building that's drawing people from around the world.
It's the headquarters of the National League for Democracy, the political opposition party headed by pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. This weekend, she is running for elective office for the first time, and the humble house has become the focus of even greater attention.
Syrian opposition groups gathered in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, as the factions attempt to form a more unified front. This Sunday, the opposition factions, including the main Syrian National Council, will be joined by diplomats in a meeting of the "Friends of Syria."
U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan says the Syrian government should be the first to enact a cease-fire, but there was no sign of that on Friday. More violence erupted in several Syrian cities as diplomats prepared for Sunday's meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in Istanbul, Turkey.
The gathering comes at a time of growing disaffection with diplomatic efforts and an increase in attacks by Syrian opposition fighters.
Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 1:04 pm
The critique of University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari is that he does what it takes to get his players, and they do what they want from there. Sure, this thinking goes, he's yelling at them from the sidelines whenever one — specifically Terrence Jones — puts up a 3-point shot from a step behind the arc. But he's not much of a coach.
Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:06 pm
Some Ivy League schools are posting some of the lowest admission rates on record, this year. Harvard for example only accepted 2,032 of the 34,302 students who applied. That's a 5.9 percent acceptance rate, which is a record low for the school.
Today at All Things Considered we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.
Lone Star Nation: Today, the Texas capitol flies both the American and Texas flags, but after independence the Lone Star flag would fly on its own.
Credit John Burnett / NPR
Driving around Texas, it's not uncommon to spot bumper stickers that tout the idea of an independent Longhorn nation.
Credit Getty Images
Today, all that marks the state line between Texas and Louisiana are welcome signs. After independence, those signs would most likely be replaced with the customs and immigration checkpoints that come with any border crossings.
It's a popular idea in Texas that the Lone Star State — once an independent republic — could break away and go it alone. A few years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted that if Washington didn't stop meddling in his state, independence might be an option. In his brief run for the White House, he insisted that nearly anything the feds do, the states — and Texas in particular — could do better.
MasterCard and Visa have warned banks that a third party processor has experienced a data breach. In statement, both card associations acknowledged the breach and MasterCard said that law enforcement is involved and "is currently the subject of an ongoing forensic review by an independent data security organization."
Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:54 pm
Think of Jennifer, or as we like to call her, "Jen." Jen of the dazzling smile, Jen of the gorgeous chin, Jen with her hair down, Jen tousled, Jen as Rachel, Jen with Brad; Jen without Brad, Jen with Vince, Jen at the Oscars, and, of course, Jen as a neuron in the medial part of the temporal lobe.
Maybe you missed that last Jen.
A few years ago, a UCLA neurosurgeon named Itzhak Fried, while operating on patients who suffer from debilitating epileptic seizures, discovered what he now calls the "Jennifer Aniston Neuron."
With $540 million (wait — it just went up to $640 million!) on the line, it's not surprising that Alabama resident Lance Larka is willing to drive across the state line for a chance to win the record Mega Millions jackpot.
In the sign of the bigger cultural struggle in a post-Mubarak Egypt, a court has ordered the government to ban pornographic Internet sites.
One of the big questions facing Egypt now that Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule has ended is what kind of role religion will play in the new government. Some of the Islamists who control parliament have expressed that they would like the country ruled by sharia.