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:
A discarded chunk of a Russian rocket forced six space station astronauts to seek shelter in escape capsules early Saturday, then ultimately safely passed in front of the space station, according to NASA.
NASA spokesman Rob Navias told The Associated Press ahead of the incident that the space junk would barely be close enough to be a threat. But if it had hit the station, it could have been dangerous, so the astronauts — two Americans, three Russians and a Dutchman — woke early and climbed into two Soyuz vehicles ready to rocket back to Earth just in case.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 8:50 pm
Former New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine directly ordered that $200 million from a segregated customer account be transfered to cover a $175 million overdraft in a London account. That's according to a memo (pdf) from the House Committee on Financial Services, which is scheduled to hold a hearing next week about the spectacular collapse of MF Global.
Jim Yong Kim, President Obama's nominee to be the leader of the World Bank, is an unconventional choice. As a global health expert, he's a medical doctor who helped start an international health organization. He currently serves as president of Dartmouth College.
"Despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank," Obama told reporters during the White House announcement Friday morning. "It's time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency."
Protesters rally for religious freedom in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on Friday. Rallies took place nationwide to protest the mandate that some religious organizations cover the cost of contraception.
Across the country, thousands of people skipped lunch Friday to protest what they see as a threat to religious liberties in the United States.
The protesters' specific complaint was the birth control mandate in the new health care law, but the discontent runs far deeper.
It didn't take much for the Rev. Pat Mahoney, an evangelical minister, to warm up the crowd in Washington. He gazed out at hundreds of people who filled the plaza in front of Kathleen Sebelius' office at the Department of Health and Human Services.
In this 2005 photo, then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney presents Afghan President Hamid Karzai with a memento at Boston's Logan Airport. Karzai was preparing to speak at Boston University's commencement.
Credit Jose Luis Magana / AP
An Army carry team salutes a vehicle containing the remains of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan on March 17, at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Del.
Credit Lisa Poole / AP
Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets Afghan President Hamid Karzai on May 21, 2005, at Logan Airport in Boston.
An Army staff sergeant's alleged massacre of Afghan civilians has brought new calls for the United States to leave Afghanistan even before the timetable set by President Obama, who has announced that the U.S. combat mission will be over by the end of 2014.
Some Republican presidential candidates are among those publicly asking if now is the time for the U.S. to leave Afghanistan.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 3:21 pm
Frederick Scott Salyer, 56, has pleaded guilty in a massive tomato price fixing scheme that investigators say affected almost every American home.
Salyer, the former chief executive officer of SK Foods LP, said he bribed purchasers and fixed prices for the sale of his tomato products to McCain Foods USA Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 4:40 pm
An independent review of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) enforcement at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) coal mine in West Virginia says the agency failed to spot "a number of enforcement deficiencies" at the mine which were major factors in the April 2010 explosion that took 29 lives.
We've known for a while that people who grow up on farms are less likely to have ailments related to the immune system than people who grow up in cities. Those include asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.
If Danish pigs can live with fewer antibiotics, why can't their American cousins?
It's a hot topic, especially today. Yesterday, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a 1977 plan to outlaw the use of certain antibiotics as growth promotion drugs.
With a new leader in North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea are watching for clues of his policies. But so far tensions have not eased along the demilitarized zone. Here, two North Korean soldiers look across at a South Korean soldier on Dec. 2.
Credit Eric Talmadge / AP
Lt. Col. Ed Taylor speaks as he stands behind a wall of sandbags overlooking North Korea from the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone, or DMZ. Taylor commands a joint American-South Korean battalion along the frontier.
Credit Susan Walsh / AP
President Obama looks toward North Korea from a post on the South Korean side of the DMZ, the tense military border between the two Koreas, on Sunday. At right is U.S. Lt. Col. Ed Taylor, commander of the U.N. Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao / NPR
Lt. Col. Edward Taylor commands the only U.S. and South Korean battalion on the Korean Peninsula. He stands near the Korean armistice line, with North Korea behind him.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 3:44 pm
Pressure had been building on President Obama for days to say something about the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer, and on Friday the president finally did.
And almost as soon as he did, some people suspected him of a cynical election-year attempt to appeal to black voters, judging by the reaction by some on social media and conservative sites. Martin was African American, his killer of mixed white and Hispanic parentage.
Former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement speaks during a forum at the Georgetown University Law Center on March 9. Clement will be arguing against President Obama's health care act in the Supreme Court next week.
Paul Clement is, quite simply, a walking superlative. A wunderkind who at age 34 became deputy solicitor general and then was promoted to the top spot, solicitor general of the United States, becoming the youngest person to hold that post in more than a century. Now 45, he has argued an astonishing 57 cases before the Supreme Court, more than any other lawyer since 2000. And next week, he will lead the challenge to the Obama health care overhaul, in the Supreme Court.
Joyce Wong, a pregnant 30-year-old, takes part in a January 15 protest against immigration laws that allow babies born in Hong Kong to mainland Chinese mothers to be eligible for residency, education and medical care in the territory. Hong Kong residents fear the influx of mainlanders will further burden overtaxed resources.
Credit Aaron Tam / AFP/Getty Images
A girl holds a Hong Kong newspaper with an anti-mainland Chinese advertisement featuring a picture of a locust looking over the Hong Kong cityscape. The ad is one of the latest signs of Hong Kong fears that mainlanders are overrunning the territory.
Credit Aaron Tam / AFP/Getty Images
A mainland Chinese tourist crosses the street carrying multiple shopping bags in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district. Tourists from the mainland spend more money in Hong Kong than tourists from all other countries combined.
Credit Vincent Yu / Ap
Former convener of Hong Kong's Executive Council Leung Chun-ying (left) and former Hong Kong Chief Secretary Henry Tang (shown here March 16) are the leading candidates to be Hong Kong's next leader, who will be chosen March 25 by a Beijing-selected committee.
Homes sit along Retreat View Circle in Sanford, Fla., near where Trayvon Martin was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
Credit Anonymous / AP
George Zimmerman, in a 2005 mug shot provided by the Orange County (Fla.) jail, via The Miami Herald. Zimmerman has remained silent while many around the country have voiced outrage about his shooting of Trayvon Martin during a neighborhood watch patrol.
People across the country have had something to say about the death of Trayvon Martin, but the man at the center of the case — George Zimmerman — remains silent.
The neighborhood watch volunteer told police he was acting in self-defense when he shot Trayvon last month. Zimmerman has yet to be charged with a crime — or to speak publicly about what happened, leaving others to speak for him.
There's been a lot of scrutiny of the call Zimmerman made to 911 moments before his collision with Trayvon. But that was hardly Zimmerman's first call to the police in Sanford, Fla.
Connie Marrero, age 100, was a major league all-star who struck out the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. He returned to his native Cuba after his career ended. He's now the oldest living ex-major leaguer and is finally getting a pension payment. He's shown here at his apartment in Havana.
Credit Courtesy of Rogelio Marrero
The 1952 baseball card of Connie Marrero. He had an 11-8 record that year with a 2.88 ERA for the Washington Senators. The year before, he was on the American League All-Star team.
If you know the actress and comedian Niecy Nash, you're probably either excited about her new reality show, Leave It To Niecy, or you're cringing just thinking about it. Nash does not do things halfway. Her new show starts Sunday, and it's intended to be something like a real-life Modern Family.
This August 23, 2011 photograph obtained courtesy of the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) shows Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (right) at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. (Note at 10:50 p.m. ET: Earlier, we mistakenly said he was on the left.)
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 8:48 pm
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the March 11 killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Afghanistan, The Associated Press just reported from Kabul.
It adds that "premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death."
The leader of the junta that seized power in Mali, Army Capt. Amadou Sanogo, announces a curfew in the capital, Bamako, on Thursday, in this photo taken from television.The coup ousted an elected president who was due to step down after a new election next month in the West African nation.
Credit Malin Palm / Reuters/Landov
Soldiers gather at the offices of the state radio and television broadcaster after announcing a coup in Mali's capital, Bamako, on Thursday. The soldiers said they ousted the president because he wasn't doing enough to halt a rebel insurgency.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:50 pm
The scene in Mali's capital, Bamako, shows what used to be a familiar sight: an African capital in chaos, with drunken soldiers firing into the air and looting government buildings in the wake of a coup.
Military coups were dishearteningly common for people in Africa and Latin America during the 1960s and '70s, as governments fell to opportunistic military men.
But that trend had been slowing in the past two decades, as more and more governments began to hold regular elections.
The complexity, scale and sliding timetable for implementation of the federal health overhaul make it tough to figure out exactly what's happened so far. To help you sort through some key provisions, here's a scorecard.
In effort to add pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, the European Union has announced new sanctions on a dozen Syrians, including Assad's wife, his mother, sister and sister-in-law.
"I cannot say to you in strong enough terms how much we are concerned about what's going on in Syria," said Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, according to CNN. "I'm really worried about the escalating spiral of violence there.