As the candidates stump for votes, Republicans in Kansas and two U.S. territories will caucus today, and pick their choices to be the Republican nominee this fall. Many voters will show their support for a particular candidate. Long before they cast any votes, they might put up a poster or plant a yard sign for their candidate. These signs spring up like mushrooms every campaign season. Do they actually work?
We've been hearing the latest employment numbers show things moving in a positive direction, but the economy and jobs market are still weak. That's, of course, a major factor in an election year. Our friend from the business world, Joe Nocera, joins us. He's an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. Joe, thanks for being with us.
JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Scott.
SIMON: As we heard, of course, the economy added more jobs in February than economists had expected. Is this a trend or true stability?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. One year ago this weekend, Japan was battered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. One of the places hardest hit was the coastal community of Yuriage. What was once a beautiful fishing village, and home to a bustling community of thousands, is now a desolate and deserted place. Doualy Xaykaothao reported from there shortly after the earthquake, and has just returned to file this report.
NPR's Richard Harris talks with host Scott Simon about the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors, one year after multiple meltdowns there spread radioactive materials across a swath of northern Japan. Huge technical challenges remain and prospects for resettling the area are uncertain.
This time last year, Col. Moammar Gadhafi was losing control of Libya. Scott Simon talks with Abdel-Rahim el Keib, the Libyan interim prime minister who took over in the wake of the country's uprising.
The American job market is still a long way from healthy, but its pulse feels a lot stronger now than it did six months ago. The Labor Department says employers added 227,000 workers to their payrolls in February, a solid — if not spectacular — performance. It continues a trend that suggests a genuine recovery, not a temporary blip.
The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent, even as nearly 500,000 people joined the workforce.
Improvement in the job market is a boon for President Obama as he tries to hold onto his own job in November.
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:
Ready for some creative competition? Weekends on All Things Considered is launching Round 8 of its Three-Minute Fiction contest. Here's what we look for: original, short fiction that can be read in less than three minutes — that's no more than 600 words.
The famous pack mules that carry supplies and people in and out of the Grand Canyon have back pain, as you might imagine. One man is on a mission to make the lives of these beasts of burden a little less painful.
When Rene Noriega retired a few years ago after a long career as a Border Patrol agent, he took what — for him — was the next natural step.
Anthony Hopkins has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and has played Richard I, Richard Nixon, monarchs, statesmen, geniuses and heroes. He won an Academy Award playing one of the most notorious movie villains in history: Hannibal Lecter, the criminal cannibal with an affinity for Bach. Now, Hopkins is making his own music.
Coal mining company Genwal Resources has pleaded guilty to corporate criminal charges stemming from the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine collapse in Utah that left nine miners and rescuers dead.
Federal prosecutors say a plea agreement includes a provision that no criminal charges will be filed against any individuals in the case.
Federal and congressional investigators blamed the an initial mine collapse on "retreat mining," in which pillars of coal holding up the roof of the mine are dug out, causing collapse of the mine behind them.
Carolina Chocolate Drops breathed new life into old-time music with the 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig, which put a contemporary spin on Southern string tools from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That collection went on to win a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.
The earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, lasted for many terrifying minutes. But the multiple nuclear meltdowns that followed created an emergency that lasted for weeks and a legacy that will last for decades.
Here's how the event unfolded. The tsunami knocked out power to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. As a result, the cooling systems failed and three reactors melted down. Steam laced with radioactive material poured into the air. Water contaminated with radiation also flowed into the sea.
Persistent pressure and criticism have prompted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to erect a new "technological barrier" in the system used for controversial posthumous or proxy baptisms.
In the last few years, more than 4,000 refugees have found their way to a far-flung spot: Idaho. Most of the state's incoming refugees come to Boise. For years, the city's strong economy, good-quality affordable housing and supportive community created an especially favorable environment for refugee resettlement. The recession has shifted that picture.
Joseph Kony in southern Sudan in 2006. His exact whereabouts today are unknown.
Invisible Children, the group that released the Joseph Kony video that went viral this week, has been making films about Kony for years and targeting young people as the main audience. Here, the group's co-founders, Jason Russell (left), Bobby Bailey (center) and Laren Poole, record footage in Africa in 2007.
Students at Tohoku Chosen, an elementary and junior high school for North Koreans in Sendai City, now take dance classes in the school's cafeteria because their main building was destroyed when the earthquake struck northeast Japan last March.
Credit Doualy Xaykaothao / NPR
Students draw during art class at Imagine Japan, an English-language school in Sendai City, Japan. Immediately following last year's earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan, a teacher observed some of the kids drawing faces and bodies with black markers.
Teacher Dave Rowlands is talking to his students in a kindergarten class at Imagine Japan, an English-language school in the Miyagi Prefecture of Sendai City. The school is just a short walk from pre-fabricated homes built for families who lost more than just property in the earthquake and tsunami last year.
"What came after the earthquake, was what?" Rowlands asks. "A tidal wave. In Japanese, what do we say? Or in English, actually, tsunami is now used around the world in many languages. Tsunami. We kind of leave the 't' off of there."
Rhino poaching has been on the rise in the past few years. In South Africa and other regions where rhinos run, poachers have been killing or darting rhinos with tranquilizers for their horns.
Rather than adorning walls, many horns are ground up into medicines, sold mostly in Southeast Asia. A possible — yet controversial — way to stop poaching may be rhino ranches, where the horns are harvested for sale and the animals are allowed to grow new ones.