This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State Kerry is back in Turkey today, this time for a meeting on the worsening crisis in Syria. A group called Friends of Syria will consider increasing aid to opposition factions who are trying to oust the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the pressure for increased assistance, including calls to arm the rebels, comes amid growing concern about the presence of armed Islamist fighters in Syria.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and I wait all week to say: It's time for sports.
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SIMON: The serene and pristine fairways of Augusta have been trampled up and down for a couple of full days now. The Masters tournament is halfway through. NPR's Tom Goldman has been there watching, not playing. Thanks for being with us, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: But trampling, Scott - I've done my fair share.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State John Kerry's in China as the world waits to see whether North Korea will test-fire a missile. Secretary Kerry hopes that Chinese leaders will put pressure on their traditional ally, the North Koreans. Before arriving he said there's no group of leaders on the face of the planet with more capacity to make a difference than the Chinese.
The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it would postpone the end of Saturday mail delivery, which it had proposed to stop earlier in the year, but mail service will halt at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where mules have delivered the mail since the 1920s. The company that runs the mule train says they will no longer deliver packages starting next week. The service was a way for loved ones to send care packages to guides rafting down the Colorado River. Laurel Morales of member station KJZZ reports from Flagstaff.
In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro — the president of a powerful government — should be at center stage. But as he runs in Sunday's snap presidential elections, it's his larger-than-life predecessor who is getting much of the attention.
The death of Hugo Chavez, who taunted the U.S. and empowered the poor, is triggering the special vote. And Maduro is using Chavez's voice and image to ensure that the late president's socialist system remains in power for many more years to come.
'All Things Considered' Story On The Move From M Street In 1994
Starting Saturday, Weekend Edition is broadcasting under the fourth roof that's sheltered National Public Radio. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg has worked in all of the locations since NPR went on the air in 1971, and once again she shepherds us to our new home.
President Obama's newly released tax return shows his effective income tax rate was 18.4 percent last year. He'll likely pay a somewhat higher rate in 2013, and that tax bill would be even bigger if Congress were to adopt the recommendations in the president's own budget, unveiled this week.
A new immigration bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, calling for better border security and a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status.
One big hurdle toward that was cleared this week when the United Farm Workers reached a deal with growers that would address wages and caps the number of visas allowed for new workers.
By the time John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, he had written and sung a remarkable assortment of cherished music: "Rocky Mountain High," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders," "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and many more. He was often mocked by edgier musicians for being a kind of musically soft, spongy Wonderbread of a singer-songwriter. But his songs have endured — and influenced more than one generation.
Undercover agents, wiretaps, shady meetings in parked cars - the unfolding political scandal in the New York City mayor's race has all the right elements for drama. Six politicians - Democrats and Republicans, - have been arrested in an alleged plot to rig a primary in this year's election.
For more, we turn now to Errol Louis. He's the host of NY1's "Inside City Hall" political program and he joins us from New York. Errol, thanks so much for being back with us.
Charlotte Church was just 12 years old when she made her 1998 debut album, Voice of an Angel — and that's what she seemed to posses. The tween rocketed into success with classical and religious music, singing for the pope, the Clintons, Nelson Mandela and the queen of England.
"If I look at it cynically, I was just a little bit of a freak, really: This small little girl with this big adult voice," Church says. "And I was a commodity for a while, you know. But I think that's also just the bare truth of it, really. People are always curious about child stars."
April is the cruelest month, according to one of the most famous poems in the English language. Perhaps to take the edge off of April, the Academy of American Poets chose it as the month to draw attention to the art and legacy of poetry — and the achievement of American poets.
We're celebrating this month by hearing from young poets about how they chose — or were chosen by — poetry, and why poetry — one of the oldest human art forms — still matters.
You might think alarm bells would be sounding in Washington, given the warnings coming out of North Korea. But when they talk about North Korea, U.S. officials are sounding like exasperated parents responding to a child's tantrum.
At the White House on Friday, spokesman Jay Carney said the United States "would not be surprised" if North Korea actually carries out a missile test.
Roger Ebert was a critic, not a blowtorch. He could be sharp if he thought a movie insulted the audience, but had a champ's disdain for a cheap shot.
Many critics ridiculed the film Deep Throat when it came out in 1973. Who couldn't mock its absurdities? Roger just wrote, "If you have to work this hard at sexual freedom, maybe it isn't worth the effort."
Roger Ebert was a Chicago newspaperman who typed with two fingers — it sounded like a machine gun, columnist Bob Greene remembered on Friday — who was from the age when reporters were fueled by ink and booze.
When I was a teenager falling in love with the theater, I picked up a book called Broadway's Greatest Musicals. The sole criterion for inclusion was that a show run for at least 500 performances, which translates to about a year and a quarter.
The number 42 has been retired from every team in Major League Baseball, and in recent years, teams have been eager for fans to remember why: It was the number Jackie Robinson wore for the Brooklyn Dodgers when he broke the sport's color barrier — and began to break a new path in American history.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Know why I am hoarse? Because it's time for sports.
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SIMON: All that cheering. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles got eaten by the Gators yesterday, but the Cardinals are still flying high. Louisville, Florida, Michigan and Duke move on to men's college basketball Elite 8; and baseball season opens tomorrow when the Texas Rangers face the Houston Astros.
We're now joined by Howard Bryant, of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Good morning, Howard.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and we'll have to wait until June to learn what the U.S. Supreme Court has decided on the two gay marriage cases before it. But this week, the justices heard oral arguments and they gave perhaps some hints of their thinking. One case concerns the constitutionality of California's ban on gay marriage, the other case is a challenge to what's called DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
We're joined now by NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg. Thanks for being with us.
One argument used by some conservatives in the Supreme Court cases is that gay Americans have become so politically powerful and prominent they don't need special consideration from the courts. Whether or not that's true, it is clear that lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgendered advocacy groups have built a strong network of lobbyists and political activists in Washington, D.C.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And President Obama heads home from the Middle East today after a mixed reception to his four-day visit. Mr. Obama spent much of that time in Israel trying to lay the groundwork to revive the long-stalled peace process with Palestinians. He also traveled to the West Bank and met with Jordan's King Abdullah. NPR's Scott Horsley has a recap.
The soul-searching over the Defense of Marriage Act went viral last week after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, a social conservative and original co-sponsor of the 1996 bill, sought out CNN to say something no one saw coming.
Portman said he'd decided to oppose DOMA and support same-sex marriage, two years after learning his college-age son was gay.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were doing just fine as solo performers. Then one night, Ryan walked into a bar where Pattengale was playing.
"I heard Kenneth perform a song that he had written from the perspective of a dead dog, only very recently having been hit by a truck," Ryan says, wryly. "And it was that sort of uplifting material that drew us together."
Editor's note: When Arab Spring protests broke out in Saudi Arabia in 2011, the government reacted quickly, pumping $130 billion into the economy and cracking down on dissent. While this approach has worked in some cities, the Shiite Muslims in the Eastern Province continued to demonstrate. Reese Erlich, on assignment for GlobalPost and NPR, managed to get into the city of Qatif and meet with protest leaders.