It's not often that a book comes out that rewrites a country's history. But that's the case with Tombstone, which was written by a retired Chinese reporter who spent 10 years secretly collecting official evidence about the country's devastating great famine. The famine, which began in the late 1950s, resulted in the deaths of millions of Chinese.
Nearly two years ago, Soner Yalcin and more than a dozen of his employees at the online news outlet OdaTV joined the growing list of incarcerated Turkish journalists. Yalcin, the owner of OdaTV, is one of the sharpest critics of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.
As their trial proceedings dragged on, challenges to the state's case grew, and most of the outlet's journalists were released, pending the trial's conclusion. But Yalcin and two others remain behind bars, 22 months and counting.
When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.
Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The lights are back on in Manhattan this morning, but the effects of Sandy are still being felt across many states. Hardest hit, of course, are New York and New Jersey and we have several reports this hour. First, NPR's Robert Smith was in Lower Manhattan last night, as much of the service was restored, and as he reports, it came not a moment too soon
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 8:48 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
It's already starting to rain over northern Ohio this past weekend as the outer whirls of Hurricane Sandy approached. Just a few days before the election, people in Reminderville, the village of about 3,000, were concerned about turnout.
Just two days after the U.S. presidential election, China opens the most important event in a decade on its political calendar: a transition of power. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Louisa Lim and Frank Langfitt in China about the upcoming 18th Party Congress.
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 8:48 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the multi-billion dollar presidential campaign has come down to its final weekend. All that money, all these months are campaigning come down to just a few more frantic days for the candidates. The polls now show a close contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as they campaign in a handful of swing states. Mr. Obama begins campaigning today where he left off yesterday in - have we said this before? - Ohio. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
Dan Lungren has been in and out of public office since 1979. The Republican represented a Southern California district in the '80s, served as the state's attorney general for eight years, and then returned to Congress to represent the Sacramento area in 2004.
These days, he's still the same pro-business, limited-government conservative he's always been, Lungren told a friendly audience in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova.
Every morning, British illustrator Ralph Steadman wakes up in his country estate in rural England and attacks a piece of paper, hurling ink, blowing paint through a straw and scratching away layers to reveal lines and forms that surprise even him.
This past week has been filled with some truly tragic stories of loss and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There are also a few stories of near misses and disasters averted. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, fortunately has one of the latter.
At the archives of Radio Tanzania, more than 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes are stacked in floor-to-ceiling shelves. Each band, musician and recording date is painstakingly notated. The tapes reside inside three musty rooms of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corp., which occupies the old brick-and-concrete BBC building in Dar es Salaam.
Radio Tanzania was the country's only station from its birth in 1951 until the mid-1990s, when competing stations came on the air and state-controlled radio became irrelevant.
Political campaigns have been transformed in so many ways over the decades. But you wouldn't want to wear a silicon chip or a yard sign in your lapel. Mort Berkowitz has made political buttons since 1976, and says business is still good. He joins us now from member station WBUR in Boston. Mr. Berkowitz, thanks for being with us.
MORT BERKOWITZ: My pleasure.
SIMON: You've seen a lot of buttons over the years, haven't you?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The BBC, one of the world's most prominent broadcasters, is in an uproar over allegations that one of its most famous TV personalities was a pedophile who preyed upon youths who appeared on his shows. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the BBC is both investigating the actions of the late Jimmy Savile and fielding sharp questions about why it killed a documentary exploring such accusations late last year.
In the months leading up to the cease-fire, combatants on both sides have escalated the scale of weaponry used in the conflict. The war in Syria is notoriously difficult to cover, making it very hard to know exactly what weapons are being used. Eliot Higgins runs the Brown-Moses blog, which is often cited as an authoritative source on the weapons used in the Syrian conflict. We've reached him in the United Kingdom. Mr. Higgins, thanks so much for being with us.
For more about the implications of the scandal with the BBC, we're joined by Martin Bell, OBE. He has a distinguished career as one of the BBC's most famous war correspondents. He covered 11 conflicts, reported from 80 countries over the course of 30 years. Martin Bell was seriously wounded by shrapnel while reporting the war in Bosnia, and if that weren't punishment enough, he then went on to be an independent member of the British parliament from 1997 to 2001.
Martin Bell joins us from London. Thanks so much for being with us.
Halloween is almost here, so perhaps it's no surprise that the film "Paranormal Activity 4" led the box office in its opening weekend. It is the latest entry in an already successful movie franchise. As Beth Accomando of member station KPBS reports, film audiences still enjoy a good scare - but what scares us keeps changing.
BETH ACCOMANDO, BYLINE: Horror renaissance man Clive Barker says the first person to scare him was Walt Disney.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Baseball comes to Motown for game three of the World Series. But, will Detroit's heavy hitters show up? The International Cycling Union says none of the above, or below, won the Tour de France in the years that Lance Armstrong copped the title and it plans for some organizational soul-searching. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us.
Big week for Microsoft. The company introduced Windows 8, its new operating system, and entered the ever-expanding tablet market. These are major steps for a company that has been perceived as lagging behind Apple and Google in innovation. We're joined now by NPR's Steve Henn in Silicon Valley.
Steve, thanks for being with us.
STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.
SIMON: Why is Windows 8 considered such a defining moment for Microsoft?
Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar. The day marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. It's the feast of the sacrifice, when any Muslim who is able should sacrifice an animal and donate the meat to the poor.
There is little to celebrate in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, however. A cease-fire called for the holiday is already crumbling, and in some areas it never took hold.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Want to know how tight the presidential race is? President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney spent the week barnstorming across a handful of battleground states - mostly the same states, including Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado - to fire up supporters and make a pitch to win wavering voters. We're joined now by NPR's Scott Horsley, who's been covering President Obama's reelection campaign. He's in our studio. Thanks for being with us, Scott.
An Italian court on Friday sentenced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years in jail for tax fraud in connection with the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television company. Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.
And this morning, we're following the progression of a major storm, hurricane Sandy, which is turning toward parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The National Hurricane Center briefly downgraded Sandy to a tropical storm, but this morning restored it to a category one hurricane. Parts of the east coast are bracing for destructive winds and heavy flooding once Sandy makes landfall in the coming days.