NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays, 7am - 9am
Scott Simon

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories. The two-hour program is hosted by NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon.

Drawing on his experience in covering 10 wars and stories in all 50 states and seven continents, Simon brings a humorous, sophisticated and often moving perspective to each show. He is as comfortable having a conversation with a major world leader as he is talking with a Hollywood celebrity or the guy next door.

Weekend Edition Saturday has a unique and entertaining roster of other regular contributors. Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about music. Daniel Pinkwater, one of the biggest names in children's literature, talks about and reads stories with Simon. Financial journalist Joe Nocera follows the economy. Howard Bryant of EPSN.com and NPR's Tom Goldman chime in on sports. Keith Devlin, of Stanford University, unravels the mystery of math, and Will Grozier, a London cabbie, talks about good books that have just been released, and what well-read people leave in the back of his taxi. Simon contributes his own award-winning essays, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant.

Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

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4:26am

Sat November 10, 2012
Asia

A Grim Chronicle Of China's Great Famine

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 10:29 am

Chinese villagers welcome the arrival of tractors purchased by a farmers' cooperative in April 1958, during the Great Leap Forward campaign. The disastrous modernization program ended in China's great famine and tens of millions of deaths.
Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

First of two parts

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.

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4:25am

Sat November 10, 2012
StoryCorps

Amidst War, U.S. Guardsman Forges Unexpected Bond

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 2:11 pm

Ali, an Iraqi teenager, wears Spc. Justin Cliburn's helmet and radio equipment in Baghdad. Ali and Cliburn became unlikely friends while Cliburn trained Iraqi police in 2005 and 2006.
Courtesy of Justin Cliburn

The Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps' project, collects stories from members of the U.S. armed forces, with a special focus on those who served in post-Sept. 11, 2001, conflicts. Every month, highlights from that initiative air on Weekend Edition Saturday.

Spc. Justin Cliburn, 30, was deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. His job was to train the Iraqi police in Baghdad. During his time there, he got to know a boy in his early teens named Ali, who walked through their compound one day.

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4:25am

Sat November 10, 2012
Election 2012

What An All-Female Delegation Says About N.H.

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 12:43 pm

Maggie Hassan was elected governor of New Hampshire on Tuesday, as the state also voted in the first all-female congressional delegation.
Jim Cole AP

The 2012 elections will be remembered for the pivotal role female voters played in re-electing President Obama. But in New Hampshire, it will be remembered as the year women swept all major races.

Democratic Congresswomen-elect Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter will join Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte in the nation's first all-female congressional delegation.

But another Granite State woman who won big Tuesday, Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, is quick to stress that putting women in top offices is nothing new here.

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4:24am

Sat November 10, 2012
Europe

Retro London Cabs On The Road Toward Extinction

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 12:54 pm

The company that makes London's iconic taxis has had financial difficulties, leaving cabbies in a lurch.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Cabbie John Crowood's traditional London taxi was one among hordes as he began trundling through the city's streets with so many other benevolent black beetles more than 30 years ago.

Today, he's one of a dwindling band. Crowood says that the only company that makes the classic retro London cab had to recall 400 of its newest vehicles after a mechanical defect was found, leaving hundreds of his fellow cabbies unable to ply their trade.

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11:10pm

Fri November 9, 2012
Music News

A Veteran's Standing Ovation, 70 Years In The Making

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:55 am

This month, a symphony composed by World War II veteran Harold Van Heuvelen had its premiere.
Kevin Gift

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.

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11:00pm

Fri November 9, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

John Williams' Inevitable Themes

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 9:52 am

Flanked by composer Leonard Slatkin and soprano Jessye Norman, John Williams takes a bow during his 80th-birthday celebration at Tanglewood in August.
Stu Rosner

For more than 50 years, John Williams' music has taken us to galaxies far, far away through adventures here on earth, made us feel giddy joy and occasionally scared us to death.

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6:55am

Sat November 3, 2012
NPR Story

The Political Middle: What Ohioans Have To Say

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 9:48 am

Transcript

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.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Trick or treat.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Trick or treat.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Hey, what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Hi.

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6:37am

Sat November 3, 2012
NPR Story

Obama Tries To Bank Early Votes In Ohio

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 9:48 am

Transcript

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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6:37am

Sat November 3, 2012
NPR Story

China Prepares For New Leaders In Critical Transition

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 9:48 am

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.

6:37am

Sat November 3, 2012
NPR Story

In Storm-Drenched New Jersey, A Fight For Ice

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 9:48 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In the aftermath of giant storms and during long power outages, common things can become precious commodities, things like gasoline, fresh milk and ice.

JOE ROMANO: Well, they need it for their perishable foods and also one thing that people don't keep in mind is medicine has to be refrigerated.

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4:17am

Sat November 3, 2012
House & Senate Races

Race For Redrawn Calif. District Is Tight And Pricey

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 9:48 am

Democrat Ami Bera is challenging Lungren. Bera ran against Lungren in 2004 and lost, but since the district was redrawn, the race has become competitive.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

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.

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4:17am

Sat November 3, 2012
Fine Art

The Story Of Steadman, Drawn From His 'Gonzo' Art

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 8:36 am

Among his many accomplishments, Ralph Steadman illustrated Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, about a journalist's reporting trip turned hallucinogenic bender.
Courtesy of Itch Film

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.

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4:17am

Sat November 3, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Storm Scores: Finding Poignant Reminders In Water-Damaged Music

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 9:18 am

A window-screen view toward conductor Marin Alsop's studio, badly damaged during the hurricane.
courtesy of the artist

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.

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1:03am

Sat November 3, 2012
Music News

Radio Tanzania: A Disappearing History On Tape

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 6:10 pm

Radio Tanzania archivist Bruno Nanguka stands with just a few of the 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes stored in the station's archives.
Jonathan Kalan

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.

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10:18am

Sat October 27, 2012
Middle East

Little Festivity As Syria's Holiday Cease-Fire Fails

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 8:27 pm

Children run after a truck loaded with presents for Eid Al-Adha in a refugee camp near Atma, Idlib province, Syria. A powerful car bomb exploded in Damascus on Friday and scattered fighting broke out in several areas across Syria, quickly dashing any hopes that a holiday cease-fire would hold.
Manu Brabo AP

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.

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