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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3:44am

Sat August 11, 2012
Around the Nation

Joplin's New Trees Struggle To Survive Amid Drought

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 1:38 pm

Volunteers water saplings planted in Cunningham Park in Joplin, Mo. The trees were planted to help reforest Joplin after a deadly tornado last year destroyed many of the city's trees.
Michele Skalicky KSMU

Saplings — no more than 6 feet tall — dot the landscape in Joplin, Mo. They replace the large shade trees that were ripped out of the ground by a massive tornado that swept through town in May of 2011.

Nearly 7,000 new trees, donated by various organizations, have been planted. They include sturdy, mostly native, varieties, such as oak, sycamore and redbud — trees that can withstand strong winds when they're taller.

With temperatures above normal for the past few months and precipitation below normal, those trees have had a hard time taking root.

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1:03am

Sat August 11, 2012
Author Interviews

'This Will End In Tears': Soundtracks For Down Days

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 2:31 pm

HarperCollins

Even the strongest among us get the blues: You can't get out of bed, you don't want to talk to a single other humanoid, and you just want to close the curtains and turn on the music. The songs you choose for those miseries have to be just right.

Adam Brent Houghtaling is something of a connoisseur of the melancholy moment. Perhaps to cheer himself up, he's put that expertise to use by producing a kind of encyclopedia of the best soundtracks for lonely days and nights. It's called This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music.

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1:03am

Sat August 11, 2012
Music Interviews

Busking In Lansing, To Rave Reviews

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 12:02 pm

Alexis Dawdy plays her violin on the streets of Lansing, Mich.
Scott Pohl WKAR

All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.

"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."

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1:03am

Sat August 11, 2012
Music Interviews

Marian McPartland's Storied Life, Told 'In Good Time'

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 11:32 am

Marian McPartland hosted NPR's Piano Jazz for 33 years.
Courtesy of the artist

More than half a century ago this week, on Aug. 12, 1958, some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day assembled in Harlem at what was, for them, the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. Fifty-seven players came to East 126th Street to have their picture taken for Esquire magazine.

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7:09am

Sat August 4, 2012
Middle East

On Syria's Newest Battleground: The Rebels' View

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

For more on what's happening on the ground in the Syrian city of Aleppo, we reached Abdul Rahman Abu Hothyfa. Throughout the conflict in Syria, he has been the spokesperson for an administrative organization called the Union of Coordinators of Aleppo. I asked him who makes up that group.

ABDUL RAHMAN ABU HOTHYFA: We represent a large sector of the people on the ground. We are like the - a group of young people and activists. So whatever new accident or something happens, we (unintelligible) each other.

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7:07am

Sat August 4, 2012
Middle East

Syrian President's Cousin Denounces Violence

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

One man who's been watching developments in Syria more closely than most, has a curiously familiar-sounding name. Ribal al-Assad is President Bashar al-Assad's first cousin. He also supports efforts to depose him. His view, from exile in London, is grim.

RIBAL AL-ASSAD: Everybody is arming. Everybody is following violence. Nobody wants to sit together and have dialogue. Everybody is really, in to win. Everybody is really after power. This could lead to the disintegration of Syria and its society, and everybody will lose out.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Europe

Olympics Sets Off British Tears

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

You find out so much about a country, you know, when it's hosting the Olympics. It's almost as if the games lay bare a nation's soul. NPR's Philip Reeves says that is what's happening in Britain. He's finding the experience unnerving, as he explains, in this letter from the Olympics.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Economy

Economists Cautiously Applaud Jobs Report

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. In an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy, the Labor Department told us yesterday that the country gained 163,000 jobs in July. That was better than expected but not all signs are pointing up. In a separate government survey, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3 percent. NPR's Chris Arnold is at a gathering of economists in northern Maine. He sent this report.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Africa

South Sudan, Young And In Need, Visited By Clinton

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a seven-country trip through Africa, talking about strengthening democracies, building economic growth. Yesterday, she dropped in South Sudan - that's the world's newest country - to encourage the infant nation. But she warned of so many challenges ahead. NPR's John Burnett was in South Sudan when the secretary was, and he joins us now on the line from Nairobi. Hi, John.

JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Hey, Susan.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Animals

Bee Professionals Help Canadian In Sticky Situation

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

A homeowner in the town of Varney, Ontario found herself in what you might call a sticky situation not long ago when she discovered honey dripping from her kitchen ceiling. Turns out, there were some 80,000 bees nesting between floors. Loretta Yates called a pest control company to help her out. They told her they couldn't really take care of it, so they called in an expert. Dave Schuit is the beekeeper and co-owner of Saugeen Country Honey. He's on the line with us. Now, Mr. Schuit, tell us about this distress call that you got.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Politics

Congress Takes A Break With Looming To-Do List

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg in for Scott Simon. Congress wrapped up its summer session this week and members headed back to their home district. But with public approval ratings of Congress wallowing in the teens and constant headlines about gridlock, a lot of people might be wondering what exactly did the Congress accomplish anyway? For some answers about congressional actions and what is still unfinished, we are joined by NPR's David Welna. Hiya, David.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Hi, Susan.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Space

Anxiety Hovers Over Rover's Mars Landing

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

These are tense times for scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Late Sunday night Pacific Time, they'll learn if nearly a decade of hard work will result in a priceless scientific laboratory landing safely on Mars or if the rover known as Curiosity will turn into a useless pile of junk. Everything depends on what happens during the seven minutes of terror, the time it takes the probe to go from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the planet's surface.

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6:32am

Sat August 4, 2012
Sports

An Olympic Impression Of London 2012 So Far

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPANDAU BALLET: (Singing) Gold. Always believe in your soul, you've got the power...

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5:39am

Sat August 4, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Gathering Of The Viols: The 50th Annual Viola Da Gamba Conclave

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 2:59 pm

Jack Ashworth, Tina Chancey, Lisa Terry and Phillip Serna perform Sunday during the closing banquet of the weeklong conclave at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Scott Mason

Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.

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4:54am

Sat August 4, 2012
World

No Space, Mate: Koalas' Habitat Under Threat

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 10:43 am

A male koala visits the female enclosure at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia. Koalas are dwindling in number as their habitat along Australia's east coast gives way to urban growth.
Stuart Cohen for NPR

Earlier this year, the Australian government added the koala to the country's list of endangered species. By some counts, only about 100,000 remain in the wild in a country that once boasted a population in the millions. But many conservationists say the listing doesn't go far enough.

Paul O'Donnell is one of the many volunteers at Friends of the Koala in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore.

"We go out every day for about an hour or so collecting leaf; usually we get about one bin per koala," O'Donnell says.

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