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:
Al Neuharth died Friday at his home in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
He was 89.
Al's name may not be familiar to you, but this blogger hopes that you are acquainted with the newspaper he willed to life in 1982: USA Today.
From 1984 to 2009, I was either a reporter or editor — and sometimes both — at McPaper (a nickname that critics bestowed upon USA Today, but which those of us who were there in its best days adopted with the pride of underdogs).
Numbers are down at the American International School in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
In just over a year, the country has witnessed a rebellion, a military coup and the occupation by Islamist fighters of the desert northern region, recently largely liberated in a counteroffensive by French-led forces. Despite the troubles, the school is open and classes continue.
Teacher Paul Chandler is taking his combined class of 6th- and 7th-graders through their early paces, learning the Malian music they'll be performing at the annual school concert.
"A powerful earthquake jolted China's Sichuan province Saturday near where a devastating quake struck five years ago," The Associated Press writes. According to CNN, early estimates put the death toll around 100. More than 1,000 other people were reportedly injured. Both figures could change substantially as more information comes in.
The Boston Marathon bombing suspects are ethnic Chechens with links to the volatile North Caucasus region of Russia. Moscow's reaction to that fact appears to be as complex as the region's turbulent history.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Isn't it nice to be able to say time for sports?
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SIMON: The country was focused on tragedy and mayhem this week, but sports abides, including some remarkable tributes to Boston. And the NBA playoffs begin today and run until, I don't know, I think December. Can anyone beat the Heat? For now we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.
Tracing the Tsarnaev family roots back to Russia is going to require cooperation between Washington, D.C., and Moscow and of course, as we just heard, this comes at a frosty time in relations between the two countries. NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen joins us. Thanks for being with us.
MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Thanks, Scott.
SIMON: And first, any signs of cooperation so far?
Soon after federal authorities disclosed that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were Muslims of Chechen descent, many American Muslims began bracing for a backlash. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has more.
This is weekend edition from NPR NEWS, I'm Scott Simon. The intense manhunt of the brothers suspected of carrying out Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon ended with the arrest last night of a 19-year-old college student, the only surviving suspect. And as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been taken into custody and resident in the suburban neighborhood where he was found erupted in cheers of joy and relief.