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GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

In Afghanistan today, the Taliban has launched a string of attacks across the country, including coordinated strikes in the capital, Kabul, that hit near western targets and Afghan government buildings. The Taliban says today's attack marks the beginning of what they call the spring fighting season, the period after the winter thaw when mountain passes and roads become accessible again.

A few years ago, author, critic, and translator Daniel Mendelsohn was teaching the epic Greek poem The Odyssey when his father decided to take his class.

Jay Mendelsohn, a retired research scientist, wanted to understand his son better, and understand his life's work. When Daniel decided he wanted to retrace one of the most epic journeys of Greek literature, Jay became his travel partner.

Amnon Weinstein first encountered a violin from the Holocaust 50 years ago. He was a young violin maker in Israel, and a customer brought him an old instrument in terrible condition and wanted it restored.

The customer had played on the violin on the way to the gas chamber, but he survived because the Germans needed him for their death camp orchestra. He hadn't played on it since.

"So I opened the violin, and there inside there [were] ashes," Weinstein says.

A Dispatch From The Titanic Memorial Cruise

Apr 15, 2012

One hundred years ago this Sunday, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank into the Atlantic on its maiden voyage. At that very spot today is another luxury liner, there to mark the centennial of the disaster. Writer Lester Reingold is on board the memorial cruise, and he sends us this report.

Remembering The Titanic, From Where It Sank

Apr 15, 2012

Host Rachel Martin talks with Lester Reingold, a writer and Titanic enthusiast, just after he'll have attended a memorial honoring the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic's sinking from aboard a cruise ship, anchored right where the ship went down.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un, stood before cheering troops and citizens today to make his first public speech. The address rounded off two weeks of celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of the nation's late founder and comes in the wake of Friday's failed missile launch. NPR's Louisa Lim reports on a new approach to leadership in the world's most isolated nation.

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Sports And Life: Head-To-Head

Apr 15, 2012

It's the first in a series of conversations between host Rachel Martin and NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca. Pesca digs deeper into big sports stories from the week, and brings one wildcard story that stayed under the radar.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

To Istanbul now, where negotiators for Iran and six world powers say yesterday's talks on Iran's nuclear program represent a constructive beginning. They agreed to meet again next month in Baghdad. U.S. officials note there is still a long way to go before the world can be satisfied with Iran's claims that it's enriching uranium only for peaceful purposes. But both sides say they're willing to try a step-by-step approach to resolving the issue. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more.

Congress Returns To Center Stage

Apr 15, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

U.N. Observers Head To Syria

Apr 15, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We turn our attention now to Syria. United Nations observers are preparing to travel to Syria this week to start monitoring the fragile cease-fire between government forces and rebel fighters. The U.N. Security Council yesterday approved the deployment of a 30-member team. The monitors will have their work cut out for them. As NPR's Grant Clark reports from Beirut, military bombardment is reportedly continuing, despite an agreed truce.

Storms Rip Across The Midwest

Apr 15, 2012

Several deaths and injuries have been reported following a tornado that rolled across Woodward, Okla. It was just one of the twisters that struck the Midwest on Saturday and overnight. As Kansas Public Radio's J. Schafer reports, more than 100 tornadoes touched down across four states.

Presidential Campaign Enters A New Phase

Apr 15, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This past week marked the unofficial start of the general election for President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum's departure from the presidential race cleared the way for Romney and signaled a shift to a new phase of the campaign. For more, we are joined by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel.

Redefining 'Hacker' In Technology Hotbed

Apr 15, 2012

Palo Alto, Calif., recently hosted a 12-hour bonanza for software developers, artists and families. The "Super Happy Block Party Hackathon" was a marathon for coders to make new software in a short amount of time. It also featured food trucks, music and homemade robots. Corey Takahashi reports.

Host Rachel Martin talks with Matthew Goodwin, an associate fellow with Chatham House, about anti-immigrant extremism in Europe. Goodwin explains why once-fringe political parties have gained widespread support.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

One place where extremist views often flourish: cyberspace. Trolling, cyberbullying, call it what you will. Abuse via the Internet is a growing problem in this digital age.

And NPR's Philip Reeves says it's become so bad in Britain that people there are fighting back.

President Obama emphasized at a summit of leaders from across the Americas that the U.S. would not shift strategies in the war on drugs. His administration had, in recent weeks, faced criticism from some presidents who said the U.S. approach to the drugs trade had simply generated more violence in Latin America.

That wasn't the only thorny issue Obama faced in his trip to Colombia.

Norwegians will be confronted again this week with the terrible details and trauma of the worst peacetime attack in the country's history.

Police say last July 22, Anders Behring Breivik set off a car bomb in the center of Oslo near government offices. The blast killed eight people and spun residents and police into a state of chaotic alarm and confusion.

The midsection of the U.S. was wracked by storms and tornadoes overnight, with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center forecasting more severe weather to come. Five deaths have been confirmed in northwest Oklahoma, the state's Department of Emergency Management tells NPR.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will spend the next seven months convincing us to send him to the White House. To get there, he'll have to make a strong case to one very important voting bloc: women.

A poll out this week by ABC and the Washington Post shows President Obama with a 19-point lead over Romney with women voters. For Romney to win, he's got to make a significant dent in that margin.

How do you measure who is an effective teacher?

More states are wrestling with that question, now that the Obama administration is encouraging schools to evaluate teachers with a combination of student test scores and classroom observations.

The question of whether teacher evaluations are reliable indicators for teacher effectiveness has long been controversial. But New York City reignited the debate when it rated thousands of teachers with test scores alone — and then released those ratings to the public.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

From NPR News, it's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

Our cover story today: the GOP's gender gap. We'll get to that in a few moments, but first to the severe weather in much of the Great Plains. The National Weather Service is warning that today's outbreak of tornadoes could be a, quote, "high-end, life-threatening event." Several confirmed tornadoes have already touched down across Kansas and Oklahoma, and more are expected in Nebraska and Iowa.

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It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's simple. If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.

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RAZ: President Obama from his weekly Saturday video address talking taxes and his proposal for a millionaire's tax, the so-called Buffett Rule. James Fallows of The Atlantic is with me now for more on this story and others we're following. Hello, Jim.

Arrest, Charges Push Trayvon Martin Forward

Apr 14, 2012

NPR's Joel Rose has a round-up of the week's news in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman is in jail and the legal case is moving forward.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

Sports: NHL And NBA Playoffs

Apr 14, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Time now for sports.

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WERTHEIMER: Its spring and its playoffs, the march to the Stanley Cup is under way in hockey. NBA teams are still jostling for spots in their post-season.

Joining us to sort it all out is NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman.

Hey, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. After a long, turbulent primary season, Mitt Romney is now fully in general election mode. With Rick Santorum out of the race, Romney is trying to clarify the differences between himself and President Obama. He's also trying to nail down his support from the Republican base. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from St. Louis on Romney's speech yesterday, to the annual convention of the National Rifle Association.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

President Obama is in Colombia today, along with 33 leaders, gathered for the Summit of the Americas. During his visit, the president hopes to highlight growing economic ties within the region. On his way to Colombia, Mr. Obama made a swing-state pit-stop in Tampa, Florida.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

Secret Service Agents Recalled From Summit

Apr 14, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

As the Summit of the Americas gets under way today, there is one embarrassing incident which threatens to distract from international efforts to focus on trade and the economy. Twelve U.S. Secret Service agents have already been sent home for alleged misconduct involving prostitutes in Cartagena. The agents have been replaced and the Secret Service says its security plans at the summit has not been compromised.

As Brazil Grows, U.S. Refits Relationship

Apr 14, 2012

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now that President Obama is in Cartagena, he'll begin the conversations about trade and business opportunities in Latin America. But the Summit of the Americas is not the first meeting this week for President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

On Monday, Rousseff visited the White House. And after this weekend's summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will head to that Brazil's capital, Brasilia.

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