This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Chen Guangcheng, the blind, Chinese human rights lawyer, is on a plane headed for America right now, according to his friends and supporters. Chinese authorities gave Mr. Chen a passport today and drove him to an airport in Beijing. His departure caps a remarkable few weeks that included a daring escape from house arrest and high-stakes, diplomatic negotiations.
NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following the story from Shanghai. Frank, thanks for being with us.
The world leaders at the G-8 Summit meet at a time of many urgent concerns, including the shaky world economy. But an article on ForeignPolicy.com says that the nations represented at the summit lack the power to lead right now, and questions what the G-8 can accomplish at this meeting or in the future. Ian Bremmer is the author of that article. His is the president of the Eurasia Group, an international consulting firm, and he joins us from New York. Mr. Bremmer, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A tall white rocket is still standing on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rocket belongs to a company called SpaceX, and it was supposed to blast-off this morning, send an unmanned capsule on a mission to the International Space Station - the first time a personal spacecraft will try to visit the station. But the launch attempt fizzled out this morning in the last seconds of the countdown.
Katie Beckett has died in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the age of 34. She was just 3 years old when her case changed health care law. NPR's Joseph Shapiro has more.
JOSEPH SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Katie Beckett died Friday morning in the same hospital where she'd once made history. In 1981, Katie Beckett was living at St. Luke's Methodist Hospital in Cedar Rapids. She was stuck there because of a clash between advancing medical technology and antiquated health care law.
Most Americans give politicians low marks for sincerity and see every decision they reach as a cold, poll-driven calculation. Often enough, it is. Politicians, after all, have asked pollsters where they should spend their summer vacations.
Yet when pundits and interest groups urge politicians to change their minds and they do, they're assailed for flip-flopping.
The star of John Irving's new novel, In One Person, is Billy Abbott. Billy is a character at the mercy of his own teenage crushes, which are visited upon by a whole repertory company of gender-bending characters.
It's a repertory company in the most literal sense, too. Billy spends many days backstage at the local theater — where gender can also fluctuate and where his family members are regulars.