NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Ten Ring Fingers by Tamara Breuer of Washington, D.C., and Ghost Words by Matheus Macedo of Winthrop, Mass. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.
A column of Russia's T-90 tanks rumbles over the cobblestones in Moscow's Red Square on May 9 during the country's Victory Day parade celebrating the anniversary of its costly victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
World War II remains a monumental event in the collective Russian mind. It's known as the "Great Patriotic War," and Russians believe no one made greater sacrifices than the Soviet Union when it came to defeating Nazi Germany.
The end of the war is celebrated with a huge military parade in Moscow's Red Square on May 9, commemorating the millions of men and women, military and civilian, who died during the struggle.
Climbing the rickety metal staircase is precarious enough if you aren't on crutches, but it's simply dangerous if you are. At the top is the office of Janbazan-e-Mayhan, one of many social councils for disabled Afghans. Men missing arms, legs or hands sit around the small room.
Afghanistan isn't an easy place for anyone to make a living. But for those with disabilities, it's a downright hostile environment. Tens of thousands have been maimed and disabled during decades of conflict. Jobs are scarce, and there's almost nothing that's handicapped-accessible.
That concern is reflected in the Arab media. Ramez Maluf, head of the Department of Journalism at Balamand University in Lebanon, has been tracking that reaction. He joined us from our bureau in Beirut. And I asked him how invested people in the region are in the conflict in Syria.
I'm sure if I asked him, Will Shortz would probably acknowledge that the same people who really love words and word play also have a special affinity for punctuation. I would put myself in this camp. I have a lot of respect for a well-placed semicolon. But it's really the ellipsis that captures my punctuation imagination. To be honest, I've never much cared for the apostrophe. Maybe it's just too utilitarian.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Earlier this month, three women held captive for nearly a decade came home. Amanda Barry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued from a Cleveland basement where they had been held captive since early 2002. The case has generated worldwide attention, some of it fell on the Cleveland Police Department. Officers there had searched in vain over the years for the missing women. Following a case like this for years demands an emotional investment from investigators.
There were countless sacrifices made during the Civil Rights movement, in Birmingham, Ala. And for African-American students graduating high school during a particularly turbulent year, one of those sacrifices was their prom. But this past Friday, hundreds of members of the Class of 1963 got to have their night, 50 years later. From Birmingham, Gigi Douban has the story.
GIGI DOUBAN, BYLINE: They arrived at the Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, in stretch limos. Some came from Atlanta and Detroit.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
We begin this hour in the Middle East, first Iran. This week, the religiously based Guardian Council is expected to announce the final roster of candidates in that country's presidential election. Even though Iranians will go to the polls in less than a month, some of the candidates for the presidency are still waiting for approval to run for office.
One hundred and forty years ago this month, a German immigrant named Levi Strauss patented the first pair of jeans ever made. During the California gold rush, Strauss traveled across the country to set up a West Coast branch of his family's dry goods business. That business changed forever when Strauss got a letter from a tailor named Jacob Davis.
Just two years ago today, the effort to change regimes in many parts of the Islamic world was just beginning. And President Obama was at the U.S. State Department talking about a new chapter in American diplomacy.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region and to support the transitions to democracy. That effort begins in Egypt and Tunisia where the stakes are high.
According to New Yorker writer George Packer, there used to be a kind of deal among Americans — a deal in which everyone had a place.
"People were more constrained than they are today, they had less freedom," he says, "but they had more security and there was a sense in which each generation felt that the next generation would be able to improve itself, to do better."
Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with H-A and the second word starts with T.
Last week's challenge: From listener Al Gori of Cozy Lake, N.J. Name a famous American man — first and last names. Change the first letter of his first name from T to H. The result will sound like a term for an attractive person. Who is it?
The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
For our series on the Changing Lives of Women, we're asking NPR women about their careers — and inviting you to join the conversation. This question goes to NPR's Rachel Martin, the host of Weekend Edition Sunday, who was a longtime foreign correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan.