One of the most prestigious music awards — the Grammys — take place this on Sunday. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon chats with NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, and NPR's culture critic, Linda Holmes, about whether the Grammys are still relevant, and what to expect at the ceremony.
The continued downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service has especially hit African-Americans and armed forces veterans. These are two groups that have long relied on postal jobs for a good income, job security and a path to the middle class. For more, we're joined by Philip Rubio. He's a former letter carrier who's now an assistant professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University and author of the book, "There's Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality."
Frank Ocean is set to take a victory lap at this year's Grammys. He's up for six awards for his album Channel Orange, including best new artist, and he'll be performing as well. But just a few months ago, Frank Ocean's music wasn't the story — his sexuality was.
To review: After a listening party for Channel Orange last July, a BBC journalist pointed out that a few of the love songs referenced a "him" where you might have expected to hear "her."
Afghan police and officials visit the site of a suicide attack in Kabul in September. A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside a minivan carrying foreigners on a major highway leading to the international airport in the Afghan capital, police said, killing at least 10 people, including nine foreigners.
The Muhammad Mustafa mosque sits in a fairly well-off part of Kabul where government employees and some high-ranking officials live. Muhammad Ehsan Saiqal, a moderate, 54-year-old Muslim who welcomes girls into his Quran classes, is the imam.The slight, gray-bearded cleric preaches against suicide bombings.
"Islam doesn't permit suicide attacks," he says. "If someone kills any Muslim without any cause, under Shariah law [Islamic law] it means that he kills the whole Muslim world."
Brookfield, Vt., residents fear that Postal Service changes will eventually lead to the closing of their small town post office. About 1,300 people live in Brookfield, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures.
In rural Vermont, the U.S. Postal Service decision to discontinue Saturday letter delivery is yet another blow to an institution that's long been a fixture of village life.
Last year, the U.S. Postal Service abandoned plans to close thousands of small post offices, opting instead to cut hours. But there are fears the cuts will continue until the rural post office is no more.
The shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December revived a national debate about gun violence. It's one that is emotional and often highly personal, and it's happening in places far from the halls of Congress. Earlier this week, President Obama was in Minneapolis advocating new limits on guns; no law or set of laws, he said, can keep children completely safe. NPR's David Welna was there for the visit and sent this reporter's notebook about the voices he encountered.
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira speaks to the French National Assembly on Jan. 29, the first day of debate on the government project to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.
President Obama speaks about his gun control agenda before law enforcement officials in Minneapolis on Monday. The president was doing what his aides say he didn't do often enough in his first term: getting outside of Washington to build public support for legislation.
Gun control historically has been one of the most divisive issues in Congress, between the parties and even inside the Democratic coalition. Yet some in President Obama's own party say he has put together a gun agenda that is sweeping without being too painful for most Democrats to support.
Drop a cat and it will swing its head to a horizontal, rearrange its rear, arch its back, splay its legs, and — amazingly often — land on its feet.
This is what cats do. They're famous for it. But now they have a rival.
This is an aphid.
Aphids spend their days sucking sap from leaves. Those leaves can be high off the ground. "High" of course, being a relative term, but think of it this way: Five feet high up is 381 aphids tall. Which is why things get so dicey when a ladybug comes by.
When people hear John Mark Nelson's music for the first time, there's often a sense of disbelief. With arrangements that recall the work of veteran songwriters, the 19-year-old Minnetonka, Minn., native has been recording sophisticated compositions since he was 14.
We had a special visit this afternoon from Butler University Mascots, Blue II & III (aka "Trip"), who were in town with their basketball team for a game against Washington, D.C.'s own George Washington University.
And while it was too late for them to get in on our National Pet Radio contest, these handsome devils were itching to show their NPR love (so excited, in fact, that they could barely sit still).
A Marine Corps review of the deadly Taliban attack on an allied base in Afghanistan last September found that some guard towers were unattended, and the insurgents "got lucky" by cutting through the fence at a remote area of the base in Helmand Province, Capitol Hill sources tell NPR.
Tens of thousands of Tunisians gathered for the funeral of Chokri Belaid on Friday. The secular political leader was murdered by unknown assailants on Wednesday. His killing set off riots and clashes between protesters and the police in several parts of the country.
A European police agency this week made what should've been a startling announcement that hundreds of professional soccer matches around the world may have been rigged by gamblers in recent years. But the news was greeted inside the sport less as a shock than as confirmation of a rampant problem. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now as he does most Fridays. Hi, Stefan.
STEFAN FATSIS, BYLINE: Hey, Robert.
SIEGEL: And first, tell us about this investigation.
Iran's unpredictable president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is nearing the end of his final term in office and he has apparently decided to go out with a bang. The president has dragged a long-simmering feud with one of Iran's most powerful political families out into the open. It features hidden camera videos and allegations of corruption and it has prompted an urgent call for calm from the country's Supreme Leader. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul on what looks to be an unexpectedly lively campaign season in Iran.
Lack of water supply isn't just an issue in hot spots like Texas, Colorado and the Mississippi; it has also become a problem in the Northeast, where rivers are drying out in the summers and infrastructure developments are competing more for resources.
One of the area's biggest public universities, the University of Connecticut, needs more water. But plans to obtain it are generating controversy in a region where the availability of water is becoming more and more unpredictable.