This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
(SOUNDBITE OF AN EXPLOSION)
MARTIN: A series of explosions shook the Syrian capital Damascus overnight. Syria's state news agency accused Israeli jets of carrying out the attack on a military research facility. There has been no official confirmation from Israel's government, though officials there have warned they will act to stop weapon transfers from Syria to Hezbollah. That's the Shiite guerilla movement based in Lebanon which is a staunch ally of the Syrian regime.
Centuries of grime was removed during the recent restoration, revealing the men with the headdresses.
Credit Courtesy of Vatican Museums
This recently restored painting in the Vatican, created in 1494 by the Renaissance master Pinturicchio, has a small depiction of naked men with feathered headdresses. This may be the first European depiction of Native Americans. The scene, just above the tomb of Jesus, is too small to be seen in this view of the entire painting but is shown in the photo below.
Our perspectives on personal space — the distance we keep between the person in front of us at an ATM, the way we subdivide the area of an elevator — are often heavily influenced by the norms of the places we inhabit.
Jerry Seinfeld once focused an episode of his sitcom on the concept of personal space, giving us a new term: the "close talker."
President Obama traveled to Central America this weekend, to Mexico and then to Costa Rica, where he met with other leaders from the region. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Eric Olson of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who attended the meeting.
Who has the most to lose if the fighting in Syria continues and the country becomes a failed state? Host Rachel Martin poses the question to Rami Khouri, a columnist and director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut.
Planet Money's Zoe Chace reports that the immigration overhaul bill proposes doubling the number of skilled-worker visas available to companies that want to hire foreign workers. But the application process is a challenge in itself. (This piece initially aired May 2, 2013, on Morning Edition.)
Lawmakers return to Congress on Monday, following a week's hiatus. Host Rachel Martin checks in with NPR congressional correspondent David Welna about what's on their agenda for the upcoming session. Internet sales tax, paying creditors, immigration, Benghazi hearing, Syria, Guantanamo
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The U.S. Senate is poised to weigh in on a bipartisan bill that would overhaul this country's immigration system. The bill calls for more border security and a pathway to citizenship for the country's undocumented immigrants. But there are some easy to overlook changes in the bill that would affect the lives of would-be American immigrants, people like this.
A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., sounds like a picturesque summer outing. But the Urban Ocean boat cruise highlights the juxtaposition of a powerful port with a fragile ecosystem: You're just as likely to see trash as you are to see marine life.
In front of the aquarium, school kids are running around, eager to go inside and pet the sharks and see the penguins. There's also a marina, where a small passenger boat called the Cristina shoves off from sunny Shoreline Aquatic Park.
Libyan-born, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Deghayes was imprisoned from 2002 to 2007. While there, he went on three hunger strikes to protest his imprisonment. No charges were ever filed against him.
An image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows an airstrike hitting the area around Damascus, Syria, early Sunday.
Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center near Damascus early Sunday, according to intelligence reports and Syrian state media. The attack prompted Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Mekdad to deem it a "declaration of war" by Israel, CNN reports.
The Obama administration says it's considering providing arms to rebels fighting to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad if the U.S. can confirm his forces did in fact use the debilitating nerve gas sarin in recent attacks. Coupled with news that Israel reportedly launched an airstrike at a target in Syria to prevent a shipment of missiles from reaching Hezbollah, these events could represent a game changer in the conflict-ravaged nation.
The wedding party poses at the Sun City resort in South Africa, on Wednesday. South Africa's government announced the suspension of a slew of officials and military personnel on Friday as it tried to limit the political and diplomatic fallout from the lavish Indian wedding.
Credit Gupta Family via AFP/Getty Images
Vela Gupta is the niece of South Africa's influential Gupta brothers. Her wedding this week to Aaskash Jahajgarhia has the South African government scrambling to hold officials accountable for alleged security breaches and other special treatment for the wedding party
It's been dubbed Guptagate. The real-life story reads like a Hollywood — or Bollywood — script, and it's dominating the national conversation in South Africa.
It starts with a high-society wedding in South Africa, organized by three wealthy, well-connected and influential brothers named Gupta from India. Then the scandal begins: A private jet flies in 200 guests — including Bollywood stars — from India, landing at a restricted air force security base in Pretoria, allegedly without the appropriate clearance.
Today is May 4, unofficially known as Star Wars Day — seemingly for the lone reason that it presents an opportunity for people to tell one another, "May the Fourth be with you." But fans of the George Lucas films are also using the day as an excuse to break out costumes and photos, and generally let their Jedi flag fly.
It's been two months since the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration officially went into effect. The decision on that was made here in Washington, but the effects are being felt all over the country. Take, for example, a chunk of money called impact aid.
JACK BOOGAARD: There's three different kids that can receive this type of money called impact aid.