This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Yet another federal budget crisis is on the horizon. This Friday, March 1st, is the day that massive, across-the-board federal spending cuts will take effect unless Congress agrees on a new budget deal. Some analysts say the cuts, also known as the sequester, could drag the economy back into recession.
Cranes fly at sunset above the Hula Valley of northern Israel in January. Millions of birds pass through the area as they migrate south every winter from Europe and Asia to Africa. Some now stay in the Hula Valley for the entire winter.
Credit Menahem Kahana / AFP/Getty Images
Tens of thousands of cranes stayed this winter in the Hula Valley in northern Israel instead of migrating to Africa, taking advantage of the restored wetlands.
Like many countries, Israel tried to drain many of its swamplands, then realized it was destroying wildlife habitats. So the country reversed course, and has been restoring the wetlands of the Hula Valley in the north.
The effort has had a huge and rather noisy payoff. Unlike many birding sites, where the creatures take off when you approach them, you can practically touch the cranes that inhabit the Hula Valley.
Stephanos Mwange, a Greek-born citizen of Ugandan descent, says his love for Greek history and mythology have inspired him to act ancient Greek tragedies such as <em>Hecuba</em>. He's a well-known actor, though his positive experience as a naturalized Greek citizen is exceptional. Most from a similar background say they've been made to feel like foreigners.
Credit Courtesy of Sotiria Psarou
A young couple is framed by Greek flags while watching Antonis Samaras, now the country's prime minister, speak at a campaign rally last June. Samaras wants to dismantle a law making it easier for second-generation Greeks to obtain citizenship.
Credit Courtesy of Myrto Papadopoulos
Jackie Abhulimen, 21, was born in Athens to a Kenyan mother and a Nigerian father and has lived here all her life. In Greek history books, she says, "the foreigner is always viewed as something negative, something threatening."
Shen Lixiu, 58, says she had her front teeth kicked out in a re-education through labor camp. Chinese authorities say they are considering "reforms" to a system that is coming under increasing public criticism.
A lot of journalism about China focuses on the country's rapid and stunning changes, but equally telling are the things that stay the same. I did my first story on China's re-education through labor camps back in 2001.
I met a former inmate named Liu Xiaobo for lunch in Beijing. Liu, soft-spoken and thoughtful, had written an article mourning those who had died in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. He had also called for democracy.
So, one day, police took him from his house and charged him with "slandering the Communist Party" and "disrupting social order."
Gerbrand Bakker's new international best-seller, Ten White Geese, opens with a mysterious woman alone on a Welsh farm. Humiliated by an affair with a student, she turns up alone at the farm, looking for nothing and no one. She answers to the name Emily, but that is actually the first name of the American poet about whom she is writing her doctoral dissertation. Her husband has no idea where she is.
Dude, yeah. It's me. Look, what is the deal? Where are you? You haven't responded to a single email. Everyone is worried, man. We checked your Facebook and you haven't updated your status in a week. A freaking week. You haven't even liked anything. And you like everything. Like. Like. Like. You're kind of obnoxious with the liking, dude. No offense. But nothing. Not even a single Icanhazcheeseburger cat. So then we check your Instagram and again, nothing.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 9:24 am
To those who closely follow the voter ID wars, Hans von Spakovsky is a household name, one of the nation's leading crusaders against voter fraud, and also one of its more controversial. Days before the 2012 election, The New Yorker profiled him as "the man who has stoked fear about imposters at the poll."
You're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. Anthony Breznican said he can't predict Oscar winners. But here's a guy who says he's done just that. Conor Gaughan is the chief strategy officer for Farsite, and they've been looking at all kinds of data to predict who will take home those little golden men.
NPR's Bob Mondello and Tamara Keith read excerpts from Round 10 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. The entries are "Voice Mail Is For Suckers" by Kristin Bonilla of Fulshear, Texas, and "Chubby Bunny" by Katie Camlin of Warrensburg, Mo. Read the full stories below and see other submissions and past winners on our Three-Minute Fiction page.
Join us Sunday night for red carpet commentary from people who can tell the difference between a dress and pants! Wait Wait will be live blogging the Oscars. Find @waitwait on Twitter, where we'll be following the ceremony: #nproscars.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control superPAC has poured more than $2 million into a Democratic primary in Chicago for a U.S. House seat.
Credit Brendan McDermid / Reuters/Landov
Most of the money spent by Michael Bloomberg's gun-control superPAC in the 2nd Congressional District race in Illinois has been used to attack former Rep. Debbie Halvorson for positions seen as pro-gun.
Credit John Smierciak / AP
Former Cook County administrator Robin Kelly has been the beneficiary of the Michael Bloomberg-funded superPAC.
One of the most important events in the national gun violence debate will take place Tuesday — in the snows of Chicago, a thousand miles from Newtown, Conn., or Washington, D.C.
That's where Democratic voters will choose their nominee to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. Because the district is so heavily Democratic, the winner will almost certainly be sworn in at the Capitol following the April general election.
Syria's main opposition group is declining invitations to international meetings to protest what it calls the "shameful" failure by world leaders to end violence there.
"The international silence on the crimes committed every day against our people amounts to participating in two years of killings," the Syrian National Coalition said in a statement released Friday and reported on by Agence France-Presse and other news organizations.
Like millions of Americans, Anthony Breznican will be watching the Oscars this Sunday night. But unlike the rest of us, Breznican, a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly, will be watching from backstage. As EW's chief Oscars correspondent, he escapes the confines of the press rooms for a more intimate look at the ceremony — the kind of view most journalists can only dream of.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Now, to a case that has gripped not only South Africa but much of the world: Olympian and double-amputee Oscar Pistorius posted bail on Friday, at a cost of one million rand, or roughly 112,000 U.S. dollars. The trial will begin June 4th. Pistorius is facing charges of murdering his girlfriend nearly two weeks ago on Valentines Day.
David Smith has been covering the Pistorius case for the Guardian newspaper and he joins us via satellite from his home in Pretoria, South Africa. Thanks for joining us, David.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Time now for sports.
It is officially springtime in the world of sports. Baseball is back. And the NFL Combine has commenced, plus the justice department makes a big move in the case against disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong. NPR Sports correspondent, Tom Goldman, joins me now. Good morning, Tom.