Regular contributor and The Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows is in Shanghai, China, this week. Weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden speaks with him about all things China, including the country's response to the pollution problem and the hopes pinned to their new president.
The National Orchestra of Wales has come up with a way to make music more inclusive: by opening it up to the deaf community. Freelance musician Andy Pidcock worked with the Orchestra to come up with a "sound box." Through vibrations, it transmits music to deaf people who can put their hands on it or even lie on top of it. Pidcock talks about it with Weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden. And, through an interpreter, Kate Galloway describes what it is like to feel music in this way.
In the 1940s and '50s, Tadd Dameron worked with everyone who was anyone in jazz, from Miles Davis to Artie Shaw, Count Basie to John Coltrane. Everything Dameron touched had one thing in common, says Paul Combs, author of Dameronia: The Life and Work of Tadd Dameron.
"A penchant for lyricism," Combs says. "Almost everything that he writes has a very lyrical grace to it."
It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.
Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.
Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:51 am
The Islamist rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra has been secretive, keeping to itself and refusing to meet Western journalists. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the Obama administration and was thought to be made up mostly of foreign fighters, working alongside Syrian rebels.
But lately, members are starting to open up as more Syrians join the group and they make more gains on the ground in the fight against the Syrian government.
Director Jonathan Levine talked to All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about his new movie, the zombie romantic comedy called Warm Bodies. Zombies are often used as a metaphor for mindless consumption, but Levine sees them as a metaphor for adolescence, where you're trapped in your own body, totally incoherent and inarticulate when faced with a beautiful girl you want to impress. Warm Bodies is not unlike a John Hughes movie, really.
Not every Syrian American can go to the lengths that Abu Ahmed did, but here in the United States, they are watching the conflict closely. Muna Jondy was born in this country, but her father's family is from Daraa where the first protest back in 2011 began. She's an immigration lawyer in Flint, Michigan and president of a group called United for a Free Syria. She joins us from Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. Thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A court in Egypt today upheld the death sentences of 21 soccer fans from Port Said for murder during a bloody soccer riot that occurred there last year. And the court's decision apparently enraged the city.
For nearly two years, Syrians living in the United States have watched their home country fall apart. Now in a moment, we'll hear the story of one Syrian-American who's watched the conflict from her home in Michigan, but who hasn't escaped tragedy. First, we bring you an encore broadcast of a report from NPR's Kelly McEvers.
She told us the story of one man who used his vacation time to travel from California back to Syria. His plan: to help the rebels bring down the government.
Host Scott Simon talks with reporter and author John Thavis about the divisions among cardinals voting at the conclave to select a new pope for the Catholic Church. Thavis is the author of The Vatican Diaries.
Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez, was a tremendous supporter of Latin American countries, especially those sympathetic to his socialist ideals.
The country's vast oil reserves are a key source of economic aid, but the Chavez didn't just help out his ideological peers like Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also a great benefactor to key U.S. allies in the Caribbean — many of whom now worry whether their vital oil lifeline is about to be shut off.
It's not easy to get to Qursaya island, a tiny bit of land in the middle of the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt's capital. You have to take a boat from the riverbank. There are no cars on the island, and it's only had running water for a few years.
It's a quiet 70-acre patch of agricultural land amid a megacity, where mooing cows provide the soundtrack, and farmers and fishermen have lived for generations.
But not all is as bucolic as it seems: The island is at the heart of a yearslong legal battle between those farmers and the government.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 8:18 am
When it comes to talking a big game, no one does it better than the North Koreans.
Just this week, Pyongyang vowed to turn Seoul, the capital of archrival South Korea, into a "sea of fire," promised to launch a "pre-emptive strike on the headquarters of the aggressors" (read: the United States) and called on its army to "annihilate the enemy."
A bomb exploded near the Defense Ministry in Kabul on Saturday morning as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was visiting in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility, calling it a message to the new Pentagon chief.
Update At 10:49 a.m. ET: Hagel Not Surprised
Hagel was nowhere near the attack, but the AP reports he heard the blast:
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