National & World News from NPR

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:

Be Bigger, Fight Harder: Roxane Gay On A Lifetime Of 'Hunger': Gay has finally written the book that she "wanted to write the least." The moment she realized she "never want to write about fatness" was the same moment she knew this was a memoir she had to write.

Comedian Eddie Izzard — who's done stand-up in more than 40 countries, in four different languages — has now written a new book called Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens.

We've invited him to answer three questions about the Australian psychedelic rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

In a major property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a decisive victory to state and local governments and environmental groups.

By a 5-to-3 vote, the justices made it much harder for property owners to get compensation from the government when zoning regulations restrict the use of just part of landowners' property.

In the seventh century B.C., the poet Semonides of Amorgos wrote a catalog of unmanageable women. First, there are the women who resemble pigs, "resting in filth and growing fat." Other women, he writes, are yapping dogs, who won't shut up even if you knock their teeth out. And then there are the lazy horses, slutty weasels and ugly apes with no necks. The only kind of woman he praises is the bee — industrious, devoted and, most importantly, fertile.

Authorities in London evacuated roughly 650 apartments in a high-rise complex overnight, citing fears that the complex bore many of the safety issues that Grenfell Tower did. Councilmembers for the London borough of Camden say it was the stark memory of the Grenfell blaze, which killed at least 79 people earlier this month, that spurred them to act.

The type of siding or "cladding" used on the Grenfell Tower in London — and suspected of feeding the massive fire that killed dozens of residents — is not allowed on the exterior of tall buildings across most of the U.S.

But a few states and the District of Columbia have relaxed their building codes in recent years and have started to permit the material's use.

She has no phone, no laptop, no Internet and no air conditioning inside her cell. It's 93 degrees outside, but Leila de Lima looks remarkably composed.

The Philippine senator spends much of her time reading and attending to Senate business as best she can, though she isn't allowed to vote. De Lima, a 57-year-old grandmother, was imprisoned in February on President Rodrigo Duterte's orders, after poking the bear one too many times. The charges against her, which she denies, include taking money from jailed drug dealers.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

There are only two ways to get to Meyers Chuck, Alaska: by boat or float plane.

If you go by plane, you might hitch a ride on a de Havilland Beaver, circa 1958 — one of the planes that brings the mail every week. It comes in low over specks of islands and the forested Alaska coast, and curves into the protected inlet of Meyers Chuck, splashing down at high tide.

On the day we visit, a handful of boats are tied up along a floating mooring. Small wooden cabins are nestled among the trees.

On a typical block in Hong Kong, thousands of people live on top of each other. Pol Fàbrega thinks about all these people as he looks up at the towering high rises above the streets. And then he thinks about all that space above all these people.

"The square footage here is incredibly expensive," says Fàbrega, staring upwards. "But yet, if you look at Hong Kong from above, it's full of empty rooftops."

It is, he says, a big opportunity for growth.

The first problem with the airplane bathroom was its location.

It was March. Greg O'Brien and his wife, Mary Catherine, were flying back to Boston from Los Angeles, sitting in economy seats in the middle of the plane. "We're halfway, probably over Chicago," Greg remembers, "and Mary Catherine said, 'Go to the bathroom.' "

"It just sounded like my mother," Greg says. So I said 'no.' "

Mary Catherine persisted, urging her husband of 40 years to use the restroom. People started looking at them. "It was kind of funny," says Greg.

Slobodan Simic hardly looks like a donkey farmer. A 62-year-old lawyer and former lawmaker in the Serbian parliament, he's in dark glasses, chomping on a tobacco pipe.

"Jesus rode to Jerusalem on a donkey," he says. "They're special creatures, and that's why everyone in Europe used to have one. Ours was the Balkan donkey, and I want to preserve it."

Berlin, 1940. A young Nazi officer is given a new mission: The Reich is sending him to Holland, to guard the exiled former German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II. That's the premise of a new feature film, The Exception — it's a spy story, with steamy sex, intrigue and history rolled in.

What's In The GOP Health Care Bill

3 hours ago

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Snakebites Make The List Of 'Neglected Tropical Diseases'

4 hours ago

Snakebites kill more than 100,000 people per year, the World Health Organization estimates. The organization recently took a step to reduce that number by adding venomous snake bites to its list of neglected tropical diseases – a classification that could help get more resources allocated to fighting this public health problem.

(WHO did acknowledge that snakebites aren't a disease but "an injury" but the "envenoming" — the injection of the snake's venom — can be considered a disease.)

"How do you cross the line? Step by step."

Internal monologue is a staple in cop books. There are rules, things you do and things you don't, and if the cop in your cop book can't talk to himself in his own head, how are the readers going to know that he's tortured? That he's a good man going bad (or a bad man going worse)? That he has hopes and dreams that extend beyond these streets and the barrel of this gun?

President Trump has brought on an eclectic team of outside lawyers to help him navigate the various investigations into Russian meddling in the election. At least six congressional committees are investigating.

Senate Republicans have little margin for error as they prepare for a vote this coming week on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Some lawmakers are already raising concern that the bill could aggravate the problem of healthy people going without insurance, driving up costs for everyone else.

Welcome to this week's edition of our national education news roundup.

DeVos appoints current student loan company CEO to head student loan agency

Wayne A. Johnson will be the new head of Federal Student Aid after James Runcie abruptly resigned last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced this week. FSA is the agency responsible for administering $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loans from 42 million borrowers, plus other aid programs for millions of college students.

He brooded, as Lincoln.

He seduced in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. And he murdered, in There Will Be Blood.

This week, Daniel Day-Lewis — a three-time Oscar winner, and incomparable film chameleon — announced he is retiring from acting at 60.

A statement released by his spokeswoman gave no explanation, saying this is a private decision, and that Day-Lewis will have no further comment.

The actor has often taken lengthy sabbaticals between films, but this time it's apparently permanent.

So what will he be doing?

More than 140 people may be buried after a landslide in the town of Xinmo in southwest China Saturday.

Local officials are estimating 46 homes were buried under tons of rubble.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that at least three people had been rescued and taken to a hospital with injuries it said were not life-threatening.

A Catholic bishop has instructed priests in his central Illinois diocese to deny communion, last rites and funeral rites to people in same-sex marriages – unless they repent.

In the decree he sent to priests, deacons, seminarians and staff in his Springfield diocese last week, Bishop Thomas Paprocki sets forth a set of norms on same-sex marriage and related pastoral issues that he says are the policy of the diocese.

Arkansas's pesticide regulators have stepped into the middle of an epic battle between weeds and chemicals, which has now morphed into a battle between farmers. Hundreds of farmers say their crops have been damaged by a weedkiller that was sprayed on neighboring fields. Today, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to impose an unprecedented ban on that chemical.

Venezuela's ongoing political and economic crisis has taken a toll on daily life there.

A crash in oil prices and political instability under President Nicolas Maduro have led to food shortages, and that has prompted almost daily street protests by thousands of Venezuelans.

A 35-year-old protester named Carlos tells NPR's Audie Cornish the food situation is "pretty extreme." NPR is using only his first name for his safety.

Pages