National & World News from NPR

The U.N. Security Council is condemning the Syrian government for the massacre of scores of people, including children, in the town of Houla, a day after images of the mass killings shocked the world.

In this space earlier this month, I wrote about whether President Obama would face a backlash from African-Americans for his endorsement of same-sex marriage. (He hasn't.) I made mention of a random field experiment in which 285 black people in Cook County, Ill., were polled about gay marriage.

As summer nears, Great American Hecklers are being spotted all over the place.

You can see them — and hear their calls — at commencements, sporting events, political gatherings. Hecklers on the right and hecklers on the left.

At Eurovision, A Dance Around Human Rights

May 27, 2012

Under flashing lights, Swedish singer Loreen danced barefooted to first place in the 2012 Eurovision competition early Sunday morning. The contest's backdrop: Baku, Azerbaijan. While Europe fell in love with Loreen's song, "Euphoria," stories of abuse on the streets were leaking out.

Women Push Their Limits In Pro Cycling Race

May 27, 2012

The Exergy Tour began Thursday night in Boise, Idaho. It's the largest women's five-day stage race in North America. It's also the last major race before cycling teams are chosen for the Olympics in London. This Tour is meant to raise the bar for women's cycling but as Sadie Babits reports, the race began with a major upset.

The State Of The Church

May 27, 2012

The Catholic Church has been in the public spotlight a lot this year. The issues of contraception and gay marriage have been part of the presidential campaign and church leaders have weighed in. There have also been new revelations in a case involving leaked Vatican documents, and it may actually be a case where the butler did it. Host Rachel Martin speaks with John Allen, a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

Is Latest Attack In Syria A Game Changer?

May 27, 2012

The United Nations has confirmed that at least 90 people were killed by tank shells and artillery fire in central Syria this weekend. While the UN did not outright say this was the work of the Syrian army, activists and residents say the military is the only institution that has such weapons. NPR's Kelly McEvers in Beirut tells host Rachel Martin the latest.

Reporting The American Dream

May 27, 2012

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Throughout today's show, we've heard from members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment. To mark this Memorial Day weekend, we have asked them to recall the most vivid memory from a year spent at war.

Musings On The NBA Draft Lottery

May 27, 2012

Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR sports correspondent Mike Pesca, who has an off-speed pitch on the week's sports news.

Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Scott Horsley about the aggressive campaigning in recent weeks by both President Obama and Mitt Romney. Both men are focusing on jobs and the economy.

Since 2001, more than 700,000 American children have had one or more parents deployed overseas by the military. Missed birthdays and other milestones become a part of life for military kids who are not always vocal about their feelings. In Grand Forks, N.D., a play called Deployed helped give some of them a voice. Meg Luther Lindholm reports.

Tyrese Graham is a second-year science teacher at John Marshall Metropolitan High School on the West Side of Chicago. When he started teaching there, Marshall was among the worst public schools in the city.

When Graham walked into his first class, he could hardly speak over the noise of the students. He tried to make a point by not talking.

"I'll let you finish, but realize, every moment that I'm not talking and providing you instruction, you guys will be giving that back to me," he told them.

Graham's remarks were met with a sharp rebuke from one of his students.

A clergy sex-abuse trial is intensifying in a Philadelphia courtroom. One defendant is James Brennan, a priest accused of trying to rape a minor.

What's drawing attention is the second defendant, Monsignor William Lynn. Lynn is the first high-level Catholic official to be criminally prosecuted — not for abusing minors himself, but for failing to protect children from predator priests.

Failure To Protect?

Unemployment figures for May come out Friday. While the numbers will show how many jobs have been added or lost, they won't tell us much about the quality of positions filled or illustrate what economists already know: that the middle of the job market is hollowing out.

Seventy-five years ago today, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opened to the public. People walked across the bridge for the first time, marveling at what was then the largest suspension bridge in the world.

Before the project began, many people thought building the bridge was impossible. And when the construction started, most thought that dozens would die in the process. The rule of thumb at the time was that for every million dollars spent on a project, one person would die — and the Golden Gate Bridge was going to cost $37 million.

Hotshot political consultant Matt Mackowiak is a rising star in the very lucrative world of political consulting. His firm, the Potomac Strategy Group, helps Republicans win elections, but he's not working with Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign this election year.

People who are part of Mackowiak's tribe — the strategists, the opposition researchers, the pollsters — are discovering that they can have a much bigger impact working for outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money, unencumbered by the rules that restrict what a presidential campaign can do.

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A Holiday Treat: Lower Prices At The Pump

May 26, 2012

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Sports: Ice, Hoops And Rackets

May 26, 2012

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And I wait all week to say: time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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April and May are fairly quiet times for Maine lobstermen and women, with the height of the summer season still a couple of months away. This year, strange things are happening on the ocean floor. Many of the lobsters have prematurely shed their hard shells, and lobstermen are hauling large numbers of soft-shelled lobsters much earlier than usual.

If there's one grilling tip to remember this Memorial Day weekend, it should be this: Flame is bad.

"Flame does nasty things to food," food historian and science guy Alton Brown tells NPR's Scott Simon in the kick-off segment of Weekend Edition's "Taste of Summer" series.

A Quinnipiac University poll out this week found Mitt Romney with a 6-point lead over President Obama in Florida. That would seem to be very good news for the presumptive Republican nominee in what may be the biggest swing state this fall.

As the wind whips across the scrub grass in southern Argentina, a crane unloads huge bags of artificial sand for oil workers preparing for the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of a well.

Water mixed with chemicals and tiny ceramic beads are then blasted underground at high pressure. This mixture helps create fissures, allowing oil and natural gas to flow.

Energy analysts believe there are billions of barrels of oil and gas buried in a desert-like patch in Patagonia.

One of the ways Spaniards console themselves amid their failing economy is with their beloved sport of soccer. If you can't afford tickets to a game, it's always on TV in your local bar.

"For an escape from work, economic problems — just enjoy it and support your team," says soccer fan Ivan Rassuli, who's having a beer as he watches a match at a bar. "Everybody likes football. Maybe like the NBA or baseball in the United States."

But futbol, as Spaniards call soccer, has followed the same sorry trajectory as Spain's economy.

Failure To Pay Taxes

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