It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Mumbai was shut down yesterday for a funeral. Not just any funeral, the funeral of Bal Thackeray, the 86-year-old political boss of the city and the Indian state of Maharashtra. Thackeray was a Hindu nationalist extremist who championed the local Marati population of Mumbai against newcomers to the city, including Muslims.
Walter Latham was one of the biggest comedy producers in the 1990s. He was the brains behind the Kings of Comedy tour that featured such headliners as the late Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey. Audie Cornish talks to Latham about starting a new YouTube channel called, "Walter Latham Comedy" and both the new opportunities and challenges it presents.
At Analy High School in Sebastopol, Calif., three students are taking apart a bicycle that generates electricity. Another student is calibrating a laser cutter. They're all working in a cavernous building that once held the school's metal and electronics shop. Let's just say it has been updated.
"I'm thinking that I might make a quadrocopter and a tremolo. It's a type of guitar thing that uses light to change the volume. And a few other things; we'll see," says Gabe Cook-Spillane, a senior at Analy High.
Bill Withers' very first single became a breakout hit in 1971. He would go on to record nine albums over the next 14 years, and all of them are now available on a new box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters.
President Obama is now about to enter into a series of difficult talks on the so-called debt ceiling and the impending fiscal cliff. Lawmakers have until Dec. 31 to come up with a deal to prevent $700 billion from being cut from the federal budget.
Back in the 17th century, right around the time when the ideas of great thinkers like Descartes and Newton and Hobbes began to shape the world, a Jesuit priest named Athanasius Kircher also tried to make his mark.
Kircher was something of a jack-of-all-trades. He wrote more than 30 books; he was a philosopher, an inventor, a historian, a scientist. Back in his day, everyone knew about him. But it didn't help his reputation that many of his theories and inventions just couldn't hold water.
There's a public middle school in Brooklyn, N.Y., called Intermediate School 318, or I.S. 318. Like others in the area, it's a Title I school, which means it has a poverty level that's more than 65 percent. But unlike other schools, it's got the highest-ranked junior-high chess team in the nation. In fact, Brooklyn IS 3-18 has won more than 30 national chess titles.
I.S. 318 is the subject of a new documentary called Brooklyn Castle. The film has picked up audience awards at the SXSW and Hot Docs film festivals.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Intensive diplomatic efforts are under way in the Middle East to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas. Those efforts haven't stopped the two sides from escalating their attacks. And if the diplomacy fails, Israel could decide to invade Gaza. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us now from Gaza with the latest. Anthony, what's been happening today so far?
Director Ang Lee's new film, Life of Pi, tells the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy who is the lone survivor of a terrible shipwreck. Pi Patel finds himself lost at sea, alone on a boat with a Bengal tiger.
The film is based on Yann Martel's fantasy novel of the same name. The book won the 2002 Man Booker prize for fiction and was optioned to be turned into a film even though it was considered by many in Hollywood to be unfilmable: How do you make a movie that takes place almost entirely on a boat? And with a real tiger?
The tech industry has been lobbying hard for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 1986 law governing online privacy.
Under an umbrella group calling itself Digital Due Process, companies and civil liberties groups have argued that the law is too loose with the privacy of data stored online, especially Web-based email and other documents on the cloud.