The economic news has been nothing but grim lately: weak expansion, sluggish consumer spending and unemployment holding steady at just over 9 percent.
Overseas, the picture isn't any rosier, with Greece expected to default on its debts — possibly followed by Portugal and Ireland — and the International Monetary Fund predicting a global economic slowdown.
So is the U.S. heading for a double-dip recession? Or are we there already? And what can we do about it?
Another government shutdown could be looming, the state of Georgia goes ahead with the controversial execution of Troy Davis and overseas, Vladimir Putin announces he's taking another run at the Russian presidency. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz and the Atlantic's James Fallows get behind the headlines of the week's biggest news.
Two years ago, the Obama Administration secretly authorized the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs — or bunker busters — to Israel. That's according to an investigation by Newsweek magazine. The bombs could potentially be used in Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with Eli Lake, the reporter who broke the story.
Troy Davis was executed in Georgia on Wednesday night. He'd been convicted of killing an off-duty police officer 22 years ago in Savannah. Amnesty International's Laura Moye talks with weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about the campaign she led that transformed Davis from a nameless convict on death row to a household name.
Short story writers, your time is short! The deadline for this round of our contest Three Minute Fiction is Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. The rules set by this round's judge, writer Danielle Evans, are simple: One character must come to town and, one character must leave town. And remember, your story can't longer than 600 words. Enter here.
World stock markets tumbled this week amid fears about Europe's debt crisis, and the subject dominated the discussions at the fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held this weekend.
Europe's sovereign debt problems, including the growing possibility of a default by Greece, have been festering now for more than a year. Investors in the financial markets are questioning the will and capacity of European governments to solve the problem. In the seminars and salons surrounding the meetings, financial heavyweights sounded the alarm.
Ivy's new album is All Hours. Left to right: Adam Schlesinger, Dominique Durand, Andy Chase.
In 1989, Dominique Durand left her home in Paris to live in New York. Her goal was simple: to learn English. But fate took over, and five years later she became the frontwoman for the indie pop band Ivy.
SCOTT SIMON, host: Baseball is a money game. Year after year, the teams with the biggest payrolls - the Yankees, the Red Sox, now the Phillies, make the playoffs. I know that doesn't explain how the Chicago Cubs have the third highest payroll and finish last. But the teams with the smallest payrolls often see their biggest stars just go off to the richest teams. In the new film, "Moneyball," the Oakland A's general manager portrayed by Brad Pitt, puts it to his scouts.
Every week it seems there are more people looking for work, more companies laying people off, and more nations teetering at the edge of unrecoverable debt. But beyond the latest headlines of gloom, there is a fundamental shift going on in our economy and our world. Host Scott Simon talks with Mike Hawley, formerly of MIT's Media Lab, who says that shift may also hold great promise.
The UN Security Council now has before it an application from the Palestinians to join the United Nations as a full member. The U.S. is promising to veto the bid as diplomats try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the parties sound very far apart.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank took to the streets Friday night to celebrate their formal bid for statehood at the United Nations. Watching on large television screens set up in city squares, Palestinians reacted with joy at the uncharacteristically impassioned speech given by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. From Ramallah, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro talks with host Scott Simon.
It decides nothing, and may be totally meaningless, but like many other political events, the Florida straw poll gets a lot of attention from candidates and the media. This year, the poll is expected to draw 3,500 party activists to take part in Orlando, where NPR's Greg Allen reports from the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The trial of seven Italian scientists began this week. They are charged with manslaughter for failing to adequately warn the residents of L'Aquila, Italy, about the risk of an earthquake in 2009. Host Scott Simon speaks with Rick Aster, president of the Seismological Society of America, about the trial.
The once-rare possibility of a federal government shutdown reared its head again this week. This time it was over House Republicans' desire to pay for disaster relief costs with money for other, unrelated projects. NPR's David Welna explains the Capitol Hill machinations ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's election day in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. Voters there will fill seats left vacant when the leading Shi'ite opposition party walked out of parliament to protest the crushing of unrest back in March. The opposition is calling for a boycott; street protests have continued, but the government, with the encouragement of the U.S. government, insists it will maintain order and usher in genuine reforms. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Bahrain and has this report.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
There's going to be usual art exhibit this afternoon in Oakland, California. Unusual because it features art made by Palestinian children living in the Gaza Strip, and also because the art exhibit will not be shown inside the museum that had originally scheduled the show.
SCOTT SIMON, host: Tomorrow, the National Gallery of Art opens "Warhol: Headlines" an exhibit of the late artists' works depicting the news industry in America. Andy Warhol would recreate front pages of New York newspapers in the way he did Campbell's soup cans, occasionally adding a change or flourish.
The once-rare possibility of a federal government shutdown has reared its head again, this time over House Republicans' desire to offset spending for disaster relief with money for other unrelated projects.
A clean-car loan program has become a key battleground. The House spending bill would take $1.5 billion from the program for disaster relief. Democrats say that would be a huge mistake.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, right, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 22. The Pentagon is tasked with cutting $450 billion from its budget in the next 10 years.
The congressional super committee has two months to come up with a way to slash more than a trillion dollars from the federal deficit, or risk deeper cuts that would be triggered automatically. Everything is on the table in the debate — including defense spending.
The Pentagon is on a mission to prevent the defense budget from taking the brunt of the cuts, and the threat of losing funding has both the military branches and the defense industry fighting back.
A pensioner shops in Athens' central market on May 12. The rapidly aging population in Europe will increasingly strain national budgets across the continent, where more retirees will be depending on fewer workers.
"Old Europe" is getting old, and fast.
The share of seniors in the population of Western European countries is growing rapidly, due to a combination of increased longevity and low fertility rates.
That fact is having two major effects on many economies within the European Union. Over the short term, many nations are struggling to pay for generous health coverage and pensions.
Researchers made quite a find this week in Utah: a new species of raptor dinosaur. The ancient creature, a meat-eater, was small and fast, with talon-like toes.
"These animals were incredibly fast, incredibly intelligent and some of them wielded very significant claws and sharp teeth," Dr. Lindsay Zanno of the New University of Wisconsin tells NPR's Scott Simon. Zanno led the dig team that made the discovery.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Texas Rangers all won division titles Friday night. But in New England, the Boston Red Sox have been falling like leaves from a mighty oak in the race for the American League wild card spot. Host Scott Simon talks sports with sports commentator Howard Bryant about this story and more.
The original Rin Tin Tin was born in 1918 and died in 1932.
The story of how Rin Tin Tin became one of the most celebrated animals in film history is almost as Hollywood-tinged as cinema itself.
The short version: Lee Duncan, an American serviceman during World War I, found a mostly destroyed dog kennel right on the field of battle. Duncan rescued the pup who became Rin Tin Tin, brought him home to California, and later put him in the movies.
Gavin DeGraw charged onto the music scene in 2003 with his debut album, Chariot. It had hits that included the title track, "Follow Through," and his double-platinum smash, "I Don't Wanna Be."
He's gone through some hard knocks since then, but the 34-year-old singer-songwriter has taken it all in stride and has just released his fourth album, Sweeter. He tells Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon that his latest set of songs "straddles the line between sexuality and masculinity."
Former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was chosen to take over at Hewlett-Packard
After Hewlett-Packard announced that it was replacing its CEO with Meg Whitman, lots of talk erupted about the state of the technology behemoth.
Most of it wasn't pretty. Perhaps NPR's Richard Gonzales got the most succinct analysis of the situation from Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, who called HP "a clown without a circus, a tragicomedy."
Wild Flag's self-titled debut album was released earlier this month. Left to right: Rebecca Cole, Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony, Janet Weiss.
Carrie Brownstein helped start Sleater-Kinney, the celebrated punk trio, when she was still in college. That band split in 2006, and though Brownstein kept busy — as a blogger and commentator for NPR Music, among other things — she says that by the end of 2010, she was feeling antsy.