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The Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan had five unplanned shutdowns last year. It's one of the area's biggest employers, and its safety record is one of the worst in the country. Now it's trying to prove to federal regulators that it can meet their standards.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Palisades Power Plant is tucked in between tall sand dunes in Covert Township, Mich., at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park.

India: A Country In The Midst Of Change

Apr 22, 2012

Akash Kapur is the son of an Indian father and an American mother. In 2003, after working professionally in New York City for more than a decade, he decided to return to India. As he writes in his book, India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India, he arrived in a place he hardly recognized.

An increasing number of restaurants in the U.S. display signature dishes made with Kobe beef. From Kobe steak raviolis to Kobe beef burgers, you name it, Kobe beef seems to be popping up everywhere — except it's not Kobe beef.

Food writer Larry Olmsted of Forbes.com couldn't help but notice the trend and decided to bust everyone's bubble in a three-part expose of the so-called domestic Kobe beef industry.

Who Romney Keeps Close

Apr 22, 2012

Mitt Romney, the presumptive candidate for the Republican nomination, is hiring hundreds of new staffers over the next few months. The former Massachusetts governor is still surrounded by a trusted core of senior advisers, however, and they aren't going anywhere. Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about the inner circle.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch survived his state's Republican nominating convention yesterday, but barely failed to get enough votes to avoid a June primary. It'll be the six-term senator's first primary in 36 years. Still, he's not complaining because convention delegates didn't toss him from the race and ultimately from the Senate. That's what they did two years ago with three-term incumbent Bob Bennett.

End Of The Tea Party As We Know It?

Apr 22, 2012

Have we seen the end of the Tea Party movement? New York Times reporter Kate Zernike is the author of Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America. Host Rachel Martin talks with Zernike about the Tea Party's current relevance and influence in the political process.

Charles "Chuck" Colson, a key figure in the Richard Nixon White House, died Saturday. Colson was the president's special counsel and went to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal. While behind bars, he embraced Christianity. As NPR's Joel Rose reports, he went on to become a central evangelical leader after his release.

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Today marks the 32nd annual London Marathon. Summer Olympic hopeful, Wilson Kipsang, won the men's race, while fellow Kenyan Mary Keitany won the women's for a second consecutive year. Others, well, Vicki Barker met the event's most seasoned veterans: the so-called Ever-Presents, who've run in all 31 previous marathons. Time is reducing their numbers, she says - but not their enthusiasm.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAIN FALLING)

Sports: Noteworthy Pitch Performances

Apr 22, 2012

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BALL GAME")

SISTER WYNONA CARR: (Singing) Life is a ball game, being played each day...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BALL GAME")

MARTIN: And if it's true that life's a ball game, NPR's Mike Pesca is WEEKEND EDITION's umpire, calling the pitches and the plays as he sees them. He joins us now to talk more about sports and life and - hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hey. How are you doing, Rachel?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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On Sunday morning, Formula One racing cars are competing for first place in a controversial race in the Arab kingdom of Bahrain. Violent anti-government protests have continued in the run-up to the race. Host Rachel Martin talks with Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next week on the most divisive immigration law in recent memory. Arizona's Legislature passed SB 1070 two years ago, but much of it has been put on hold pending the court's decision.

Still, supporters say the law has achieved one of its stated goals: Thousands of illegal immigrants have self-deported, leaving the state on their own. The real reason — and consequence — of such a demographic shift may be more complex, however.

Members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition sport calluses and legs hardened by three months of hiking through saw grass, palmetto stands and piney woods.

On Sunday, these four adventurers mark the end of a 1,000-mile trek across Florida, from the tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp.

Just the arrival of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner prompted supporters in her Peronist movement to break into chants last Monday. The event, choreographed to feel momentous, was at the presidential palace. Fernandez de Kirchner announced plans to expropriate assets of the Spanish oil firm Repsol in Argentina.

Through a window, television viewers could see a huge image of Evita Peron, the famous 1950s-era populist whose presence is deeply felt in today's government.

What's Hot On The Billboard Latin Charts

Apr 21, 2012

The Export Boom: Who's Buying American?

Apr 21, 2012

In his State of the Union address two years ago, President Obama argued there were a few things the U.S. needed to do in order to recover from the economic recession. One of them was to export more of our goods around the world.

"The more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America," Obama said.

That night, the president unveiled a new goal: to double U.S. exports over the next five years. It would be an increase that the president said would "support two million jobs in America."

In 2009, prosecutors in Detroit discovered more than 11,000 boxes of potential evidence in rape cases left completely unprocessed. Row upon row of what are called "rape kits" remained untouched on shelves in a police evidence room for years. No DNA evidence was extracted; no DNA evidence was used to catch or prosecute the assailants.

Since then, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has lead the effort to sort through those 11,000 rape kits and to find the funding to get them processed.

Pop Culture's 40-Year Itch

Apr 21, 2012

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. And we're going to talk about music, movies and culture now, and in particular, about something known as the 40-year rule. Adam Gopnik is with us now from New York. He's written about it for the latest issue of The New Yorker. Hello, Adam.

ADAM GOPNIK: Hey, Guy. How are you?

RAZ: I'm good. Let's explain this with a pop quiz, Adam. You know the answers. so don't give it away because this is for the listeners.

GOPNIK: All right.

Charles Colson, who served time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal and later became an influential evangelical Christian, has died. Colson went from being one of the nation's most despised men to a hero of conservative Christians.

The UK gave some support to the emerging market nations' quest for a greater role today at the IMF during the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the UK's $15-billion contribution to the IMF's enhanced crisis fund could not be accessed until further progress is made on giving the emerging market a greater voice in how the is Fund is run.

I've been curious about a question I haven't heard in the stories about U.S. Secret Service agents misbehaving before President Obama's arrival at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

Why were world leaders meeting in a place with legalized prostitution?

There might have been a time — after I saw Toulouse-Lautrec's poignant paintings of life in Paris brothels, or Billy Wilder's clever Irma la Douce — when I thought of prostitution as a harmless enterprise between consenting adults.

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Last weekend's meeting on Iran's controversial nuclear program didn't produce breakthroughs, but the envoys from six world powers and Iran suggested that the talks in Istanbul started a process that could lead to an eventual compromise. But one nation, Israel, was not happy with the results. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Jerusalem.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: While much of the world is relieved that Iran is finally engaged in talks on his suspect nuclear program, Israel is sounding an alarm.

We have a new look at the fundraising contest being waged by President Obama and apparent Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Their campaign committees filed monthly disclosures Friday night at the Federal Election Commission — as did superPACs that are active in the presidential contest.

Their reports show a turning point in the campaign as the president's re-election operation powers toward November and the Romney team revs up after the GOP primary contest.

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Voters go to the polls tomorrow in France to cast ballots in the first round of their presidential election. President Nicolas Sarkozy still trails his socialist opponent Francois Hollande. Mr. Sarkozy has tried to close that gap by appealing to voters on the right. Much of the French campaign this time around focused on right-wing issues like crime, security and immigration.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley visited a town in France that is still haunted by ghosts of its far-right past, to see what people think about that.

Sports: Who's Starting Baseball Season Well

Apr 21, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Let me hang up the phone now. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Baseball's fast starts - some teams founder early and the anniversary of the Big Green Monster. Errrrr. Howard Bryant joins us, senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine; joins us from New England Public Radio in Amherst, Massachusetts. Howard, thanks for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Hey, Scott. How are you?

SIMON: Fine, thanks.

BRYANT: So, who's off to a good start and who hasn't had a good time at all?

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Republican campaign for president literally heated up yesterday. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the likely nominee, was in the Phoenix area. He addressed a rally of sun-soaked supporters, a meeting of Republican state chairmen and a group of Hispanic leaders. Now, in the moment, we'll hear more about how Republicans plan to reach out to Hispanic voters this election season. First, NPR's Ted Robbins has this report.

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you, thank you.

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Boston is getting the country's first commercial route flown by the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Now, the flight lifts off tomorrow afternoon, nonstop service from Boston to Tokyo. The Japan Airlines flight will also give a lift to Boston's economy, with Japanese tourists and business travelers now just 13 hours away.

From member WBUR in Boston, Curt Nickisch reports on the city's nonstop excitement.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The U.N. Security Council has passed a resolution that would call for hundreds of monitors to enter Syria should the Syrian government not keep to the terms of a cease-fire. The government was supposed to pull its troops and heavy arms out of cities and towns, but as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, dozens of people were killed during protests yesterday.

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A small clarification now: A few weeks ago on this program, Tom Goldman told us that he was about to catch a flight to Denver to cover the NCAA Women's Basketball championships. I joked: By the way, United Airlines, if you're listening, please upgrade Mr. Goldman - our compliments.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: I'm already first-class.

SIMON: In all ways, my friend.

GOLDMAN: Oops, did I say that?

Tonight is a good night for a meteor shower. The Lyrids aren't known for their flashy shows, but this year they're getting help from a new moon.

The dark skies will be "ideal for meteor watching from the ground," NASA says.

Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor for Sky and Telescope magazine, tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon the best views are from the darkest places.

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