NPR Staff

A number of federal agencies are grappling with rules around drones as the popularity of the unmanned aircraft is rising. The National Park Service recently banned their use in Yosemite, and the Federal Aviation Administration is under orders from Congress to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into U.S. airspace by September 2015.

On April 30, the Etiwanda Fire ignited in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, then quickly grew to more than 2,000 acres before crews were able to contain it.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers. The following is what you might call an "almost big break."

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a criminal justice reporter for The Associated Press, Michael Graczyk has covered hundreds of executions of death row inmates in the state of Texas. This means, of course, that he must be there to witness those deaths.

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

When you consider that critics have been writing about him for over 60 years, it can seem as if there's nothing left to say about Sonny Rollins. But there is – because over the decades, the "Saxophone Colossus" has never stopped growing or adding to his sound.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes the entire LA Clippers corporate organization is better off now that owner Donald Sterling has lost his standing with the NBA.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA last week for racist remarks made on a recording released by TMZ Sports. Abdul-Jabbar says the punishment announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver is wise and just, and has given the team confidence.

According to the American Freshman Survey, most students were accepted by their first-choice colleges last year — but almost half of them actually enrolled in other schools, primarily for financial reasons.

To find out more, Morning Edition's David Greene spoke with Sylvia Hurtado, head of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, which conducts the annual survey.


Interview Highlights

On forgoing their first-choice schools

In 2009, Frank Tempone was severely depressed. He had what he calls a midlife crisis, and left his wife and three kids in Massachusetts to live on his own in Chicago.

But after two years apart, Frank came back. The entire family moved to Chicago, and Frank brought his oldest son, Jack, to StoryCorps because he wanted to apologize.

"Do you remember that time?" Frank asks Jack.

Across the country this weekend, Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated with festivals, music, Mexican food and plenty of bar specials.

But south of the border, the holiday merits little more than a parade in the city of Puebla, east of Mexico City. There, in 1862, outgunned Mexican troops defeated an invading French army.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Now, a note about television from the other side of the earth, Australia.

A couple of months ago, I found myself watching an American show called "Rake." It starred Greg Kinnear as a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles, a man of many vices and more than a little charm.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RAKE")

BOJANA HARBOUR: (As Mikki) There's no future for us.

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We have to begin to view Russia no longer as a power but as more of an adversary - those are the words today of Alexander Vershbow, the deputy secretary-general of NATO. We, in this case, means NATO, and few people are as experienced when he is when it comes to the alliance and the Russians. Before becoming the number two man at NATO, he was U.S. ambassador to the alliance and then U.S. ambassador to Russia. And he joins us now. Alexander Vershbow, welcome to the program.

ALEXANDER VERSHBOW: Good to be here.

A small number of universities are starting to go against the grain, reducing amenities and frills in favor of keeping the costs relatively low.

Neil Theobald is the president of Temple University, which recently began offering students $4,000 per year in grants — if they promise to limit the number of hours they work during the school year and graduate on time.

Twitter is growing and its brand is spreading but Wall Street is unimpressed. On Tuesday, the company announced it had doubled its quarterly revenue from a year ago to $250 million. The social networking site also increased its number of active users to 255 million, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

But despite the gains, Wall Street analysts have called the growth tepid. Twitter went public last November, and its shares have traded as high as $74; on Wednesday, it opened at under $38.

For the first time since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011, Iraqis went to the polls to vote on their leaders. As Reuters reporter Ned Parker says, the day's events paint a grim future for Iraq's future.

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A day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and made clear his intention to force Sterling to sell the team, the question remains, just how will Silver do that?

In a town northeast of Baghdad, at least 17 people are dead and dozens wounded after a pair of bombs struck an outdoor market. As Tim Arango of The New York Times explains, it's just the latest deadly attack on the eve of Iraq's national parliamentary elections.

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

Keyon Dooling, a former Los Angeles Clipper and founder of the Respect Foundation, discusses his time playing for the team under owner Donald Sterling. Sterling has come under fire for racially inflammatory comments he allegedly made.

The memo arrived on paper.

Because it was 1994.

A notice, to all NPR staff, proclaiming, "Internet is coming to NPR!"

And there was no directive to log on to this fast-growing "organization," by the way. "If you do not want to use Internet," the memo read, "simply do nothing."

You can see more highlights from NPR's pre-Internet days at the Nprchives Tumblr.

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Among those on the sanctions list is an oligarch dubbed Darth Vader by the Russian press. To talk more about him and others targeted for U.S. sanctions, I'm joined here in the studio by David Kramer. He's the president of Freedom House, a pro-democracy watchdog group, and he was part of an independent taskforce of Russia experts that sent to the White House a suggest list of sanction targets. David, thanks for coming in.

DAVID J. KRAMER: Thanks for having me.

This is what an inclusive classroom looks like: Children with disabilities sit next to ones who've been deemed "gifted and talented." The mixing is done carefully, and quietly. Students don't necessarily know who's working at what level.

Despite a court ruling 25 years ago that gave children with disabilities equal access to general education activities, change has been slow.

Today, about 17 percent of students with any disability spend all or most of their days segregated. Children with severe disabilities can still expect that separation.

This month, NASA revealed new details of the plan to send humans to Mars by 2030. It's an elaborate and expensive mission, involving a giant deep-space rocket, and roping an asteroid into the moon's orbit to use as a stepping stone to Mars.

But there are still some serious questions about a manned expedition to Mars. Namely, is it safe? That's where astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly come in. The Kelly brothers are identical twins, and the only siblings ever to both fly in space.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Iraq is suffering the worst spate of violence in many years — some say the worst since the height of the U.S. war in 2008. On Friday, dozens of people were killed at an election rally in Baghdad. This Wednesday, Iraqis will go to the polls in the first parliamentary election since the U.S. pulled combat troops out in 2011.

In five wars over 10 years, Ron Capps shifted back and forth between being a U.S. Army officer and a State Department foreign service officer in some of the world's deadliest places.

In Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, he served as a senior military intelligence officer. In wartime Kosovo, Darfur and Rwanda, he worked as a diplomat out in the field, documenting violence and war. As he writes in his new memoir, all the while he was almost daily "in the midst of murder, rape, the burning of villages, crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleaning or genocide."

Just about anyone who's gone online has encountered the message: "Error 404" or page "Not Found." It's what you see when a link is broken or dead — when the resource is no longer available.

It happens all across the Internet, on blogs, news websites, even links cited in decisions by the Supreme Court. It's called link rot, and it spreads over time as more pages die.

Just a few words can hold a world of meaning. John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court justice, has written a short new book in which he proposes a few words here and there that would create some sweeping changes.

The book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, details the half-dozen ways Stevens thinks the Constitution could be improved, changes that he says are worth the trouble of the arduous amendment process.

Born in Kiev a little more than 40 years ago, Valentina Lisitsa came to America in the early '90s to work as a concert pianist.

Less than 20 years ago, Ellen DeGeneres hadn't come out, gay-wedding announcements didn't appear regularly in major newspapers and 17 states and the District of Columbia hadn't legalized same-sex unions.

But there was Steven Petrow. In 1995 he published The Essential Book of Gay Manners and Etiquette. He's been answering questions ever since — from LGBT and straight people alike — about new and sometimes perplexing social situations.

This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.

Five hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.

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