And if you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
In Afghanistan today, the Taliban has launched a string of attacks across the country, including coordinated strikes in the capital, Kabul, that hit near western targets and Afghan government buildings. The Taliban says today's attack marks the beginning of what they call the spring fighting season, the period after the winter thaw when mountain passes and roads become accessible again.
Staying overseas, and to Egypt now, where election officials have stunned voters by banning three of the top contenders running in the country's upcoming presidential elections. Those candidates include Omar Suleiman, the vice president under Hosni Mubarak, the other two, a powerful leader from the Muslim Brotherhood and an ultra-conservative Islamist cleric.
In Philadelphia, a warehouse fire this past week killed two firefighters and left neighbors angry because the building was abandoned. The city faces the same challenges as many others across the country - it has too many big old and unused buildings. From member station WHYY in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Fiedler reports on the threat posed by vacant buildings.
ELIZABETH FIEDLER, BYLINE: John Mahoney walks his dog near the site of the fire. He wasn't surprised by what happened.
Over 100 tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Great Plains, causing millions of dollars in damage across Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Despite the wreckage, there were few fatalities, a result perhaps due in part to the National Weather Service's warnings. Russell Schneider of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., offers his insight.
A few years ago, author, critic, and translator Daniel Mendelsohn was teaching the epic Greek poem The Odyssey when his father decided to take his class.
Jay Mendelsohn, a retired research scientist, wanted to understand his son better, and understand his life's work. When Daniel decided he wanted to retrace one of the most epic journeys of Greek literature, Jay became his travel partner.
Amnon Weinstein first encountered a violin from the Holocaust 50 years ago. He was a young violin maker in Israel, and a customer brought him an old instrument in terrible condition and wanted it restored.
The customer had played on the violin on the way to the gas chamber, but he survived because the Germans needed him for their death camp orchestra. He hadn't played on it since.
"So I opened the violin, and there inside there [were] ashes," Weinstein says.
Laurie and Dan Castaneda from Long Beach, Calif., walk the pool deck of the Azamara Journey on a Titanic Memorial Cruise. Preparation for their costumes involved several weeks of research, last-minute purchases and even home-sewn clothing from vintage patterns.
Aboard the luxury liner Azamara Journey, writer Lester Reingold holds up an orange pocketed by a crew member from the Titanic before it sank 100 years ago. Reingold reports the "orange is now dry, sort of mummified, and feels as though it may be hollow."
One hundred years ago this Sunday, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank into the Atlantic on its maiden voyage. At that very spot today is another luxury liner, there to mark the centennial of the disaster. Writer Lester Reingold is on board the memorial cruise, and he sends us this report.
Host Rachel Martin talks with Lester Reingold, a writer and Titanic enthusiast, just after he'll have attended a memorial honoring the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic's sinking from aboard a cruise ship, anchored right where the ship went down.
Host Rachel Martin talks with Matthew Goodwin, an associate fellow with Chatham House, about anti-immigrant extremism in Europe. Goodwin explains why once-fringe political parties have gained widespread support.