The Torch
8:48 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Serena Williams Wins Olympic Gold, Beating Sharapova 6-1, 6-0

Serena Williams hits a return to Russia's Maria Sharapova during their final tennis match in the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon. Williams won, 6-0, 6-1.
Luis Acosta AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 4, 2012 10:21 am

American Serena Williams stormed her way to an Olympic gold medal Saturday, dominating the final against Maria Sharapova of Russia. It is the first individual gold medal for Williams, who has twice won in Olympic doubles.

Williams won the first set, 6-0, in only 30 minutes. She hit only a handful of unforced errors in each set, and feasted on Sharapova's second serve. She won the second set by 6-1, with the entire match taking only a bit more than an hour to complete.

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The Torch
8:00 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Let's Catch Up: U.S. Gold In Rifle Event; And A Badminton Bronze

American gold medalist Jamie Lynn Gray celebrates on the podium after winning the 50m rifle 3 positions women final at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London.
Marwan Naamani AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. As we start Day 8 of the London Olympics, big news is already happening. We posted earlier about Oscar Pistorius's historic run in the men's 400 meters, for instance. If you'd like to catch up on yesterday's events, check out our Day in Photos gallery. Here's what's been happening today:

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The Torch
7:14 am
Sat August 4, 2012

For Nigeria's Basketball Fans, U.S. Blowout Can't Dampen Spirits

Nigerian fan Ifeoluwa Akande holds his country's flag as he watches Nigeria's basketball team lose to the United States by a record 83 points.
Vickie Walton-James NPR

The American men's basketball team has faced criticism for Thursday night's 156-73 blowout victory over Nigeria at the London Olympics. At the arena, NPR editor Vickie Walton-James spoke to Nigerian fans, to learn what they thought about being on the wrong end of a record score:

The vaunted USA Dream Team scored more points Thursday than any other team in an Olympic basketball game. The previous record was set in 1988, when Brazil scored 138 points to Egypt's 85.

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The Salt
6:43 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Red Planet, Green Thumb: How A NASA Scientist Engineers His Garden

Limoncello in the making.
Rachael Porter NPR

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:10 am

Most mornings, space engineer Adam Steltzner wakes up at about 3 a.m., and before he can coax his tired body back to sleep, his mind takes over. And he starts to worry.

Eventually Steltzner gives up on sleep and heads into his garden where, just as first light reveals the sky, all that thinking can turn into doing. And finally, a little peace.

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Middle East
6:09 am
Sat August 4, 2012

On Syria's Newest Battleground: The Rebels' View

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

For more on what's happening on the ground in the Syrian city of Aleppo, we reached Abdul Rahman Abu Hothyfa. Throughout the conflict in Syria, he has been the spokesperson for an administrative organization called the Union of Coordinators of Aleppo. I asked him who makes up that group.

ABDUL RAHMAN ABU HOTHYFA: We represent a large sector of the people on the ground. We are like the - a group of young people and activists. So whatever new accident or something happens, we (unintelligible) each other.

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Middle East
6:07 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Rebels In Syria Respond To Crescendo Of Criticism

A picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network purportedly shows Syrian rebels celebrating after taking over a police station in the Ansari district of Aleppo on Friday.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

For the second weekend in a row, observers are predicting a major government offensive against rebels in Syria's largest city, Aleppo. Fierce fighting has also been reported in parts of the capital, Damascus. Allegations of atrocities on both sides of the conflict have prompted a crescendo of criticism from the outside world.

Both sides claim to have gained the upper hand in the fighting over Aleppo, the country's commercial hub and the main city in the north. The government said last week that it had killed many rebels in Aleppo and would soon restore peace to the city.

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Middle East
6:07 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Syrian President's Cousin Denounces Violence

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

One man who's been watching developments in Syria more closely than most, has a curiously familiar-sounding name. Ribal al-Assad is President Bashar al-Assad's first cousin. He also supports efforts to depose him. His view, from exile in London, is grim.

RIBAL AL-ASSAD: Everybody is arming. Everybody is following violence. Nobody wants to sit together and have dialogue. Everybody is really, in to win. Everybody is really after power. This could lead to the disintegration of Syria and its society, and everybody will lose out.

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Europe
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Olympics Sets Off British Tears

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

You find out so much about a country, you know, when it's hosting the Olympics. It's almost as if the games lay bare a nation's soul. NPR's Philip Reeves says that is what's happening in Britain. He's finding the experience unnerving, as he explains, in this letter from the Olympics.

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Sports
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

An Olympic Impression Of London 2012 So Far

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SPANDAU BALLET: (Singing) Gold. Always believe in your soul, you've got the power...

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Space
5:32 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Anxiety Hovers Over Rover's Mars Landing

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 9:43 am

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

These are tense times for scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Late Sunday night Pacific Time, they'll learn if nearly a decade of hard work will result in a priceless scientific laboratory landing safely on Mars or if the rover known as Curiosity will turn into a useless pile of junk. Everything depends on what happens during the seven minutes of terror, the time it takes the probe to go from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the planet's surface.

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