Political campaigns have been transformed in so many ways over the decades. But you wouldn't want to wear a silicon chip or a yard sign in your lapel. Mort Berkowitz has made political buttons since 1976, and says business is still good. He joins us now from member station WBUR in Boston. Mr. Berkowitz, thanks for being with us.
MORT BERKOWITZ: My pleasure.
SIMON: You've seen a lot of buttons over the years, haven't you?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The BBC, one of the world's most prominent broadcasters, is in an uproar over allegations that one of its most famous TV personalities was a pedophile who preyed upon youths who appeared on his shows. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the BBC is both investigating the actions of the late Jimmy Savile and fielding sharp questions about why it killed a documentary exploring such accusations late last year.
Halloween is almost here, so perhaps it's no surprise that the film "Paranormal Activity 4" led the box office in its opening weekend. It is the latest entry in an already successful movie franchise. As Beth Accomando of member station KPBS reports, film audiences still enjoy a good scare - but what scares us keeps changing.
BETH ACCOMANDO, BYLINE: Horror renaissance man Clive Barker says the first person to scare him was Walt Disney.
In the months leading up to the cease-fire, combatants on both sides have escalated the scale of weaponry used in the conflict. The war in Syria is notoriously difficult to cover, making it very hard to know exactly what weapons are being used. Eliot Higgins runs the Brown-Moses blog, which is often cited as an authoritative source on the weapons used in the Syrian conflict. We've reached him in the United Kingdom. Mr. Higgins, thanks so much for being with us.
Big week for Microsoft. The company introduced Windows 8, its new operating system, and entered the ever-expanding tablet market. These are major steps for a company that has been perceived as lagging behind Apple and Google in innovation. We're joined now by NPR's Steve Henn in Silicon Valley.
Steve, thanks for being with us.
STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.
SIMON: Why is Windows 8 considered such a defining moment for Microsoft?
For more about the implications of the scandal with the BBC, we're joined by Martin Bell, OBE. He has a distinguished career as one of the BBC's most famous war correspondents. He covered 11 conflicts, reported from 80 countries over the course of 30 years. Martin Bell was seriously wounded by shrapnel while reporting the war in Bosnia, and if that weren't punishment enough, he then went on to be an independent member of the British parliament from 1997 to 2001.
Martin Bell joins us from London. Thanks so much for being with us.
Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar. The day marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. It's the feast of the sacrifice, when any Muslim who is able should sacrifice an animal and donate the meat to the poor.
There is little to celebrate in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, however. A cease-fire called for the holiday is already crumbling, and in some areas it never took hold.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Want to know how tight the presidential race is? President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney spent the week barnstorming across a handful of battleground states - mostly the same states, including Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado - to fire up supporters and make a pitch to win wavering voters. We're joined now by NPR's Scott Horsley, who's been covering President Obama's reelection campaign. He's in our studio. Thanks for being with us, Scott.
An Italian court on Friday sentenced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years in jail for tax fraud in connection with the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television company. Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Baseball comes to Motown for game three of the World Series. But, will Detroit's heavy hitters show up? The International Cycling Union says none of the above, or below, won the Tour de France in the years that Lance Armstrong copped the title and it plans for some organizational soul-searching. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us.
And this morning, we're following the progression of a major storm, hurricane Sandy, which is turning toward parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The National Hurricane Center briefly downgraded Sandy to a tropical storm, but this morning restored it to a category one hurricane. Parts of the east coast are bracing for destructive winds and heavy flooding once Sandy makes landfall in the coming days.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With just 10 days to go in a tightening race, both campaigns are out in force around the country trying to win over voters. Today, Governor Mitt Romney is in Florida. President Obama is in New Hampshire. We're joined now by Ben LaBolt. He's national press secretary for President Obama's 2012 campaign. He's on the line from Chicago.
Mr. LaBolt. Thanks for being with us.
BEN LABOLT: Good morning, Scott. Thanks for having me.
Republican Roy Moore, Alabama's controversial "Ten Commandments Judge," is back on the ballot this year, running for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court — despite being removed from that office nearly a decade ago.
In a state as red as they come, he is facing last-minute Democratic challenger Bob Vance, who is reaching out to moderate Republicans turned off by Moore's politics.
Peter Remine says he will know it's time to get serious about rights for robots "when a robot knocks on my door asking for some help."
Remine, founder of the Seattle-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, says the moment will come when a robot in an automobile factory "will become sentient, realize that it doesn't want to do that unfulfilling and dangerous job anymore, and ask for protection under state workers' rights."
Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 5:53 pm
It's still unclear whether Sandy will be a devastating storm or just a bad one.
It is clear, however, that Sandy will be remembered as the storm that broke all the rules and baffled the nation's top weather forecasters.
Early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service downgraded the storm from a hurricane to a tropical storm — only to return it to hurricane status a few hours later. Either way, forecasters warn, "widespread impacts" are expected along the coast.
As he often does when the weather's decent, Pete Seeger recently played a free show outdoors in Beacon, N.Y. A few dozen people packed around the stage that held Seeger, his ever-present banjo and a small band; a group of kids in red T-shirts clustered down in front, singing along. The emcee for the afternoon was Susan Wright, the music teacher at Beacon Elementary School, where Seeger visits regularly.
One place you don't expect to see waves lapping against the shore is in the middle of a desert. But that's exactly what's happening deep inside the United Arab Emirates, where a recently formed lake is nestled into the sand dunes, and a new ecosystem is emerging.
Drive through the desert in the United Arab Emirates, and all you see mile after mile are red, rolling dunes. Maybe some occasional trees or shrubs, but otherwise a dry, red sandscape.
And then, suddenly, a bright blue spot comes into view. It must be a mirage, you think. But it's not.
Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 4:17 pm
Six states and the nation's capital have recognized the legality of same-sex marriages, either by law or by court order.
But over the past decade and a half, each of the 30 states to consider constitutional amendments that would outlaw such unions has adopted the ban — from Alaska in 1998 to North Carolina earlier this year.
That may change on Election Day, when voters in Maryland, Washington, Maine and Minnesota — awash in money, messages and advertisements from both sides of the issue — will make their decision on whether to recognize gay marriage.
A young mother sets sail from Ireland after the potato famine to meet her husband in Canada; two gold prospectors seek their fortune in the frozen Yukon; a slave poisons his master and the master's wife escapes with him.
Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 3:40 pm
In a highly unusual step, the Food and Drug Administration has released a report of inspections it conduct this month of the Massachusetts pharmacy at the center of a national outbreak of fungal infections.
Jacques Barzun, one of the most influential historians, educators and thinkers of the 20th century, died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. Barzun seemed to have a limitless capacity to understand and translate complex ideas — about the evolution of Western culture, what it means to be free, and even the value of American baseball. He shared his observations in numerous books and magazine articles and at Columbia University, where he held forth for half a century.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 5:07 pm
If you've ever found yourself anxiously wondering where a hurricane might make landfall, then you're probably familiar with "spaghetti charts" — the intertwined web of possible storm tracks put out by many forecasters.
Those lines represent hundreds of millions of observations from satellites, aircraft, balloons and buoys, all crunched from complex forecasting equations on some of the world's most powerful computers.