It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
It's already Sunday in Japan. And people across that country will begin to commemorate the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck one year ago. In a moment, we're going to hear about a group of volunteers who have been working with survivors, helping them get back on their feet.
But first to our correspondent Anthony Kuhn who's in Japan. And, Anthony, tell us, first of all, where you are and how it compares to what you saw a year ago.
As Japan continues to rebuild after last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami, many Japanese are devoting themselves to dealing with the human costs of the tragedy. Almost 20,000 people died in the disaster, but many thousands more were left injured, homeless and destitute. Doualy Xaykaothao met a group of Japanese people trying to make a difference.
A close-up of a dragon robe, or long pao, dated late 18th- or early 19th-century China. It's one of many on display in the exhibit "Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep" at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
Participants perform a dragon dance during the annual Chinese New Year parade in 2007 in the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C.
Credit Bethesda Softworks
In the popular video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the player fights ancient dragons and can learn their secrets in order to harness their powers.
A thousand years old, the dragon Kilgharrah (voiced by veteran actor John Hurt) is both a boon and a bane to Camelot in the BBC series Merlin, which airs in the U.S. on SyFy.
As the supernatural enjoys a pop culture resurgence — from vampires to fairy tales — there's also been a firestorm of fascination with dragons. Fire-breathing dragons are central to the much-anticipated second season of the HBO series Game of Thrones, which opens April 1. And this year alone the mystical creatures are being featured in two movies, a new book, video games and a museum exhibit.
Ready for some creative competition? Weekends on All Things Considered is launching Round 8 of its Three-Minute Fiction contest. Here's what we look for: original, short fiction that can be read in less than three minutes — that's no more than 600 words.
Robert Siegel talks to retired Navy Captain Don Walsh about the attempt by movie director James Cameron to take a submersible capsule to the bottom of the Mariana Trench — the deepest spot on Earth. Walsh says it will be a combination of science and adventure, because Cameron is a storyteller and dedicated amateur explorer. Walsh made a 1960 dive to the same trench.
Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord.
In 2005, when Willow was 7, the housing market was booming. Home prices in some Florida neighborhoods nearly doubled from one month to the next. Her family moved into a big house; her mom became a real estate agent.
But as Willow moved from childhood to adolescence, the market turned, and the neighborhood emptied out. "Everyone is getting foreclosed on here," she says.
The co-director of the Tijuana-based Zeta magazine has been named one of Newsweek’s 150 “Women Who Shake the World.” From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Jill Replogle explains what she did to make the list.
As some Native American tribes have become wealthy with casino profits, they've been buying land and expanding the size of their reservations. But as Adrian Florido reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk, these efforts are stirring controversy, because once the private land becomes part of the reservation, it's no longer subject to local taxes or laws.
The film Mosquita y Mari — the first narrative feature by a Chicana director to screen at the Sundance Film Festival — is both the singular vision of writer-director Aurora Guerrero and a crowdsourced production that could not have been made without multiple communities coming together.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. An emphatic message today about Syria from top Pentagon officials: Military options are not the best answer. Some Republican lawmakers, most prominently John McCain, say it's time to launch targeted airstrikes, just as NATO forces did in Libya last year. But as NPR's Larry Abramson reports, military leaders insist the Syrian case is different.
Scientists aren’t the only ones worried about climate change. The Defense Department is too. And they’ve sought the help of the University of Arizona to be better prepared. Laurel Morales reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk.
The film version of the young adult book sensation The Hunger Games opens March 23rd. The hype around the movie has sent the sales of the already best-selling trilogy to new heights. And publishers are eagerly churning out more books set in post apocalyptic dystopian worlds — just like The Hunger Games.
Composer/lyricist Robert Sherman (left) and his brother Richard stand next to the car used in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The brothers wrote the songs for the movie, as well as a musical version that began running in 2002.
Robert Sherman — one half of the songwriting team behind Disney movies and major hit musicals — has died. He was 86. The Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard, wrote some of the most enduring Disney songs of all time. Their output was astounding: Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Aristocats.
John Lasseter, of Pixar and Disney, once said, "You cannot forget a Sherman brothers song for your life."
Credit Katie Hayes Luke / Katie Hayes Luke for NPR
Ernie Lopez hugs his daughter, Nikki Lopez, for the first time since 2009. Ernie was released from prison on March 2 in Amarillo, Texas, after nine years, while he awaits a new trial.
Credit Photos by Katie Hayes Luke for NPR
Ernie Lopez was convicted of sexually assaulting a 6-month-old girl and spent the last nine years in prison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that his original attorneys failed him by not calling potentially important medical experts as witnesses.
Credit Katie Hayes Luke for NPR
William McKinney Jr. will represent Ernie Lopez at his new trial, expected to begin in the Fall.
Ernie Lopez calls it his "rebirth." After spending nearly nine years in prison for the sexual assault of a 6-month old girl, a top Texas court threw out the conviction. And on Friday, the 41-year-old Lopez walked out of the detention center in Amarillo, Texas, where family and friends were waiting.
Ever since The Rising in 2002 — and arguably since 1984's Born in the U.S.A. — Bruce Springsteen releases have functioned as State of the Union addresses as much as pop LPs. Wrecking Ball does, too, beginning with its Occupy-era lead single "We Take Care of Our Own," an anthemic bit of wishful thinking which, like "Born in the U.S.A.," seems easy to misinterpret by 180 degrees if you don't pay attention to the verses between the chorus.
Tue. 3/6 Time ~11am: President Obama will hold a press conference today. He is expected to discuss the ongoing violence in Syria and Iran's disputed nuclear program. We'll bring you live anchored coverage of the event from NPR News. If you miss it check out our Two Week Archive!
Don't let the theme fool you. These three books are anything but failures. They are, in fact, full of sharply rendered and utterly original characters who fail spectacularly in their attempts to do right (or what they think is right). They are men on a mission, variously heroic, harebrained, heartfelt, even cruel, but their good intentions are undeniable, if not always admirable.
Two mysterious men pull up to the courthouse and head to the public records office. They're strangers, and they ask a lot of strange questions like, "I'd like to look at Mayor John Doe's property deeds." Or, "I want to see Congressman Smith's voting records."
The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.
Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.
There's a Mystery Machine sitting outside Andrew Borakove's nondescript warehouse on a quiet street in Lincoln, Neb.
"I can never be depressed driving around town, because there's always some 4-year-old waving to me manically," Borakove says.
The mystery about the Scooby Doo replica van starts to fade, however, once you notice the bumper stickers on the back. Black background, white font, like a "Got Milk?" ad: "Happiness Is a Warm Gong." "Gongs, Not Bongs." "My Child Is an Honor Gong Player."
Suzanne Ciani's start in music was traditional enough. She was classically trained, majored in music at Wellesley College, and got a fellowship to study composition at UC Berkeley. But when she arrived there in the mid-1960s, just in time to witness the student protests that consumed the Bay Area during that decade, her focus shifted.
Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN: Jennifer Lopez travels through 20 countries to find and showcase the most outstanding Latin singers, dancers and performers in Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN premiering Saturday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Credit Robert Sebree / Fox
Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez travel to Latin America in search of talent in Q'Viva! The Chosen, premiering Saturday, March 3 on Fox.
Their marriage may be over, but singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have come together for a new TV show that seeks out talent from throughout Latin America. It's been airing on Spanish language TV in the U.S. and in 21 countries. And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on today's All Things Considered, the show will also premiere on Fox this weekend, with English subtitles.
All winter long, we've brought you songs that evoke the season. Yeah, we know it's March, but since winter doesn't officially end for another few weeks, we still have time to bring you a musical memory of a cold night from one of our listeners, Amanda Sauermann from Gracey, Ky. Her winter song is "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend.