Refugees warm their hands at a refugee camp in Harmanli, Bulgaria, on Nov. 27. More Syrians are turning up in Europe. Many are trying to get to northern Europe, believing that is the best place to start a new life.
Credit Nikolay Doychinov / AFP/Getty Images
A boatload of refugees, including Syrians, is picked up by an Italian coast guard rescue boat off the coast of Sicily on Sept. 20.
The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.
In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.
"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Everything he owns is in a backpack.
"I am leaving Syria under a lot of pressure," he explains.
Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 8:54 am
Even if you haven't heard of Tony Joe White, you've probably heard his music. His songs have been performed by Elvis, Ray Charles and Tina Turner. He's even been sampled by Kanye West. Host Scott Simon talks with White about his distinctive swamp rock sound, and his new album, Hoodoo.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. No way around it. It's shopping season and for many people there's nothing like giving a book as a holiday gift. A book is not only a fine companion, it reflect something about both the giver and the receiver. And you don't have to change the batteries.
University of Miami professor Robert Plant is starting to wonder if big data is ruining sports. He talks with host Scott Simon about how crunching the numbers is changing — and has already changed — the games we love to watch.
About 20 scientists are clustered in a cramped conference room in San Diego, one of the country's science hubs, but they aren't there to pore over their latest research. Instead, this is a meeting of BioToasters — a chapter of the public speaking organization Toastmasters, geared specifically toward scientists.
"For a typical scientist, they will spend a lot of time at the bench, so they're doing a lot of maybe calculations or lab work where they're not interacting directly from person to person," says BioToasters President Zackary Prag, a lab equipment sales rep.
Afghanistan may be one of the world's poorest countries, but weddings are still a big — and expensive — deal. On most weekends, Kabul's glitzy and somewhat garish wedding halls are packed with people celebrating nuptials.
One of them is the Uranos Palace complex. On the night I attended my first Afghan wedding, all three of its halls were overflowing. I was one of two foreigners in a room of about 200 men. The female guests sat on the other side of a 7-foot-high divider in the middle of the hall.
There is a broad scientific consensus that to keep global warming in check, we need to phase out 80 percent of all oil, coal and natural gas by midcentury. President Obama has set a nonbinding target to do precisely that.
There are technologists who say this national goal is well within reach, but there are also economists who are quite pessimistic about those prospects. And you can find this range of opinion on the University of California, Berkeley campus.
Portland's NBA team is riding a hot streak. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about the Trail Blazers, a new champion in chess, and how John F. Kennedy's assassination set a precedent for how sports commissioners handle cancelling games after tragedies.
A Panther Pride sign cheers Washington High School's undefeated football team amid debris from last week's tornado.
Credit Anthony Souffle / MCT /Landov
The Washington High School football team was having its best season since the mid-80s when the tornado hit. On Saturday, they'll go up against Springfield's Sacred Heart Griffin High School for a spot in the state championship.
Credit Zbigniew Bzdak / MCT /Landov
Washington players from left, Nick Sievers, Colton Marshall, and Brogan Brownfield receive donated workout clothes during a break from practice in Normal, Ill., on Tuesday.
Competition and compassion meet on the field in Springfield, Ill., Saturday, when two central Illinois high school football teams face off for a spot in the state championship. One team is a perennial powerhouse, but the other is from a town that was all but leveled by a tornado.
Last week, linebacker Kevin Scott and the rest of the Washington Community High School Panthers were celebrating. They'd just made school history with a 12-0 record, capped off with a Saturday win that sent them to the semi-finals.
Nothing's sacred in <em>We Are Miracles</em> — but then as Sarah Silverman <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/12/31/132489395/sarah-silverman-playing-the-dummy-for-laughs">told Terry Gross in 2010</a>, "there's a safety in what I do because I'm always the idiot. ... I'm always the ignoramus no matter what I talk about or what tragic event, off-color, dark scenario is evoked in my material."
Sarah Silverman is funny — sweet, bawdy, innocent, outrageous, Emmy-winning, milk-through-your-nose funny. And her new comedy special, We are Miracles, debuts tonight on HBO.
Performing in front of a live audience, the comedian takes on religion, pornography, childhood, politics and stereotypes, and no one's left standing. (No really: One punchline involves Hitler being assigned "Heil Marys" as penance.)
Silverman tells NPR's Scott Simon that she thinks good comedy comes from "some kind of childhood humiliation or darkness."
Manischewitz-brined turkey centers the Thanksgivukkah feast, surrounded by challah-apple stuffing, sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel, horseradish-spiked mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled onions, and latkes with cranberry applesauce.
Credit Macey J. Foronda / for BuzzFeed
Jewish tradition and Thanksgiving have even the importance of table-setting in common. The code of Jewish law, the <em>schulchan oruch,</em> means "the set table."
You may have heard that this Thursday isn't just Thanksgiving — it's also the holiday of Hanukkah. It's a once-in-a-lifetime convergence people are calling Thanksgivukkah. Which naturally raises two questions: How did this happen? And, more importantly, what do we cook for Thanksgivukkah dinner?
For more on the math of Thanksgivukkah, listen to my story on Weekend Edition. For more on the food, read on.
This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of Doctor Who. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.
From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), Doctor Who has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Some news this week got us thinking about how radically our viewing habits are changing. The broadband service company, Sandvine, released a study that shows that Netflix and YouTube now account for more than half of the data we consume on fixed networks, which is to say at home or work. It's just one more bit of evidence that Americans are increasingly turning to online video sources for news and entertainment, rather than TV, which mean advertisers have to do the same.
The World Chess Championship, underway in India, features a faceoff between the sport's heavyweights. Guest host Don Gonyea can't help but inject politics to his conversation with NPR's Tom Goldman, as this week President Obama used sports metaphors to talk about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Bill Watterson brought an end to Calvin & Hobbes in 1995, after just 10 years of writing and drawing the comic strip. But to his many devoted fans, that shockheaded boy and his tiger are as important today as they were when they first appeared in daily papers all around the country.
NPR has been following Pansy and Winston Greene, a California couple struggling with an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Three years ago, Pansy learned she had Alzheimer's disease, and over this past summer, the couple told NPR that their day-to-day lives haven't changed much. That's still true. But on this second visit, they each seem to be looking at the future a bit differently.
Memphis' Stax Records was an international sensation, putting out hits like Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming," "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the MGs and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." But behind the music, Stax's story features racial harmony in a city with a troubled history. There are tragedies, lost opportunities and legal disputes, but also some of the most soulful music you'll ever hear.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Whether or not you're a fan of rock and roll, you've surely heard at least one of the hits by Queen. The British band dominated the airwaves in the '70s and '80s and now their music is rocking the world again, this time in a jukebox musical called "We Will Rock You."
The show has been running in London for a dozen years but now an Americanized version is touring the United States and Canada. NPR's Allison Keyes was at the opening show in Baltimore.
It's been a rough spell for the Scarborough High School football team in Houston. Very rough, actually. The Spartans are on a 46-game losing streak, the longest in Texas. Their last win was in September 2009. That means this afternoon's game against the Washington High School Eagles is the last chance for this year's seniors to earn a victory.
We're joined now by Scarborough head coach Jayson Merren. Welcome.
COACH JAYSON MERREN: How are you doing?
GONYEA: Good. And by senior defensive lineman Justin Steward. Hi Justin.
GONYEA: The basketball and hockey seasons are just getting going, and the big story in sports is still the drama inside the Miami Dolphins. We're referring, of course, to the bullying of second-year lineman Jonathon Martin, by veteran offensive lineman Richie Incognito. The story revealed a history of racial slurs.
Detroit is a place where I worked for many years as a journalist, where I absorbed the town's rich automotive, labor and civil rights history, where I sat in blues clubs and watched baseball from the upper deck of old Tiger Stadium.
It's a place that I really think of as home.
Detroit elected a new mayor this week.
He is 55-year-old Mike Duggan, a longtime county official, and later a successful CEO of the region's leading medical center.
But one might reasonably ask why someone — anyone — would want the job of mayor of Detroit.
View of a destroyed Jewish shop in Berlin on Nov. 11, 1938, after the anti-Semitic violence of Kristallnacht. The pogrom unleashed Nazi-coordinated attacks on thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses.
Credit Keystone-France / Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Brass cobblestones in Berlin sidewalks mark the last known addresses of the city's Jewish residents before the war. Margot Friedlander, nee Bendheim, now lives at a different address in Berlin, where she returned to from New York three years ago.
Credit Esme Nicholson / NPR
A view of a Jewish-run shop in Germany, after being vandalized by Nazis and covered with anti-Semitic graffiti, on Nov. 10, 1938.
Credit AFP / AFP/Getty Images
"As a survivor, I feel that I do something for the people who cannot speak for themselves anymore," says Margot Friedlander, shown here in 2011.
On a busy street in Berlin's shabby-chic district of Kreuzberg, the gray and dirty pavement glistens with little brass cobblestones. Millions of these stones are embedded in sidewalks all over Europe. They commemorate the last address the city's Jewish residents called home before the war.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I wait all week to say time for sports.
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SIMON: This week, the World Series was won, basketball began again and Serena Williams sure finished strong. Joining us now, Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, from the studios of New England Public Radio. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.
Hey honey, why don't we spend the year in Tehran? Well, that's kind of what Hooman Majd asked his wife, Karri, a yoga instructor who was born in the Midwest, not the Middle East. Mr. Majd was born into a politically prominent family in Iran. He came to the U.S. when he was eight months old. He became a music executive and a writer for GQ, The New Yorker and other publications.
This week, the National Security Agency fought back against criticism of it's operations following leaks from former contractor Edward Snowden that have revealed some of the scale of the agency's surveillance of Americans and people overseas, including heads of state of U.S. allies. NPR's Larry Abramson has been covering the story and joins us. Larry, thanks so much for being with us.
LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi Scott.
SIMON: Bring us up to date. What happened this week that's pushed the scandal into the news again?
This is the third report in a four-part series on adult education.
Adults wanting to go back to school have the odds stacked against them. They juggle many responsibilities, there are long waitlists for classes and often there isn't a connection between what they learn in class and the skills they need to get a job.
Iran may not love America politically, but Iranians love American food — especially fast food.
With no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, though, it's rather hard to find a McDonald's or a Pizza Hut. But if you wander through the streets of Tehran, you might find a Pizza Hat or a Mash Donald's.