Weekend Edition

Weekends 8-11AM
  • Hosted by Scott Simon

Whether revealing events in small-town America or overseas, or profiling notable personalities, Weekend Edition from NPR News appreciates the extraordinary details that make up every story. This two-hour morning newsmagazine covers hard news, a wide variety of newsmakers, and cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor, courtesy of hosts Scott Simon and Liane Hansen.

On Saturdays, Simon's award-winning commentaries sum up an idea or event related to the week's news. There are fresh reports from a cross-section of NPR correspondents on topics from religion to health to food to politics. Simon's interviews with key artists, authors, performers and personalities are always memorable.

On Sundays, Weekend Edition combines the news with colorful arts and human-interest features, appealing to the curious and eclectic. With a nod to traditional Sunday habits, the program offers a fix for diehard crossword addicts-word games and brainteasers with The Puzzlemaster, a.k.a. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times. With Hansen on the sidelines, a caller plays the latest word game on the air while listeners compete silently at home. The NPR mailbag is proof that the competition to go head-to-head with Shortz is rather vigorous.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

I look forward all week to saying it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

It might be called "Revenge of the Pin-Stripes."

In this week's House Intelligence Committee hearings, career diplomats dressed in somber suits who have often been derided as "elites," "insiders," "the establishment," and even "the Deep State" got the chance to tell Americans how they have been nonpartisan representatives of America from administration to administration.

Those parts of their testimony weren't news "bombshells." But their words are worth noting.

What did a meal taste like nearly 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylonia? Pretty good, according to a team of international scholars who have deciphered and are re-creating what are considered to be the world's oldest-known culinary recipes.

The recipes were inscribed on ancient Babylonian tablets that researchers have known about since early in the 20th century but that were not properly translated until the end of the century.

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Ever since he was a child, Michael Menta looked up to his uncle Sal Leone for becoming a Marine. Menta would eventually follow in Leone's footsteps to serve his country, enlisting in the Navy during his senior year of high school.

Their shared veteranship brought them closer.

"We spoke the same language," Menta said, when he and Leone visited StoryCorps last month.

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(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BLUE'S CLUES AND YOU")

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (As characters) A clue.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

"Blue's Clues" is back.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BLUE'S CLUES AND YOU")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Oh, a clue. Wait. Where's the clue?

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Germany today celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. NPR's Berlin correspondent Rob Schmitz brings us this story on what's left of where the wall once stood.

The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years. Today, Nov. 9, marks the 30th anniversary of when it began to come down.

It may be hard to imagine, a generation later, what a momentous event that was and why the sight of ordinary citizens, chipping away by hand and hammer at that edifice of cruelty, lifted so many hopes around the world.

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NPR has lost a friend and an old colleague. News reached us this week that David Rector died last month at the age of 69. He'd suffered an aortic dissection years ago that left him a quadriplegic.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

President Trump will attend the Ultimate Fighting Championship, MMA, mixed martial arts event at Madison Square Garden Saturday night. The event, of course, is a punching, kicking, pay-per-view brawl between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal that takes place inside a cage.

The winner gets a belt embellished with the initials BMF, which does not stand for Best Mocha Frappe.

Mr. Trump is not expected to be booed at Madison Square Garden, as he was at a World Series game earlier this week. The president is a fan and used to book MMA events at his casino in Atlantic City.

Around Washington state, cannabis shops are being required to hang signs warning customers of "severe lung injuries" and "deaths" associated with vaping.

Kevin Heiderich, a co-owner of one such shop, House of Cannabis in Tacoma, Wash., believes the government response to vaping illnesses should focus on the black market.

"Something has just changed and no one really knows what it is," he says.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You know, there is one institution in Washington, D.C. that works well. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Thirty-nine people were found dead in a trailer this week in Essex, in the United Kingdom. Thirty-one men, and eight women.

They were discovered in the morning, in a sealed, refrigerated container of the kind that ordinarily transports fruits, vegetables or frozen food.

Four people, so far, have been arrested in connection with the deaths. But identifying those who died could take a long time.

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Time now for 32-year-old Ashley Syruws to share her signature song. It's helped her through one of the hardest stretches of her life. The song - "She Used To Be Mine." by Sara Bareilles.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE USED TO BE MINE")

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In the horror classic "The Blob," a small town is taken over by slime from outer space who, that, whatever, is intuitive, enterprising, unable to survive any weapon mere humans can muster.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM TRAILER, "THE BLOB")

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Now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

James Harden, one of the greatest players in basketball, has the greatest beard in sports: long, wiry and full. And he wouldn't be allowed to keep his beard in the Xinjiang region of China, where more than a million Chinese Uighur Muslims have been imprisoned in reeducation camps and "abnormal" beards are outlawed as a sign of dissidence.

Mike Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point in 1986, became a tank commander, went to Harvard Law, became a Beltway lawyer, Kansas businessman, congressman, CIA director and, now, secretary of state.

"There's no doubt West Point impacted who I am," Mr. Pompeo has said. "It has an enormous emphasis, not only on military aspects, but character development. Whether it's the honor code, or the interactions you have ... every place you are is a character test.

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"Judy," the movie, has opened to great reviews, boffo box-office and Oscar talk, beginning with Renee Zellweger as the indomitable, inmimicable (ph) and vulnerable Judy Garland.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JUDY")

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

It's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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