The United Nations is suspending its observer mission in Syria because of growing violence there. The official announcement came today from the head of the mission, General Robert Mood. The statement released from U.N. headquarters in Damascus cited rising violence over the past 10 days, and charged that both parties - the Syrian military and the armed rebels, known as the Free Syrian Army - are putting civilians lives at risk - and the lives of their monitors. NPR's Deborah Amos is in Damascus. Deborah, thanks for being with us.
Debt-burdened Greeks go to the polls Sunday to choose between an establishment party, and continuing harsh austerity measures, or a leftist party that vows to replace the current bailout deal with less punishing conditions.
But many Greeks are aware that whatever the outcome, they face years of hardship in a rapidly unraveling society.
A recent TV news report on medicine shortages illustrated the anguish rippling through the country. The piercing screams of a woman in a pharmacy can be heard as she shouts, "Where am I going to find my medication?"
The austerity measures in Greece have reached into the journalists who would normally cover these elections. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs. And in any case, many Greeks feel that the mainstream media are biased, and they're not getting news from alternative citizen-run outlets. Joanna Kakissis reports.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's a classic tradition of presidential campaigns - the small town bus tour. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney began his in New Hampshire yesterday at the farm where he kicked off his campaign a year ago. NPR's Ari Shapiro was along for the ride.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Summer in New England is practically designed for political ads: waving green fields, cherry red barns popping against a bright blue sky, and on this morning, live bluegrass music.
Before Pixar or Walt Disney, was there Paleolithic Man?
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SIMON: The Chauvet prehistoric cave paintings in France have always glimmered with a mystery: why do the depictions of ancient animals seem to show beasts with several heads and multiple limbs? Are the multi-headed creature figures from mythology, folk art, or some kind of lost world?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Barack Obama has announced a major change to immigration policy, one that he says could lift the shadow of deportation, as he called it, from hundreds of thousands of young people.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Aung San Suu Kyi has delivered a speech in Norway to formally accept the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. The opposition leader of Myanmar, also known as Burma, was delayed giving that speech for 21 years because the country's then ruling military junta had put her under house arrest. In her speech, Aung San Suu Kyi urged the world not to forget prisoners of conscious who, unlike herself, are not free.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: The NBA finals are on. Maybe it's just the weather forecast: Thunder, Heat, Heat, Thunder. Also, no-hitters busting out all over. And Bryce Harper scorches the major league circuit. Howard Bryant is back with us, senior writer at ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.
Earlier today, China launched an historic space mission carrying that country's first female astronaut and a couple of male astronauts into space. The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft is on a 13-day trip. The mission is considered an important step toward China's goal of building a space station. We're joined now in our studios by Dean Cheng. He's a research fellow at the Asia Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Cheng, thanks for being with us.
Most of the time, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick covers the Supreme Court. She's been doing that for the last 13 years. But recently, you may have seen her name floating around in connection with the piece she recently wrote that she discusses with Scott Simon on Saturday's Weekend Edition.
When Mark Shriver's father died last year at the age of 95, it seemed that everyone who knew him — politicians, priests, waitresses, presidents and trash collectors — used the same phrase to tell him what they had thought of his father. He was "a good man."
A Good Man is also the title of Shriver's new memoir about his father, R. Sargent Shriver. The elder Shriver, who once ran for president, ran the War on Poverty, the Peace Corps, Job Corps and the Special Olympics. On top of that, he was U.S. ambassador to France and married into the Kennedy family.
In southern Yemen, government forces backed by U.S. advisers claim they are routing al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and allied groups from territory that the militants had controlled over the past year.
This is the same al-Qaida that has tried to send so-called underwear bombers to attack U.S.-bound planes.
Just outside the town of Zinjibar, it's clear that fierce battles went on here. It's deserted. There are no people, but there are an enormous number of bullet and shrapnel holes in the buildings.
NPR Music has already put together a list of 50 of our favorite songs to help you celebrate the summer. On it, you'll find cheery synth-pop singles, smooth R&B ballads, thumping club bangers and fist-pumping rock anthems.
Missing, however, are those "deep cuts" that lend themselves to a detached, ironic, slightly campy appreciation — the songs that are so bad they're good.
Today had the promise of history — that is, until the horse I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont Stakes. Also scratched: hopes for a long-awaited Triple Crown winner. It was yet another piece of bad news for the horse racing industry, which is under new scrutiny over the safety and treatment of the horses.
To the daredevils of motor sports now - stock car racers. The Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, New York - racing takes on a hometown feel. North Country Public Radio's Sarah Harris went to an early season race and has our story.
SARAH HARRIS, BYLINE: At the Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, it's all stock car racing all day.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
It's been another bloody week in Syria. This week, dozens of people were reportedly killed in cold blood in a tiny farming hamlet in Central Syria by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. It is the latest atrocity in a 15-month revolt against the regime.
From Syria we head now to Bahrain, where a prominent human rights activist is back in detention this time for what he's been writing on Twitter. The U.S. says it's looking into the case and continuing to encourage Bahrain to allow free speech. Activists say the U.S. isn't pushing its ally hard enough.
NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke with a Bahraini human rights advocate who was in Washington, D.C. this week to remind U.S. officials that activists are still under pressure a year after Bahrain cracked down on anti-government protesters.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: And I'm Scott Horsley in Providence. Netroots Nation is part pep rally, part technology seminar, and - this year at least - part postmortem. Netroots chairman Adam Bonin kicked off the gathering just two days after the Wisconsin vote, which was viewed very differently in this crowd than it was by the audience at CPAC.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: And there won't be a Triple Crown winner this year. But it's still a weekend for major matchups of all kinds, with Nadal and Djokovic, LeBron James and the Boston Celtics, and the peerless Manny Pacquiao in action. NPR Sports Correspondent Tom Goldman joins us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made a significant policy change. They increased the number of agents responsible for finding and deporting illegal immigrants with criminal records by nearly 25 percent. Now, the agency says it wants to remove offenders who pose the greatest threat to public safety or national security.