This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for your letters.
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SIMON: A particular phrase we used in last week's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting prompted many listener comments. In our profile of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney directing Florida's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, we described George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin in February as a white Latino.
Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.
Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.
So why did the group recently consider breaking up?
"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.
'Scuse me, but is someone trying to kill off food critics?
What about themselves?
Frank Bruni, the former restaurant critic of The New York Times, now an op-ed columnist, has revealed that he has gout.
Gout is a painful inflammation of the joints that's been called the King's Disease because it's historically associated with the kind of gluttony only kings could afford: profuse servings of beef, lobster, goose liver and strong drink.
The new movie Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. In June, another Snow White movie opens starring another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, in the same role. And Disney is working on a new animated film loosely based on Snow White set in 19th-century China. So what makes Snow White so right for right now?
Every day in New Orleans, Lily Keber rolls out of bed and walks to a flat, minor office building to meet her muse. Keber makes a cup of coffee with chicory, hooks up her computer and waits for what sounds like a dozen spiders to crawl across a piano.
The situation in Syria has deteriorated further this week. Government troops once again opened fire on thousands of protesters, armed rebels continued their own resistance, which looks more and more like an insurgency. All this despite a push by the United Nations fro a cease-fire. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Syria. First, let's go the protests that continued despite the fact that violence is on the rise.
A rally organizers have billed as the "largest secular event in world history" will be held on the National Mall today.
The Reason Rally will bring atheists and nonbelievers together in a hallowed American place.
But Paul Fidalgo of the Center for Inquiry, one of the organizations involved, says, "It's not a march on Washington where we're picketing anything. It's a celebration of the fact that the secular movement is really starting to come into its own."
Americans have always been fascinated by con men. Why else would we have so many movies about legendary swindlers? Most real-life cons are probably less entertaining than the ones on the silver screen, but in her new book, Amy Reading unearths a historical swindle that rivals anything ever imagined by Hollywood.
"To be or not to be" may be the question, but there's another question that's been nagging Shakespeare scholars for a long time: What did Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio, Portia or Puck really sound like when Shakespeare was first performed more than four centuries ago?
The British Library has completed a new recording of 75 minutes of The Bard's most famous scenes, speeches and sonnets, all performed in the original pronunciation of Shakespeare's time.
Julia Nunes (pronounced "noonz") grew up in New York state, but went to college far away from her hometown friends and family. To keep in touch, she posted videos to YouTube — mostly goofy scenes from her dorm room.
As London prepares for an Olympic influx, the world's athletes are not the only ones limbering up. Composer Tom Hunt is at work with members of a British team who compete in the equestrian sport called dressage. He joins us from the BBC studios in Salford.
Thank you for joining us.
TOM HUNT: Thank you for having me.
LYDEN: The music that you compose for the equestrian competition, tell us how the music and the horse work together.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Jacki Lyden. The soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians is today being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales now has an attorney and the lines of his defense are beginning to emerge. The case has also put America's prosecution of the war in Afghanistan on trial. There are new disputes between the U.S. and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
As further details emerge about this week's shootings in Afghanistan, the situation on the ground there continues to develop. As we've heard, in recent years a lot of emphasis has been placed on the counterinsurgency effort, on winning hearts and minds as opposed to targeting terrorist cells. So what do these latest incidents mean for that already fragile effort? John Nagl is a military counterinsurgency expert. He is now teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
In the Law of Dreams, Canadian writer Peter Behrens' first novel, an Irish immigrant, based on Behrens' grandfather, makes his way out of famine-starved Ireland to Canada. The novel came out in 2006 to wide acclaim and won Canada's Governor-General's award for fiction.
Now, Behrens has followed up with another multigenerational novel. The O'Briens opens in 1867, with teenage Joe O'Brien scratching out a living in Quebec after his father and mother have both died.
Though guitarist Moot Davis grew up a New Jersey rocker, he had an appreciation for country music thanks to his West Virginian parents. But it wasn't until he saw a certain cola commercial that he really turned a corner.
I hope it's not ungentlemanly to note that Junie Hoang is 40 years old. Her birth date appears in the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, as does the fact that she has played a headless woman in Domain of the Damned and Ms. Fix-It in Voodoo Dolly.
She doesn't sound like a woman to cross.
Junie Hoang is going to court against IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, because it reveals her age in her entry. She believes that could cost her work.
As the candidates stump for votes, Republicans in Kansas and two U.S. territories will caucus today, and pick their choices to be the Republican nominee this fall. Many voters will show their support for a particular candidate. Long before they cast any votes, they might put up a poster or plant a yard sign for their candidate. These signs spring up like mushrooms every campaign season. Do they actually work?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. One year ago this weekend, Japan was battered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. One of the places hardest hit was the coastal community of Yuriage. What was once a beautiful fishing village, and home to a bustling community of thousands, is now a desolate and deserted place. Doualy Xaykaothao reported from there shortly after the earthquake, and has just returned to file this report.
NPR's Richard Harris talks with host Scott Simon about the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors, one year after multiple meltdowns there spread radioactive materials across a swath of northern Japan. Huge technical challenges remain and prospects for resettling the area are uncertain.
This time last year, Col. Moammar Gadhafi was losing control of Libya. Scott Simon talks with Abdel-Rahim el Keib, the Libyan interim prime minister who took over in the wake of the country's uprising.
We've been hearing the latest employment numbers show things moving in a positive direction, but the economy and jobs market are still weak. That's, of course, a major factor in an election year. Our friend from the business world, Joe Nocera, joins us. He's an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. Joe, thanks for being with us.
JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Scott.
SIMON: As we heard, of course, the economy added more jobs in February than economists had expected. Is this a trend or true stability?