"Never Would Have Made It" is the biggest gospel hit of the past decade, and the man who sings it, Marvin Sapp, is quite possibly the biggest name in gospel today — a development that still surprises the Michigan pastor.
"I'm blown away by how that song has had the impact that it has had on so many people," Sapp tells NPR's Guy Raz. "All of us, I've learned, have gone through 'never would have made it' moments, and that's the reason why I believe that it resonates so strongly in so many people's lives."
One of the Arab world's most popular comedic actors is facing jail time in Egypt after a judge ruled he insulted Islam in some of his past film roles. The case worries those already concerned about the growing influence of Islamists in Egypt. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has that story from Cairo.
Now, back here in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama will host Japan's prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, at the White House tomorrow. It's been more than three years since a Japanese head of state attended a White House summit.
And now, let's turn our attention to the world of sports.
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WYNONA CARR: (Singing) Life is a ball game being played each day. Life is a ball game...
GREENE: Life is a ball game, isn't it? Well, at least that's how Mike Pesca sees it. He is NPR's sports correspondent and also WEEKEND EDITION's guide to those intersections of sports and life. And he joins us now.
A senior U.S. official, Kurt Campbell, has arrived on an unscheduled trip to Beijing, apparently to negotiate over Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, believed to be under U.S. protection. The fate of the activist puts both China and the U.S. in a tricky diplomatic bind, with no easy answers.
Twenty years ago Sunday, Los Angeles erupted into destructive riots after the verdict in the Rodney King trial. The violence lasted six days and left more than 50 dead and over $1 billion in damage. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates remembers; she lived in the one of the neighborhoods that went up in flames.
Several years ago, I interviewed Karl Fleming for the 40th anniversary of the Watts riots. He was a veteran journalist who'd covered the civil rights movement in the in the 1960s for Newsweek.
Ever since Egypt's revolution last year, many Israelis have wondered what it might mean for the peace treaty that the two countries signed in 1979 – the first such agreement between Israel and an Arab state.
Israel's embassy in Egypt was attacked last September and badly damaged. Islamist parties sharply critical of Israel have proved popular, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which won Egypt's parliamentary elections.
Chris Colfer, one of the stars of the hit TV show Glee, is known for his portrayal of Kurt, a confident and openly gay high school student (who also possesses pipes like a diva). In the new film Struck By Lightning, which Colfer wrote, he plays a very different character: Carson Phillips, an ambitious high school student who starts a literary magazine in order to get into Northwestern University. The character is arrogant and not exactly well-liked, so how does he collect submissions? By blackmailing the popular kids, of course.
Spain has Europe's highest unemployment rate, with nearly 1 in 4 people out of work. The country has dipped back into recession, and layoffs are on the rise.
But there's one organization there that's still hiring: the Catholic Church. A group of bishops has launched a savvy campaign on YouTube to recruit new priests from the swelling ranks of Spain's unemployed.
The Los Angeles riots began 20 years ago Sunday, when a jury acquitted four police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in 1992.
While the ashes were still smoldering, then-Mayor Tom Bradley announced a new organization that would repair the shattered city, Rebuild L.A. Its mission was to spend five years harnessing the power of the private sector to replace and improve on what was lost. While it created a lot of hope, it created even more disappointment.
Before the soldiers of the 182nd Regiment of the Army National Guard came home, they were asked how many were unemployed or looking for work. The answer: about one in three.
As more soldiers return to civilian life, a civilian job may not be there waiting. Service members with the National Guard have the extra challenge of convincing employers to hire them when they may be called to active duty for a year or more. There are laws designed to protect vets from losing their jobs or promotions because of their service, but it's hard to prove when it happens.
In a little more than 10 years, the total amount of student loan debt in this country has doubled to more than $1 trillion. In the not too-distant-future, student loan debt will eclipse the amount of money Americans owe on their cars and credit cards.
Sixty-eight years ago today, the Allies launched a massive dress rehearsal for the invasion of Normandy — the famous D-Day landings that would happen five weeks later. But that rehearsal turned into one of the war's biggest fiascos.
It took place on Slapton Sands, a beach in southwestern England. British historian Giles Milton wrote about the rehearsal on his blog last week.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
It's been more than a day now since news broke of a blind Chinese dissident's dramatic escape from house arrest. It's now thought that Chen Guangcheng secretly traveled 300 miles to the capital, Beijing, and is being sheltered on the grounds of the U.S. embassy there.
NPR's Beijing bureau chief is Louisa Lim, and she joins me now from there. Louisa, first off, is it clear that he is actually on embassy grounds?
More than a decade after 9/11, heightened security at U.S. airports has become routine, yet some religious and minority groups say they're unfairly singled out for even more screening. Well, now there's an app for that.
The mobile app is called FlyRights. Travelers who suspect they have been profiled take out their smartphone, tap a finger on the app and answer about a dozen questions. Then they hit "submit" and an official complaint is filed immediately with the Transportation Security Administration.
Since winning American Idol in 2005, Carrie Underwood has become one of the most popular country artists in the business. At the age of 29, she is tied with country legend Reba McEntire as the Female Country Artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard charts. Not bad for a girl from Checotah, Okla.
Joel Osteen is one of the most influential religious figures in the world.
He's a New York Times best-selling author. His television program reaches more than 10 million households in the U.S. and is seen in more than 100 nations across the globe. On Sunday night, he's hosting America's Night of Hope at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
A blind legal activist who fled house arrest in his Chinese village is under the protection of American officials, overseas activists said Saturday, putting the U.S. in a difficult position days ahead of a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Chen Guangcheng, who has exposed forced abortions and sterilizations in villages as a result of China's one-child policy, escaped a week ago from his guarded home in Shandong province in eastern China. Chinese-based activists say he was driven away by supporters and then handed over to others who brought him to Beijing.
Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 12:22 pm
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Time now for Your Letters.
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SIMON: Many of you were moved by our story about the Soldier Ride, a four-day cycling event organized by the Wounded Warriors Project. Iraq War veteran Sergeant Michael Owens spoke about why he rides.
SERGEANT MICHAEL SULLIVAN: I think it's really important for warriors and veterans like myself to be able to know that we can still do the same things we did before, or new things that we never tried before.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and time for sports.
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SIMON: The NBA playoffs are about to begin. Will LeBron James and the Miami Trio live up to their promise? Will Metta World Peace ever live up to his name? And will Albert Pujols ever live up to his salary?
NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Morning, Tom.
TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Happy opening day of the playoffs day to you, Scott.
The U.S. Congress doesn't win any popularity contests. Approval ratings for the legislative branch run the gamut from dismal to embarrassing. Nine percent at their lowest, and all the chaos and discord in the 112th Congress have distressed a lot of its members too. Democratic representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri called the last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling, quote, "a sugar-coated Satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see."
The economy is still the biggest issue for Greeks in next weekend's early parliament elections. But polls show that immigration is also high on the list. Politicians are responding by cracking down on undocumented migrants.
Joanna Kakissis has the story from Athens.
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