Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
A discarded chunk of a Russian rocket forced six space station astronauts to seek shelter in escape capsules early Saturday, then ultimately safely passed in front of the space station, according to NASA.
NASA spokesman Rob Navias told The Associated Press ahead of the incident that the space junk would barely be close enough to be a threat. But if it had hit the station, it could have been dangerous, so the astronauts — two Americans, three Russians and a Dutchman — woke early and climbed into two Soyuz vehicles ready to rocket back to Earth just in case.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 10:50 pm
Former New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine directly ordered that $200 million from a segregated customer account be transfered to cover a $175 million overdraft in a London account. That's according to a memo (pdf) from the House Committee on Financial Services, which is scheduled to hold a hearing next week about the spectacular collapse of MF Global.
Jim Yong Kim, President Obama's nominee to be the leader of the World Bank, is an unconventional choice. As a global health expert, he's a medical doctor who helped start an international health organization. He currently serves as president of Dartmouth College.
"Despite its name, the World Bank is more than just a bank," Obama told reporters during the White House announcement Friday morning. "It's time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency."
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.
Across the country, thousands of people skipped lunch Friday to protest what they see as a threat to religious liberties in the United States.
The protesters' specific complaint was the birth control mandate in the new health care law, but the discontent runs far deeper.
It didn't take much for the Rev. Pat Mahoney, an evangelical minister, to warm up the crowd in Washington. He gazed out at hundreds of people who filled the plaza in front of Kathleen Sebelius' office at the Department of Health and Human Services.
An Army staff sergeant's alleged massacre of Afghan civilians has brought new calls for the United States to leave Afghanistan even before the timetable set by President Obama, who has announced that the U.S. combat mission will be over by the end of 2014.
Some Republican presidential candidates are among those publicly asking if now is the time for the U.S. to leave Afghanistan.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 5:21 pm
Frederick Scott Salyer, 56, has pleaded guilty in a massive tomato price fixing scheme that investigators say affected almost every American home.
Salyer, the former chief executive officer of SK Foods LP, said he bribed purchasers and fixed prices for the sale of his tomato products to McCain Foods USA Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 6:40 pm
An independent review of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) enforcement at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) coal mine in West Virginia says the agency failed to spot "a number of enforcement deficiencies" at the mine which were major factors in the April 2010 explosion that took 29 lives.
We've known for a while that people who grow up on farms are less likely to have ailments related to the immune system than people who grow up in cities. Those include asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.
If Danish pigs can live with fewer antibiotics, why can't their American cousins?
It's a hot topic, especially today. Yesterday, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a 1977 plan to outlaw the use of certain antibiotics as growth promotion drugs.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 5:44 pm
Pressure had been building on President Obama for days to say something about the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer, and on Friday the president finally did.
And almost as soon as he did, some people suspected him of a cynical election-year attempt to appeal to black voters, judging by the reaction by some on social media and conservative sites. Martin was African American, his killer of mixed white and Hispanic parentage.
Paul Clement is, quite simply, a walking superlative. A wunderkind who at age 34 became deputy solicitor general and then was promoted to the top spot, solicitor general of the United States, becoming the youngest person to hold that post in more than a century. Now 45, he has argued an astonishing 57 cases before the Supreme Court, more than any other lawyer since 2000. And next week, he will lead the challenge to the Obama health care overhaul, in the Supreme Court.
People across the country have had something to say about the death of Trayvon Martin, but the man at the center of the case — George Zimmerman — remains silent.
The neighborhood watch volunteer told police he was acting in self-defense when he shot Trayvon last month. Zimmerman has yet to be charged with a crime — or to speak publicly about what happened, leaving others to speak for him.
There's been a lot of scrutiny of the call Zimmerman made to 911 moments before his collision with Trayvon. But that was hardly Zimmerman's first call to the police in Sanford, Fla.
If you know the actress and comedian Niecy Nash, you're probably either excited about her new reality show, Leave It To Niecy, or you're cringing just thinking about it. Nash does not do things halfway. Her new show starts Sunday, and it's intended to be something like a real-life Modern Family.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 10:48 pm
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been officially been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for the March 11 killings of unarmed men, women and children in Southern Afghanistan, The Associated Press just reported from Kabul.
It adds that "premeditated murder is a capital offense and if convicted, Bales could be sentenced to death."
These days, hotels aren't just looking to hire bellhops, concierges and housekeepers. What the industry really needs are digital bloodhounds: people who understand how to use new technologies to track — and attract — potential guests.
One of those newfangled workers is Greg Bodenlos. At 24, he's just a couple of years out of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. His official title is digital marketing strategist at The Mark Hotel, a luxury hotel in New York City.
Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 2:50 pm
The scene in Mali's capital, Bamako, shows what used to be a familiar sight: an African capital in chaos, with drunken soldiers firing into the air and looting government buildings in the wake of a coup.
Military coups were dishearteningly common for people in Africa and Latin America during the 1960s and '70s, as governments fell to opportunistic military men.
But that trend had been slowing in the past two decades, as more and more governments began to hold regular elections.
A new romantic comedy opens in theaters this week, and it stars a scientist as the likeable, and only slightly nerdy, main character. The film's writer and director, former scientist Valerie Weiss discusses Losing Control, and why she made the shift from lab bench to big screen.