There's no mistaking the protagonist of "Be Brave," a song from the new My Brightest Diamond album, All Things Will Unwind. Shara Worden, the group's classically trained singer, songwriter, and main creative force, makes it clear in the refrain: "Shara, now get to work/Shara, this is going to hurt."
The stands were blue at Penn State University this afternoon, as students and fans of the school's football team showed their symbolic support for victims of child sexual abuse.
Most of the more than 107,000 spectators at the game against Nebraska were wearing blue and many gave money to organizations that battle sexual abuse — their way of responding to the allegations that a former assistant football coach at the school abused young boys for more than a decade, sometimes on campus.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: This WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Venezuela, officials have announced a dramatic end to the high-profile kidnapping of Major League Baseball catcher Wilson Ramos. Police commandos swooped in on a remote mountainous hideaway and rescued him. This was the sound at the Ramos home in Valencia, Valenzuela, when he returned there late last night.
Each weekend, Bill Desmarais ships his birds off on a truck and somehow, they find their way home. In his backyard in Massachusetts recently, he welcomed home birds from a race that started 250 miles away in Verona, N.Y.
Pigeons have fascinated people for centuries. Charles Darwin, Pablo Picasso and Walt Disney all kept the birds. Today, thousands — including Mike Tyson — are flocking to the sport of pigeon racing.
Racing pigeons aren't like the pigeons you see in a park. They're stronger, bred for endurance and brains. Some are worth thousands of dollars.
NPR's Don Gonyea normally reports on politics, but he finds other stories along the way, like this one about a touring bluegrass band from the Czech Republic.
The first time I heard Druha Trava play was April 2009. I was covering President Obama's trip to the Europe. There was a big outdoor speech in Prague, and the band was playing Czech versions of Bob Dylan songs.
I did a short radio postcard story back then, figuring it was the kind of experience that every music fan knows: You stumble upon a great band somewhere and never see them again.
On Saturday's docket in sports: the Penn State scandal, college basketball and the kidnapping and rescue of Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks sports with NPR's Tom Goldman.
It seems like hardly a month goes by without seeing celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred on television. This week, Allred was in the news again, representing one of presidential candidate Herman Cain's sexual harassment accusers. Her bold use of media to call attention to her clients' causes has earned the respect of some, but the irritation of others. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates has a profile.
This week, Ohio voters soundly rejected Gov. John Kasich's plan to scale back collective bargaining rights for public employees. The vote was a big victory for labor; in particular, it showed how important the nation's teachers unions have become beyond the classroom. Teachers groups are mobilizing like never before — because they face threats to their very existence.
In an emergency meeting on Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria, warning that the country could face sanctions if it does not end its brutal crackdown on protestors. Meanwhile, NATO leaders say a Libya-style military intervention is out of the question. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports on what other choices remain.
Across the country, retailers are accepting applications for temporary positions this holiday season. Seasonal hiring might offer a bit of a break for people looking for work. Scott Detrow of member station WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has more.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: 18-year-old Tyler Albinus is walking from store to store in a Lancaster, Pennsylvania outlet mall, looking for a job. He's been searching for more than a month now and has lost track of how many applications he's filled out.
Change is in the wind across southern Europe. The governments of Greece and Italy are collapsing under a mountain of debt and Spain, too, is on shaky financial ground. Spaniards go to the polls on Nov. 20 and are expected to turn the ruling Socialist Party out of power. Yet, as Lauren Frayer reports, people there are also uneasy about the alternatives.
Alice Walton's long-awaited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens Saturday in Arkansas, and the art market is already feeling the impact of the Wal-Mart heiress and the money she's throwing at acquisitions. Not everyone is happy about it. NPR's Joel Rose reports.
After a week of child sex abuse charges that resulted in the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, Penn State University plays its final home game of the season on Saturday. Students are holding a vigil and fundraising events ahead of the game against Nebraska. NPR's Jeff Brady has the latest in the wake of the scandal.
Reggae music and the island of Jamaica are inseparable, right? Lately, a crop of artists from places like Hawaii, California and Italy are proving that hit reggae can come from anywhere. In the process, they're raising some complex questions about culture and ownership.
There's a new generation of reggae artists with two things in common: They're not from the birthplace of reggae music, and they are enormously successful.
Aside from being the wife of one of the most well-known politicians in recent American history, Pat Nixon is mostly a mystery. Throughout crisis and scandal, she somehow managed to remain a private public figure.
Three Arab autocrats who ruled their countries for decades have been ousted from power this year, and others are in danger of being overthrown. Yet no king or emir has suffered such a fate.
Protests have taken place in countries ruled by monarchs, including Bahrain, which had widespread demonstrations last spring. And after protests in Morocco and Jordan, the kings offered up limited political changes that have, at least for now, staved off any real threat to their rule.
In the new Libya, uncertainty is the one certainty.
Contradictions and conspiracies proliferate faster than street demonstrations now that the iron fist of dictator Moammar Gadhafi's regime has been lifted.
Among those searching for answers are relatives of prisoners locked away by various revolutionary military councils. Some of the prisoners are former Gadhafi loyalists with blood on their hands. But family members say others were seized for motives of revenge.
Originally published on Sat November 12, 2011 12:22 pm
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:
Human Rights Watch today accused the Syrian government of committing crimes against humanity during its crackdown on the restive central region of Homs. The rights group called on the Arab League, scheduled to meet in Cairo tomorrow, to suspend Syria's membership in the organization.
"The systematic nature of abuses against civilians in Homs by Syrian government forces, including torture and unlawful killings, indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed," Human Rights Watch said in their 63-page report released today.
Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 5:57 pm
Here's today's stunning figure: The video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sold about 6.5 million copies the first day it went on sale. According to Activision Blizzard, which released the numbers today, that adds up to more than $400 million in sales in North America and the U.K.
Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary will not be at Saturday's game against Nebraska. During a press conference, Rod Erickson, the school's interim president, announced that McQueary had been placed under administrative leave.
As we had reported, the school said yesterday McQueary would not be at the game because it had received "multiple threats" against him.
Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 5:29 pm
The home of The Beatles is being remodeled — drastically.
EMI, until now one of the four remaining major labels, is being broken up and sold off by the megabank Citigroup. After an auction that took almost nine months, French media company Vivendi, which owns Universal Music Group, will buy EMI's recorded music division and Sony Corp. will pick up the publishing arm.
Half of the world's seafood is raised on farms, and some of those fish are bound to get sick at some point. So fish farmers, just like animal farmers, are keen on dumping antibiotics — sometimes in huge quantities — in those fish pens to keep the population safe.
A discerning eater might want to know if the shrimp that hits the plate is laced with drug residues, given that some can cause antibiotic resistance and cancer. But a new study says there's no way to find out, given the sketchy state of seafood import monitoring.