NPR has learned that the Obama administration, under pressure to lift a cloak of secrecy, is considering whether to declassify a court order that gives the National Security Agency the power to gather phone call record information on millions of Americans.
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:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that patenting natural human genetic material must stop. But the court also ruled that synthetically produced DNA is fair. The decision was prompted by patents on a gene test for breast cancer which was issued to Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City. We're joined now in our studio by Arthur Caplan, who's head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. Thanks very much for being with us.
Last year, we brought you the story of Music Man Murray. Murray Gershenz was looking for a buyer for the enormous record collection that was shelved in his store in Los Angeles. Now, notice I said record. Most of his music was indeed on old vinyl. Murray was turning 90 and his overstuffed store was becoming more than he could handle.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And I wait all week to say: time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: Finals time - on ice and the hardwood. The Heat and the Spurs are tied at two games each in the NBA Finals. And tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins in game two of hockey's Stanley Cup. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us from the studios of New England Public Radio in Amherst. Howard, thanks for being with us.
Whitey Bulger is finally on trial ,after 16 years on the run. The Boston mobster who was once on the FBI's Most Wanted List is accused of murdering 19 people, as well as extortion and racketeering. Prosecution alleges he worked as an FBI informant in exchange for protection. Dick Lehr is the co-author, with Gerald O'Neill, of "Whitey: The Life of America's Most Notorious Mobster." He joins us from member station WBUR in Boston. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: Dick Lehr's co-author is Gerard O'Neill.] Dick, thanks for being with us.
Protesters who were camped out in Istanbul's Gezi Park say they won't pack up and go home despite a government offer to avoid bulldozing the park without court approval and a public referendum. Protest organizers say that other demands such as releasing detained protesters have not been met.
Tomorrow isn't just Father's Day. It's also National Fudge Day if that didn't come up on your calendar. By most accounts, the first batch of fudge was cooked up in Baltimore in the 1880s, but Mackinac Island in northern Michigan is considered the modern day fudge capital of America.
We have to remind ourselves now, the nationwide protests in Turkey began with a small group of people who were protesting the government's plans to pave over a small park in Istanbul. Elif Shafak is an award-winning writer who divides her time between Istanbul and London. We spoke with her yesterday, and asked her how what began as a kind of modest stand to protect a city park broadened into nationwide protests.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In Colorado, cooler weather and some rain has helped crews begin to get a handle on the Black Forest fire that's burning just north of Colorado Springs. Yesterday, several thousand people were allowed back into their homes, but an estimated 30,000 people remain evacuated from the area.
The blaze has claimed two lives, and it has destroyed at least 473 homes. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports from Colorado Springs.
Lawmakers in Illinois are headed back to work next week to address the state's $100 billion pension crisis, the worst unfunded pension liability in the nation. While almost all states faced pension funding issues during the recession, none of them are looking at a predicament as severe as in Illinois. Every day it doesn't get fixed, the burden on taxpayers grows larger.
Here's what we know about a National Security Agency program that collects vast amounts of data on the electronic activity of Americans: While controversial, a leaked secret document authorizing the collection makes it clear that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has decided that the collection of metadata for every call made in and into the United States is legal under Section 215 of the U.S.A.
This week, the Internet radio broadcaster Pandora made what seems like a backward move — technologically speaking. Pandora purchased a local radio station in Rapid City, S.D. The company says it's aiming to get the more favorable royalty rates given to terrestrial broadcasters, but the move has songwriters and composers up in arms.
Despite a number of victories for gay rights and national polls reflecting a growing acceptance of gay men and women, there is a population within the LGBT community that often feels left out of the national debate.
Since public revelations that the National Security Agency is collecting telephone records and reviewing Internet communications in the U.S. and abroad, officials have been making the case that the programs are vital. They argue that the tactics match the new ways terrorists are planning and communicating.
There was a time when America's enemies conspired face-to-face, or communicated through couriers, or by leaving messages for each other somewhere. But in the digital age, that has changed.
Bruce Springsteen performs during halftime of the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., in 2009. In music, and increasingly in other industries, a relative handful of top performers take more and more of the spoils, says White House chief economist Alan Krueger.
White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.
"And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: 'Rockanomics,' the economics of rock and roll," the president said. "This is something that Alan actually cares about."
Now, panel, who will flee the country next? Bobcat Goldthwait.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Oh, I didn't - I wanted - I thought it was who I wanted to leave.
SAGAL: All right. Well...
GOLDTHWAIT: I'd hate to make it personal again, but every time my ego (unintelligible) after I do this show, there's this one person that's really mad that I'm on the show that I always find commenting. And all I can say to this guy is like, hey way to be all inclusive. Can't a guy from "Police Academy" be on WAIT WAIT?
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, filling in for Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with Bobcat Goldthwait, Faith Salie, and Luke Burbank.
KURTIS: And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
BILL KURTIS ANNOUNCER: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! the NPR News quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis filling in for Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Bobcat Goldthwait, Faith Salie, and Luke Burbank. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
We want to remind everyone to join us here most weeks at the Chase Bank Auditorium in beautiful downtown Chicago, Illinois. For tickets and more information, go to wbez.org. You can find a link at our website, waitwait.npr.org. Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news.
Hasan Rowhani, the lone moderate in Iran's presidential elections, has secured victory and headed off a runoff vote in a symbolic rebuke to the country's hard-line Islamic clerics.
Rowhani, 64, won nearly 51 percent of the vote in a field of five other candidates, all but himself considered conservatives who were more or less in line with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rowhani's closest rival, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqher Qalibaf, came in a distant second, with less than 17 percent of the ballots.
A 94-year-old man who allegedly was a top commander of a Nazi SS unit responsible for the massacre of civilians during World War II is reportedly living quietly in Minnesota, according to an exclusive report by The Associated Press.
The news agency says it obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act that show Michael Karkoc lied to officials in 1949 about his past in order to immigrate to the United States.
As it turns out, prime urban parking can be almost as valuable as a single-family home. A Boston woman bought two parking spaces for $560,000 at auction Thursday, winning a tough bidding war that increased by the tens of thousands at each turn.
The buyer, Lisa Blumenthal, said the spots will be used for guests and workers, at the hefty price of $280,000 each — nearly 90 percent of the worth of the median sales price of a single-family home in Massachusetts.
This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a new rule that would extend "endangered species" protections to chimpanzees held in captivity. Nearly half of all the chimps in the U.S. live in research facilities, and the regulation changes would make it more difficult to use these animals in medical experiments.
Australian archaeologists using remote-sensing technology have uncovered an ancient city in Cambodia that has remained hidden for more than a millennium under dense jungle undergrowth.
The discovery of Mahendraparvata, a 1,200-year-old lost city that predates Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat temple complex by 350 years, was part of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire that ruled much of Southeast Asia from about 800 to 1400 A.D., during a time that coincided with Europe's Middle Ages.