Nation/World

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today, President Obama and the Department of Education released a Testing Action Plan, calling on states to cut back on "unnecessary testing" that consumes "too much instructional time" and creates "undue stress for educators and students."

Film legend Maureen O'Hara — the Irish-American actress whose cascading red hair and sea-green eyes helped make her the "Queen of Technicolor" — has died in her sleep at her home in Boise, Idaho. She was 95.

O'Hara's career spanned more than 60 films, including How Green Was My Valley and the The Quiet Man, the classic 1952 romance directed by John Ford and set in Ireland. Just last year, O'Hara received a Lifetime Honorary Oscar.

Authorities in the Maldives have arrested the country's vice president for what they say is his involvement in a plot to kill the president.

You may remember that back in September, President Abdulla Yameen was unhurt when his speedboat was rocked by an explosion. Reuters reports that Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested for his alleged role in that explosion as he came back from a conference in China.

Reuters explains:

Investigators for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan said they have found credible evidence that a U.S. airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killed civilians.

Back in October, a U.S. gunship opened fire on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 23 people.

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:

Argentines go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president, after a dozen years of being led first by Nestor Kirchner and later by his widow, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. There are three candidates in the race: Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province; the mayor of Buenos Aires city Mauricio Macri; and Congressman Sergio Massa.

Most likely, Congress will — as it always does — find a last-minute way to dodge a debt-ceiling crisis.

It's easy to get bored with it all. Scores of times over recent decades, lawmakers have taken the country to the brink of financial catastrophe only to swerve away by voting to allow more debt.

Neil deGrasse Tyson — once named the Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People magazine — is about to begin the second season of his National Geographic show Star Talk.

Since he's a famed expert on cosmology, we've decided to see what he knows about cosmetology — three questions about hair stylists and spa experts from around the world.

Prediction

Oct 24, 2015
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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

In just a minute, we're going to ask our panelists to predict, now that we know he is not running for president, what will Joe Biden do next.

Lightning Fill In The Blank

Oct 24, 2015
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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Now it's time to move on to our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players has 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill-in-the-blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer now worth two points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

Limericks

Oct 24, 2015
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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Ron Nagle is a lot like his ceramics: compact, tidy, quirky — and colorful.

The artist, who has helped take clay to the heights of the contemporary art world, recently sported black pants, a blue-and-white striped T-shirt, white shoes, red socks and a rose-colored hat.

Around his neck hangs a long silver chain, filled with charms. There's a heart, signifying Valentine's day, the date he was married decades ago; an R for his first name; a skull representing death; a hare, Nagle's sign in Chinese astrology.

As Democrats gain from the nation's growing diversity — attracting solid majorities among Hispanic and African American voters — Republicans are gaining among white, working-class voters, a group that was once a Democratic stronghold.

Nowhere is this clearer than in West Virginia, where the president touched down this week to talk about drug addiction.

As it contines to move across Mexico, Patricia has lost most of its strength. It is now a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Richie Lanz, a small-potatoes talent agent from Van Nuys, Calif., has been mired in hard luck for a while now. But things don't get much better when he takes a client to entertain American troops in Afghanistan — and she promptly leaves him stranded in no more than his underwear.

CNN Anchor Talks 'Running Dangerously'

Oct 24, 2015
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new James Bond movie tends to mean a few things: a new villain, two new Bond girls (one of whom may or may not be painted gold), and — perhaps most dependably — a new song playing behind the opening credits. Fifty years of Bond films has left much music to be analyzed, and the Oxford University Press does just that in a new book called The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism.

Jamie Cullum, musician and BBC Radio 2 host, is constantly searching for the freshest sounds in jazz music. A frequent guest on Weekend Edition, he recently visited the program to share new music from Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra, Daymé Arocena and Sons of Kemet. The sounds range from Coltrane-influenced spiritual jazz to acoustic club music informed by the traditional sounds of Ethiopia and West Africa.

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Migrants Arrive On Slovenia-Austria Border

Oct 24, 2015
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Quite a week in politics. Three of the longest-running dramas in U.S. politics took important - maybe decisive - turns. NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving joins us. Ron, thanks so much for being back with us.

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Long-Lost Parachuting Beaver Footage

Oct 24, 2015
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There are certain weeks when one thing, one moment, one meme takes over the entire Internet. Like the week Beyonce's surprise album dropped. Or when Kim Kardashian and her derriere covered Paper Mag. Or when Alex From Target happened, whatever that was.

A Dark And Stormy Night: Why We Love The Gothic

Oct 24, 2015

Crimson Peak's previews hardly bothered with the ghosts haunting its dilapidated mansion. It didn't need them. Mia Wasikowska runs down moonlit stairs in a nightgown with a ten-foot train — that's all you need to know. By now, the Gothic speaks for itself, and it's trained us to listen.

Every October, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces the nominees for next year's inductions, there's a phrase that seems to come up organically in discussions of the shortlist.

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