In the seven years since her last album, Audra McDonald has kept busy. She spent several years in Hollywood, filming the television series Private Practice. She's gotten divorced and remarried, absorbed the shock of losing her father in a plane crash and watched her daughter, Zoe, grow up from a kindergartener to a middle-schooler.
Despite attacks in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's voting — and deadly bombings and other attacks on the very day they're going to the polls — Pakistanis are showing they're willing to "defy the violence," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore.
Mothers have eyes in the back of their heads. They may not show up on X-rays, but they're there.
Like a lot of youngsters, I used to get my mother to turn her head so I could search through her hair for the eyeballs she claimed to have back there, telling her, "No you don't! No you don't!" But when I'd scamper off to another part of the apartment and pick up an ashtray or fiddle with the window blinds, I'd hear my mother's voice ring out, "I can see you! I know what you're up to!"
And this final note on the blues. Two years ago on this show, we profiled Gip's Place, a real juke joint nestled in a residential neighborhood in Bessemer, Alabama.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: It's not like going to a bar. It's not like going to a club. It's like going to your best friend's house and putting on just the newest record and sitting there and enjoying it together. Literally, there is truly a mix between the musicians and the audience.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Welcome again. Y'all ready to get started?
The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been in the Middle East, Rome and Russia this week trying to find some kind of diplomatic end to Syria's civil war. He's also been trying to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Mr. Kerry has been the U.S. secretary of state for just over 100 days, spending more than a third of that time overseas.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on how his tenure at the State Department seems to be shaping up.
And the deaths in Bangladesh have prompted a number of American clothing companies to disclose where their products are made. Everlane is an online clothing retailer based in San Francisco that has always done that. Michael Preysman is the CEO and founder of Everlane, and we asked him where and how his company's T-shirts are manufactured.
Yngwie Malmsteen is the king of the neoclassical shred guitar. Since 1984's Rising Force, the Swedish musician and composer has somehow bridged centuries, from Paganini to his own arpeggiated acrobatics.
It's been 70 years since the letters of John Pryor were understood in their full meaning. That's because as a British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, Pryor's letters home to his family also included intricate codes that were recently deciphered for the first time since the 1940s.
Pryor's letters served their purpose in World War II, as Britain's MI9 agents decoded the messages hidden within them — requests for supplies, notes about German activities — before sending them along to Pryor's family in Cornwall.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April. That exceeded the expectations of economists. It also drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low, 7.5 percent. Unfortunately, the biggest gains were in lower-paying fields like hospitality and temp agencies. And as the school year comes to a close and young people start looking, the question is will there be enough work for them. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Costa Rica today. He's talking with leaders of Central American nations about security and economic trade. Yesterday, the president wrapped up a two-day visit in Mexico, where he tried to steer the focus away from contentious issues like immigration and drug violence. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.
CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: During their quick visit, Presidents Obama and Pena Nieto stuck to their focus: the economy.
The 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival wraps up Monday. This weekend and last, 12 stages have mixed such marquee names as Fleetwood Mac, Phoenix and Los Lobos with dozens of local bluesmen, soul belters and Cajun fiddle players.
Burt Bacharach has written huge hit songs, each recognizable after just a couple of notes: "Alfie," "What the World Needs Now," "That's What Friends Are For" — the list goes on. He's written 73 Top 40 hits, along with musical comedies and other collaborations. He's won Oscars and the Gershwin Prize. His songs are often poised on the edge between poignancy and joy, or sometimes the reverse.
April is National Poetry Month. And throughout the month, WEEKEND EDITION is speaking with younger poets about the importance of poetry in daily life. This morning, we hear from translator and poet Kazim Ali.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Twenty-five people were indicted in Baltimore this week, 13 of them prison guards in a story that involves gangs, bribes, drugs and sex - and it's real life, not a TV show. The indictments say a group of prisoners have essentially been in charge of the Baltimore City Detention Center, working with prison guards to run a lucrative drug and cell phone smuggling operation.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)
SIMON: And in the NBA playoffs last night, the Knicks went to Boston; boy did they have a tea party. The Spurs put the metal to L.A. and the Nuggets dug up Golden State. No, got dug up by Golden State. It was close, though. Just a couple of points. How many more metaphors can I twist in this intro? Plus one of the most important meniscuses, or is that menisci, in the Western Conference has been torn.
The Tsarnaev brothers are among tens of thousands of Chechens whose families have sought asylum abroad after two brutal wars with Russia. About 10 percent of the entire Chechen population now lives in Europe. France has one of the largest communities. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley spoke with Chechens in Paris to see how they're reacting to the attack in Boston.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The first great sequester showdown has ended and the White House says President Obama will sign a bill that effectively ends furloughs for air traffic controllers. The House yesterday approved the measure, which was passed by the Senate Thursday night, and the action comes after a week of flight delays that angered air travelers and set off a flurry of finger-pointing in Washington, D.C. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
Descendents of famous American political figures, both Democrats and Republicans, white and black, coming together in a small Ozarks town this weekend. The Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield is hosting the descendents of more than 30 past presidents, including relatives of the country's founding fathers and one of the country's most famous slaves.
From member station KSMU, Jennifer Davidson reports.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. This week the calls for U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war got a bit louder. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters that U.S. intelligence sources now believe with, quote, varying degrees of confidence that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in Syria.
Today in Long Beach, California, Cambodian-Americans are celebrating their new year with traditional foods, dance and songs. But the festivities also coincide with the anniversary of the Cambodian genocide. During the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror between 1975 and 1979, cities were emptied and nearly one-fourth of the population was executed, starved or worked to death. Doualy Xaykaothao reports.
The Chapin Sisters are a critically acclaimed duo, with tinges of folk, country and pop in their songs. For their latest project, Lily and Abigail Chapin looked to another famous set of singing siblings: Don and Phil, The Everly Brothers.
Lily Chapin says the genesis of their new tribute album, A Date with The Everly Brothers, was a creative workaround of sorts. The duo was once a trio featuring another Chapin sister, Jessica; the three siblings grew up singing three-part harmonies together. Several years ago, Jessica left the group to start a family.
After World War II, America became a superpower. New York experienced a global rise; Los Angeles was sprawling. But in a new book, Thomas Dyja writes that "the most profound aspects of American Modernity grew up out of the flat, prairie land next to Lake Michigan" — Chicago.
Egyptian Christians gather around four coffins during a funeral service at the Saint Mark Coptic cathedral in Cairo on April 7. Religious violence this month has killed three Muslims and at least six Christians.
Since Egypt's revolution began, tensions among Egypt's Muslims and Christians have only increased. Earlier this month, it once again turned deadly. Tit-for-tat killings left three Muslims and at least six Christians dead.
That and other religious violence is prompting a public debate about religious identity in Egypt. One group of young Egyptians wants to remove religious labels from national ID cards.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at City Hall on April 25. The billionaire mayor has been spending from his personal fortune to provide a "political counterweight to the NRA," his policy adviser says.