Taking the salt out of seawater helped Israel move from the constant threat of drought to a plentiful supply of water, but Israel has learned that desalination is not the only answer.
Ben-Gurion University's Institute for Water Research is deep in Israel's Negev desert and away from the sea. Prof. Jack Gilron, head of the Department of Desalination and Water Treatment, and other researchers here test concepts in desalination to see if they might hold promise for industrial development.
In cities with high crime rates, like Newark, N.J., figuring out the right balance of police engagement is especially hard.
In 2013, Newark had 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, the third-highest homicide rate in the country.
Last fall, the new mayor, Ras Baraka, announced a plan to tackle the crime and neglect that have plagued the city's worst neighborhoods. He started by focusing on two of the toughest: Clinton Hill and the Lower West Ward. I asked him in January how he'll know the program is working.
A herd of Republican presidential candidates spent some time in Iowa farm country this weekend. They were there for a fundraiser called Roast and Ride, a motorcycle ride and barbecue organized by Republican Sen. Joni Ernst.
Ernst, a political newcomer, is making herself a force in presidential politics.
On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made-up two-word phrase, in which the two words rhyme. The initials of the two words will be provided, along with a one-word clue. Example: C S, Tennis ---> Court Sport
1. N L, Moon 2. B R, Semitrailer 3. P T, Cuestick 4. H C, Electrocardiogram 5. N H, Cold 6. T V, Haiku 7. H S, Bowwow 8. R P, Speedway 9. L N, Slipknot 10. D S, Coma 11. P T, Hookah 12. G W, Obesity 13. M W, Bull 14. S O, Exclaim 15. P D, Pepto Bismol
Bird flu is raging through poultry farms across the United States. It's the largest outbreak in U.S. history, affecting 20 states and tens of millions of birds. The disease is particularly ravaging farms in the Midwest.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the H5 bird flu, the variety causing the outbreak, has not been detected in humans and currently poses a low threat to the public.
Saul Bellow, one of the 20th century's great writers, was born 100 years ago next month. The publishing world is marking the anniversary with a flurry of books — a Library of America edition of Bellow's fiction, a hefty tome of collected nonfiction, and a big new biography.
Another way to remember the author, of course, is to go back to the original books. His best-known work is probably Humboldt's Gift, the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1975 novel based on his own friendship with poet Delmore Schwartz.
A slice of history sails across Lake Michigan, carrying cars between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis. It's the SS Badger: the largest coal-fired passenger ship still operating in the United States.
For years, the ship was the focus of environmental scrutiny because of its practice of dumping waste coal ash directly into the lake. The pollution nearly stopped the Badger from steaming again — but now, the ash-dumping has ended.
And this summer, after a half-century on the waters, the Badger is still ferrying on.
On-air challenge: Because tomorrow is June 1st, today's game is one of categories, based on the word "first." For each category, name something in it starting with each of the letters F-I-R-S-T. For example, if the category were "Two-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Francis, Isaac, Richard, Simon and Tony.
1. State Capitals
2. Foreign Makes of Cars
3. Parts of a Book
4. Common Newspaper Names (like Post, Herald or Daily News)
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The oldest son of Vice President Joe Biden has died of brain cancer. Beau Biden was 46 years old. He recently finished two terms as the attorney general of Delaware. NPR White House correspondent Tamera Keith reports.
Most of the troops who died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were flown to Dover Air Force base in Delaware. And for most of the wars, those dignified transfers were off limits to the press. That changed in 2009, when President Obama lifted the media ban and paid a visit to Dover himself.
Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli wasn't always rich.
One of Central America's richest and most eccentric former politicians, Martinelli started off as a credit officer at Citibank in Panama. He bought one business, then another. Among his holdings is the country's largest supermarket chain, Super 99, known for bargain prices and catchy jingles.
But while his jingles may get Panamanian's hips moving, Martinelli's alleged pilfering and profiteering make their blood boil.
Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Brittany Ohman is a 41-year-old mother of two and a licensed social worker in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Ohman and NPR's Rachel Martin grew up together and were good friends through high school. When they were seniors, Ohman got pregnant and no one knew. She didn't even know — and she knows that sounds crazy. She has heard the question for years.
Kentucky bourbon is in high demand these days. Sales and production of the whiskey have surged in recent years.
The demand has created a problem: a shortage of barrels. Bourbon is typically aged for several years in wooden casks.
But one company has found a work-around. It's come up with a chemical process that ages bourbon not in years — but in hours. The innovation is unsettling an industry that is long-soaked in history and tradition.
The Minnesota Orchestra plays Havana this weekend. It's the first professional U.S. orchestra to perform in Cuba since the United States and the island nation began the process of normalization last December. For the musicians, this trip is about healing — both diplomatically and for themselves.
Bruce Jenner's national TV interview with Diane Sawyer in April ended months of speculation. The former Olympian turned reality TV star revealed that he now identifies as a transgender woman — though he still prefers to be called "he" for the time being.
Jenner was hailed as a hero for his openness on an issue that has caused real heartache for many. National surveys show an unusually high rate of attempted suicide among people who are transgender.
This weekend, the Class of 2015 graduated from Howard University, a historically black college located about a mile from NPR's headquarters. The new graduates include two of the students who have spent the last semester talking with NPR's Weekend Edition about their college experience.
Leighton Watson and Kevin Peterman are still kind of in denial.
"It's very surreal, because I think a lot of people expect you to feel like you've graduated earlier in the process," says Watson. "But it literally didn't hit me until I was walking off of the stage and out."
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a well-known U.S. city. For every word given, ignore the vowels. The word's consonants are the same consonants appearing in the same order as those in the city's name. For example, given the word "amiable," the answer is "Mobile" (Alabama).
Last week's challenge Think of a common two-word phrase for something you might see in a kitchen. Reverse the words — that is, put the second word in front of the first — and you'll name a food, in one word, that you might prepare in a kitchen. What is it?