An Israeli cabinet member said today that officials plan to release some Palestinians who have been in prison in Israel for decades. This appears to be part of the diplomatic dance around restarting peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. After six visits to the region in six months, Secretary of State John Kerry, announced yesterday that there is enough agreement to begin initial talks next week or soon after in Washington, D.C.
Today, Russia is wrapping up its biggest military maneuver since the Soviet era, an exercise that's designed to test its military readiness on land, sea and in the air. NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that it may also be an effort to show Russia's Far Eastern neighbors that it is still a force to be reckoned with.
COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Russian President Vladimir Putin watched part of the war games this week at a firing range in southern Siberia.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Foreign language spoken)
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Syria, the army of President Bashar al-Assad appears to be gaining the upper hand on the battlefield, as rebels wait for military assistance from the U.S. and other Western allies, assistance that has yet to arrive. Meanwhile, U.N. officials say the refugee crisis has now reached levels not seen since after the Rwanda genocide.
NPR's Kelly McEvers joins us from Beirut for more. Kelly, welcome.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. One year ago today, a gunman opened fire during a sold-out midnight showing of the newest Batman movie at a theater in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people died, 70 were injured. Minutes after the attack, police arrested James Holmes.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that crime novelist Robert Galbraith is in fact British author J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter books. But how was Rowling's secret uncovered? WESA's Larkin Page-Jacobs reports, British journalists turned to an obscure source to confirm Rowling's authorship.
Scientific research can be expensive, but a lack of funds did not stop one scientist in Buffalo from moving forward with his project. State University of New York professor Chris Lowry came up with a creative and cheap way to get measurements on stream levels across the state by crowdsourcing his research.
Chris Lowry joins us from member station WBFO in Buffalo, New York. Professor Lowry, thank you very much for coming in.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. For the past few years, in July the Russia provincial town of Vologda has hosted a European Film Festival. Vologda is a sleepy city far from the Russian metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and every year the arrival of European filmmakers and actors to the Russian heartland is a very special event.
This year, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley attended the festival.
Bombadil was founded by a group of friends who met while attending college in Durham, N.C. They graduated in 2006, released a self-titled EP that was well-received, and soon seemed on their way to finding an audience. But by 2009, bassist Daniel Michalak was struggling with an unexplained pain in his hands.
"I started noticing it during shows," he says. "And it got to the point where I couldn't hold a spoon to feed myself, or brush my teeth, or hold the phone to my ear."
Michalak's daily routines became increasingly difficult — and draining.