This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
There's more gloomy news from the eurozone this week. Italy saw its sovereign debt rating lowered by one agency, at just a couple of notches above junk status. In Spain, civil servants, coalminers, and others took to the streets once again to protest more spending cuts and tax hikes. And Germany's highest court heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of two measures considered central to efforts to try to contain the euro crisis.
There may be no better town in America for observing the heavens than Tucson, Arizona. It has low humidity, high elevation and a darkened desert. That part of the state has attracted quite a few astronomers, both professional and amateur. We sent NPR's Peter Breslow to Tucson to seek out this community of stargazers.
Fifty years ago this week, communications went global. July 12, 1962 the Telstar 1 satellite from AT&T became the first commercial spacecraft to beam television images from the United States to Europe.
It's been over a week since scientists announced that they've found the Higgs boson particle. It's an important discovery. They say that although the Higgs boson particle is small - or, come to think of it, perhaps because of it - it holds the universe together. But for all the publicity the particle's received, how many of us could explain what it actually does? Well, here's the announcement from scientists in Switzerland.
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:
The 1972 Democratic ticket of George McGovern (right) for president and Thomas F. Eagleton for vice president lasted only 18 days. Eagleton was dropped after telling reporters he'd had electroshock treatments for depression.
We may never know all the reasons why Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has dropped out of sight, but history teaches us that if a public figure is linked to "exhaustion," the word can be code for something more problematic than simply being tired.
Credit Courtesy of Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge
Though he went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Churchill didn't always excel in school. His 1884 school report card states young Winston is "very bad ... a constant trouble to everybody," and unable to be "trusted to behave himself anywhere." Click to enlarge.
Winston Churchill is best remembered as the British prime minister whose speeches rallied a nation under a relentless Nazi onslaught in World War II. But few people know that he won the Nobel Prize in Literature — in part for his mastery of speechmaking.
Now, a new exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City, Churchill: The Power of Words, holds a megaphone to Churchill's extraordinary oratory.
When the mercury's soaring, a cold, refreshing beer can be the best part of summer. As part of our occasional Taste of Summer series, we asked beer expert Graham Haverfield to recommend a few of his seasonal favorites.
Haverfield is the beer director for the Wine Library in Springfield Township, N.J. He's also a certified cicerone, or beer server. "Summer beers are typically lighter in body, they're typically a little lower in alcohol," he tells NPR's Scott Simon.
Ibrahim al-Qosi, shown here on July 11 in Khartoum, Sudan, was released from Guantanamo Bay prison this week after spending a decade there. He was Osama bin Laden's former driver, and he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy with al-Qaida and supporting terrorism. There are now 168 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo.
The latest detainee to leave the Guantanamo Bay prison boarded an Air Force jet earlier this week. His destination: Sudan. The man, 52-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, had admitted to being Osama bin Laden's bookkeeper, driver and sometime cook, and he was one of the first prisoners to arrive at Guantanamo in 2002.
Now, he is the latest to leave. His departure brings the total detainee population at the U.S. naval base in Cuba down to 168 — from a high of 680 in May 2003.