An Italian court on Friday sentenced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years in jail for tax fraud in connection with the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television company. Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.
And this morning, we're following the progression of a major storm, hurricane Sandy, which is turning toward parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The National Hurricane Center briefly downgraded Sandy to a tropical storm, but this morning restored it to a category one hurricane. Parts of the east coast are bracing for destructive winds and heavy flooding once Sandy makes landfall in the coming days.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With just 10 days to go in a tightening race, both campaigns are out in force around the country trying to win over voters. Today, Governor Mitt Romney is in Florida. President Obama is in New Hampshire. We're joined now by Ben LaBolt. He's national press secretary for President Obama's 2012 campaign. He's on the line from Chicago.
Mr. LaBolt. Thanks for being with us.
BEN LABOLT: Good morning, Scott. Thanks for having me.
Republican Roy Moore, Alabama's controversial "Ten Commandments Judge," is back on the ballot this year, running for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court — despite being removed from that office nearly a decade ago.
In a state as red as they come, he is facing last-minute Democratic challenger Bob Vance, who is reaching out to moderate Republicans turned off by Moore's politics.
As he often does when the weather's decent, Pete Seeger recently played a free show outdoors in Beacon, N.Y. A few dozen people packed around the stage that held Seeger, his ever-present banjo and a small band; a group of kids in red T-shirts clustered down in front, singing along. The emcee for the afternoon was Susan Wright, the music teacher at Beacon Elementary School, where Seeger visits regularly.
What business would you tell a young person to go into these days? Plastics? Oooh, that can mean lots of regulations. Wind turbines? Solar panels? Who knows how long those may take to pay off? App development? How many Angry Birds does the world need?
Then what about superPACS? They're political-action committees that can spend unlimited amounts of money to laud, mock or bash any political candidate.
If you take a trip to see autumn foliage in Western Massachusetts this weekend, beware. Local moose do not offer photo ops. Pete Brown, who's a logger, learned this last month when he saw a moose while he worked in the woods. He tried to get a picture. Instead, Mr. Brown, who has two hip replacements, got the run of his life. Pete Brown joins us from his home in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: The San Francisco Giants live to play again, thanks to a pitcher thought to be past his prime. He was sure blue-ribbon last night. Lance Armstrong got a standing O last night but also heard from a few folks who might want their money back, just as major corporate sponsors might. And more NHL games are put on ice - or is that none are on the ice? NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Morning, Tom.
With the Obama and Romney campaigns blasting away on Twitter, Facebook and all kinds of social media, will their efforts to sway voters through the Internet really work? Weekend Edition host Scott Simon explores the issues with Daniel Sieberg from Google's politics and elections team.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: I'm Ari Shapiro traveling with the Romney campaign in Daytona Beach, Florida. Ted Bickish and his wife Gina embody the two big problems at the center of Florida's economy. Ted lost his job when the economy collapsed. The only work he could find was in Virginia. They couldn't relocate because their house was underwater. And he couldn't afford to pass up the job either. So now...
TED BICKISH: Well, I go up there for about three weeks to a month at a time, and then I come home for a week.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In these final weeks before the presidential election, both President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are rallying their core voters to turn out on November 6. But the president may find it harder to win big among younger voters this year, as he did in 2008.
Placido Domingo is one of the most influential people in classical music. During a 50-year career, he's played more than 140 roles, conducted more than 450 operas, and won just about every award that a human being can win in opera and life.
Paddy Roy Bates, the self-proclaimed prince of Sealand, was almost 80 when I met him in the summer of 2000. He was silvery and straight-backed — very much the model of a modern major, which he was in the British Army during World War II, when he survived frostbite, malaria, snakebites and a German bomb that shattered his jaw so badly a surgeon told him no woman would ever love him. So he married a former beauty queen named Joan and made her the princess of Sealand.
Falafel — those crispy, filling fried balls of mashed beans, herbs and spices — is found in cafes and homes all over the Middle East and parts of Africa. It's like a common language shared among sometimes fractious nations.
But until recently, I always thought falafel was made one way — garbanzo beans, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro and cumin. (That's how my Sudanese mother taught me.) But it turns out there are many recipes out there, each with a flavor distinct to its region.
Kevin Sheppard was an outstanding point guard at Jacksonville University and he hoped to play professional basketball - maybe in places like Miami, Boston or Los Angeles. Instead, he wound up playing in places like Brazil, China and Israel. Then, came an offer from the heart of the Axis of Evil.
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KEVIN SHEPPARD: I had no idea they played basketball in Iran. But it was actually very popular in Iran.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's a time-honored tradition in presidential campaigns to debate after the debate. Both sides are still squabbling now over who won this week's vice presidential faceoff. And on the campaign trail yesterday, the running mates themselves were out spinning for their side. NPR's Ari Shapiro has this round-up of the day on the trail.
Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Peter Kenyon and NPR's Kelly McEvers about the latest news in Turkey and Syria, where fighting from Syria's internal conflict has spilled across the border the two nations share.
Michael Feinstein, the singer and pianist known as the "ambassador of the Great American Songbook," has a serious pedigree to back up that title: a real-life connection to one of America's greatest songwriting teams. It's the subject of Feinstein's new memoir, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. (A CD of Feinstein singing those songs also comes with the book.)
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The jobless rate fell sharply to 7.8 percent in September, which happens to be exactly where it was when President Obama took office. That's according to the U.S. Labor Department's latest monthly jobs report. But even though the unemployment rate dropped, the Labor Department's payroll survey reveals that businesses did not significantly hire new people. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has this report on how experts are interpreting the numbers.
We spoke with Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan's Justice Party yesterday. We contacted him at his home in Islamabad before he set off on his march to protest drone attacks. Mr. Khan, thank you very much for being with us.
IMRAN KHAN: My pleasure.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Why are you leading this march?
Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Major League Baseball premiered its new high-stakes, single game wild-card playoff round last night. But a controversial call involving a famously vague old rule is at the center of attention today. The - eh-eh - defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in that game. The Baltimore Orioles put away the Texas Rangers. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now. Morning, Tom.
Nearly two-dozen states are watching for new cases of a rare kind of meningitis, caused by fungal contamination in injections for back pain. Officials say the shots were custom made by a Massachusetts pharmacy that shipped about 17,000 doses to states from New York to California. While the disease cannot spread from person-to-person, at least five people have died and dozens more are sick. The outbreak first showed up in Tennessee as we hear from Daniel Potter of member station WPLN.
On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his most serious election test in 14 years of power. Though he has easily beaten his adversaries in the past, Chavez now confronts a 40-year-old former governor who has been electrifying the crowds.
The stakes are high. If Chavez loses, it could mean the end of his socialist experiment in the oil-rich nation.
In speech after speech, Chavez is like the Chavez of old — bombastic, loud, defiant, with grand dreams about projecting Venezuelan influence worldwide.
Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.
Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.
When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."