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Hosted By: Scott Simon

From civil wars in Bosnia and El Salvador, to hospital rooms, police stations, and America's backyards, National Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition/Saturday.

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6:56am

Sat January 5, 2013
Asia

Pakistani Cafe Is Oasis In Desert Of Civil Discourse

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In Pakistan, there's a cafe called the Second Floor. It's listed in a local Karachi social blog as one of the coolest cafes in town. Since it opened its doors five years ago, it's become a haven in a city more known for its violence than its civil discourse. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston paid a visit.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: The artwork on the front stoop of the Second Floor Cafe in Karachi says it all.

SABEEN MAHMUD: I wanted something right at the entrance...

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5:29am

Sat January 5, 2013
Author Interviews

'Death Of Bees' Captures A Grim, Gory Coming-Of-Age

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

The Death of Bees is a story about two young girls living in a Glasgow, Scotland, housing project. And if you believe the first sentences of a novel are often the most difficult to write, try this beginning paragraph:

"Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard.

"Neither of them were beloved."

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5:28am

Sat January 5, 2013
World

London Real Estate, A Magnet For Mega-Rich From Around The Globe

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

Foreign buyers are pushing the prices of prime London real estate through the roof. Neighborhoods such as West London, Kensington and Chelsea are particularly popular.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Looking for a London pied-a-terre? How about a four-bedroom duplex overlooking Hyde Park? It could be yours, if you're prepared to spend $25 million.

In most of the United Kingdom, property prices are slumping. But in some of London's most upscale neighborhoods, they're going crazy.

Robin Perona sweeps the sidewalk at Egerton Crescent, a gracious semicircle of white townhouses in fashionable Chelsea.

In the 1990s, they cost about $700,000 each. Today the average price is some $13 million — or 8 million British pounds.

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5:28am

Sat January 5, 2013
World

Germany's Housing Market Is Hot. Is It Overheating?

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, like many others across the city, is experiencing a real estate boom. Housing prices have risen by as much as 20 percent in the past year in some German cities.
Adam Berry Getty Images

Few Western countries are as conservative about home ownership as Germany, where less than half the country's citizens own property.

German banks have tough lending rules. Would-be buyers are usually asked to provide hefty down payments to secure mortgages, meaning few Germans even think about buying a home until they are settled and financially secure.

But the European debt crisis appears to be changing the traditions around home ownership. The resulting surge in homebuying, some officials warn, is driving prices too high and threatens the nation's economy.

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5:28am

Sat January 5, 2013
It's All Politics

Often Written Off, Biden Has Long List Of Deals To His Name

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

Vice President Joe Biden leads the first meeting of the working group to explore solutions following the Newtown shooting with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other law enforcement leaders on Dec. 20.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

When President Obama finally announced a fiscal cliff agreement late Tuesday night, he thanked several people who had worked to get a deal.

The first one he mentioned by name was the man standing next to him at the podium: "my extraordinary vice president, Joe Biden."

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2:03am

Sat January 5, 2013
Music Interviews

Preserving The Home, And History, Of New Orleans' Piano Professor

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 2:10 pm

Professor Longhair performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, circa 1970.
David Redfern Redferns

On the tough side of Terpsichore Street in New Orleans stands a duplex — a two-story, wood-framed building with wood floors, high ceilings and a nice fireplace. But this old house is empty: no furniture, no walls, no electricity, no toilet. Iron bars hide the windows; there's a lockbox on the door. The facade is three different shades of blecch, blurgh and blah.

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2:03am

Sat January 5, 2013
Music Interviews

Emel Mathlouthi: Voice Of The Tunisian Revolution

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:59 am

Emel Mathlouthi
Ghaith Ghoufa Courtesy of the artist

With all that's going on in the Middle East right now, it's easy to forget that the Arab Spring began just two years ago in Tunisia.

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5:38pm

Sat December 29, 2012
Music

'Prayer Flags,' A Song About Waiting On Heavenly Help

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:37 pm

Musician Kristina Olsen says Tibetan prayer flags flying over porches near her home in Venice, Calif., became the inspiration for a song.
Courtesy of the artist

For some, bringing in the new year means praying for good things to come. Kristina Olsen ponders the reasons for prayer in her song, "Prayer Flags." She tells the story behind it in the latest edition of What's in a Song, a series from the Western Folklife Center.

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6:13am

Sat December 29, 2012
Commentary

Recalling Battles Of Congress Past

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

There is nothing new about the Congress coming to a hostile halt at a critical moment - fussing and fuming, holding impromptu news conferences at the Ohio Clock - that's a nearly 200-year-old timepiece that counts the hours outside the Senate Chamber - or representatives stopping to chat in the beautiful Rayburn reception room outside the House with George Washington looking disapprovingly down from his portrait.

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6:13am

Sat December 29, 2012
Analysis

Looking Ahead At Immigration Reform In 2013

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama says immigration reform will be a priority for the White House early next year. The last time Congress tried to tackle the divisive issue it failed. In the meantime, states have become the center of debate following Arizona's lead in passing their own strict laws intended to curtail illegal immigration. NPR's Debbie Elliott has been following the issue. She joins us now. Good morning, Debbie.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Good morning.

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6:13am

Sat December 29, 2012
Arts & Life

Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar In 2012

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This last weekend of the year, we're looking back on some of the best books of 2012. In this encore broadcast, Glen Weldon highlights two graphic novels from the past year, starting with one called "Drama" by Raina Telgemeier.

GLEN WELDON: "Drama" is a young adult graphic novel about a middle-school girl named Callie...

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL #1: (as Callie) What's up?

WELDON: ...who is a complete theater nerd.

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5:31am

Sat December 29, 2012
The Record

Reflecting On EMI, An Industry Giant Felled In 2012

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:38 pm

The London headquarters of EMI, whose sale this year brought the number of major labels from four to three.
Simon Dawson Bloomberg via Getty Images

5:22am

Sat December 29, 2012
Europe

Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption: Unresolved Issues In France

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 8:14 pm

A man wears a costume reading "Dad" and "Mom" during a demonstration against gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Nice, France, in October.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

France is known as a tolerant country on many social issues, yet the country is embroiled in a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption.

President Francois Hollande is following through on a campaign promise to bring full rights to gay couples. France legalized civil unions more than a decade ago, though same-sex couples must still go abroad to marry or adopt.

But opposition to Hollande's measure has been unexpectedly fierce, something the Socialist government wasn't expecting.

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5:22am

Sat December 29, 2012
It's All Politics

Congressional Leaders Hopeful As Fiscal Cliff Deadline Nears

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 5:38 pm

House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the White House on Friday for talks with President Obama and congressional leaders aimed at avoiding the "fiscal cliff."
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Even though the top four congressional leaders left their White House meeting with the president separately and silently on Friday, they cast the hourlong encounter in a positive light back at the Capitol.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the tone of the discussion to head off across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts as "candid." An aide to House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement that noted that the group agreed the next step should be the Senate's — a tacit acknowledgement that Boehner is no longer the lead negotiator with President Obama.

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5:17am

Sat December 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Marvel Kills Peter Parker, But Spider-Man Will Live On (Sort Of)

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 8:47 pm

The Amazing Spider-Man #700 is the final issue of the series.
AP/Marvel Comics

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Marvel Comics' web-slinging, wise-cracking superhero. Spider-Man is no more. Well, to be more precise, Peter Parker is no more.

In the 700th and final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, writer Dan Slott's controversial story saw Spider-Man's mind switched with that of his dying arch-foe Dr. Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus. The twist is that with his final effort, Spidey was able to give all of his memories and morals to his body-stealing enemy.

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