Weekend Edition Saturday for Saturday, December 7, 2013

Unemployment Drops, But For Whom?

In the wake of news that the economy added 203,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent, Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon checks in with several long-term unemployed and underemployed Americans whom we heard from earlier this year.

Service Jobs Among Those On The Rise

The economy added more than 200,000 jobs in the last month. Many of those jobs were low-skill, low-wage jobs. One Los Angeles company, Valet of Dolls, hired more car-parkers recently to handle an increase in opulent parties and events.
By the time he died, Nelson Mandela was considered one of the few giants on the world stage. As NPR's Scott Simon remembers, he was not alone in offering his life for freedom, so the acclaim justly heaped upon Mandela is also a credit to those who worked, served and led with him.

In Venezuela, A Candidate Out Of Left Field

Venezuelans go to the polls on Sunday in local elections. A strong opposition showing could force the increasingly authoritarian presidency of Nicolas Maduro to change course. Among the candidates: a former Major League Baseball player-turned rapper.
After several years of declining shrimp stocks, regulators have imposed a moratorium on shrimping in New England waters. The closure could hurt commercial fisherman and future demand for the Gulf of Maine shrimp, but scientists say the move may be the only way to prevent the population from collapsing.

Warming Sends A Chill Through Ski Industry

Temperatures are rising faster in the winter than in the summer, a trend that will likely have a profound impact on the tourism sector. Host Scott Simon speaks with Auden Schendler, of the Aspen Skiing Company, about how climate change is influencing the winter sports.

The Mandela Playlist: A Life And Legacy, Told In Music

It's worth pausing to consider not only the legacy and achievements of former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, but also the rich musical associations of his life.
Duke University is known for its basketball. But this year, Duke's fans are cheering for their football team, which has won the most games in its history. Lead by the national coach of the year, the Blue Devils are headed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

Women Get A Bank Of Their Own In India

In many parts of India, women are prevented from inheriting property, a practice which makes it harder to get bank loans. Host Scott Simon talks to Kalpana Sharma, a columnist for The Hindu newspaper, about the first women-only, government-run bank in India, opened to give women a financial boost.
When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word — but sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story, or more to a background character. NPR's Lynn Neary explores the fine old literary tradition of writing new stories based on existing books.
The X-Files actor's latest project is a British police procedural in which she plays the enigmatic Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson. Anderson tells NPR's Scott Simon what drew her to Gibson as a character, and how her London roots contributed to her fateful nomination as most likely to get arrested in high school.

Deluge Of Tributes To Mandela Continues

Crowds have gathered outside two of Nelson Mandela's former homes in Johannesburg, including one in the black township of Soweto. Although the official funeral is next week, NPR's Gregory Warner tells host Scott Simon that South Africans are paying informal tribute this weekend.
Many Syrians fled their country and took refuge just across the border, planning to wait out the war. But now, a growing number are working with smugglers to get to northern Europe. The Syrians say they see no end in sight to the civil war and want to start a new life.

Conditions Deteriorate For Civilians In Syria

Government forces are blocking food deliveries to city suburbs held by opposition forces. Host Scott Simon speaks with Rafif Jouejati, spokesperson for the Local Coordination Committees for Syria, about the horrors of the humanitarian situation as the conflict drags on.
Fissures in the Republican Party have drawn a great deal of attention over the last year. But this week, the Democrats' economic disagreements came into full view. When it comes to Social Security, not all Democrats think expanding the program is a good idea.

Teddy Roosevelt, An Early Urban President

Theodore Roosevelt is known as many things: a naturalist, hunter, rough rider and, of course, president. A new book argues it was his time in Manhattan, not the West, that forged him into the politician and man we now read about in history books. Host Scott Simon talks with author Edward Kohn about his new book, Heir to the Empire City: New York and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt.
Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays. NPR has a related tradition, and it's about to end.
The University of Louisville women's volleyball team is undefeated at home in Kentucky this season. Doesn't hurt that members of the men's swim team attend home games, each wearing 26 items of clothing — removing one every time the Lady Cardinals score. Host Scott Simon talks with head coach Anne Kordes about the new cheerleaders.
College football's final weekend before bowls are determined offers intrigue and suspense. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman about how college football's championship is shaping up, plus the fallout from the World Cup draw.

Nelson Mandela, The Sports Fan

The South African leader, a former boxer, knew hosting the Rugby World Cup in 1995 would be an opportunity to bring the country together. Host Scott Simon speaks with journalist John Carlin, author of the book that later became the movie Invictus, about Nelson Mandela's shrewd use of sports.

Layering Voices To Bring 'Good Cheer'

The a cappella group Groove For Thought has been electrifying classics and pop songs for 10 years. Tenor and baritone Kelly Kunz and soprano Amanda Taylor speak with host Scott Simon about their new holiday album, Songs of Good Cheer.
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