Weekend Edition Saturday for Friday, December 20, 2013

Russia's most famous prisoner, former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was freed Saturday and flown to Germany. Russians are wondering why the former oil magnate asked for a pardon after years of denying guilt.

Ukraine Protesters Denounce Russian Cash

For weeks, protesters have been camped out in downtown Kiev, furious that Ukraine's government accepted a bailout loan from Russia and reneged on a promise to take Ukraine out of Russia's orbit and into the future with the European Union. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute about the implications of the loan.

Billie Jean King Travels With A Message About History

NPR's Scott Simon muses on the inclusion of the former tennis superstar in the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. King is a lesbian who was not always open about her sexuality, but both she and American culture have changed since then.
Leaders in Dublin have declared that unemployment in Ireland is finally dropping, especially among youth. The reason there are fewer young people looking for jobs, however, is because many have simply left the country.
Central banks around the world have created games that explain the sometimes wonky world of international finance and economics. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Jason Karaian, of the online magazine Quartz, about this surprisingly crowded genre.

And The Number Of The Year Is... The Lowly 2!

It's a small number, but it comes from a search in the world of mathematics that began looking at more digits than we know how to name. Weekend Edition's math guy, Keith Devlin, explains the number's significance with NPR's Scott Simon.
The University of Southern California and University of Washington are investigating a possible rules violation in which an assistant coach may have helped a potential high school recruit pay for private tutoring. NPR's Scott Simon talks with sports reporter Tom Goldman about the investigation and the perplexing NCAA rule book, and to bid San Francisco's Candlestick Park a fond farewell.

At Christmas, The Tubas Finally Get The Melody

In more than 270 cities this year, all around the world, special concerts will present Christmas music down at the low end of the musical scale. It's called "Tuba Christmas," and we hear a bit of it from a performance in Washington, D.C.

How To Organize A Bookshelf

Listeners and Librarian Emerita Kee Malesky weigh in on how to order your bookshelf. Malesky says it doesn't matter if they're in rainbow order or old-fashioned Dewey Decimal — if you can find the books, it works. According to one listeners, coming up with the right system is like giving birth — painful but satisfying.
St. Nicholas Magazine published the work of Eudora Welty, 11, E.B. White, 11, and William Faulkner, 16 — Faulkner and Welty for drawings, White for a story about a winter stroll. The children's monthly emphasized a love of nature, which led to some advising, "If you want to get published in the magazine, write something nice about an animal."

War Stories From Petula Clark

The "Downtown" singer began her career accidentally, as an 8-year-old picked to sing over the radio to WWII soldiers during the Blitz.

Despite Setbacks, Obama Finds Bright Spots In 2013

President Obama wrapped up a rough year with a White House news conference before boarding Air Force One to Hawaii with his family for the holidays. Amid all the criticism of the troubled rollout of his health care law, the government shutdown and NSA snooping, the president highlighted greater energy independence and flickers of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill.

Congress Faces Farm Bill, Debt Ceiling In 2014

The Senate left town Friday, wrapping up the first session of the 113th Congress. Capitol Hill reporter Ailsa Chang joins NPR's Scott Simon to talk about the many things left to tackle in the year ahead.

The Life Of A Lobbyist In A Do-Nothing Congress

Congress enacted fewer laws this term than any in recent history. That can mean feast or famine for lobbyists; it just depends what they're lobbying for.
This year, crews have collected 4.6 million pounds of oily material from the Gulf Coast shoreline. Coastal residents are asking how long they'll be living with the effects of BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ornaments Give Tornado Victims A Little Christmas Cheer

When a powerful tornado hit Moore, Okla., back in May, two dozen people died and more than a thousand homes were destroyed. In the aftermath, the first priorities were food, clothing, housing and furniture. Now a good Samaritan is providing Christmas tree ornaments, too.
Saturday is the winter solstice — which means it will be the longest night of the year. For many artists and poets, that thought is far from depressing: instead, night's darkness is invigorating. Filmmaker Phil Cousineau has edited a new collection on the allure of the night, and Jeff Dowd — the inspiration for "The Dude" — wrote the foreword.

Texas Teacher And His Groovy Shirt Retire

For 40 years in a row as a physical education teacher, Dale Irby wore the same outfit for his school photo. He explains to NPR's Scott Simon how this annual tradition got started.

World's Most Popular Film Industry Turns 100

Bright colors, intricate dance sequences, melodramatic plots and great music are hallmarks of India's movie industry, which got its start 100 years ago. NPR's Scott Simon explores the Indian cinema with Rajinder Dudrah, aka Doc. Bollywood.

A Jew And A Latino Walk Into A Recording Studio...

It's an era of music that has faded from memory, but some say it's an integral part of American history: Latin-Jewish music in the mid-20th century. Steve Berlin of Chicano band Los Lobos says if this were the soundtrack to his Hebrew school experience, he would have never dropped out.
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