Weekend Edition Saturday for Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Amid Typhoon Haiyan's Ruins

A month after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, killing thousands and destroying many homes, rescue workers are helping the community to rebuild the area and get people back on their feet. But many celebrated this holiday season without gifts or electricity. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks with Save the Children aid worker Katie Seaborne to get the latest on the rebuilding effort.
NPR's Jason Beaubien and David Gilkey have covered calamities all over the globe. But the recent aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines was particularly daunting. Jason describes the extreme challenges they faced.

With Congress Gone, D.C. Takes On Effortless Beauty

Washington, D.C., clears out in the last weeks of December, as members of Congress and their staffs head back to their home districts for the holidays. NPR's Linda Wertheimer enjoys walking the quiet streets, and uses that time to reflect on the past year in politics.

Final Newtown Report Unlikely To Answer 'Why?'

Connecticut State Police have released the final report on the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown. Though the investigation doesn't do much to explain what motivated gunman Adam Lanza, some hope it will give insight into the shooter's mental health.

Other Presidents Had Tough Second Terms, Too

President Obama stopped short of admitting he's had a pretty tough year in his final press conference of 2013. Historian Robert Dallek joins NPR's Linda Wertheimer for a look back at the year, and to put Obama's trying times in context with other presidents who had difficult second terms.

The Ups And Downs Of The GOP Year

The last few days of 2013 have been some of the best of the year for the Republican Party, which came out on top in congressional races in a poll this week. NPR's political editor Ron Elving joins Linda Wertheimer for a look back at the GOP's rollercoaster political year, from the partial government shutdown to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

As The Lead Cools, Some See Their New Year Take Shape

Is that a cross? A ship with a figurehead? It's only human to wonder what the future will hold, especially on the threshold of a new year. In one German tradition, fortune-seekers drop molten lead into cold water — then it's anyone's guess what the strange shapes portend.

On The Trail Of A Mountain Lion, Hunters Hope To Help

Mountain lions are slowly making a comeback, but they live at constant risk of getting hit by cars or shot. In Santa Cruz, Calif., one project tracks how the lions live — and it's already helping to protect the big cats nationwide.
Miss Havisham is one of Charles Dickens' most enduring characters. She appears in Great Expectations as an eccentric recluse, jilted at the altar years ago, who still wears her wedding gown and presides over a rotting feast. In his new novel, Ronald Frame imagines the kind of life that would have created such a woman.

Giving Hoppin' John An Indian Twist, Just For Luck

Black-eyed peas mixed with rice is the basis of a dish called Hoppin' John, which is thought to bring good luck in the New Year. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks with chef Raghavan Iyer, author of 660 Curries, for advice on how to tweak the Hoppin' John recipe.

Holiday Tension Plays Well On The Big Screen

The holidays can be a special time, full of family fun, love and reflection. But they can also be incredibly stressful, marred by failed expectations and family feuds. Movie buff Murray Horwitz joins NPR's Linda Wertheimer to discuss the best worst moments in holiday disaster movies.

Economic Stimulus Programs Begin Winding Down

Emergency unemployment benefits are ending, the auto bailout is over, and the Federal Reserve is scaling back its market support. All these are signs that federal stimulus is coming to an end. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks with TIME magazine's Michael Grunwald about the winding down of government recovery efforts following the financial collapse of 2008.

Why The Stock Market Soars Despite A Rocky Economy

Despite uneven economic signals, the stock market boomed to record levels in 2013. To find out why, NPR's Linda Wertheimer speaks with Jeremy Siegel from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business about what's behind the rise, and what to expect in 2014.

Up Next For Joe Biden, A Busy Year — And A Choice

As the vice president enters his sixth year as President Obama's second-in-command, there comes the natural question: What's next? A long-time senator, Biden has run for president before, and is making some moves that suggest he may do so one last time.
Thirty-four firefighters died in the line of duty this year. The unusually high number is sparking a larger conversation about the dangers firefighters face as more homes are built in and around drought-stricken forests.
Global warming is pushing species like the polar bear to the brink of extinction. It's not a typical conservation problem, so one government biologist discovered the best way he could help save the great white bears was to quit his job.

The Hunt For Meteorites Begins In Antarctica

Each winter, a team of scientists sets out on a search for those rare shooting stars that make it to the ground instead of burning up in the sky. There aren't many better places to look for these space rocks than Antarctica, often in areas where no human has set foot before.

Injuries Tilt The Balance In NBA, NFL

Does Kobe Bryant's latest injury setback signal the beginning of the end of a Hall of Fame career? In the NFL's final regular season weekend there are division titles on the line, but injuries might make the difference there too. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine talks with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about the week in sports, and the way concussions have shaped sports in 2013 and will continue to do so in the year to come.
Inter-religious tensions have been in the headlines in parts of Africa lately. Christian-Muslim clashes have left many dead in places like Nigeria and Central African Republic. But there are also examples of peaceful inter-religious co-existence in Africa, such as Senegal.

Helping Families Have The Most Difficult Conversation

The Conversation Project is encouraging families to discuss their end-of-life preferences before it's too late. Founder Ellen Goodman speaks with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about helping people initiate these conversations, and why they are so important.

Chopin's Favorite Piano Factory Plays Its Final Chord

For more than two centuries, France's Pleyel pianos were among the best in the world. They were a favorite of Chopin and Debussy. But now the iconic brand has been forced to close its last remaining plant.

50 Years Later, TV's Ghoulardi Lives — In Punk Rock

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a short-lived Cleveland TV show that's still being talked about today — by musicians. It was called Ghoulardi's Shock Theater, and for a generation of Ohio kids, its anarchic host could be called a godfather of punk.
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