Weekend Edition Sunday for Sunday, December 8, 2013

As they mourn the iconic anti-apartheid leader who shepherded South Africa to multiracial democracy, South Africans are experiencing mixed emotions. Some feel at peace with Nelson Mandela's death. Some are in disbelief, and some are anxious about a future without his guidance.

Mandela's Biographer Remembers Mandela, The Statesman

Richard Stengel was Nelson Mandela's friend and collaborator — he co-wrote his autobiography with him, Long Walk to Freedom, and he wrote his own book after the experience, Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage. Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin speaks with him about how Mandela transitioned from revolutionary to politician.

Hagel Tours Afghanistan, Mideast

The secretary of defense is trying to shore up alliances in both regions. Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Larry Abramson about Chuck Hagel's trip to visit troops in Afghanistan and his next stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Help Is Hard To Get For Veterans After A Bad Discharge

More than 100,000 troops left the service with other-than-honorable discharges in the last 10 years. The consequences of a bad discharge can last a lifetime, disqualifying veterans from benefits and health care. Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Quil Lawrence about his series on these former members of the military.

NAFTA Turns 20, To Mixed Reviews

New Year's Day will be the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The passage of NAFTA by Congress was one of the most controversial events of the 1990s. Critics predicted a massive loss of American jobs to low-wage Mexico, but most manufacturing jobs went elsewhere instead.

NASA Plans A Moon Garden

The space agency revealed plans this week to grown basil, turnips and a small flowering plant called arabidopsis on the moon. Host Rachel Martin talks with Robert Bowman, a senior scientist with Lockheed Martin who is working with the NASA Ames Research Center, about plans to germinate plants on the moon.

Noteworthy Names, In Rhyme

Every answer is the name of a famous person whose first and last names start with the same consonant or group of consonants. You're given rhymes for the two names. You name the people. For example, if given "cycle four," the answer would be "Michael Moore."

Justices Will Decided Frequent Flyer Case

The Supreme Court is discussing whether or not airline customers can sue after being thrown out of a frequent flyer program. A rabbi from Minnesota sued when he was thrown out of Northwest's (now Delta) program after supposedly abusing the system. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy website about how frequent flyer programs work.

Bad Religion Celebrates 'Christmas'

The punk band Bad Religion is usually critical of religion and American culture, but the group's newest album, Christmas Songs, is full of the classics. Host Rachel Martin speaks to founders Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz about the new album.

Foreign Fighters In Syria Raise Fears

Foreigners are streaming into Syria to help fight with the resistance. Host Rachel Martin talks to Thomas Hegghammer, director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in Oslo, about the growing concern that foreign fighters could hurt efforts to reach peace.

Husband Finding Peace After A Terrorist Attack

Americans David Harris-Gershon and his wife were studying in Israel when she was nearly killed in a terrorist attack at a cafe. Harris-Gershon decided he needed to meet the family of the terrorist behind the attack, and wrote about that experience in his book, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

Congress Aims For The Modest Bargain

It's not a grand bargain, as many were hoping, but House and Senate leaders say they are close to a budget agreement that will avoid a shutdown and set spending levels for the next two years. NPR's Tamara Keith talks to host Rachel Martin about the negotiations.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police has just released a report saying that police need to change the way they conduct investigations to prevent wrongful convictions. Host Rachel Martin talks with Quincy, Fla., police chief Walter McNeil, former president of the chiefs association.

Tackling Race Head-On To Expose A 'Dreadful Deceit'

Author Jacqueline Jones argues that race is a social construct and that people should think twice before even using the word. Host Rachel Martin talks with Jones about her new book, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America.

Just How Unfair Is The U.S.'s World Cup Draw?

What's the best way to pick a sport's ultimate champion? Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Mike Pesca about the fickle nature of competitions, from the World Cup to the NFL playoffs to college football playoffs.

Rick Warren Writes A Faith-Based Diet Book

While baptizing 827 adults one day, evangelical pastor Rick Warren says he literally felt the weight of America's obesity problem. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Warren and psychiatrist and physician Daniel Amen about getting healthy and their new book, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.

Woody Harrelson Does Bad Pretty Good

The actor leaves comedy behind to play the villain in Out of the Furnace. He spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about the film and what it takes to play such a vicious and psychotic character.

Gordimer, Mazwai Remember Nelson Mandela

South African writer Nadine Gordimer was an anti-apartheid activist, a Nobel Prize winner and a friend of Nelson Mandela's. Ntsiki Mazwai is a black singer and songwriter whose work grew out of the "struggle poet" tradition in South Africa. They speak with host Rachel Martin about Mandela's legacy.
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