Weekend Edition Sunday for Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kerry Cites Progress In Mideast Peace Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry is back in the Middle East, trying to spark some momentum in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. There's a sense of urgency on the trip, but the leaders on both sides are far from ready to sign an agreement.

The Campaign For Jobless Benefits Begins In Congress

Senate Democrats will ring in the New Year with a vote on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed. Benefits for those jobless for more than six months expired on Dec. 28. Prospects for a revival of benefits are uncertain at best in the Senate, and the measure faces even bigger hurdles in the House.
There's much on the congressional agenda beyond Monday's Senate vote on jobless benefits. The debt ceiling and immigration are sure to be big issues, and President Obama will lay out his priorities in his State of the Union later in January. Political correspondent Mara Liasson talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about what to expect from Congress in the New Year.
While the East Coast is digging out from a major winter storm, California is praying for rain. The state just finished one of the driest years on record, and that has water managers, farmers and others worried.
After a short delay, peace talks between mediators and delegates for the warring parties in South Sudan have opened in Ethiopia. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with The New York Times' Nicholas Kulish about the violence there and prospects for the negotiations.

A Novice Reporter Begins His Journey In The Congo

Ever dream of moving to a foreign country and becoming a journalist? Anjan Sundaram did just that. He left a life as a mathematician in America, bought a one-way ticket to the Congo, and started writing. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Sundaram about his book, Stringer: A Reporter's Journey in the Congo, which chronicles what he saw there.

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Say so long to chia seeds and cronuts — so 2013 — and get ready to welcome freekeh, an ancient, fiber-rich grain. Eating local goes into overdrive, and cauliflower is poised to become the new Brussels sprout.

Two Times Harder

Every answer is a pair of two-syllable words. The first syllable of the word answering the first clue has the letters A-R, pronounced "are." Change these phonetically to "er," and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.

Robert Indiana: A Career Defined By 'LOVE' No Longer

In 1968, the Museum of Modern Art bought his painting LOVE and made him a star. It became a sculpture, a stamp, greeting cards — and it obscured the rest of his career. Now the first major retrospective of Indiana's work has begun a national tour at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Chang-Rae Lee is an award-winning author best known for his novels Native Speaker and The Surrendered. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Lee about his latest book On Such a Full Sea, a futuristic dystopian novel set in a declining America that's been repopulated by Chinese immigrant workers.
The GED test is getting an overhaul. The exam has historically served adults who have fallen through the cracks of the educational system. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, about the impact of the new GED exams.
Last year in Massachusetts, chemist Annie Dookhan was sent to prison for falsifying drug tests. Her misconduct tainted thousands of cases, and was one of the largest crime lab scandals in U.S. history. Critics say it raises a larger question: Do forensic analysts serve the truth, or the prosecution?
It's culling time in the NFL — coaches who have not performed up to par this season are out and new coaches are starting to step in. Sports correspondent Mike Pesca speaks with NPR's Rachel Martin about the latest hirings and firings, as well as this week's wild-card games.
Elwyn McRoy has been trying to land a job coaching Division I college basketball for more than a decade. He's skipped meals, slept in cars, and lived thousands of miles from his wife and kids for months at a time to achieve that goal. McRoy talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about his new, one-year coaching contract, and why he's still in the game.
The Internet Archive has made hundreds of classic video games available for free play, right in your browser. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Casey Johnston, writer for Ars Technica, about the re-release of the vintage games, and one she tried playing called Karateka.

A Debut Album At 81 Years Old

Leo Welch had played at picnics and parties and sang with a gospel group, but he didn't record an album until he cold-called a Mississippi record label. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with the blues musician about his new release, Sabougla Voices.

Searching For The Science Behind Reincarnation

Say a child has memories of being a Hollywood extra in the 1930s. Is it just an active imagination, or actual evidence of reincarnation? Jim Tucker, a psychologist at the University of Virginia studies hundreds of cases like this and joins NPR's Rachel Martin to share his research on the science behind reincarnation.

Nash, Ronstadt Remember The Everlys' 'Sibling Sound'

Phil Everly, half of the record-setting sibling duo The Everly Brothers, died on Friday. Legendary musicians Graham Nash and Linda Ronstadt offer remembrances of Phil Everly, and explain why the Everly Brothers had such a profound influence on their music.
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