Weekend Edition Sunday for Sunday, January 26, 2014

Russia May Be Key To Syria Talks

Russia may be the world power with the greatest influence over Syria. As diplomatic talks on Syria continue in Geneva between the two sides, what is Russia's role? NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Russian-American journalist Vladimir Pozner.
William Wiley oversees a nonprofit charged with collecting evidence of atrocities committed by both sides in the Syrian war. It's dangerous work, and the group has suffered losses. Their sacrifices won't be in vain, Wiley says, but exactly how justice will come to the war's victims isn't yet clear.

Ski Jump Champion Takes Her Impeccable Style To Sochi

Sarah Hendrickson is 19 years old and the reigning world champ in women's ski jumping. She's coming back from a severe knee injury. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Hendrickson about her Olympic goals.

Can This 'Perfect Match' Dance Their Way To Gold?

No U.S. skating team has ever won Olympic gold in ice dancing. Some experts wonder whether it even qualifies as a sport. But Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, known for their blend of athletic power, speed and flair, are helping to dispel that notion.
Born in 1867, Powell paved the way for female — and American — violinists around the world. In 1904, she was among the first to record her music in a studio. And this year at the Grammys she'll be honored with a Lifetime Achievement award, alongside The Beatles and The Isley Brothers.

New Law Puts Gloves On California Bartenders

A new food safety law in California bans culinary workers from touching uncooked food with their bare hands. That means bartenders can no longer drop ice cubes or add garnishes without gloves on, and that's got some unhappy.

Take Synonyms For A Spin (Or Pirouette)

For each word given, name a synonym in which the first two letters are the same as the second and third letters of the given word. For example, spin and pirouette.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Paramount Pictures will stop distributing its movies in film, moving to a completely digital format. It isn't just cinephiles who are reeling; archivists rely on film as a medium that will stand the test of time. NPR's Rachel Martin talks with Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, about the implications of Paramount's move.
A new documentary follows a dirt bike gang doing dangerous stunts at top speeds on city streets." I think it's a kind of escape for these guys; it's a kind of renegade sport," says filmmaker Lotfy Nathan.
The president will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about what to expect.

The Income Gap: How Much Is Too Much?

What does the growing income gap between the richest and poorest Americans mean for social mobility? An academic study published last week found that, contrary to popular perception, it has not gotten harder to climb the income ladder in the U.S. in the last two decades.
A potentially landmark lawsuit goes to trial Monday in California. At issue: whether job protections for public school teachers undermine a student's constitutional right to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit see it as a potential model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. Unions and state officials say the lawsuit demonizes teachers and has no merit.

Ukraine Opposition Rejects President's Concessions

Anti-government activists in Ukraine plan another big demonstration in the capital of Kiev on Sunday — the first major protest since the government introduced new restrictive laws aimed at curbing the protests. NPR's Corey Flintoff talks to NPR's Rachel Martin from the streets of Kiev, where violence has mounted in recent days.
A Chinese court sentenced Xu Zhiyong, a leading proponent of civil society, to four years in jail on Sunday. China's government has recently jailed officials and issued new rules to curb corruption, but it's apparently not an effort that independent citizens groups can join.
Adopted by loving white parents as a baby 42 years ago, Chad Goller-Sojourner was an adult before he could love his own reflection. He tells the story of what life was like growing up in a family of a different race than his own.
Opportunity, NASA's Mars Rover, landed on Mars on Jan. 24, 2004. It was supposed to be a three-month mission, but 10 years later the rover is still investigating the red planet and sending data and images back to NASA. Jim Bell, an astronomer at Arizona State University, talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about Opportunity's decade on Mars.

Yankees Spend Big On Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees signed the Japanese superstar pitcher this week for a whopping $155 million. NPR's Rachel Martin talks sports with sports correspondent Mike Pesca about what that means for the Bronx Bombers' bottom line.
Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, uses anecdotes and bits of poetry to tell a nonlinear story of love, parenthood and infidelity. Offill tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her experiences as a mother inspired the book — but that her own marriage is far less dramatic than the one in her novel.
Emily Lazar is a rarity in the music industry: a female mastering engineer with a slow, collaborative approach. She's had a hand in more than 2,000 songs and albums, working with everyone from Lou Reed to Vampire Weekend.
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