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Around the Nation
5:06 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Looking To 'Future,' Ga. Schools Require Mandarin

Instructor Huiling Li encourages second-grader Trinity Faulkner on the first day of Mandarin Chinese classes at Brookdale Elementary School in Macon, Ga.
Adam Ragusea for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 10:57 am

Public schools in Macon, Ga., and surrounding Bibb County have a lot of problems. Most of the 25,000 students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced lunch, and about half don't graduate.

Bibb County's Haitian-born superintendent Romain Dallemand came into the job last year with a bag of changes he calls "The Macon Miracle." There are now longer schools days, year-round instruction, and one mandate nobody saw coming: Mandarin Chinese for every student, pre-K through 12th grade.

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Latin America
5:03 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Plan For Cuban Ballet School A Dance Of Art, Politics

Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta has a bold plan to transform a long-abandoned, incompletely built ballet school in Havana into a global cultural and dance center. But some fear the plan is a step toward "privatization."
Nick Miroff for NPR

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 8:39 pm

A radical proposal to restore one of Cuba's most important architectural landmarks is rekindling a 50-year-old controversy. At the center is ballet superstar Carlos Acosta, who left the island and went on to a lead role in London's Royal Ballet. Acosta wants to return to the island and restore an abandoned ballet school with help from one of the world's most famous architects.

But the proposal has opened old wounds from the school's past and stirred a debate about the future of Cuba's state-sponsored cultural model.

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Author Interviews
5:00 am
Sat September 8, 2012

An Invitation To Join 'The Dangerous Animals Club'

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Stephen Tobolowsky is an actor and writer. He also hosts the podcast The Tobolowsky Files.
Jim Britt Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 7:16 am

Stephen Tobolowsky calls his book, The Dangerous Animals Club, a group of "pieces." They are partly essays, partly short stories, partly memoir. They are anecdotes, stories and insights that are shuffled in and out of order, like cards in a deck.

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Music News
1:03 am
Sat September 8, 2012

Sauti Sol: Native Sons Sing Straight To Kenya's Youth

Sauti Sol has become the most popular band in Kenya.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 8:40 pm

The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."

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Book Reviews
5:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

'Headbangers' And The New American Pastime

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 9:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Baseball is still called the national pastime, and poets still compose paeans to its subtlety and gentle pace. But in the 1970s, pro football began to become America's defining game, and it was about as subtle as a kick in the head. As Kevin Cook suggests in his new book, the '70s - the days of Mean Joe, "Mad Dog" John Madden, buttoned-up Tom Landry and Howard Cosell - the days when football was raw and unfiltered.

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