Weekend Edition Sunday

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NPR host Rachel Martin covers newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, thinkers, theologians and all manner of news events.

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For many countries, the worst of the Great Recession is over. Things aren't perfect by any stretch, but economies are growing again, employment rates are up and consumers feel more optimistic, which is important.

But that is not the case in Greece.

In the last 48 hours, this battered country has once again averted the latest threat of bankruptcy: Somehow, Greece has found the money to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to the IMF. But the Greek government says the coffers are now almost empty, making Europe seriously worried.

Spring has arrived and young people's fancies might be turning (lightly or not-so-lightly) to thoughts of love.

With that in mind, NPR's Weekend Edition asked the college students of The Howard Project — who have spent the last few weeks giving us insights into their lives during their last semester of college — about how dating and romance fit into their college experience.

Click on the audio link above to hear their stories, to a soundtrack of their favorite love songs — or read some of their answers below.

Danger, subterfuge, adrenaline — as more agencies use undercover operatives, we take a look at what it's like to take on a false identity professionally.

A recent report out says the agency has made major improvements since Sept. 11, but still needs to boost its ability to collect intelligence.

On-air challenge: The challenge is a game of Categories based on the word "watch." For each category provided, name something in the category starting with each of the letters W-A-T-C-H. For example, parts of the human body would be "waist," "arm," "thigh," "chest" and "head."

Last week's challenge: Take the word "die." Think of two synonyms for this word that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What two words are these? A hint: they have the same number of letters.

Answer: Pass, fail

Afghanistan's leaders were in Washington last week asking for more assistance from the U.S. They got what they wanted: President Obama announced he would postpone the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops this year. Those forces are needed to help Afghanistan troops battle the Taliban as the spring
fighting season heats up.

President Ashraf Ghani was accompanied on this trip by Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Afghan government. They were bitter rivals in Afghanistan's presidential election last year and are now sharing power in a unity government.

Singapore has been called the 20th century's most successful development story.

"I don't think any other economy," says Linda Lim, an economist at the University of Michigan, "even the other Asian tigers, have that a good a statistical record of rapid growth, full employment, with very good social indicators — life expectancy, education, housing, etc. — in the first 20 years," she says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

All was not prim and proper when actress Cate Blanchett sat down for an interview for the Australian show called "The Project." The interviewer took a decidedly casual tone.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE PROJECT")

The U.S. Postal Service has just unveiled five new stamps depicting the paintings and drawings of Martin Ramirez.

An immigrant from Mexico, Ramirez was a self-taught artist who spent almost half of his life in California mental hospitals after being diagnosed as schizophrenic.

The songs our grandparents sang can tell us who we are. Here in the U.S., the Lomax family became famous in the 1930s, when they recorded America's folk music.

In other countries that are changing fast, people are also trying to hold onto their heritage. The tiny, super-rich state of Qatar takes pride in its modernity, with its gleaming skyscrapers and lucrative gas fields. But it is also investing in a huge history project.

Back in the pre-digital era — when telephones were used for talking, not photographing and filming, and before YouTube came along to broadcast everyone's videos — capturing and disseminating moving images was expensive, time consuming and decidedly non-portable.

But that changed in 1967, when Sony introduced the world's first portable video tape recorder. Before long, enthusiasts formed "media collectives" that captured the social and cultural upheaval of the era. Fueled by a mix of the tunes, the tokes and the times, video became part of the revolution it was documenting.

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