Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, left, talks to Czech former President Vaclav Havel, right, at a conference in 2007. Albright remembers her friend as an artist, a jazz lover and as an inspiration to the Czech people.
As troops withdraw from Iraq, it's a bittersweet day for Brandeis University Professor Kanan Makiya. On April 9, 2003, Makiya watched the fall of Baghdad on television from the Oval Office, alongside President George W. Bush. The former Iraqi exile was an outspoken critic of Saddam Hussein's crimes against the Iraqi people and had advised the President on the invasion of Iraq. Makiya tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz he believes the war was worth it for the Iraqi people — but perhaps not for the Americans.
With just a few weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is leading the pack for the Republican presidential nomination.
Given the possibility that President Obama could be facing Gingrich in the campaign next fall, it seemed like a good time to check in with someone who has experience running against the former speaker of the House.
Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. caught a lot of people off guard when he opened his mouth to sing at his televised audition for America's Got Talent. The dreadlocked former car-washer is 6'4" and in his late 30s, but when he belted the first notes of the pop standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" like a certain blue-eyed crooner, audiences and judges alike delightedly voiced their surprise.
Murphy's own social circle was harder to win over. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that at first, his family members laughed at the thought of him singing Sinatra.
Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who led a revolution to bring down the country's communist regime, has died. During the communist era, Havel was one of Eastern Europe's foremost dissident writers and champion of human rights.
Havel died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic, his assistant Sabina Dancecova said. He was 75.
A Baptist church in Wilmington, Vermont is holding its first service today since Tropical Storm Irene flooded the town in late August. The New England village is still recovering from the flood, but Nancy Cohen from Vermont Public Radio reports cleanup crews made a discovery in the church that's bringing a message of hope.
This past week, the Obama administration took aim at a wave of new laws and policies they say will make it harder for some people to vote on Election Day. The state initiatives range from requiring voters to show government-issued I.D. to cutting back on early voting. Supporters of the laws, backed mostly by Republicans, say they are meant to reduce voter fraud. But critics, backed by Democrats, say the measures disproportionately, perhaps intentionally, affect minority voters, a group that supported Barack Obama in 2008.
For the past 13 years, North America's medical community has had its own version of The Onion. The Canadian Medical Association Journal's "Holiday Reading" segment in its December issue brings satire and spoofing to its medical studies, with some unintended consequences. Host Audie Cornish talks with Barbara Sibbald, editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
2011 has been a year of social and economic upheaval in Greece. In exchange for bailout money to stave off default, the government is imposing harsh austerity measures. Reporter Joanna Kakissis says the task is especially daunting because Greeks have lost all trust in their civic institutions.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. In the intersection of love and marriage and divorce, there are romantic and economic considerations. This past week, NPR's Jennifer Ludden told us that fewer Americans are getting married; and when they do, they're taking longer to get down the aisle. NPR's Shankar Vedantam is working on the other half of the equation - when things go bad, divorce appears to be less of an option. Jennifer Ludden and Shankar Vedantam join me now. Welcome to the program.