Weekend Edition Saturday

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Weekend Edition Saturday wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories.

Venezuela's late president, Hugo Chavez, was a tremendous supporter of Latin American countries, especially those sympathetic to his socialist ideals.

The country's vast oil reserves are a key source of economic aid, but the Chavez didn't just help out his ideological peers like Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also a great benefactor to key U.S. allies in the Caribbean — many of whom now worry whether their vital oil lifeline is about to be shut off.

Susan Spencer-Wendel knows how to spend a year.

She left her job as an award-winning criminal courts reporter for The Palm Beach Post and went to the Yukon to see the northern lights. Then to Cyprus, to meet family that she never knew. She and her husband, John, took their children on trips on which her daughter got to try on wedding dresses and Susan got kissed by a dolphin.

Van Cliburn thawed out the Cold War.

He went to Moscow in 1958 for the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. When he sat down to play, Russians saw a tall, 23-year-old Texan, rail thin and tousle-haired, with great, gangly fingers that grew evocative and eloquent when he played the music of the true Russian masters — Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Borodin.

Cliburn died Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 78.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Jeffrey Beard has watched America's prisons grow larger and larger every year adding prisoner after prisoner. He began working in the Pennsylvania Corrections system in the early 1970s when there were about 8,000 prisoners. He was secretary of corrections by the time he left in 2010 and by that time Pennsylvania had more than 50,000 people in its prisons.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

Sequestration is official. President Obama signed an executive order on spending late last night as required by law. He sent the order to Congress and that triggered budget cuts known as sequestration. Earlier in the day, the president met with congressional leaders and when they left without a deal, he took questions at the White House.

NPR's Ari Shapiro was there.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Egyptian military's been deployed to the streets of Port Said today. Riots erupted in that city last night just northeast of Cairo after a controversial court verdict. At least 25 people have been reported dead. The violence comes amid mass street protests in Egypt against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.

Like many of the estimated 350,000 undocumented migrants living in Greece, Mohammad Afzaal is trapped in a devastated economy.

He slipped into Greece 11 years ago, when he was 24, and found good work in Athens as a house painter. He wired a chunk of his earnings to his family in the northeastern Pakistani city of Gujrat.

"Each month, I sent 200 or 300 euros back home to my wife, parents and brothers and sisters," says Afzaal, a slight man with a trim black beard. That's around $270 to $400. "I supported seven people."

As Apple Flounders, Samsung Gains Strength

Jan 26, 2013

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