Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
This morning, the death toll rose in areas affected by extreme weather in the Midwest and the South. Towns have been wrecked and the number of people missing is unclear. Now, residents are starting to sift through the wreckage and recover what they have left.
At least 28 people have been reported dead. (Note: This number is bound to change, and we'll update as we have more information.)
The White House meeting next Monday between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be the most critical encounter for the two men since they took office.
Netanyahu is expected to argue that time is running out on efforts to discourage Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Obama may say the Israelis can count on U.S. support, but that they should give sanctions and diplomacy time to work before turning to military action.
The remains of a U.S. Army private arrive at Dover Air Force Base for a transfer ceremony last November. The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base has come under accusations that body parts of the nation's war dead were cremated and the ashes dumped in a Virginia landfill.
The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, said Friday that Quinton Keel had resigned and that it is in touch with Air Force officials about their final decisions on disciplinary action against the two other accused officials.
NPR has obtained a report from the Inspector General of the Labor Department that describes an incident last year in which the nation's coal mine safety chief and agency lawyers withdrew a legitimate safety citation and order "not based upon the merits" but "to avoid the appearance of retaliation and possible Congressional scrutiny."
An image released Nov. 14, 2011, by the Australian Federal Police shows cocaine seized during the yacht raid in Bundaberg. Drug smugglers take advantage of Australia's long coastline and many harbors.
Credit Australian Federal Police / EPA/Landov
Australian authorities discovered more than 100 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine concealed in cases of Mexican beer in a sea cargo shipment last October.
Credit Courtesy Australian Federal Police
Cocaine seizures are up sharply in Australia, and Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel is believed to be involved in large-scale smuggling. Authorities seized about 660 pounds of cocaine and more than $3.2 million from a yacht in Bundaberg, Queensland, in November 2011. Four Spanish nationals were arrested.
Australia is a huge island, with stretches of lonely, rocky coastline that extend for thousands of miles. What's more, there are lots of harbors and airports.
In short, opportunities are plentiful for an enterprising Mexican drug trafficker to move his product 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to service the vibrant new market Down Under.
One such drug lord is Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, head of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. He's a cunning, small-statured, exceedingly dangerous outlaw recently dubbed "the world's most powerful drug trafficker" by the U.S. Treasury Department.