NPR News

Last week, the New Orleans school district became the first all-charter district in the country. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Sarah Carr, a reporter who's been following the city's changing schools.

Jorge Quijano has one of the coolest office views in the Americas: the Pacific port entrance to the Panama Canal. The panoramic vista seems to help Quijano, who heads the Panama Canal Authority, see the bigger picture.

On the one hand, Quijano understands why Panama has run the canal so effectively since the United States handed it over in 2000.

"When the United States built the canal, it was treated like a noncommercial utility, like a water filtration plant," Quijano said in an interview at his Panama City headquarters. "We're running it as a business."

When Laura Silver's favorite knish shop in New York closed it doors, she started to investigate why it shut down. And that led to a years-long research project, she tells Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin.

Her book Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food explores the history of the baked delicacy filled with meat or vegetables and what it means to the people who love it.

In the new documentary Korengal, journalist and director Sebastian Junger again takes viewers into Afghanistan's Korengal Valley — once considered one of the military's most dangerous postings.

The film uses footage shot by Junger and the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington. Between 2007 and 2008, Junger and Hetherington spent 10 months with a platoon of about 30 men at an outpost called Restrepo.



The release of the Sgt. Bergdahl neatly capped off a week in which President Obama laid out the plan for the end of the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan. At the end of this year, just under 10,000 troops will remain in a support role. By the end of 2016, they'll also be gone. The president did not declare victory. He just said that it was time to turn the page. So in the end, who won?

HASSAN ABBAS: I guess no one, but we'll not know for the next five to ten years, I would guess.

As part of a prisoner swap to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the United States agreed to transfer five Guantánamo detainees to Qatar.

NPR's Tom Bowman received a list of the prisoners being released from a Pentagon official. According to documents leaked to the organization WikiLeaks, all five prisoners were high-ranking Taliban officials. Some were considered high-risk and "likely to post a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies."

Quixey, a search engine for apps, hopes to challenge Google's place as King of the Internet Search.'s Carlos Watson discusses that service and why you should keep an eye on Black & Sexy TV.

Is There A Driverless Car In Your Future?

May 31, 2014

Earlier this week, Google debuted a fully functional driverless car — one built without a steering wheel or brake pedals. NPR's Arun Rath talks with Brad Templeton, who's advised Google on its car program, about what a future without drivers might look like.



The South Korean pop star Psy has reached a decidedly modern milestone: His hit, "Gangnam Style" has reached 2 billion (yes, with a "b") plays on YouTube.

This week, the Department of Transportation hit Southwest Airlines with a $200,000 fine for touting a fare that did not exist. The carrier had said in a TV ad that customers in Atlanta could fly to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles for just $59. But the bargain fare turned out to be too good to be true.

Southwest, which paid a fine for a similar problem last year, says the ad was a mistake. The airline pulled it as soon as the error was discovered.

(This post was last updated Sunday at 5:50 a.m. ET. on Sunday)

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the final remaining captured American soldier from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been released by the Afghan Taliban after almost five years of being held captive, the White House said on Saturday.

In exchange for Bergdahl's release, the U.S. will transfer five detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison to Qatar.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a blunt warning to China that it will not ignore what he said was destabilizing actions in East Asia.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports Hagel's comments come after clashes between Chinese and Vietnamese boats in the East China Sea and after Japan said that Chinese fighter jets came within 170 feet of Japanese surveillance aircraft.

Anthony filed this report for our Newscast unit:

You don't need to understand Spanish to be stirred by the breathtaking ad released in Chile ahead of the World Cup.

You also don't need to be a devotee of soccer to watch this one-minute, 14-second masterpiece and suddenly feel a burning love for the game.

Working Out With Hefty Proustian Epics

May 31, 2014



It's only days past Memorial Day, and the prospect of appearing on the beach has got some people getting their swimsuits in a twist. We're joined now by Sally Franson who blogs at the Writer's Block website. Sally, thanks for being with us again.

SALLY FRANSON: It's so nice to be back, Scott.

SIMON: So you've developed a workout for the bookish?

FRANSON: I have, you know, it's swimsuit season and it's also summer book season - time to do reading on the beach. And normally, reading and exercising don't mix until now.