This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The president of France, Francois Hollande, has just passed 100 days in office. Mr. Hollande swept to victory in a wave of discontent aimed at former President Nicolas Sarkozy. But now, there are concerns that the new president's slow, cautious manner may not be suited to solving some of the challenges facing his country. Eleanor Beardsley sends us this report from Paris.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The last U.N. military observers are pulling out of Syria today. Their mission has been made near impossible by the heavy fighting gripping the country.
A former Algerian foreign minister is taking over as U.N. envoy on Syria, but he's not optimistic about a quick end to the fighting. And neighboring Lebanon remains on edge, after a spate of kidnappings this week related to the Syrian conflict. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Beirut.
Last week, Mitt Romney announced that he had selected Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. NPR's Ari Shapiro has been covering the pair for a week now, and he joins Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks with him about the past week of campaigning for the new pair.
The quayside at Compagnia della Vela in Venice, Italy, is largely deserted. Authorities have targeted yacht owners as part of a crackdown on tax evasion, and many boat owners have sailed to other countries in the Mediterranean.
Credit Syvia Poggioli / NPR
A foreign yacht is berthed at Porto Santo Stefano. Italian police have been raiding ports to check if yacht owners have been paying enough taxes.
Italy has a public debt of nearly 2 trillion euros, and it's cracking down on its notoriously wily tax evaders. Owners of luxury yachts are a prime target, with tax police launching dockside raids to see how individual tax files line up with owning and maintaining an expensive boat.
But yachts are mobile assets. In response, many boat owners are simply weighing anchor and setting course for more tax-friendly Mediterranean marinas.
Kristian Matsson, the smallish Swede who performs under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, sings, plays guitar and occasionally takes a turn at the piano. That's all there is to his act: no backing band, no frills. Heck, he barely needs amplification, given the volume at which he performs. But that right there — the gigantic force of his delivery, the percussive hyper-dexterity of his playing — is part of what makes him so magnetic on stage. On paper, he's just another poet strumming a guitar.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 9:37 am
Sporting big hair and an even bigger voice, Belgian soul singer Selah Sue has attracted significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Her 2011 debut album Selah Sue sold more than 400,000 copies in Europe and peaked high on many European charts. Selah Sue, whose real name is Sanne Putseys, taught herself acoustic guitar at age 15 in her hometown, Leefdall. She was offered a record deal at age 17 by Universal but declined, preferring to write her songs on her own terms.
Summertime is beach time in Southern California, even at night. Locals gather around bonfires, roast marshmallows and enjoy each other's company. On some very special nights, there's even sex — at least for the fish.
The grunion run happens only in the spring and summer months. Late at night, under the full and new moons, thousands of tiny, silvery fish swim to shore for a very peculiar mating ritual.