The economic news has been nothing but grim lately: weak expansion, sluggish consumer spending and unemployment holding steady at just over 9 percent.
Overseas, the picture isn't any rosier, with Greece expected to default on its debts — possibly followed by Portugal and Ireland — and the International Monetary Fund predicting a global economic slowdown.
So is the U.S. heading for a double-dip recession? Or are we there already? And what can we do about it?
Another government shutdown could be looming, the state of Georgia goes ahead with the controversial execution of Troy Davis and overseas, Vladimir Putin announces he's taking another run at the Russian presidency. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz and the Atlantic's James Fallows get behind the headlines of the week's biggest news.
Troy Davis was executed in Georgia on Wednesday night. He'd been convicted of killing an off-duty police officer 22 years ago in Savannah. Amnesty International's Laura Moye talks with weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about the campaign she led that transformed Davis from a nameless convict on death row to a household name.
Two years ago, the Obama Administration secretly authorized the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs — or bunker busters — to Israel. That's according to an investigation by Newsweek magazine. The bombs could potentially be used in Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with Eli Lake, the reporter who broke the story.
World stock markets tumbled this week amid fears about Europe's debt crisis, and the subject dominated the discussions at the fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held this weekend.
Europe's sovereign debt problems, including the growing possibility of a default by Greece, have been festering now for more than a year. Investors in the financial markets are questioning the will and capacity of European governments to solve the problem. In the seminars and salons surrounding the meetings, financial heavyweights sounded the alarm.
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 is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
There's going to be usual art exhibit this afternoon in Oakland, California. Unusual because it features art made by Palestinian children living in the Gaza Strip, and also because the art exhibit will not be shown inside the museum that had originally scheduled the show.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It's election day in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. Voters there will fill seats left vacant when the leading Shi'ite opposition party walked out of parliament to protest the crushing of unrest back in March. The opposition is calling for a boycott; street protests have continued, but the government, with the encouragement of the U.S. government, insists it will maintain order and usher in genuine reforms. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Bahrain and has this report.
Every week it seems there are more people looking for work, more companies laying people off, and more nations teetering at the edge of unrecoverable debt. But beyond the latest headlines of gloom, there is a fundamental shift going on in our economy and our world. Host Scott Simon talks with Mike Hawley, formerly of MIT's Media Lab, who says that shift may also hold great promise.