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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Art Of Diplomacy Has Its Rules

Jul 8, 2012

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Some people call it the art of diplomacy. Well, it sure is an art with a lot of rules. When an American president is meeting with a foreign leader, it is so important to respect the country's customs, use proper greetings, serve the right food, above all, avoid mistakes that could make things awkward. You might remember this scene from the TV drama, "The West Wing.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE WEST WING")

DULE HILL: (as Charlie Young) C.J.?

ALLISON JANNEY: (as C.J.) Hassan Ali is coming?

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Yesterday, for the first time since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans cast votes to elect their government. These were parliamentary elections. And while Libyans celebrated the landmark event in the street, it is clear the transition to democracy is running into trouble.

For more, we're joined by Fred Wehrey in the BBC Studios in London. He's a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and he was in Libya during the run-up to the elections.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

It's been pretty warm here on the East Coast the last few days. No, check that - it has been downright scorching. Temperatures have climbed so high many cities warned residents that they should avoid strenuous activity and stay hydrated.

From member station WHYY, Elizabeth Fiedler reports on how some are beating the heat in Philadelphia.

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER AND CHILDREN LAUGHING)

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIFE IS A BALL GAME")

SISTER WINONA CARR: (Singing) Life is a ball game being played each day. Life is a ball game...

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That big stadium organ in that tune seems so appropriate this week because the Major League Baseball is heading into its All-Star break. And WEEKEND EDITION star, Mike Pesca joins us now to talk sports.

Hey, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Thanks. I was named in fan balloting. I don't really deserve it.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: You got all the voting.

PESCA: Yeah.

Surprising Twist Leads To Wimbledon Finals

Jul 8, 2012

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The men's Wimbledon final has just ended, and Swiss star Roger Federer has now tied Pete Sampras' all-time record of seven Wimbledon victories in the modern era. It was a dramatic win for Federer, but also a dramatic loss for Britain's Andy Murray, who had a whole country watching today. He was the first British man to even reach the Wimbledon finals in 74 years. Like millions of people all over Britain, NPR's Philip Reeves tuned in. And, Phil, are you still breathless after that match?

Jobs Back In Political Forefront

Jul 8, 2012

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's talk about the presidential campaign with Mara Liasson, NPR's national political correspondent. Mara, good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So, we just heard in Cheryl's piece that the NAACP is meeting. They're going to hear from Mitt Romney. They're going to hear from Vice President Joe Biden. They are not expected to hear from President Obama. What do you make of him sitting this one out?

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn from political to science. Researchers discovered what looks to be the elusive Higgs boson. It's a subatomic particle they've spent nearly 50 years searching for. So, this was special vindication for their efforts, and special vindication for one of the scientists who's been searching for the particle - a man named Gordy Kane. Kane won $100 in a bet with Stephen Hawking, arguably the world's smartest person alive today. Hawking admitted defeat on the BBC.

The punishing seven-year drought of the 1950s in Texas brought about the modern era of water planning. But the drought of 2011 was the hottest, driest 12 months on record there.

Though only a handful of towns saw their water sources dry up last summer, it got so bad that cities, industries and farmers began to think the unthinkable: Would they run out of water?

The NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, holds its annual convention in Houston this week. As in any election season, the group is focused on voting rights and voter turnout. But this year, there's another issue that's front of mind: the dramatically high rate of unemployment rate among African-Americans.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will address the NAACP convention on Wednesday, and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak the following day. NAACP members are ready to hear their plans.

The Race To Register

Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits

Jul 8, 2012

Kabul was once a relatively lush haven for several hundred thousand residents. But decades of war, migration and chaotic sprawl have turned the Afghan capital into a barely functioning dust bowl.

The tired infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of nearly 5 million people. And 70 percent of Kabul is now a cramped, ad hoc development where water, sewers and electricity are in short supply.

Somehow, life goes on. But the city seems to be nearing its breaking point.

It's hot today. Really, really, hot; over a 100 degrees Fahrenheit hot, and so I'm sweating.

Sweating is what we people do to cool off, which is good. But sweating is also what makes me ... what's the word? Odoriferous. (Latinate for stinky, which is not so good.)

What Does London's LIBOR Mean To The U.S.?

Jul 7, 2012

Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.

Juan Pujol Garcia lived a lie that helped win World War II. He was a double agent for the British, performing so well that they nicknamed him for the enigmatic actress Greta Garbo.

Author Stephan Talty tells the story of this unlikely hero in a new book called Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day.

Pro-Obama SuperPACs Losing The Money Race

Jul 7, 2012

"I will be outspent." This simple phrase headed an email President Obama recently sent to supporters.

"We can be outspent and still win," the message read. "But we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." Obama asked for donations of as little as $3 to compete against the deep pockets of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and the super political action committees that back him.

The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay — including his own — to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

Doherty says his city has run out of money.

Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades — the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time for your letters.

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SIMON: Last Saturday, NPR's Jennifer Ludden introduced us to 30-year-old Michelle Holshue, as part of NPR's "American Dream" series. Ms. Holshue graduated with $140,000 in student loan debt just as the recession hit. She worries she'll never be able to own a home, or raise a family.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Eight-point-two percent, that's the number economists and politicians are looking at closely. It is the unemployment rate for the month of June. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy added only 80,000 jobs last month. As the economy continues its very slow recovery, it's worth asking, is the jobs report always the best indicator? NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

CEO Spill The Beans On Hiring Hesitancy

Jul 7, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

So, another month passes with U.S. stuck in a jobless recovery. Yet many major businesses are reportedly doing well. Their stock price is up. They have cash on hand. So why aren't more companies hiring?

I'm joined now by two chief executive officers. Christopher Gorman is the president of Key Corporate Bank and the CEO of KeyBank in Cleveland. He joins us from his office there. Mr. Gorman, thanks for being with us.

CHRISTOPHER GORMAN: Good morning, Scott.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Dan Sullivan was sworn in for a second term as the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Daniel Sullivan...

MAYOR DAN SULLIVAN: I, Daniel Sullivan...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Solemnly swear or affirm...

SULLIVAN: Solemnly swear...

SIMON: The mayor sounded a little distant. He was. Nearly 3,000 miles from Anchorage - in Honolulu.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And today, less than a year after the death of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, Libyans are electing a new parliament. But in the months since the dictator was killed by a mob in his stronghold of Sirte, life in Libya has been troubled. This election's being seen as a test for an uncertain peace.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Over a half million foreign workers fled the violence in Libya last spring during the fall of Tripoli. Most migrants were from Egypt, Tunisia or sub-Saharan Africa. Thousands came from a single town in the West African nation of Ghana. That town is called Nkoranza and it's nearly 3,000 miles away from Libya's capital of Tripoli.

But reporter Marine Olivesi says that despite the risks and uncertainty they face in post liberation Libya, many Ghanaians are once again taking the road north.

Sports: Big Weekend For Tennis

Jul 7, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And it's a huge weekend on tennis' hallowed ground. Serena Williams has won her fifth Wimbledon title. She defeated Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-1, 5-7 and 6-2 in the final. And on the men's side, Andy Murray is the great Scot hope, as he tries to win his first Wimbledon title. We spoke with Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine from Wimbledon shortly after Serena Williams won.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

If the blobfish rarely moves, who does it encounter to spell its loneliness in the briny deep? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency would urge the blobfish not to hold out for the chance to meet the mermaid of its dreams. NOAA issued a statement this week after receiving several queries following the broadcast of an Animal Planet program called "Mermaids: The Body Found."

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