Each week,Weekend Edition Sundayhost Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Entrepreneur Dame Stephanie Shirley started a software company in 1962. FI Group, now known as Xansa, was "a company of women, a company for women," Shirley says. She wanted to create a new business model, encouraging women to work in the tech industry — with flexible schedules.
Every weekend, I rise at 7 a.m. to get on the subway to hunt for apartments. The cheapest two-bedroom homes in the suburbs of Shanghai cost $200,000 or more, which would take me more than 12 years to pay off — if I don't spend a dime of what I make.
This is the reality of China's boom. After decades of explosive growth, the cost of living in China's big cities has skyrocketed, and many young people have been priced out of the housing market.
Does extreme mean anything anymore? Take the X Games. When the competitions began in 1995, the idea of defying gravity with skate- and snowboards was fringey and far out. Now the X games seem to come around every month or so. Snowboarder Shaun White has chewing gum named for him. Extreme weather happens nearly every day. Political extremists get elected all the time.
This week, we've been immersed in news about mobs both real and fictional, with the death of Sopranos star James Gandolfini and the continuing trial of James "Whitey" Bulger.
The Sopranos gave us a primer on mob language like "clipping" a "rat." But Bulger's Winter Hill Gang and his Boston Irish cohort were the real deal. Members of Bulger's old cohort came to the witness stand and used the real-life slang of their gang days.
Louise Monaghan's journey to Syria to rescue her kidnapped daughter begins years ago at a club in Cyprus. It was there she met a Syrian man named Mostafa, whom she would marry.
"I was smitten from the first second," she tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "I felt he was what I needed. He made me feel safe."
But Monaghan was not safe. Mostafa was verbally abusive and beat her. They married, and the couple had a daughter named May. When they divorced, Mostafa was given visitation rights, but he wanted more.
Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader, is in critical condition in a hospital in Pretoria where he was admitted two weeks ago with a recurring respiratory infection.
A statement from South African President Jacob Zuma said the 94-year-old Mandela's condition had become critical over the past 24 hours.
"The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands," said Zuma, referring to Mandela by his clan name.
Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 10:18 pm
Update at 10:03 p.m. ET
Nik Wallenda successfully walked the 1,500 feet across the Colorado River Gorge in Arizona on Sunday. The high-wire daredevil, famous for similar walks like the one he did at Niagara Falls, made the precarious trek live on television and without a net or safety line.
The walk took Wallenda 22 minutes of edging his way along the 2-inch-thick cable.
Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 12:05 pm
(This story was last updated at 10:40 a.m. ET)
Armed assailants attacked a hotel at a Himalayan base camp in Pakistan, gunning down nine foreign climbers and a local guide as the group prepared for an ascent of one of the world's tallest peaks.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports that Ukrainians and Chinese climbers, as well as a Pakistani guide, were killed in the attack at 26,246-foot Nanga Parbat, about 150 miles northeast of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.