This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. The United States reached an agreement with Russia and other world powers yesterday to try to create a transitional government in Syria after months of bloodshed. But Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, opposed U.S. insistence that the Syrian leader should go. The deal was quickly dismissed by the Syrian rebels. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came back from Geneva last night but before she got on her plane, she sat down with NPR's Michele Kelemen.
So much of the news out of Europe these days is about debt and countries struggling to pay their bills. Well, there is a bit of calm in that storm, and, of course, it's in Paris. There's no Greek-style austerity in France. And as Eleanor Beardsley tells us, in the City of Light, people are still enjoying the good life.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
Mexico, a country so scarred by drug violence, is electing a new president today. And voters appear ready to reject the ruling party led by outgoing President Felipe Calderon. In the eyes of many Mexicans, his anti-drug campaign has done more harm than good, claiming the lives of more than 50,000 people over the last six years. But the candidate who appears on the verge of victory is from a party that ruled Mexico with an iron fist for decades.
James L. Oberstar was riding pretty high in Congress. Over the course of 18 elections, the Democrat had never received less than 59 percent of the vote in his northeastern Minnesota district, and he had finally realized a longstanding ambition by chairing the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Then, he voted for the big health care bill in 2010. Oberstar soon lost his seat, along with 63 other House Democrats.
He doesn't regret it.
"The Supreme Court decision is vindication in spades for me and I hope for others who voted for it," he says.
Royal Dutch Shell could drill several exploratory oil wells into the waters off the north shore of Alaska this summer. The potential prize is huge, but so is the risk, should there be an oil spill in this pristine and remote region. And that risk is on everyone's mind since the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.
Shell is now training hundreds of workers to confront oil in icy waters. But for now, the training is taking place in the calm, ice-free waters far to the south, near the port of Valdez.
The eastern shore of Lake Erie is known as the "Sponge Candy Crescent." During the region's long winter months, this crunchy, chocolatey candy is a mainstay — especially for large gatherings and holidays. But come hot weather, you can't get the temperamental treat.
Ko-Ed Candies sells a lot of chocolate Easter bunnies, candy bars and other sweets, but co-owner Sandy Whitt says her customers mostly crave sponge candy.
Earlier this week, Taiwanese-American attorney Grace Meng won the Democratic primary for New York's newly redrawn 6th Congressional District. She says she thinks of herself as an all-American kid, even if others didn't always see her that way.
"Growing up as a kid in Queens, there weren't really many Asians at all," Meng says. "I remember one day, my mom gave me dumplings to bring to school, and people were all like, 'What is that?'"
Meng says she would have preferred peanut butter and jelly.
The sanctions noose around Iran is set to tighten Sunday as the European Union imposes a total embargo on all purchases of Iranian oil.
The new sanctions are aimed at putting pressure on the Islamic Republic to make concessions on its nuclear program. Iran insists the program is limited to peaceful, civilian purposes, but many Western nations believe Iran has nuclear weapons ambitions.
The move against Iran comes at a time when oil prices have been dropping for the past couple of months.
Egypt's newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was sworn into office Saturday before the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo. Morsi is the first freely elected president of Egypt and its first Islamist head of state.
The day before his inauguration, Morsi addressed a huge crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution that ousted his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
"I'm standing before you, Egyptian people, those who voted for me, those who opposed me," he said. "I am yours."