Weekend Edition Saturday for February 1, 2014
Feb 1, 2014 — Egyptian Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi rose to power swiftly after the Arab Spring ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. Al-Sisi, who is the head of Egypt's military, appears to be next in line for the presidency. Middle East expert Samer Shehata tells NPR's Scott Simon that Egyptians find another military leader reassuring, but his election wouldn't bode well for democracy.
Feb 1, 2014 — Ursula von der Leyen is the first woman to hold the job. She has no military experience and is best known for social policies such as expanded parental leave. But she has already said that Germany should play a more active role in foreign missions, and that could involve sending troops into conflict zones.
Feb 1, 2014 — Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday in New Jersey. She is the first opera star to be asked. NPR's Scott Simon remembers how Fleming has performed under pressure many times, including when she sang "Amazing Grace" at the ruins of the World Trade Center after 9/11.
Feb 1, 2014 — Pennsylvania public health officials say at least 22 people have died from using heroin laced with a drug called fentanyl.
Feb 1, 2014 — The oil rush in and around North Dakota has brought an influx of mostly male workers flush with cash. Law enforcement agencies and activists say that's creating ample opportunity for organized crime — and that more must be done to prevent women from being forced into prostitution.
Feb 1, 2014 — You think college is expensive? How about the cost of SAT and AP tests? Ben Tonelli, a senior at Garfield High School in Seattle, wrote an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal complaining about the costs. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Tonelli about the sticker shock.
Feb 1, 2014 — Mathematician Chris McKinlay wasn't having any luck finding love, so he used an algorithm to crack the dating website OkCupid. After a mountain of data mining and more than 80 first dates, he finally met his fiancée.
Feb 1, 2014 — Mikko Hypponen is a "white hat" hacker in Finland who breaks into security systems to test network safety. Hypponen tells NPR's Guy Raz of the TED Radio Hour that Americans may be protected under NSA reforms, but foreigners like himself aren't.
Feb 1, 2014 — The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are just days away, and some 230 athletes will be representing the United States. Representing team NPR is Sonari Glinton. He gives NPR's Scott Simon a rundown of who to watch on the ice.
Feb 1, 2014 — Nicole Helget's new novel, Stillwater, follows the lives of twins separated at birth — and raised on opposite sides of the tracks. Helget, who is proud to be called a "Minnesota novelist," tells NPR's Scott Simon about the photograph that inspired one of the book's central characters.