NPR Staff

The federal government has spent billions helping veterans get the training and education they need to re-enter the civilian workforce.

Despite the effort, the unemployment rate for vets remains higher than the national average. Aside from dealing with the psychological transition, veterans also have to navigate how to transfer their military skills into civilian ones.

Citing an environment of fear, persecution and anti-gay violence in his home country of Uganda, John Abdallah Wambere has applied for asylum in the United States.

Wambere, 41, came to prominence for his work with Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights and provides health and education services.

He announced his decision to seek asylum at a news conference on May 6 in Boston. Wambere is currently living in Cambridge, Mass.

As the Giro d'Italia bicycle race sets off in Ireland this weekend, the shadow of doping will not be far behind. In a competition to beat the cheaters, scientists are constantly trying to improve drug testing.

While it can be hard for regulators to keep up with new habits, when an athlete is finally caught doping, the result can be revolutionary.

Performance-enhancing drugs have plagued the sport of cycling for years, with Lance Armstrong at the center of the scandal. But he was not alone.

North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge — 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.

Monterey Bay on California's central coast rests atop one of the largest underwater canyons in the world. It's deeper than the Grand Canyon, making it possible for lots of ocean life — including humpback whales, orcas, dolphins and sea lions — to be seen extremely close to shore. That is, given the right circumstances. Lately, the right circumstances have converged, and there's more marine and wildlife in the bay than anyone's seen in recent memory.

William Shakespeare had a wildly extensive vocabulary. Of more than 800,000 total words in all of his works, almost 29,000 of them are unique.

Although impressive, there are a few rappers who give the Bard a run for his money. Data scientist Matt Daniels charted the vocabularies of hip-hop artists against Shakespeare and Herman Melville.

"This is not a serious academic study. This is an, like, 'I thought it'd be cool on the Internet [project],' " he says.

A number of federal agencies are grappling with rules around drones as the popularity of the unmanned aircraft is rising. The National Park Service recently banned their use in Yosemite, and the Federal Aviation Administration is under orders from Congress to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into U.S. airspace by September 2015.

On April 30, the Etiwanda Fire ignited in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, then quickly grew to more than 2,000 acres before crews were able to contain it.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a criminal justice reporter for The Associated Press, Michael Graczyk has covered hundreds of executions of death row inmates in the state of Texas. This means, of course, that he must be there to witness those deaths.

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes the entire LA Clippers corporate organization is better off now that owner Donald Sterling has lost his standing with the NBA.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA last week for racist remarks made on a recording released by TMZ Sports. Abdul-Jabbar says the punishment announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver is wise and just, and has given the team confidence.

According to the American Freshman Survey, most students were accepted by their first-choice colleges last year — but almost half of them actually enrolled in other schools, primarily for financial reasons.

To find out more, Morning Edition's David Greene spoke with Sylvia Hurtado, head of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, which conducts the annual survey.


Interview Highlights

On forgoing their first-choice schools

In 2009, Frank Tempone was severely depressed. He had what he calls a midlife crisis, and left his wife and three kids in Massachusetts to live on his own in Chicago.

But after two years apart, Frank came back. The entire family moved to Chicago, and Frank brought his oldest son, Jack, to StoryCorps because he wanted to apologize.

"Do you remember that time?" Frank asks Jack.

Across the country this weekend, Cinco de Mayo will be celebrated with festivals, music, Mexican food and plenty of bar specials.

But south of the border, the holiday merits little more than a parade in the city of Puebla, east of Mexico City. There, in 1862, outgunned Mexican troops defeated an invading French army.

A small number of universities are starting to go against the grain, reducing amenities and frills in favor of keeping the costs relatively low.

Neil Theobald is the president of Temple University, which recently began offering students $4,000 per year in grants — if they promise to limit the number of hours they work during the school year and graduate on time.

Twitter is growing and its brand is spreading but Wall Street is unimpressed. On Tuesday, the company announced it had doubled its quarterly revenue from a year ago to $250 million. The social networking site also increased its number of active users to 255 million, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

But despite the gains, Wall Street analysts have called the growth tepid. Twitter went public last November, and its shares have traded as high as $74; on Wednesday, it opened at under $38.

For the first time since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011, Iraqis went to the polls to vote on their leaders. As Reuters reporter Ned Parker says, the day's events paint a grim future for Iraq's future.

In a town northeast of Baghdad, at least 17 people are dead and dozens wounded after a pair of bombs struck an outdoor market. As Tim Arango of The New York Times explains, it's just the latest deadly attack on the eve of Iraq's national parliamentary elections.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Among those on the sanctions list is an oligarch dubbed Darth Vader by the Russian press. To talk more about him and others targeted for U.S. sanctions, I'm joined here in the studio by David Kramer. He's the president of Freedom House, a pro-democracy watchdog group, and he was part of an independent taskforce of Russia experts that sent to the White House a suggest list of sanction targets. David, thanks for coming in.

DAVID J. KRAMER: Thanks for having me.

The memo arrived on paper.

Because it was 1994.

A notice, to all NPR staff, proclaiming, "Internet is coming to NPR!"

And there was no directive to log on to this fast-growing "organization," by the way. "If you do not want to use Internet," the memo read, "simply do nothing."

You can see more highlights from NPR's pre-Internet days at the Nprchives Tumblr.

This is what an inclusive classroom looks like: Children with disabilities sit next to ones who've been deemed "gifted and talented." The mixing is done carefully, and quietly. Students don't necessarily know who's working at what level.

Despite a court ruling 25 years ago that gave children with disabilities equal access to general education activities, change has been slow.

Today, about 17 percent of students with any disability spend all or most of their days segregated. Children with severe disabilities can still expect that separation.

This month, NASA revealed new details of the plan to send humans to Mars by 2030. It's an elaborate and expensive mission, involving a giant deep-space rocket, and roping an asteroid into the moon's orbit to use as a stepping stone to Mars.

But there are still some serious questions about a manned expedition to Mars. Namely, is it safe? That's where astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly come in. The Kelly brothers are identical twins, and the only siblings ever to both fly in space.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Iraq is suffering the worst spate of violence in many years — some say the worst since the height of the U.S. war in 2008. On Friday, dozens of people were killed at an election rally in Baghdad. This Wednesday, Iraqis will go to the polls in the first parliamentary election since the U.S. pulled combat troops out in 2011.

This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.

Five hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.

At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.

Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.

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