Numbers are down at the American International School in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
In just over a year, the country has witnessed a rebellion, a military coup and the occupation by Islamist fighters of the desert northern region, recently largely liberated in a counteroffensive by French-led forces. Despite the troubles, the school is open and classes continue.
Teacher Paul Chandler is taking his combined class of 6th- and 7th-graders through their early paces, learning the Malian music they'll be performing at the annual school concert.
The Boston Marathon bombing suspects are ethnic Chechens with links to the volatile North Caucasus region of Russia. Moscow's reaction to that fact appears to be as complex as the region's turbulent history.
Some stories stand the test of time: Shakespeare's plays, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, and the Child ballads.
If you're unfamiliar with them, they're not for children. They're Scottish and English folk songs from the 17th and 18th centuries and earlier. They're named after Francis James Child, the Harvard professor and folklorist who collected them.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and I wait all week to say: It's time for sports.
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SIMON: The serene and pristine fairways of Augusta have been trampled up and down for a couple of full days now. The Masters tournament is halfway through. NPR's Tom Goldman has been there watching, not playing. Thanks for being with us, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: But trampling, Scott - I've done my fair share.
Boston will be closed on Monday - more or less - for the 117th Boston Marathon. It's the Super Bowl for serious runners. For more, we turn now to running coach and marathon man Tom Derderian. He's the author of "Boston Marathon: The First Century of the World's Premier Running Event," and "The Boston Marathon: A Century of Blood, Sweat and Cheer." Tom, thanks for being with us.
TOM DERDERIAN: A pleasure to be with you.
SIMON: Tom, may I put you on the spot and ask what your best time - ever - was?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State John Kerry's in China as the world waits to see whether North Korea will test-fire a missile. Secretary Kerry hopes that Chinese leaders will put pressure on their traditional ally, the North Koreans. Before arriving he said there's no group of leaders on the face of the planet with more capacity to make a difference than the Chinese.
The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it would postpone the end of Saturday mail delivery, which it had proposed to stop earlier in the year, but mail service will halt at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where mules have delivered the mail since the 1920s. The company that runs the mule train says they will no longer deliver packages starting next week. The service was a way for loved ones to send care packages to guides rafting down the Colorado River. Laurel Morales of member station KJZZ reports from Flagstaff.
Venezuela's acting president, Nicolas Maduro, speaks during his closing campaign rally in Caracas on Thursday. The hand-picked successor of Hugo Chavez faces opposition candidate Henriques Capriles in snap presidential elections on April 14.
In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro — the president of a powerful government — should be at center stage. But as he runs in Sunday's snap presidential elections, it's his larger-than-life predecessor who is getting much of the attention.
The death of Hugo Chavez, who taunted the U.S. and empowered the poor, is triggering the special vote. And Maduro is using Chavez's voice and image to ensure that the late president's socialist system remains in power for many more years to come.