Wednesday was more or less canceled this week in official Washington, D.C. An enormous winter storm bore down on the region, threatening ice, a foot of snow in the city (more in the suburbs), and wind and misery throughout the region.
Most of the federal government was closed. I know, I know. How could they tell? Local governments and schools, too. Flights were canceled, planes diverted, and throngs descended on grocery stores, picking the shelves clean of bread, milk and toilet tissue.
Not every Syrian American can go to the lengths that Abu Ahmed did, but here in the United States, they are watching the conflict closely. Muna Jondy was born in this country, but her father's family is from Daraa where the first protest back in 2011 began. She's an immigration lawyer in Flint, Michigan and president of a group called United for a Free Syria. She joins us from Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. Thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A court in Egypt today upheld the death sentences of 21 soccer fans from Port Said for murder during a bloody soccer riot that occurred there last year. And the court's decision apparently enraged the city.
For nearly two years, Syrians living in the United States have watched their home country fall apart. Now in a moment, we'll hear the story of one Syrian-American who's watched the conflict from her home in Michigan, but who hasn't escaped tragedy. First, we bring you an encore broadcast of a report from NPR's Kelly McEvers.
She told us the story of one man who used his vacation time to travel from California back to Syria. His plan: to help the rebels bring down the government.
Host Scott Simon talks with reporter and author John Thavis about the divisions among cardinals voting at the conclave to select a new pope for the Catholic Church. Thavis is the author of The Vatican Diaries.
At the same time, there are millions of Americans you can't find in monthly job reports. They've been unemployed so long they're no longer counted, or they're working just a few hours a week in jobs that can't support them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also said yesterday that what they call the labor force participation rate fell again to 63.5 percent, the lowest number since 1981.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. When it comes to job creation, the U.S. economy has been in a rut. Now, in a moment, we'll hear from Americans who have been struggling to find work, but yesterday's jobs report suggests things might be changing a bit. Employers added far more jobs than expected, and the unemployment rate declined to its lowest point in more than four years.
Even so, the news produced more relief than celebration. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.