This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. In a close vote, Syria's political opposition agreed to attend peace talks this week in Switzerland. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the decision as courageous. The vote clears the way for the first face-to-face negotiations in a war that has devastated Syria and destabilized the region. NPR's Deborah Amos has been following the latest developments from Beirut. Good morning, Deb.
Last year, revelations that the U.S. had tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone soured relations between the two allies. In Europe, President Obama's recommendations to reign in the NSA when it comes to listening to foreign leaders was met with a lukewarm reaction. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that Germans are especially skeptical that the changes will mean an end to American eavesdropping.
Time now for another episode of archrival series, Wingin' It. This week, we introduce you to an 87-something-year-old British sailor who has racked up approximately 300,000 nautical miles; sometimes with no crew, just him and his 42-foot yacht, Fiona.
Plenty of college courses delve into the big philosophical questions of life, but Norma Bowe's class was different. For years, the nurse and college professor taught a class that forced students to confront death head-on — there were poems about death, trips to cemeteries and funeral homes, and "goodbye letter" writing assignments. At its core, the class became an opportunity for students to try to come to grips with the death or pending death of a loved one in their own lives.
On-air challenge:Name a word that, when combined with three words beginning with the letter B, completes a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, given "brew," "body" and "base," you would say "home" (home-brew, homebody, home base).
Last week's challenge:Name a familiar form of exercise in two words. Switch the order of the two words, then say them out loud. The result, phonetically, will name something to wear. What is it?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And it is time for sports.
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MARTIN: And on a Sunday in January, you know what's on everyone's minds: NFL playoffs. San Francisco and Seattle face off today for the NFC title. My West Coast loyalties are divided. I am in a conundrum. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us now. Hey, Mike.