Each weekend, Bill Desmarais ships his birds off on a truck and somehow, they find their way home. In his backyard in Massachusetts recently, he welcomed home birds from a race that started 250 miles away in Verona, N.Y.
Pigeons have fascinated people for centuries. Charles Darwin, Pablo Picasso and Walt Disney all kept the birds. Today, thousands — including Mike Tyson — are flocking to the sport of pigeon racing.
Racing pigeons aren't like the pigeons you see in a park. They're stronger, bred for endurance and brains. Some are worth thousands of dollars.
NPR's Don Gonyea normally reports on politics, but he finds other stories along the way, like this one about a touring bluegrass band from the Czech Republic.
The first time I heard Druha Trava play was April 2009. I was covering President Obama's trip to the Europe. There was a big outdoor speech in Prague, and the band was playing Czech versions of Bob Dylan songs.
I did a short radio postcard story back then, figuring it was the kind of experience that every music fan knows: You stumble upon a great band somewhere and never see them again.
After a week of child sex abuse charges that resulted in the firing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, Penn State University plays its final home game of the season on Saturday. Students are holding a vigil and fundraising events ahead of the game against Nebraska. NPR's Jeff Brady has the latest in the wake of the scandal.
Alice Walton's long-awaited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens Saturday in Arkansas, and the art market is already feeling the impact of the Wal-Mart heiress and the money she's throwing at acquisitions. Not everyone is happy about it. NPR's Joel Rose reports.
Change is in the wind across southern Europe. The governments of Greece and Italy are collapsing under a mountain of debt and Spain, too, is on shaky financial ground. Spaniards go to the polls on Nov. 20 and are expected to turn the ruling Socialist Party out of power. Yet, as Lauren Frayer reports, people there are also uneasy about the alternatives.
Across the country, retailers are accepting applications for temporary positions this holiday season. Seasonal hiring might offer a bit of a break for people looking for work. Scott Detrow of member station WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has more.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: 18-year-old Tyler Albinus is walking from store to store in a Lancaster, Pennsylvania outlet mall, looking for a job. He's been searching for more than a month now and has lost track of how many applications he's filled out.
With the euro zone burdened by debt, the prime minister of Greece has resigned and Italy's long-time Premier Silvio Berlusconi is expected to step down as well. Guest host Linda Wertheimer checks in with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, who sums up the events of a tumultuous week in Europe.
In an emergency meeting on Saturday, the Arab League voted to suspend Syria, warning that the country could face sanctions if it does not end its brutal crackdown on protestors. Meanwhile, NATO leaders say a Libya-style military intervention is out of the question. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports on what other choices remain.
This week, Ohio voters soundly rejected Gov. John Kasich's plan to scale back collective bargaining rights for public employees. The vote was a big victory for labor; in particular, it showed how important the nation's teachers unions have become beyond the classroom. Teachers groups are mobilizing like never before — because they face threats to their very existence.