National News from NPR

Hurricane Irene has forced airlines to cancel more than 9,000 flights this weekend, with the AP reporting 3,600 cancellations on Saturday.

United Continental and Delta Air Lines, two of America's largest airlines, have each announced thousands of cancellations for the period between Saturday and Monday. International carriers, such as British Airways, have also cancelled flights to the U.S. East Coast that were scheduled for late Saturday or Sunday.

The grisly discovery of a dead body stuffed in a 35-gallon drum full of asphalt and dumped at a landfill next to North Carolina's Charlotte Motor Speedway kicks off Kathy Reichs' new novel, Flash and Bones.

Reichs, a forensic anthropologist, is the author of the books that inspired the Fox TV series Bones. Her latest sends her heroine, medical examiner Temperance Brennan, on a journey through the underbelly of Charlotte's NASCAR racing scene.

Week In News: Bernanke, Tax Breaks

Aug 27, 2011

This week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke slammed political gamesmanship and one Republican on the congressional supercommittee suggested that tax breaks on everyday Americans could be allowed to lapse. Host Laura Sullivan speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about these stories and others.

For the first time ever, the New York Public Transit System (busses, trains, subways) shut down Saturday. Local officials are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

For decades, the city of El Paso, in far West Texas, defied the look of most desert communities, with neighborhoods boasting lush, green lawns and residents freely running their sprinklers.

Then a study came out in 1979 that showed just how close El Paso was to a crisis: At its rate of water use, the city would run dry within 36 years.

"I can't make you ... I'm not going to arrest you."

But please, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) just told 600 senior citizens who live in Atlantic City: Let the state evacuate you before Hurricane Irene slams into the high-rise buildings where you live.

The residents have so far refused to leave.

Christie said the state is going to send buses to the seniors' buildings in the hopes they can be convinced to go to inland shelters.

"Let us walk you downstairs and put you on those buses," he added.

Is Libya The First 'True Arab Revolution?'

Aug 27, 2011

The Libyan rebels' takeover of Tripoli may be a landmark of the movement known as the Arab Spring, but does it qualify as a revolution?

James DeFronzo, author of the book Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements, thinks it's still too early to tell.

"You have to have some great structural, institutional change for an uprising to eventually be legitimately called a revolution," he tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan.

It took a U.S.-led invasion force of more than 200,000 troops nine months to scour Iraq's nearly 170,000 square miles before they captured Saddam Hussein, in one of the largest manhunts ever.

Now, Moammar Gadhafi is on the run in Libya — but chasing after him is a much smaller and less well-equipped force of Libyan rebels. They're trying to track down a fugitive who, like Saddam, is well-armed, well-funded and capable of winning popular support and sowing instability simply by evading his pursuers.

Libyan rebels fought to gain control of a major supply road to Tripoli on Saturday, seizing a border crossing with Tunisia and strengthening their hold on the oil-rich country as they hunt for Moammar Gadhafi.

Controlling the road from the Tunisian border to the capital would help ease growing shortages of fuel and food, particularly in the battle-scarred city.

The first deaths in the U.S. related to Hurricane Irene to be reported come from North Carolina.

The Raleigh News & Observer writes that:

As Hurricane Irene makes its way north, insurance companies are scrambling to get claims adjusters and other personnel in place up and down the East Coast and into New England.

Companies will be assessing the damage once Irene is through battering the northeastern states. If the hurricane hits as wide an area as is predicted, insured losses could be in the billions of dollars.

On the boardwalk of Ocean City, Md., Tony Russo Jr. is boarding up the windows of his family's restaurant, Tony's Pizza.

Hoping to convince anyone who is ignoring the mandatory evacuation orders for those living in New York City's low-lying areas, Mayor Michael Bloomberg just warned that if anyone hasn't already moved to higher ground, "you have to start right now."

You know the old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again?" Well, Pat Gallant-Charette certainly does. Last Monday, on her third attempt since 2008, the 60-year-old from Westbrook, Maine, swam across the English Channel in less than 16 hours. Host Scott Simon talks with Gallant-Charette, who is now the oldest American woman to swim the English Channel.

The bright lights and raucous crowds of the U.S. Open are here, but this year, the talent isn't shining. In baseball, the front-runners are pulling ahead of the also-running, just before the last month of the season. Host Scott Simon talks sports with Howard Bryant of and ESPN the Magazine.


SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Hurricane Irene has arrived. The storm has already struck parts of North Carolina. Some 200,000 people there are without power. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged caution as Irene moves up the East Coast.

Secretary JANET NAPOLITANO (HOMELAND SECURITY): Irene remains a large and dangerous storm. People need to take it seriously, people need to be prepared.