L. Carol Ritchie

The Obama administration is rushing to tie up loose ends before packing up — protecting the rusty patched bumblebee, ending the Cuba "wet foot, dry foot" immigration policy, settling a fraud case over

#NPRreads: 3 Stories To Stake Out This Weekend

May 14, 2016

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people convicted of terrorism Saturday, including prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr, prompting condemnation throughout the Middle East.

Nimr has been an outspoken advocate for Shiite rights in Saudi Arabia; he also supported opposition protests in the Shiite-majority Eastern Province, reports NPR's Leila Fadel.

Leila tells our Newscast unit:

The Kansas City Royals fought off the Toronto Blue Jays and two Jose Bautista home runs to win Game 6 of the American League Championship Series Friday and advance to the World Series — their second trip to the series in two years.

The Royals will host the New York Mets in the best-of-seven contest starting Tuesday night.

Last year the team clawed its way to Game 7 of the World Series before finally losing to the San Francisco Giants.

The New York Mets are headed to the World Series for the first time since 2000. Fired by a record-breaking home-run drive by Daniel Murphy, the Mets completed a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs for the National League Championship.

Wednesday's 8-3 loss for the Cubs crushed the sell-out crowd at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

With a two-run drive in the eighth inning, Murphy homered in his sixth consecutive game, and added a double and two singles for good measure.

NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From Sarah McCammon, a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk:

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

German police say that about 450 migrants from Hungary have arrived at a train station in Munich after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would not limit the number of asylum seekers allowed in.

Thousands more arrived in Austria, many en route to Germany, after the Hungarian government blocked them from leaving the country by train earlier this week. In all, some 10,000 people are expected to reach Munich.

Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET

Cleveland police in riot gear made a number of arrests Saturday night, as protesters poured into the streets, angry over the acquittal of a patrolman charged in the shooting deaths of two unarmed suspects.

Reuters says a total of 71 arrests were made.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Ireland has become the first-ever country to approve same-sex marriage by referendum, voting overwhelmingly to approve it despite opposition from clergy in the heavily Catholic nation, according to official results announced today.

Reuters says in Friday's vote "more than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, the highest turnout at a referendum there in over two decades."

Earlier, both sides in the debate acknowledged that the "yes" vote had succeeded.

The Senate worked late into the night Friday and early Saturday, but still failed to agree on extending government surveillance programs under the USA Patriot Act before the Memorial Day holiday.

Lawmakers blocked votes on both a House-passed bill and a short-term extension of the Patriot Act provisions that allow government surveillance programs.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says lawmakers will try again on May 31, the day before the provisions expire.

The bodies of all eight people who were on a U.S. Marine helicopter when it crashed on an earthquake relief mission in Nepal have been recovered, Nepalese government and military sources said.

The bodies of six U.S. Marines and two Nepali soldiers were recovered near the crash site in remote mountains northeast of Kathmandu.

The wreckage of the UH-1 Huey was found Friday after days of searching by Nepali aircraft and U.S. satellites. The aircraft went missing Tuesday as it delivered aid to villages damaged in last month's earthquake, which killed more than 8,000 people.

The wait wasn't long. Just hours after she checked into the hospital in early labor, the Duchess of Cambridge delivered a baby, Kensington Palace announced Saturday.

The baby weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces, and both mother and child are doing well, the palace added via Twitter.

The baby is fourth in line to the throne, behind grandfather Prince Charles, dad Prince William and brother Prince George, born in July 2013.

Officials have said the duke and duchess did not know the gender of their second child.

Fans of the British royals are beside themselves with excitement.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has checked into St. Mary's Hospital in London and is in the early stage of labor, the BBC is reporting.

This baby will be fourth in line to the throne, behind grandfather Prince Charles, dad Prince William and brother Prince George, born in July 2013.

Officials have said the duchess and her husband do not know the gender of their second child.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

A magnitude-6.7 aftershock rumbled Kathmandu and sent people running for open ground Sunday morning, a day after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake ravaged Nepal and the region. The death toll from the disaster topped 3,000, a police official told Reuters.

NPR's Julie McCarthy, reporting from the capital, described the scene on Weekend Edition Sunday:

Why would a couple of comedians build a museum in their Brooklyn apartment hallway dedicated to figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan?

Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins were only 6 and 7 in 1994, when Harding's ex-husband and his friend plotted to wallop Kerrigan on the knee with a baton, knocking her out of the national championship.

"We remember a very Disney version of the story," says Olen. "You know, this crazy, trashy person beat up the beautiful ice princess."

Half of the men's college basketball Final Four is set. Kentucky, still undefeated, will take on Wisconsin next Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Kentucky tacked on win number 38 in a game against Notre Dame, breaking a tie in the final 6 seconds with a 68-66 victory.

The game was tight through the first half, the teams trading a close lead back and forth. They were tied at the half, 31-31.

Notre Dame held the lead through most of the second, but the Wildcats kept the score close throughout.

We bring you this story in case you want to get baking.

That's because Saturday is Pi Day — but it's not just any pi day.

It's March 14* of the year '15, or 3-14-15 — the first five digits of the number pi. It's a confluence that won't happen again for a hundred years. Math geeks are excited.

Updated at 2:22 p.m. ET

Vanuatu's president appealed to the international community for help as his country was battered by Cyclone Pam, which slammed the tiny South Pacific archipelago early Saturday with 168 mph winds.

"I am speaking to you today with a heart that is so heavy," President Baldwin Lonsdale said in Japan, where he was attending the World Conference on Disaster Risk and Reduction. "I stand to appeal on behalf of the government and the people to give a helping hand in this disaster."

The family of the Arizona woman who Islamic militants claim was killed in a Jordanian airstrike is hoping she is still alive.

Kayla Jean Mueller's parents are not speaking to reporters, but issued a statement through a family representative late Friday asking for privacy and requesting that the so-called Islamic State, which has held the aid worker since 2013, contact them privately.

Jordan called ISIS's claim "criminal propaganda," and U.S. officials say they can't confirm her death, says Martin Kaste of our Newcast desk.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

Dressed in black, world leaders, including French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, stood at the front of a unity rally in Paris to show solidarity for the victims of this week's deadly attacks by Islamist extremists.