This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Isn't it nice to be able to say time for sports?
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SIMON: The country was focused on tragedy and mayhem this week, but sports abides, including some remarkable tributes to Boston. And the NBA playoffs begin today and run until, I don't know, I think December. Can anyone beat the Heat? For now we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.
People who knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just have a hard time squaring the man they knew, with the violence in Boston. Sierra Schwartz went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school with the suspect, who's now in custody.
SIERRA SCHWARTZ: The Dzhokhar that I knew at the time was friendly, quiet but not in a - alarming way. He was just - you know, soft-spoken but very - you know, funny, very sweet, wouldn't harm a fly; someone that you would want to talk to.
Back now to our coverage of the tense night and police activity that brought an end to the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Franklin Street in Watertown was the epicenter of that massive search. Police and SWAT teams took over the suburban neighborhood looking for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Keith Glavish lives nearby. He was in his house while the search unfolded. Thanks for being with us.
Soon after federal authorities disclosed that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were Muslims of Chechen descent, many American Muslims began bracing for a backlash. NPR's Jennifer Ludden has more.
While many universities try to win national attention with their sports programs, one school is dominating a lesser-known competitive arena: speech teams. Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., will defend its U.S. title again this weekend at the National Forensic Association tournament in Huntington, W.Va. Jonathan Ahl reports.
JONATHAN AHL, BYLINE: Cecil Blutcher is on stage, practicing his poetry recitation in front of his fellow speech team members.
CECIL BLUTCHER: Now my face is stuck to lamppost, glued to plate-glass windows.
The grisly week that began at the Boston Marathon Monday left one police officer dead.
As police closed in on the bombing suspects Thursday night, law enforcement officials say two officers were shot. One, transit police officer Richard Donohue, is in critical condition at Mount Auburn Hospital.
The other, Sean Collier of the MIT campus police, was pronounced dead Thursday night.
MIT says Collier had gone to respond to a report of an altercation on campus Thursday evening. Soon, word came over the police radio that he had been shot.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The city of Boston has been through an extraordinary string of challenges this week. The city's famous race was bombed, killing three people, injuring scores of others. The city was locked down for nearly a full day in order to search for the killers.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State Kerry is back in Turkey today, this time for a meeting on the worsening crisis in Syria. A group called Friends of Syria will consider increasing aid to opposition factions who are trying to oust the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the pressure for increased assistance, including calls to arm the rebels, comes amid growing concern about the presence of armed Islamist fighters in Syria.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and I wait all week to say: It's time for sports.
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SIMON: The serene and pristine fairways of Augusta have been trampled up and down for a couple of full days now. The Masters tournament is halfway through. NPR's Tom Goldman has been there watching, not playing. Thanks for being with us, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: But trampling, Scott - I've done my fair share.
Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history.
The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it would postpone the end of Saturday mail delivery, which it had proposed to stop earlier in the year, but mail service will halt at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where mules have delivered the mail since the 1920s. The company that runs the mule train says they will no longer deliver packages starting next week. The service was a way for loved ones to send care packages to guides rafting down the Colorado River. Laurel Morales of member station KJZZ reports from Flagstaff.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Secretary of State John Kerry's in China as the world waits to see whether North Korea will test-fire a missile. Secretary Kerry hopes that Chinese leaders will put pressure on their traditional ally, the North Koreans. Before arriving he said there's no group of leaders on the face of the planet with more capacity to make a difference than the Chinese.
Venezuela's acting president, Nicolas Maduro, speaks during his closing campaign rally in Caracas on Thursday. The hand-picked successor of Hugo Chavez faces opposition candidate Henriques Capriles in snap presidential elections on April 14.
In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro — the president of a powerful government — should be at center stage. But as he runs in Sunday's snap presidential elections, it's his larger-than-life predecessor who is getting much of the attention.
The death of Hugo Chavez, who taunted the U.S. and empowered the poor, is triggering the special vote. And Maduro is using Chavez's voice and image to ensure that the late president's socialist system remains in power for many more years to come.