Numbers are down at the American International School in Bamako, the capital of Mali.
In just over a year, the country has witnessed a rebellion, a military coup and the occupation by Islamist fighters of the desert northern region, recently largely liberated in a counteroffensive by French-led forces. Despite the troubles, the school is open and classes continue.
Teacher Paul Chandler is taking his combined class of 6th- and 7th-graders through their early paces, learning the Malian music they'll be performing at the annual school concert.
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.
How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?
"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."
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.
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.
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.
'All Things Considered' Story On The Move From M Street In 1994
Starting Saturday, Weekend Edition is broadcasting under the fourth roof that's sheltered National Public Radio. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg has worked in all of the locations since NPR went on the air in 1971, and once again she shepherds us to our new home.