Joel Osteen is one of the most influential religious figures in the world.

He's a New York Times best-selling author. His television program reaches more than 10 million households in the U.S. and is seen in more than 100 nations across the globe. On Sunday night, he's hosting America's Night of Hope at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

A blind legal activist who fled house arrest in his Chinese village is under the protection of American officials, overseas activists said Saturday, putting the U.S. in a difficult position days ahead of a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Chen Guangcheng, who has exposed forced abortions and sterilizations in villages as a result of China's one-child policy, escaped a week ago from his guarded home in Shandong province in eastern China. Chinese-based activists say he was driven away by supporters and then handed over to others who brought him to Beijing.

Political Tensions Mount Between Sudans

Apr 28, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Sports: NBA Playoffs About To Begin

Apr 28, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: The NBA playoffs are about to begin. Will LeBron James and the Miami Trio live up to their promise? Will Metta World Peace ever live up to his name? And will Albert Pujols ever live up to his salary?

NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Morning, Tom.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Happy opening day of the playoffs day to you, Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

The Woes Washington Baseball Fans

Apr 28, 2012

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'What Good' Does Congress Do? Don't Ask

Apr 28, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. Congress doesn't win any popularity contests. Approval ratings for the legislative branch run the gamut from dismal to embarrassing. Nine percent at their lowest, and all the chaos and discord in the 112th Congress have distressed a lot of its members too. Democratic representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri called the last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling, quote, "a sugar-coated Satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see."

Immigrant Sweeps In Greece Spark Protests

Apr 28, 2012

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The economy is still the biggest issue for Greeks in next weekend's early parliament elections. But polls show that immigration is also high on the list. Politicians are responding by cracking down on undocumented migrants.

Joanna Kakissis has the story from Athens.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS SPEAKING THROUGH MEGAPHONES)

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spent the week in the spotlight as the latest potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The Hispanic lawmaker, anointed as the party's best hope for appealing to more Latino voters, came loaded for bear — rolling out an alternative to the Democrats' Dream Act.

The guilty verdict against former Liberian President Charles Taylor, who was convicted of aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone this week, is sinking in across West Africa. The historic judgment of the first African president to be prosecuted in an international court leaves Taylor facing a lengthy sentence in a British prison.

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Poland is poised to dissolve a key separation of government powers, as President Andrzej Duda is expected to sign a bill that puts the nation's Supreme Court under the control of the ruling party, despite citizens' protests and pleas from allies in the EU and U.S.

Poland's Senate approved the measure early Saturday, capping days of debate and demonstrations. The lower house of Parliament gave its approval earlier this week.

Afghan officials say 16 members of the Afghan National Security Forces died in a U.S. airstrike Friday, during operations against Taliban fighters in southern Helmand province. The U.S. says it is investigating the circumstances that led to the mistake.

Afghan media report that 16 members of the security force died, citing local government officials. Although a U.S. statement acknowledging the strike did not specify the number of casualties, a Pentagon spokesman later put the figure at from 12-15 deaths.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

Members of the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are heading into their annual meeting with no speaker from the White House and a new interim president and CEO. The meeting started Saturday in Baltimore.

This week, the First Global Challenge, a highly anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries, ended the way it began — with controversy.

On Wednesday, members of the team from the violence-torn east African country of Burundi went missing. And well before the competition even began, the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan made headlines after the U.S. State Department denied the members visas. Eventually, they were allowed to compete.

The drama marred an otherwise upbeat event focused on kids and robots.