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:

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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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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NPR Headlines

On most days from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mary Grimes can be found pacing along a crowded street in Orlando, Fla., with clipboards in both hands.

"Can I have five minutes of your time?" the 58-year-old says to a parade of passers-by. Those who are in a rush, she quickly wishes well; the others, Grimes directs to a blue and yellow form, reciting her spiel and soliciting a signature from each.

A congressional candidate in Florida drew a little ridicule this week.

Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, one of the Republicans in the crowded field in Florida's 27th Congressional District, said in 2009 that she was taken aboard a spaceship when she was 7 years old.

She does not mean at Disney World.

"I went in," she says in a 2009 Spanish language interview that appeared on YouTube this week. "There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship, not like airplanes.

The wildfires in Northern California cut across a wide swath of the state — including dozens of school districts, hundreds of schools and hundreds of thousands of students. At one point, classes were canceled for 260,000 students in 600 schools.

And while schools are slowly coming back on line, there remain many that may not resume classes for days or even weeks.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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