Thanks to agreements between the Department of the Interior and several states, a dozen popular national parks are open again, at least temporarily. The parks range from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon; the states are paying to keep them open for up to 10 days.
State officials say it's particularly important to have the parks open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend. National Park Service employees began opening some facilities Friday; others will reopen today or Monday.
The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.
As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."
Polls show the Republican Party is taking the biggest hit politically for the government shutdown, and leaders are wondering how to appeal to more diverse voters nationwide. But Tea Party leaders are holding the line on the shutdown, and have no interest in muting their message. Host Scott Simon talks with political correspondent Don Gonyea about the strategy crisis for Republicans.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Both the Senate and the House are meeting today for the second Saturday in a row. It's Day 12 of the government shutdown and Republican lawmakers are so far getting much of the blame for the lapse in federal funding that caused the shutdown. But they appear to have dropped their central demand of the budget standoff, a dismantling or delay of the Affordable Care Act. NPR's David Welna reports.
Research season was just getting started when the government shutdown put McMurdo Station into "caretaker" mode, halting data collection. Host Scott Simon speaks to Gretchen Hofmann, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, about the government shutdown's impact on research in Antarctica.
Will the bottom fall out of the economy on Oct. 17 if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling? New York Times columnist Joe Nocera talks to Weekend Edition Sunday host Scott Simon about what the extended government shutdown and the debt limit could mean for our economy.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meeting this week. That means top finance officials and economists from all over the world are in Washington, D.C., during a display of brinksmanship from members of Congress.
The shutdown of the U.S. government has sparked lots of finger-pointing and name calling in Congress. But our friend A.J. Jacobs says this is hardly the nastiest dispute in the history of our democracy. A.J., an editor-at-large at Esquire Magazine - until they come to their senses - joins us now from New York. A.J., thanks so much for being with us.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 8:05 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The government shutdown is now entering its second week. That's left many lawmakers with little to do and many tourists in Washington, D.C. wandering wanly through the streets of the city, wondering how to spend their pre-planned vacations. NPR's Alan Yu checks in with some of them.